Have you ever had to do something that you knew was the right thing even though you knew it would rock the boat? Well, call me a boat rocker. Unfortunately though, my choice to speak up brought a lot of chaos in my life and left me feeling exposed, trapped, and most of all very alone.
Recently, some horses at my ranch have been getting sick. Despite efforts to quarantine, there were certain people who may just not have been careful enough. I will not say definitively that these people spread the illness because I don’t know that to be an actual fact, however for one reason or another more horses on the ranch got sick; their horses.
This person brought their horse next to the other sick horses for some reason completely unknown to me. To make a long story very short, this horse got sick and went into quarantine. I was the one who moved the sick horse into quarantine per the ranch owner’s request. The horse’s owner showed up and moved the horse back out of quarantine, beside the other healthy horses. Later, when we discovered the horse had been moved back and was still sick we moved it BACK a second time into quarantine, where it stayed for the rest of my story. I’m not sure if this horse was ever actually diagnosed, but I do know that being in quarantine meant that this horse was in a part of the facility in close proximity to other sick horses. During the time that this horse was sick, the owner actually continued to try to sell it and ride it. Again, I can’t say if the owner was or was not careful to prevent the spread of the illness because I simply was not around all the time.
What I do know is this; on a quiet morning I got out of my car to see this person’s other horse with green snot dumping from its nose. Disappointing but not surprising. Soon after, while my friend and I sat and talked, a trailer pulled down the driveway. It was a transportation company who had come for the two sick horses. The owner had come over and talked to us, telling us that the company was going to transport her new free horse from (very far away) for free.
Now, I may not be her biggest fan but in complete honesty I didn’t hate her or wish anything bad upon her. I just wish she would be more considerate of others and maybe a bit more mature. And stop lying. And picking on the other girls at the ranch. Okay I’m really not her fan. Seriously though, we all go through life differently and learn at our own pace. At some point, we all make poor decisions. I cannot expect others to think or feel the same way that I do, and I don’t. I only hoped that someday she would learn that she is the one who ends up being negatively affected by her choices and stop self-sabotaging. I digress.
So they began loading her horses into the trailer. They took the one sick horse from directly beside other sick horses and straight in the trailer he went. Then, after the second one with the snotty nose was loaded, my friend turned to me and said, “I feel bad for that guy; he has no idea that the horses in his trailer are sick.”
We began to go back and forth, talking about the best way to let him know. “Do you think she told him?” We just looked at one another, knowing the answer was most likely, “no.”
As if to answer our question, she walked over and told us that she was covered in horse snot from trying to wipe the horse’s nose and keep the driver from seeing it. We just glanced at one another and laughed awkwardly.
Maybe I didn’t march over there and stand in the way of the trailer because I was afraid and hate confrontation. Maybe it was because it didn’t totally dawn on me until they had already left. Before they were gone, we overheard that the trailer would be stopping to pick up more horses from the racetrack and then continue up north to the final destination to drop them all off.
It was then that my friend said someone needed to warn him. She approached him and asked if he had a card, which he did not, and then noticed the truck number.
When the trailer was gone and the horses’ owner had packed up and pulled out of the driveway, we sat there discussing it. The whole reason that these horses were even sick was because someone was inconsiderate in the first place. We had been through a lot of crap because of this frustrating and miserable (although not deadly) illness. Now, we were watching another inconsiderate person taking away contaminated horses and potentially putting other horses and people through the same thing.
Just then, the ranch owner called about other things. Another horse on the property was showing signs of illness and we were discussing quarantining that horse and how to go about it. I mentioned that the horses had left so we had an opening in the quarantine stalls. I also mentioned that we had overheard that other horses would be put in the trailer with the horses that had just left and we were considering calling the transportation company to let them know. The owner shrugged it off and said it was unfortunate but the other horses should be vaccinated and its best if we just let it go.
After that conversation, I was only feeling worse. “The vaccines don’t prevent it,” my friend noted, “the other horses that are getting sick were vaccinated too.”
