A Sad Twist

I’ve put off writing this post. Almost decided to write something different instead. Then decided I needed to write it. Consider this post as my therapy. Please bear with me.

I had planned on this post being about my weekend at the horse races. My friend had two horses from her barn running…DC on Saturday and Rocky on Sunday. I expected to able to write about an enjoyable couple of days trying to pick a few winners and cheering on the horses I know.

As a mystery writer, when I create a twist in my story that throws the reader for a loop, I feel quite smug and pleased with myself. I love it when a reader tells me, “I never saw that coming!” But sometimes life throws a twist at us that leaves us stunned and drained.

Saturday went pretty much as I’d hoped. My husband and I met up with our friends and tried unsuccessfully to pick some winners. I had my favorite snack (nachos). DC was in the last race and the nerves built to a fever pitch by post time. DC broke slow as is her habit and trailed the field, then put on a burst of speed, finishing a strong third. That after eight and half months off made for a jubilant night.

I expected more of the same from Sunday’s stakes races. We had high hopes for Rocky and the pre-race nerves vibrated in the air as we once again had to wait for the last race. Thinking ahead to this post for my blog, I wondered whether I would be able to report a win or a disappointing finish. But the twist life tossed into our paths was one I never saw coming.

Rocky pounded down the first straightaway right with the pack. Then, he slipped going into the first turn. He went down and took another horse with him. Both jockeys went off. The other horse got up and kept running riderless. Rocky, however, did not keep running. His back leg was broken and he had to be put down.

My own sense of dismay and shock is miniscule by comparison to the despair felt by Rocky’s owners and my friend who put him up in her barn whenever he came to town. The jubilance of Saturday evaporated into anguish.

It shouldn’t have happened. The story wasn’t supposed to end this way. There was lots of second guessing and hindsight going on back at the barn, but fluke accidents can’t be predicted or avoided.

Rocky will be missed. He was a sweet, charming horse that I feel privileged to have known however briefly. He made his owners and everyone around him smile. Hopefully, in time, his memory will do the same.


Kristine said…
Annette, this is so heartbreaking, but I'm so glad you decided to write about it. What a touching tribute to Rocky. May he be running that golden racetrack now in the sky.


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