“I did a good thing. I did a good thing.”
This has been the happy refrain inside my head since Friday night.
While I was covering the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History’s fall fundraiser gala, its first masquerade ball, a woman walked up to me and said, “You don’t know who I am, but I know who you are.”
Which, come to think of it, was probably the opening line in a lot of conversations in that roomful of masked people, but neither of us was wearing a mask.
It’s not the first time a conversation has started with those words since I started writing for The Mount Airy News, and in my experience, that conversation goes quickly in one of two directions, either a very good one or a very bad one.
The stranger du jour either has a bone to pick or kudos to give, and so far, the bones outweigh the kudos so I always flinch until the other shoe drops.
But this time, the conversation took a different turn.
This lady, we’ll call her Lynn, because that’s her name, had read one of the first personal profiles I wrote for The News back in 2015. It was about Nicole Huttar, the Jumping H Farm and the Thoroughbred rehabilitation operation she runs there.
I’ve since found that I need to limit the amount I write about horses because some people absolutely love those stories and can’t get enough of them, but everyone else has a visceral distaste for them that baffles me and I now realize it’s a thing.
So, if you’re one of those people, I apologize in advance, but I’m still going to do it.
Lynn told me she had ridden in her past, but stopped after she had an accident in which she broke her pelvis and still has some steel rods holding her together. She was, quite naturally, a bit skittish about getting back in the saddle.
Her situation was complicated by the fact she has osteoporosis so her bones break easily and even a minor fall could be disastrous.
She told me she thought after reading the profile, “Well, she’s just in Elkin. That’s not too far.” So she gave Nicole a call and they talked. Nicole told her she, too, had recently suffered an injury and Lynn said they bonded a bit.
To get to the point, Lynn went out to Nicole’s farm and started riding again. She said at first she could only manage 20 minutes at a time but now, more than a year later, she has developed the stamina to ride for an hour. She was so happy telling me this, and I was even happier to hear it.
Nicole has 30-some horses at any given time, and no matter your age, experience, skill, size or personal demons, she has a horse for you, and it is her great gift to know which one it is. She started Lynn out on Xena and Lynn came to love her.
But not long ago, due to some circumstance I can’t exactly remember, Xena wasn’t available and Nicole put Lynn on Romeo. Lynn said she wasn’t loving the idea — she trusted Xena not to kill her but at that point, that trust did not extend to other horses. After the experience went well, she was clearly proud of the accomplishment. I would be willing to bet the circumstance of Xena’s unavailability was a ruse on Nicole’s part to force Lynn into riding another horse and further building her confidence. But I couldn’t say for sure.
During our conversation, Lynn remarked how well Nicole was able to gauge a rider’s comfort level and adapt to it. I added that she often knew more about mine than I did. It was a great conversation.
So Lynn got her horse life back. And that is either a fact that will make you happy for her for the rest of the day even though you’ve never met her or you think it is the lamest thing ever and can’t believe you’ve read this far for no more of a payoff than that.
But me, I’m so happy to have played some part in Lynn’s getting back in the saddle. To some of us, that’s important; I’m just so happy that in the normal course of doing what I do, I can do some good for someone once in a while. Or at least once.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.