The Horse Accident

Prompt: Guilt

I was the archetypal horse-obsessed girl. I read every horse book in the library, had armies of model horses lined up across the shelves of my bedroom, made bridles from shoestring and jump ropes. When I was 14 my parents finally got me a horse, a tall bay mare we paid $500 for. I was to share the horse with my older sister, but she didn’t feel it the way I did and was not a particularly skilled rider, not ever very confident or comfortable. We boarded the horse up the road at a ranch run by a stringy cowboy named Bill. A blind woman named Diane also lived there. My dad had represented her in a lawsuit. She had been kicked in the head by a horse as a child and lost her sight. She was a skilled horsewoman and trainer and rode her tall paint gelding all over the countryside even though she couldn’t see a thing. Her relationship with the cowboy who owned the ramshackle place was unclear and seemed sketchy even to my 14 year-old eye. Attached to the decaying red barn was an outdoor riding arena, dusty and bare, baked hard as concrete in the summer heat. One day my sister and I were at the barn and took the horse into the arena to ride. Rather than put on a proper saddle and bridle I made a makeshift hackamore out of rope and climbed on bareback. When it was my sister’s turn I boosted her up. Her uncertainty and lack of confidence was immediately evident to the mare. She bolted away across the hard-packed arena, my sister bouncing unbalanced on her back. As if in slow motion I saw my sister fly off and land on her head on the ground. I ran to her side to find her barely conscious, moaning and rolling slowly in the dirt. She turned her head and there was blood in her ear. I screamed for help and Diane came running blindly across the yard. I told her my sister had fallen. She went directly to the horse to find my inadequate homemade bridle. It was instantly clear it was my fault that we had had no control when our mare bolted. My parents were called. Soon thereafter an ambulance roared down the road, lights flashing and circling in the dust. My grandfather wanted to get a gun and shoot the horse dead on the spot. To this day I feel bad about being more worried about that than about the fate of my sister.

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Comments
One Response to “The Horse Accident”
  1. Alida says:

    Great details: the $500 mare, the blind horsewoman, the rope hackamore, the blood in the ear. These details provide us a concrete yet exotic tale, and a morality play to boot.

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