At 3:30 this morning, I woke up running. My cozy apartment is situated above some of the finest neighbors a girl could hope to have-- horses. Metal shod hooves thrashing against the wooden walls below can wake the dead, and it usually means something is very wrong. A horse can lay down, roll over, and find itself unable to get up because its legs are firmly folded between it's massive body and the wall. The less intelligent among horses can panic and injure themselves, either by breaking through the wall (I've seen one that shoved a leg between two 2x12's), or by thrashing around enough to twist and/or rupture an intestine.
So I ran. Jumped into some shoes by the door and flew down the steps. Flipped on some lights. Two horses stared back innocently, blinking and squinting in the new light. The third raised her head from where she was peacefully sleeping on the ground and sniffed my hand. I went back to the original two. One looked a little more bright-eyed and his mane was touseled and full of sawdust. It was him, but he was fine. What a relief. I went back upstairs and tried to fall asleep with my heart still pumping. That same horse had found himself upside-down against the wall a few months ago. I got him to calm down and relax so he wouldn't hurt himself, but once he did, he didn't think he needed to help me roll him back over. There I was, hauling on ropes around his legs, trying to rock him back over but only getting far enough to get him completely belly-up. When I realized it was futile, I stopped to think of some other way and he started the same rocking motion by pushing rhythmically against the wall and he rolled himself over. Smartass.
It doesn't always work out so well. Last summer, we purchased a young, neglected, half-starved Paint stallion and decided to give him a new start. We gelded (neutered) him, fed him well, cleaned him up, and I trained him to ride. He was the sweetest, most gentle baby we could hope for. We planned on taking him to a sale to sell him as a riding horse. With his quiet temper and beautiful markings, he was bound to find a good home or job.
The morning of the sale, a metal shoe rang out against a stall in the front barn. It did it again. Then again a little later. I didn't think anything of it because my friend had an impatient half-Belgian who was probably wondering where his feed was. It was actually our little Sport, the Paint horse. He had developed a belly-ache (colic) and was rolling in his stall to try and relieve it. By the end of the day, after numerous vets looked at him and medicated him and after we all took turns walking him so he wouldn't roll and damage his insides, we took him to the vet hospital. He had leakage from his intestines into his belly, which they thought had been caused long ago through neglect and parasite damage. Chances of recovery from surgery were 20-40%, and there was no guarantee that there wasn't more damaged intestine in addition to what was already leaking. I gave permission to put him down, then cried. I stopped crying 2 days later.
I realized something this morning when I was standing there, relieved and catching my breath. I had a t-shirt and boyshort underwear on. I'm sure that if something was truly wrong and I had to call up to the house for help, half of my ass would have been on display. You have a choice when you wear boyshorts. Either show your crack or show your cheeks. I suppose I should invest in more presentable jammies, or work on developing a tighter ass.