Monday, December 10, 2012

Tally

My student, Tim, the shy architect bought Tally.

They hit it off famously. She didn't mind his stiff, first year rider's seat, or the insecurity of his hands. She seemed to thrive under his gentle touch. He was amazed at her level, gliding gaits and her handle. They were a match made in heaven.

 I was terrified.

I explained how green she was, that she came from a very rough past and had a rocky start, to say the least.
Tim and Tally gazed at me with calm, happy eyes, equally incapable of comprehending what I was saying. With Tim it was because he was smitten and Tally refused to be rattled or take an uneven step with him. As far as  Tally goes, well, she was a horse.

He wanted to write me a check right there, but I insisted he lease her for sixty days first. He said fine. Then I added he needed to keep paying me to ride her at least twice a week, take lessons from me twice a week and only ride Tally while I was with him for the duration of the lease. That was fine too.

So we made our tentative deal. Tally would stay with me at my barn for the first thirty days, then we would move her down to his. I had covered every base I could think of. I had trained Tally with everything I had. She had been a rock for many weeks.

"Janet," K told me, "you are not much of a horse trader."

"I don't want to get anybody killed, that's all," I replied.

"I completely get that," K said. "It's a tough call."

Somehow he didn't make me feel any more confident.

Yet they looked beautiful together. Tim fit her, and Tally fit him. They were both small and muscled, tentative and excited. He took her for long walks, he was a hiker before the horse bug bit him, and Tally was a willing companion on the trail. I figured they were doing the ultimate desensitizing walking the trails. Tim had Tally willingly passing bikes and joggers an not flying into a wild panic as they came from behind.

I started to relax.

"Janet, I want to buy Tally now" Tim said. "We're fine, and I'd feel better if I owned her before I moved her. I want her to be at my barn."

I still hesitated.

I was looking at a situation no responsible horse trainer or dealer will let happen.

Green plus green equals black and blue, no matter how good it looks on the surface. If I was really honest, which I had been studiously avoiding, my equation was actually, green plus green plus green.
I was considered very green in the cow horse world. I was in my first year as a competitor and had never ridden horses of this caliber before. Reactive, sensitive, quick legged and quick minded, I was in a mad scramble to keep up with these horses and I had a lot of riding and training years under my belt.

Tim did not. Call Tally crazy, bad-minded, dangerous, all of that was up for debate. I truly, deep down in my gut, believed she was well on the road to recovery. She was, however, all cow horse.

What finally made me overcome my paranoia and sell the horse was the tight bond between the two. She lit up like my Grandma's birthday cake every time she saw him. Besides, Tim promised to keep up our riding schedule once they moved down the pass. I'd keep riding her and he wouldn't ride her unless I was there.

It kept getting better. Tally settled right in and their unique relationship continued to flourish. Tim was a new rider in his 40's, but he was smart, athletic and dedicated. He just kept getting better. He could sit her stops, guide her through a lead change -- and actually know if he got it -- and sit through a set of spins without getting dizzy. Tally stayed solid.

We started making plans for his first show. I would ride her in a warm up show about three hours away and if all went well, Tim was going to come with me to Amarillo for our first AQHA, NRCHA sanctioned show of the year.

I had just sat in my chair with a quart of water and a Mike's Hard Lemonade when my phone started ringing. I hadn't been home for ten minutes and I really didn't want to spend the next hour talking to a client about Fluffy's progress. Jim went to answer for me, but came out carrying the phone a few minutes later.

"It's Nancy," he said.

My mouth went dry and I didn't know if I could find the spit to talk to her. Nancy was the BO at Tim's barn.

"Janet?" She said. "We had an accident out at the arena today. Tim and Tally had quite the wreck."

47 comments:

gillian said...

eeep!


(Don't let anyone rush you, you're worth the wait.)

IndyApp said...

I REALLY want this to be a "And they lived Happily Ever After" ending.

Becky said...

FORGET IT.

FORGET WHAT GILLIAN SAID. I WANT TO RUSH YOU.

My you die a thousand deaths boiled in putrid camel spit for leaving me with this cliffhanger.

May your jeans always be two inches too short, and may you be plagued by uncomfortable wedgies, but only when surrounded by people you want to impress.

GAAAAAH.

>:(

HorsesAndTurbos said...

ARGH!!!!!!

Jacqueline Jones said...

Oh man, if this last post were on the cover of the back of a book, I would buy it RIGHT NOW just to see what happened

Promise said...

I've got goose bumps, and I almost fell off my chair I was so close to the edge. Crap! (But not your writing!!)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what Becky said!

sue said...

This is why I never start a series of books before the last one is out...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Becky. You can't just leave us off on a cliffhanger like that! I will be going crazy waiting for the next part.

Scamp said...

Times 3 what Becky said. WTF?!!!? Arrrgh!!!

Scamp said...

Times 3 what Becky said. WTF?!!!? Arrrgh!!!

Bonita Vear said...

0____0 ...... I think I just fell over the edge of that cliffhanger! > 0 < What a doozy...

Greenie said...

Oh no!!! I hope he was okay in the end...
....... You really enjoy working your readers up into a cliffhanger feeding frenzy!






Greenie said...

