The second installment of meet my animals!
Lots of my animals were saved from bad situations. Not the case with Starkey. I didn’t save Starkey, Starkey saved me.
I had wanted a horse since I knew what a horse was. I loved them. I begged my Mom for riding lessons, a horse, to drive me the long way home so I could catch a glimpse out the car window at a farm with horses. I read every book there ever was about horses. Practical guides, stories… it didn’t matter. If it had a horse on it, I wanted it.
Then when I was 12 years old, I did something really, really stupid. I didn’t put my seat belt on in a car. It wasn’t the law back then, but my Mom usually made me do it anyway. It was late at night, and she didn’t check to make sure I had, so feeling like I was getting away with something I didn’t buckle up. My brother did, my Mom did, and my Dad did.
The result being, when an uninsured motorist with a borrowed license plate hopped over several lanes of traffic and hit us, I was the only one injured. All of my injuries were located in my face, causing some pretty heavy duty scarring, bone damage, etc.
What does this have to do with a mini horse you ask?
Here’s the thing. When a 12 year old girl, in a very small town, hits junior high with those kind of injuries, the results are not kind. It wasn’t a simple matter of healing for a summer either. I had done some major damage to my face. It took YEARS of surgery. Since I was so young they had to wait sometimes before doing a procedure to see how my bones were going to grow.
So we got Starkey. When I got called “scar face” on the bus, or told that my face was “scary” by younger kids, I would run home and cry into Starkey’s mane. At a time when my confidence was rock bottom, I would work with my horse and gain confidence based on his progress working with me. Having a horse was absolutely a salvation for me back then. He depended on me so I kept pushing through the pain after a surgery to feed and walk him, or the depression that having a messed up face can cause a teenage girl.
When the neighbors complained and we couldn’t keep him in our neighborhood anymore I worked my butt off mucking stalls, washing horses, whatever it took for me to afford to board him. In college I had a wonderful co-op situation with other horse people, then when I moved here I of course, took Starky with me.
He’s an expense I can’t afford and has absolutely no practical use. I don’t care. He’s my horse, he saved me during the worst years of my life, and I love him to pieces.
The scars on my face aren’t as visible now as they used to be, thanks to lots and lots of cosmetic surgery in my teens. You can still tell that “something happened” and my nose doesn’t look like what I think it should look like, nor does my chin or upper lip.
It never mattered to Starkey though. I could hobble out to him fresh from the operating table, and he would give me the same happy whinny that he gives me now that I look “normal”. Yea, I wish I had a big horse to ride but I could never, ever get rid of Starkey.