We decided we would call. She walked away to answer a phone call and I began to think to myself. As soon as I was alone, the voice in my head was crystal clear. Do it. Now. Before it’s too late.
I dialed the number. The phone rang and the receptionist answered. I told her what was happening.
“Oh crap.” She said. “Hold on.” She transferred me to another person, whom I then explained the situation to again only to be met by another “oh crap.”
She asked my name. I instinctively spat it out and immediately regretted it. Before I could request to remain anonymous, she blurted that she would call me back and hung up on me.
Still, it was over with. My friend came around the corner and said, “you did the right thing.”
I knew that. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I would pay for it.
And I did. Pretty soon, the ranch owner was calling, the owner of the sick horses was calling, and she was calling my friend as well. The owner of the horses was calling my friend and trying to get her to tell everyone that her horses were fine when in reality she had no authority and no idea why the horses’ owner was calling her. The ranch owner was getting calls left and right at this point and everyone had been dragged into a big mud pit.
The ranch owner asked that I simply call them back and tell them that I was not the ranch owner so that she could kindly be left out of it. I did that immediately.
From that point on, the phone never stopped ringing. By the end of the day, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I could continue to back up my claim that her horses were sick but I had no proof. I didn’t know her vet, I had no evidence that the horse that had been quarantined had ever been sick, and the ranch owner was trying to stay as far away from it as possible.
Even though my friend was with me, I wouldn’t say she had any part of it because I didn’t want the ranch owners to be upset with her. Even though the ranch owner could have backed me up, I knew they didn’t want a part in it either.
I had two options.
Option one; continue to tell everyone who was calling that it was true and start a big investigation into the matter while also dragging everyone around me into it, but prove that I was right.
Option two; keep everyone else safe but allow myself to be made to look like a fool or a liar.
To me, there was only one choice.
That was it. I apologized to the transportation company as well as the equestrian facility manager, the people I was trying to help, for causing so much trouble without any proof. After going back and forth with everyone, the ranch owner stepped in when she realized that things were only escalating. After that, everything went quiet. I have no idea what she said and at that point I was so frazzled and I didn’t care.
That night when I was crawling into bed, I found a Facebook message from the horses’ owner. She was threatening to sue me for slander and said that the horses had passed their vet check and were fine. She called me ‘an evil person’ and asked why I would do such a thing.
I felt so broken. Why was it that I had done the right thing and yet I was being punished for it? Where was God when I was being blamed and my name was being dragged through the mud? I was so upset, not just because I had made everyone mad at me and could have made an enemy of the ranch owner who I considered my friend, not even because this person was threatening to sue me when I was already struggling financially, but mostly because I felt like I was buried alone in the bottom of this dark pit that was my life beneath the weight of all these problems completely left under it all by God. I have never felt like God had abandoned me. Yet at that point I felt like I was waiting for Him to step forward and fix everything but all I heard was crickets.
That was the worst feeling; hopelessness.
The bible tells us to be humble but righteous no matter what and that He will always be there to uphold your integrity. Yet I felt like my integrity had been completely torn to shreds.
For the rest of the week, that feeling followed me around. People kept telling me I had done the right thing and it wasn’t my fault and that the truth would come out either way. They told me that I didn’t have to be worried about being sued because she had no way of getting away with it and if she even tried, the truth would come out and I would be found to be right.
I still felt alone. I was disappointed that God had not come to my rescue. Why was He being silent?
Well, it turns out that He was proving the point that I have always known but simply lost sight of in the chaos; God’s timing is perfect.
At the end of it all, the horses in question were tested and it came back positive. The horses owner had called the ranch threatening to sue me but then shortly afterward had called back and left a message saying that the horses were in fact infected and she apologized and said she would no longer be suing me.
Right now I cannot clearly see why we had to go through all of this the way that we did but I will no longer question God’s plan. We have such a narrow scope of vision and our minds cannot handle the stresses and pressures of life in order to always make perfect decisions or understand every twist and turn of life with perfect sight.
So I’m just going to go with it. At the end of the day it’s just another chapter of my testimony.