"The horse guy called," Liz said. She looked a bit like a turtle as she spoke, with her neck pulled down tight inside the collar of her winter coat.
"Which horse guy," I asked as I paused next to her.
I'd never say it out loud to her, but on days like this I regret having horses. That's right. Horses. One has manifested into two. The new addition being a gray mare. She too is an ex-racehorse like Superman. She's three going on four. Gabe, Liz's son named her Thundergirl. Can you tell he's six?
"The guy who delivered Thunder. He has a horse for us."
My first response should have, we don't need another horse. Actually, my only response should have been, "no." Instead, I said. "How much is it?"
"Nearly free. 1.8 million won delivered." Liz said, ducking deeper into her coat.
It's been cold, but on the mountain side the wind just gusts. Now I know why the apple trees are anchored to the ground and there are cement poles every two trees and wire strung every which way.
"Did he send a picture?" I asked.
"I can look it," she said. "But lets go inside the building.
The building in question is an steel apple warehouse. It has two walk in refrigerators that also keep the apples from freezing in the dead of winter. It would have been warmer in one of the walk-ins but at least we were out of the wind.
We pulled up the KRA website that lists all the retired horses and looked for the up info on this particular guy. Finding and buying Thunder taught us a lot about retired racehorses. For one thing, when your putting retired horses on your list as potential prospects, check to see if they're still breathing. There is not joke here. One day in December Liz and I stayed up late looking at all of the retired horses, slowly getting excited about buying one. we started to make a list and then discovered a lot on our list were dead. I've since looked it up and dead horses is just part horse racing. The term breakdown stems from race horses breaking legs on the track and what not. More mares were dead than geldings, but we wanted a mare.
After looking at hundreds of retired horses, excluding the males, excluding the ones with serious injuries and those not breathing, we had only three prospects, one of which stopped racing because she gave birth. Her records showed the vet came out several times because she seemed colicky and then the final record said she'd given birth. I'm sure her owners were shocked to walk into the barn and see a baby in the stall with her before her next race.
Thunder's owners were shocked too. He knew her has Rocking Rouge and he had high hopes for her. She cost 80 million won (about 80,000 USD) as a yearling. Certainly her price wouldn't break any records but still, they had raise her, feed her, train her and all she did was trot. Literally, she left the gate at a trot. Her owner raced her three times and she never cantered.
I haven't done much work with her yet. This has a lot to do with the cold. For one thing, the wind has knocked down our fencing too many times to count. Then there's frozen water and insert long list of farming things that always take longer in the winter. But she knows nothing. And that was the deciding factor in saying no to a third horse.
I mean, eventually there will be a third horse because my friend has been bitten by the horse bug. She just loves them. She loves to feed them, watch them eat, muck their poop. She wants to start a stables which requires three horses, a bathroom and certification of some sort that she can get while riding her own horse. That's great because Super is super and doesn't require a lot of skill to ride.
I credit Warwick Schiller quite a bit for this even though I've never met him. One of the best things that has happened to me, was quitting horses for a while. I came back to it sooooo rusty. And with so much forgotten, I basically went back to the beginning. Interestingly, I'm still at the beginning. If you think of what a horse needs to know as primary colors, then you know you cant get orange for red and blue. This holds true for horses and people and writing. Everything. I suppose the Japanese have always known the value of perfecting one thing at a time.
Thus the key to solving writers block is doing nothing while doing something else.
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018