I’m a little afraid of where this is going to go.
I knew Argo had been sent down to Kildare. I also know now that it’s not the end of the line. Not the immediate end of the line, anyway. I thought he’d be back, though, and for the past several weeks, I’ve walked into the barn expecting — hoping — that I’d see his great chestnut head hovering over the door of a stable.
I knew he’d been particularly edgy in the weeks before he’d been sprung. I think he was just fed up to the withers with being stuck with beginners. He, more than anyone, deserved a break.
But I missed him. If it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t be here now, riding twenty months, three times a week, getting better. He had his moments with me, sure— there was that time he went so mental in a lesson I had to get off him and get Delilah. I blame the ponies: the adults and the teenagers were all lashed in the indoor due to inclement weather, and he hated the ponies. Their speed and lack of stature made him crazy.
I learned on him. He taught me. I would hang with him, even when I didn’t ride him anymore, and we were so relaxed with each other, he would even, eventually, let me stroke his face. He was very headshy. He loved carrots. He was so much happier when they moved him to the other side of the barn, where the walls were low and he could see the other horses. I was looking forward to him coming back.
Except he’s not. I asked, and was told that he’s so happy, out in the fields, that they’d probably never catch him anyway. He’s retired. His work is done.
I guess— no, I know, I would have liked to have said goodbye. One day, he was just gone. I know it would have been worse if he’d gone out badly, hurt himself, died. This is for the best, I reckon. I had wondered what would happen to a horse— to him— once he’d gotten past it, and now I know. Nothing dramatic. These are practical horse folk, after all. But caring folk who wouldn’t work a horse til he dropped. I think I’d always been afraid of that, that one day it would be all too much for him, and he’d die, right there in the yard.
And a photo, one I took with my phone: I had forgotten my watch, this was back in the days when I got to the yard an hour early because of the bus. Obsessively punctual, I had my phone with me for the clock. I’ll never forget when the penny dropped, and I realised that I could get a picture of Argo! and me! It’s been my mobi’s wallpaper ever since.
I’m glad I have it— and in a way, I’ll always have him.