Chapter One

When I was a boy I was given the privilege of riding a horse called Big John. Tall, black and steady, John took me all over. Along the way he gave me a lesson in trust. You see, Big John was missing his right eye, a big thing for a creature with binocular vision, but he didn’t let it stop him. I have no idea how he lost that eye or even when. I don’t even know how old he was, although I’m fairly certain he had at least twice my young years and neither do I know anything about his breeding. That stuff didn’t matter to me; he was a horse and therefore beautiful.
 I rode him out one hot, summer morning and our route took us along the edge of a cut bank. Right along the edge. This was where the trail lay. The cut bank was on his blind side and staring down into the maw it looked like the Grand Canyon to me. I thought surely we’d be better off going through the rocks just a few feet away. John did not seem to share my concern. He knew what he was doing. The trail was where it was and no amount of pulling on that left rein could budge him. My increasingly desperate yanking did however, pull his head over to the left and point his sightless, empty eye socket right at the trail he needed to see. John stopped. He wasn’t going on until he could straighten out and look where he was going and I had my heart set on moving over. (Although faced with it, that rock pile didn’t look so inviting after all!) There was really nothing wrong with the trail except for the nothingness below my right stirrup and Big John knew he could take me across if only I would let him.

I sat undecided, John’s head pulled just about into my lap, for what seemed like an eternity. I kept licking my lips and checking to see if that canyon had somehow filled itself in. The stories my mind made up then…it was not until my imagination convinced me that the cut bank was mere seconds away from caving in that I closed my eyes, threw John the reins and let him have his head. He didn’t leap forward with a start or tumble out into empty space as I’d feared; he simply let his head be straight for a moment to get the kinks out and walked calmly off.

Reaching safety, I stopped and looked back. The canyon wasn’t so deep; it wasn’t even a canyon, just a little overhang at the edge of a pond. I’d skipped happily over it on my own two feet many times before. And Big John had no interest in plunging off it either; the biggest danger was in my own head. By not trusting my horse I’d put us both in a bind. Good thing he was wiser than I.
I have no photos of John, just some very good memories of a trustworthy friend and teacher who once gave me a gift I have used many times in my life with horses. Now all these years later, I find myself with a chance to pay him back. A friend and fellow horseman recently called me about an injured horse he has. Lynx is a three year old gelding who lost an eye out on pasture. No one knows how. 

Do you think you could find a home for him…?

I could sure try. Shortly thereafter, I went to pick up Lynx, a horse who had just lost an eye, and brought him home. Slash Twenty is the story of my efforts to help him adjust to his new reality. When I feel he is ready, he will be made available for adoption--free of charge--to whoever will give him a good home and a good life. If we never reach that point of readiness he can stay with me. Along the way I will be sharing our adventure through periodic posts on my blog.

Let the journey begin.