Troy Gardens: A Strange Place I Learned to Like…..By Diamonds Last Denero

denero, marge, jeff, toby

Note: Denero and Toby are two horses who came to Troy Gardens in June to visit Gardening For Good, a program for people with and without disability at Troy Community Gardens. This story was transcribed by Marge Pitts, to whom the horses belong.
I’m Denero: a fine colt with a lot to offer. I’m secondary to Toby, an old horse who knows everything. My best friend in the herd. We both work for our Person, whose name is Mahahahhhrrge.
She’s in charge of my education. She led Toby and me onto a trailer and we went fast without moving our feet; across the land to a city and through the city to a quiet green street, where the trailer stopped and she led me out onto a place of grass and pavement. Jeff-ff-ff-ff, a friend of Mahahahhhrrge, led Toby out.
We crossed a wide lane of pavement onto a narrow lane of pavement. There were trees on one side and a strip of grass on the other; beyond which cars went by slowly. It was nice. Mahahahhhrrge and I followed Jeff-ff-ff-ff and Toby, who knew the way, I could tell. I wondered where we were going, but I trust my friends and I felt happy.
We soon came to an open space like I’ve never seen. So many Persons! And so much grass, and many other plants that I’ve never seen in the pasture where I live. As soon as we got there, Toby sighed, “Grahahahassss!” and lowered his head to eat. Yes, there was unlimited grass, and I tried some and yes, it was full of delicious sweet clover, but there was so much to see and smell I simply had to throw my head high in the air to take it all in.
The odd things these Persons were doing! They were scattered about, in small corrals where the strange plants grew. Some had sticks they stirred the earth with; some were pulling plants out of the earth and some were placing plants into the earth. And I couldn’t believe it: some of these Persons were holding snakes that spewed water out of their mouths. Just standing in their corrals, holding snakes that were spewing water! At least I thought they were snakes; but they didn’t glow like other living creatures so I felt very confused. I raised my head higher to see and smell more.
Beyond the plant corrals I saw a wide space of grass, and trees past that, and more space beyond the trees. Obviously, that’s where horses should be—but I couldn’t see nor smell any other horses. What’s up with that? I thought. I looked to see if Toby was alarmed, but he was grazing in complete peace while Jeff-ff-ff-ff calmly held his lead rope. I took a quick bite of grass, and yes it was quite good, but I just had to throw my head in the air again. Several Persons were approaching us, glowing with happiness. They stroked and hugged Toby, and when they got to me they stroked and hugged me! What was up with this?
I like being hugged and petted; in fact I’m perfect for it. I’m especially handsome: my coat is brilliant orange like the first color of the sunset; my face is precious. I meet Persons with my nose so I can read their breath; and if I smell love I rest my chin on their shoulder and breathe love back into their ear. These Persons not only smelled like love, they glowed of it. One Person lived in a moving chair. I saw images in his mind of other horses from long ago, and him riding them instead of a chair. His name was Steheheheve.steve denero, marge, carol Some Persons glowed uncertain, but curious, just like me. Still, I couldn’t fully enjoy our introductions; I was troubled by what I could and couldn’t see on that land. My head was high up in confusion and I simply couldn’t bring it down and relax.
Mahahahhhrrge said to Jeff-ff-ff-ff, “Let’s walk him around the place so he’s not so looky-looky.” I found myself following Jeff-ff-ff-ff and Toby right up the middle of the place where the plant corrals were. Mahahahhhrrge held my lead rope. Thanks to my education I know not to walk ahead of the Person holding the rope; so even though I was afraid, my education held me together.
And the things I saw as we walked! Turns out those weren’t snakes spewing water; they were hoses like the ones in the water tanks at home. Once I learned that I felt better. We came through the plant corrals onto a grassy place, where we stopped and Toby resumed his calm grazing. I dropped my head to tear a few mouthfuls of grass, and it was exceptionally tasty, but again I threw my head up to look for something that might go wrong in that unfamiliar place. Since I didn’t know what could go wrong I felt frustration. In a place with good grass! The irony infuriated me. No horse can chew and maintain fear, but my mind was stuck. Then Mahahahhhrrge, seeing my problem, led me through the exercises I’ve learned. Walk in a circle around her; trot, walk, ho; move my hips left, move them right, focus on my Person. We made progress this way: walk to a new spot, grab a bite (and I must say I’ve never had better grass) and when the anxiety comes Mahahahhhrrge asks me to obey her, remember my education; and when I feel better, I can chew.
“Let’s take them back where we started,” Mahahahhhrrge said to Jeff-ff-ff-ff. “He’ll recognize where he’s been before.” So that’s what we did. When we got back, the place smelled like horses, and my friend Steheheheve was there, and all the other sweet Persons too. They gathered around me with their soft touches and kind words. I lowered my head to the good grass, and chewed in peace.

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