On Sunday night, a huge storm rolled through Austin. Even where I live in North Austin, we had winds up to almost 40 mph and Lily, who is normally quite fine about storms, asked to sleep with us and snuggled down under the covers, shaking until she fell asleep. When I checked the radar before going to bed, it looks like the major concerns were for the area between San Antonio and Austin, so I went to bed unconcerned for Val and ourselves.
But Sunday morning I woke up to a post on our barn’s Facebook group that said “The tornado went straight through the farm last night.” The post went on to detail pretty extensive damage. Suddenly I was a little terrified. With 70+ horses, the chances didn’t seem great that everyone was alright.
By some miracle though, all people and animals at the farm were fine, if slightly traumatized. Since many had the day off yesterday, a huge group of barn people went out to help with clean up and repair. I unfortunately did have to work, but Joseph (I need to pause to appreciate how amazing this guy is, because seriously, I really lucked out with this one) went out without me and spent his entire day helping around the farm before he had to take his little brother who’d been visiting to the bus stop and then get to his night class.
By the time I got to the barn in the evening just to touch my pony and reassure myself that he really was fine, most everything that could be had been cleaned up. There’s a lot of rebuilding to do, but things were already looking so much better in the evening.
Val was not even just fine physically, but did not seem traumatized in the slightest. His stall was actually in great shape, and was even surprisingly dry. I think with hay barn taking the brunt of the wind and damage, most of the storm missed his stall. Knowing Val, I’m sure he just munched his way through the storm if it even woke him up.
When I went out to his field to say hello, he was so busy stuffing his face he didn’t even meet me halfway, and I just leaned into him for a while while he ate. Even though Val couldn’t have cared less that I was there for snuggles, one of his baby friends, Lyric, was feeling extra affectionate–and possibly a little traumatized for Val–and stood with us, pestering me every time I stopped petting his face. It was pretty sweet actually. If I didn’t already have two baby horses lined up I’d be begging to find a way to steal sweet Lyric.
I’m sure Lauren will have more details later since she was one of the first to volunteer to go help with clean up. I feel a little badly that I couldn’t get out of work before 5 to help. But mostly, I am just so grateful that I got to love on my horse yesterday and tell him how important he is to me, even if all he cared about was eating his round bale.
I am always grateful that in this whole huge world, his path and mine crossed, but suddenly I was reminded how much I love this horse just for his sweet soul and companionship, and how crucial he is to my own well-being. Hug your ponies tight you guys, and breathe them in while you can. One day he’ll grow old and I’ll have to live without him, but I hope to make the most of our time together until then.