As I laid there with my face cradled in my arms on top of the picnic table the depth of my exhaustion really caught up with my brain. No minute rest or even five minute power nap was going to fix this. If I was going to get my horse back to his stall it was going to have to happen immediately.
I was really wishing I hadn't sent Dave away. My other mistake was I was out there without my cell phone. To get help I would have to put my horse in jeopardy, either turning him loose where he could get to the stallions in their stalls or tying him someplace not intended for such purpose.
Even though Legs was being a great caretaker leaving him to his own devices would be another story. Fate had already been tested with improper tying. I wasn't prepared to test the limits of my luck on either option. I needed to get to my feet and get us both headed for the barn before I collapsed.
I remember the quiver of fatigue that washed over my body as I rose to my feet. Even though I wasn't stable I didn't dare stop moving. It was more of a stagger than a step that carried me in the right direction.
My horse immediately discontinued his grazing to escort me with the only request to do so coming from my stumbling gait. He positioned himself beside me so I could balance against him sensing what was required to keep me upright. It wasn't pretty.... But it worked. I made it to the barn without falling. I propped myself up against the door letting my horse enter the stall before me.
Blanketing him was a real challenge but one I refused to skip. Our weather at the time was so unpredictable. With temperatures fluctuating to wild extremes without warning I feared my horse would be vulnerable to the cold and I refused to put him in jeopardy just because I was exhausted.
Legs loves his jammies especially when it's cold. The moment I reached for them he began rooting for the hole trying to assist the blanketing process.
Normally he's very rambunctious in this process and it's more like a wrestling match than real help. Now Legs understood the need for restraint and carefully watched and waited for me to expose the opening for him. As soon as he spotted the light from the opening he cautiously eased his face into it making sure he didn't throw me off balance with his movements.
Dropping his head down low at first to give me an easier angle to guide the horse garments into place over his ears. Then in perfect timing he raised his head to the rafters so the blankets slid down his neck. With them now draped around his whithers and shoulders Legs tried to figure out how to rotate them to his back nosing at his shoulder with an upward movement.
Of course he didn't accomplish this task but his attempts to lift the folds of fabric assisted my attempts to raise all the weight of blanket and liner into position. I had to brace myself against his body to hold myself up and leverage the weight but we got it done. Then I rested against the wall trying to recover enough to be able to do the buckles.
Legs dinner laid on the floor but he did not seek it out. Instead he stood there gently nuzzling me in reassurance. The horse did not leave me until I left him. Only when I closed the door behind me did the horse head for his food.
Closing the door was difficult. I remember bursting into tears as it stuck just short of closed. I don't know where that last burst of energy needed to close it came from but when the door broke loose, I nearly fell to the ground.
I don't really know how I made it to the house. Without the support of my horse I staggered and stumbled like a drunk. My path wove back and forth as I tried to maintain some semblance of balance. i focused intently on the house willing myself to make it.
I didn't fall until I got inside the back door. I can't even tell you how I made it up the back steps. I was able to catch myself on the narrow walls of the mudroom but not without skinning one knee and crying out in fear.
Once in the living room I literally fell onto the couch. I laid face down in a heap trying to muster the strength to turn myself over. I awkwardly got myself situated but my body now shook violently from exhaustion. Still bundled up in my heavy coat, hat and fingerless gloves I laid there grinning like the Cheshire cat. I had finally ridden my horse...
To be continued................