My boyfriend and I were taking a walk this weekend along a bucolic road lined with farms when we stopped to gaze at a horse that was checking us out across a fence. Past the friendly fella eyeing us, we saw a chestnut-colored horse on the ground in a heap.
“That doesn’t look good,” I said.
“No, it doesn’t,” my boyfriend agreed.
“Horses can’t get up once they’re down, can they?” I started to worry. Was it sick? Pregnant?
As we waffled about whether or not this was unusual, the horse caved further over onto its side, looking defeated. Two other horses stood over it as if investigating this curious turn of events.
We panicked and went to alert the owner who greeted us casually on the porch, drying her hands on a dish towel.
“Um, this might be completely normal,” my boyfriend explained. “But one of your horses is on its side and the other horses are standing around him.”
Even healthy race horses rarely rallied from an injury, I knew, so I prepared myself to witness the beast’s demise, hoping no one came trotting out of the barn with a shotgun until we were safely away.
“Yeah, the horse is resting,” she told us, probably resisting the urge to laugh at the frantic couple. “They like to lie on the ground in the sun and roll around like dogs. They sleep on the ground too.”
We could have sworn horses slept standing up, but we weren’t going to further embarrass ourselves and hustled down the driveway. Until then, I had thought about taking horseback riding lessons there, maybe in the spring, but now I don’t think I’ll be able to go back there without a disguise.