The Odd Mix

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Location: Virginia, United States

Friday, March 03, 2006

Our AnnShh is Back!

Last Saturday we had something happen that scared the begeebers out of me – we almost lost our AnnShh. What is an AnnShh you ask? Well let me ‘splain it.

There are many young people in the world who would love to have, or at least ride, a horse. The vast majority of these youngsters never get the opportunity to do so because horses are four legged cash to poop converters. However, one way that a few of the more enterprising of these kids achieve their dream is to become a working student – sort of an apprenticeship. In return for lessons, leasing a horse, or boarding their own; they muck stalls, fix fences, feed and water horses, muck some more stalls, spray weeds, groom horses, sweep the aisles… and muck more stalls. It is hard, dirty work. It is wickedly hot in the summer. It is numbingly cold in the winter. It is wet, it is muddy, it is sleeping in the barn when a horse colics. It is putting up 50lb bales of hay at 2am because there is a storm coming. And there is no money! It is all for the horses, and for the good ones, that is enough.

Over the past couple of years we have taken on several young ladies as working students. Some have been fair (generally well intentioned, but unmotivated); some have been good, but moved on to other things; and some have been unmitigated disasters (each worthy of several posts, was I motivated to think about them more than I have to).

And some have become family.

One of the very best came to work with us when she had just turned fourteen. She knew next to nothing about horses except that she loved them. She was painfully shy. And she had a level of determination to rival any adult I have met. She lasted through the muggy heat of summer, with the all night haying and the flies and the dust. She lasted through the winter, with the slush and mud and no riding time. She avoided the petty, teen squabbles that seem to follow many girls like flies follow… well, horses. She treated our kids with acceptance and love. In trying to say her name, my little Annelise (who was then two) dubbed her AnnShh. “My AnnShh!” she would say.

And she has soaked up knowledge of the horse business like a sponge! She first worked to lease a horse at a reduced rate. Then she bought a horse on payments with her own hard earned money and continued to work for her board and riding lessons. Then she made a proposal to her father who lent her the money to purchase a prospect horse to train and resell – so she will have money to reinvest in a new prospect and save for college.

Her parents have honored us by allowing her to stay at our house on the weekends and for most of each week during the summer. She has kept her grades high and we have supported that as her first priority. I am thankful that she is there for my little girls as a role model in addition to MDW – for she is a really good one. She has excelled and we have come to depend on her, no longer as an apprentice, but as a true journeyman.

Last Sunday, as I was shopping at the giant orange toy store (Home Depot), I got a phone call from my wife. It was very short. “Get home now! Shannon has been kicked in the face and her nose is broken. Paige is bringing her up to the house now.” Click.

I left the cart where it sat and walked out the door. I saw her going the other way as I drove home; she was talking to AnnShh’s parents as she drove – arranging to meet them at the ER. All I could see of AnnShh was her arms and hands as she held an ice pack on her face.

She never lost consciousness and there was an EENT in the hospital that night. Typically they wait until the swelling of a broken nose goes down and then set it, but hers was broken on both sides, so they did surgery right away to set the bones. She went home that night with a small, red cast on her face.

The kick was not her fault. She was following all the rules. The horse was not a known problem animal. The other working student, another of our rising stars, reacted perfectly and got her to the house and help. It was, as they say, just one of those things. And I was really worried we had lost our AnnShh. I was worried for her until I heard that she was home, and that she was OK. I was worried for us until I heard that she wanted to come back, and that her parents would let her.

Today she came back to us – she is even spending the night. She can’t go in the barn – too much dust (sneezing would be a bad thing with a broken nose) – but she can pet her horses (who truly have missed her), she can be with the kids (who have truly missed her even more), and we are glad.

Welcome home AnnShh. We missed you.


Blogger LoriLaurieLauri said...

Oh wow-what a scary experience that must have been...but sounds like she has really bounced back! Sounds like a great kid all the way around. Glad she is ok!

10:52 AM, March 04, 2006  
Blogger Tink said...

That gave me chills. How awful! What a wonderfully determined girl though. Bless her. Bad situations are the true judge of character and she's excelled at all of them it seems. I see her going far in life.

I hope she gets better soon!

2:07 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

That must have been so scary for her, and you guys too. I'm glad she is okay!

5:47 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger Lucky Lum said...

I'm so glad AnnShh is OK! And what bravery to jump right back in!

9:24 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger Amanda said...

well,actually, attempting to blanket a horse that is loose in a pasture is not a good idea. Always tie or have someone hold a horse hwn attempting to work with it!

10:00 PM, August 25, 2016  

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