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The mouse

Maybe it all started with the mouse in the toilet. Maybe that’s why I ended up taking on an 18-year old ridden-into-the-ground pure-bred Connemara named Square Wind on his papers, then known as Brick.


Brick and I had already met, across the bars of his stall. A room with bars between the space inside the room and the space outside the room is not always a prison. And prisoners do fall in love with their prisons.


In any event, Brick was living in one of the best stalls at the stable, but it was still a stall he got out of very little, and at the end of his time there, he mostly stood with his head in the inside corner of his stall.

He had dark eyes, light lashes, an almost Spanish head. Connemara ponies do have Spanish horses in their bloodlines, after all. I wanted to ride him, but he was reserved for more advanced riders. Not only was he a good jumper, and well trained, he was also tense and rushy, which made many riders, even competent riders, nervous. I was nervous the day he was finally assigned to me for a riding lesson. My instructor (Rachel) had asked me what goals I had for my riding. I said “to ride Brick.”

Almost a year later, I did. We were a good match.

In those days, I lived in a lavishly large and beautifully spare apartment in a New England college town. I had three houseplants, one of which was a cactus, and no animal companions. Unless I count the mouse, whom I saw for the first and last time on the day he died, flushed down the toilet, somewhat involuntarily. Which doesn’t make it any better, and possibly makes it worse, and might have made me predisposed to save the life of the next animal in peril who crossed my path, who just happened to be a beautiful white pony.