...... And by cliffhanger feeding frenzy I mean....
"omg a Tally story!!!!.... Don't skip to the end... don't skip to the end...... Dooonnn'tttt..... Almost to the.... OMG no! What happend?!? Where's the rest? Ahhh!! Mugs!!! Really?!?! That's it???? You're killing us!!!"

Helen said...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarghhhhh!!

(And I really hope Tim was OK and that they got back together and thrived. And - sorry for the non-American heresy - I hope he was wearing a proper hard hat, not one of those cowboy things.)

MichelleL said...

Oh you are gooood!! Really, REALLY Good!!!

Keeping my fingers crossed that everyone made it out of the wreck in one piece.

Carrot Top said...

D.B.S.

Death By Suspense

maryka said...

How could you do this to us & at Christmas too ( maybe a bit of a stretch I know ). My bottom lip is stuck right out now & I won't stop sulking until I read the rest!

scsarah said...

Screw the Fiscal Cliff.......*sighs*

Anonymous said...

Loved what Greenie said - don't skip to the end; don't skip to the end! Glad it's not only me ... but I have no self-control and about 2 thirds of the way thru, I had to skip to the end! Was so hoping not to read what I read. Praying (while wearing my rose-colored glasses) that things turned out well.

Christiana

Anonymous said...

A Tally Story !!! My eyes lit up like Granny's Birthday Cake.... read, read, read, last line = closed eyes, slumped shoulders, hang head. exhale. go back to work.

Rose said...

You are a master of suspense in these stories! Thanks for posting, a new part of the Tally story brightened up my exam-filled week.

Skittle said...

Oh Mugs... You can really get a story down and drag a person into it. Then to leave us hanging like that. I guess that's one way to make sure we keep coming back. I'm looking forward to more.

Stasha said...

Ooooooo.... what a story... definitely worth waiting for! Would it be considered rude if I threw in a request for more Dixie Ann? I like reading about that goofy mare, too :)

Horseyhabit said...

AAGGGHH!!!! Cliffhanger!! Maybe we should change your name to Mughanger? Cliffwump? ;)


Jamie

Horseyhabit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Some how I think Mugwump is evilly cackling, reading these comments.

ARRRGH!!!!!!

redhorse said...

It looks like Becky takes the lead, she's ahead by 6 lengths.

First I had tears of joy, thinking this had already been a bad day, yup, this was going to turn my day around and I would float through the rest of it humming "Joy to the World." ,then, that big body slam at the end.

Did I mix enough metaphors here? Did I commit enough literary torture? I can think of more, and I will (It WAS a dark and stormy night) for your sake, and the sake of decency on this comment page, I hope you have at least a rough draft of the rest of this story in your drawer.

paintarab said...

Thank you Mugs!! Hate the cliffhangers (in the best of ways). Despite the frustration, it is fun to have the anticipation of a coming story again. :)

gtyyup said...

Mugs...you've done cliff hanger's before, but this beats them all ;~)

Ditto what Becky said too!

Meghan said...

My thought process:

YAY!!! A Tally Story!!!!

...Ooooh this is a good one!!

***cries at cliffhanger...

mugwump said...

Redhorse -- I don't need a rough draft. It all really happened.

foffmom said...

You really have a gift for writing to the edge of a cliff!

Kathy said...

Eeeeeeee! You had me squeaking with excitement in the middle of the library during exams week. Stressed university students aren't used to someone nearly shrieking in excitement during this time, it unsettles them

Joy said...

Read this one yesterday on my phone but it's a bitch to comment w/ that teeny keyboard.

I don't want to put a curse on you like Becky did. I just had two words at the end of this story: oh shit.

(PS, I've been meaning to tell you that one of your posts on circles is the only reason I can now ride in a nice actually round circle. I thank you.)

shadowlake2005 said...

I too can't help skipping to the end, and I join the Friends of Becky in a heartfelt GAH!!

sahara4d said...

A Tally story in true Mugwump style...With all the people reading it I wonder how many different endings are being created?

Thanks Mugs, I love reading your stories and everything else that you share with us on your blog.

@Becky...you crack me up!

Sahara

mugwump said...

Thanks Joy!

Bif said...

And TOMORROW we'll hear the rest???

quietann said...

I hope we get the rest soon. (I am crossing my fingers that the wreck was "just one of those things" that happens with horses, similar to "bombproof trail horse steps on a nest of wasps and panics and tosses rider.")

Jessica said...

Noooooooo!!!!!!!!!!! What a cruel cliff hanger! LOL

Heidi the Hick said...

Aw dammit!!!

I'm either the worst pessimist or a harsh realist...or I've been reading this blog too long... I had a feeling it wasn't going to be an easy ending!! Sometimes I hate being right!

(Ever notice in the horse world, the term "wreck" has a wide range of seriousness?)

Jenn said...

Hoo boy.

KD said...

Speaking of circles....I'm still waiting for that path to light up in front of my horse.

Speaking of cliffhangers.....dammit Janet! I saw the post and forced myself to wait until I got home to savor the read. Well worth the wait. Does anyone else hold off watching a show, reading a story, taking a certain trail until the time feels right?

Kel said...

Mugs, this confirms it; you're pure evil. >:(

Don't get me wrong, I love that you wrote more of the Tally story, but you're evil!

mugwump said...

All I can say is....Bwah Ha Ha Ha.

Helen said...

All _I_ can say is BOOK BOOK BOOK
*Goes off to lay an egg*

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