Ch.168 Chasing After My Horse and Wondering About My Future

Ch.168 Chasing After My Horse and Wondering About My Future

           Sept. 24, 2022

          6:30 a.m. I’m waking up in my bed. I hear “Bump. Clop. Bump. Bump.” Something’s making noise just outside my bedroom. Probably Levi got out and wants me to let him back in. But no, I see him asleep on the floor. And Blackie the cat is resting on my leg. Hmm.

          I get up, open the door, and there he is: my beautiful, brown, 1200-pound Quarter Horse Lakota. He’s escaped from his field. “Escaped” isn’t exactly the correct term, though. I forgot to secure the gate yesterday when I mucked out his stall. All he needed to do was nudge the gate a bit and it politely opened and bade him safe journey.

          Lakota’s browsing around the yard, sampling sunflower seeds and other treats while I hurriedly dress. Now my problem is how to get him back in his field or stable. I know he won’t stand still long enough for me to get his bridle on. My best hope is to lure Lakota back with food. So off I go with a bucket full of senior horse food, one of his favorites. And it works, right up to within a few feet of the gate, at which point Lakota remembers that he is now a FREE horse, turns around, and marches off toward the County Road U. That puts him and any hapless person driving down the road in danger, so, against better judgement, I grab a rope, put it around Lakota’s neck, and attempt to guide him home. Twenty seconds later he’s FREE again and I’m flat on my face.  

          Fortunately, my FREE horse is still a hungry horse and just then he envisions all the goodies in the garage, where I keep them just next to the gate into his stall. Lakota quickly assaults a bag of apple wafers but while he consumes them, I drag all his other food away – except for another couple handfuls of apple wafers I show him as I walk into his stall. He knows very well what lies ahead – his adventure as a FREE animal is coming to an end – but the temptation is too great. He returns to his stall, I sneak out, and this time I make sure both gates are securely locked. And then I gather up several handfuls of grass which he graciously accepts as we return to our respective sides of the fence.

          I hate to admit it, but I’m beginning to wonder if living alone out here in the country is perhaps a little too much. It’s becoming a physical challenge, as Lakota has so kindly helped me realize. It’s also an emotional challenge now that I cannot share this life with Pat.

         I love the quiet, the sunsets, the peacefulness, and the slowness of country life. Love of country was a gift that Pat gave me; she grew up on the banks of the St. Croix River, far from the city, while I grew up in the heart of a city, namely St. Paul, MN. I never thought I would live anywhere else. But Pat was insistent we try the country. So here I am, in some ways still a stranger in a strange land. Now that Pat is gone a part of me is ready to return to my urban roots. Mostly I’d like to stay here, but without Pat the quiet is quieter, the slowness is slower, and my aloneness has become lonelier.

Note: This is the second time I’ve written about corralling Lakota. If you go to Chapter 26 (“Caregiver Meltdown.”) you can read the first.