Saturday, 27 March 2010

The Bells of Heaven

mainly sunny, cold, temps minus 5

Not as cold as yesterday, but pretty chilly. We're in Montreal - just spent the past hour wrestling with the laptop. Last time we were here I totally messed up the internet connection. Wireless. Had forgotten the password and wanted to connect the new MacBook...sooo, in an effort to do that, somehow I managed to erase the correct settings in Michael's laptop.

I told Michael I'd done it, but I don't think he quite believed me. Happily, he uses the desktop I've decided to right the wrong, and fix his laptop. And the fact I'm writing this is evidence it worked! I'd feel like more of a genius if I hadn't screwed things up to being with.

But the big news (I know, hard to imagine bigger than that) is that Michael and I are in the process of adopting a rescue horse.

His name is Markus. He's five years old and ridable. 16.3 hands high. An OTTB bay gelding.

I have to admit, I don't understand much of what I just wrote. Our friend and neighbour Jana, who will board him, says 16.3 hands is huge. You basically can see the curvature of the earth when you're on him. And OTTB bay gelding? Well, I know what a gelding is. And I know what a bay is. but OTTB? Michael and I tried to figure out what OTTB could possibly stand for. Off Track Betting? No, not enough 'T's. Could the TB stand for Thorough bred?

What I do understand, from my friend Sharman who lives in Montreal and volunteers saving horses, is that Markus needs a home. By Wednesday. Or else.

We contacted friends and asked if they knew of anyone who could help. And then, it suddenly hit me. I ride. haven't for a while but it sure would be fun. Jana lives just down the road - walking distance. If she could take him, we could pay.

Bless Michael. When I mentioned it to him there was just a slight pause. And that look. One I've come to recognise. A cross between perplexed and supportive.

To be fair, when we woke up we didn't think we'd get a horse before noon.

But it only took Michael a few moments to smile and say it would be fun.

Rescuing Markus just seemed right. Frankly, we just received the advance for the next three books and we thought - what better way to spend it than saving a horse? If you've read The Brutal Telling you'll know why it is particularly meaningful.

To ring the bells of heaven. How lucky we are to be given the chance.


Anonymous said...

How marvelous to adopt a horse! I've adopted a couple of dogs over the years and, while people say how lucky the dogs were, I found myself to be the lucky one. I wish you and Michael and Markus much happiness!
- Daisy in Arizona

Nikki B said...

That's awesome! You guys do the most amazing things--I love it!

Also love that there will be at least THREE more books ;-)

Marjorie said...

Off the Track other words a retired racing horse. Lucky horse to have been sent to a retirement with undoubtably great perks. Congratulations. And, yes, the horse moment in "The Brutal Telling" is one of my all time favorites (not wanting to give it away to anyone who hasn't read the book yet.)

--Marjorie from Connecticut

Darlene said...

How wonderful that you're not only in a position to do such a good deed, but that you are doing it. I'm sure you won't regret it.

Margaret J. McMaster said...

Louise, that's awesome! That noble, unpredictable, and calming creature will bring another wonderful dimension to your life.

Yesterday I was at the farm where I board my horse, Ebony, and saw the first sign of spring: a foal born that morning, with back legs so long and wobbly he could hardly stand, guzzling his mother's milk.

Ebony is 16.3 as well, a Percheron/Thoroughbred cross. I've had him for ten years and he provides endless entertaining stories. So, enjoy your new guy and congratulations!


LJ Roberts said...

Very exciting news on two fronts; saving a horse and at least three more books. That's what I call a win-win. Happy trails and tales.

Mercedes said...

Louise -- Markus will open a whole new chapter in your life. (You can never have too many chapters!) Re: 16.3 hands? Markus is the perfect size for you. I met you at your book signing in Phoenix at the Poison Pen. (You are a tall, stately woman!) Once Markus and you settle in with each other, you two will look great together as horse and rider. In the meantime, please spring for a thorough-going over by an equine vet to identify any health problems so that you can address them before putting a saddle on him. Also, you might want to consider lunge lining Markus for 10 minutes with a saddle on (but without you in the saddle!) to get him to settle down on the rein and ease up on his pace before you mount him. One last tip ... horses spook more easily when there's wind -- even a strong breeze. They twitch their ears and snort a lot. They dance on their hooves and shy away from corners -- unnerving stuff for a rider who hasn't ridden in a while. So, especially during your first outings, when you two are still getting the feel of each other, learning to trust each other, please make sure that the air is absolutely still. You'll be glad you did. I am thrilled for Markus and even more thrilled for you! A whole new chapter. Get ready. Here we go! -- Mercedes

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Wow, you make me feel so much calmer about our decision. We knew it was the right one, the only one. But we did, and do, wonder what we've gotten ourselves into. But your words are all so supportive and helpful, so beautiful and encouraging.

Thank you!!

YES - turns out he IS a retiring race horse that has outlived his usefulness and was scheduled to be kill on Thursday. Imagine that! Perfectly healthy and put down.

And thank you too, for the much appreciated. We're complete morons when it comes to horses - thank God he isn't coming to live with us. (Horses eat gummy bears, right?) Be very embarrassing if the animal rescue people had to rescue him from us. But happily for everyone he's going to Jana, our neighbor, who is very sensible, very experienced and very kind.

Apparently Markus has already been vetted but I like the idea of getting Jana's vet in to give him a good going over. And really appreciate the suggestions of what to do before riding him.

Since learning that My Assistant Lise spent many years with horses, including her own, my plan has not evolved. I will now ask her to ride him first. If she survives we'll get Jana up. if she survives I might consider it. Poor Lise, the things she gets handed. And now she'll be handed a shovel. Fortunately there are a lot of perks that come with being My Assistant. Endless amounts of power for instance.

Oh, wait a minute, that's not power. That's compost. Never mind.

Tracy H. said...

Rescue animals are the best! Thank you for helping him. :)