The Diary of Bridgette M., Part 12

by Trey Nosrac

Series introduction is here.

Part 1 ishere.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 ishere.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 ishere.

Part 6 is here.

Part 7 is here.

Part 8 is here.

Part 9 is here.

Part 10 is here.

Part 11 ishere.


Paul never mentioned my relapse. He did not set up any more goals for me to reach in rehab. Unspoken was that we would go to NA each night, and I would help him at the farm. My world was about to become more horse-oriented now that a real horse was in the barn. I have a lot to learn.

Of course, I fell in love with the yearling filly that I nicknamed Annie and dreaded the idea she would probably only be in my life for six months. This morning, a new guy arrived at the farm. Paul introduced him as Bart and said he would be part of our motley crew. I guessed Bart was in his 30s, a wiry guy with a protruding Adam’s apple and a backward baseball hat with long black hair falling over his protruding ears. He was bowlegged in his tattered jeans, reminding me of a weathered young cowboy. After our introduction, Bart just nodded at me and did not say much. The men went into the tack room and came out with some equipment. Paul draped a harness over his shoulder and told us to go outside. I watched Paul slowly enter the stall from the barn door, whispering to Annie.

Outside, I asked Bart what was going on in the barn. He said one word – breaking. I gave him a “duh” look and spread my arms. Bart explained that the filly needed to get used to wearing equipment, and they were unsure if she had ever experienced wearing a bridle or a harness. At that moment, snorting, neighing, and a few solid thumps of hooves on wood echoed across the farm. Then it got quiet.

Bart listened for a minute or two, saying she didn’t do too bad, and sometimes horses go ape-sh – -. He said this filly has probably had some handling. Paul will get a feel for her, and we might even put her on the line today. He asked if I ever line drove a young horse, and I said no.

Fifteen minutes later, the three of us walked Annie outside the barn. Paul was 10 feet behind the horse with the reins in his hands while Bart and I held a long strap, a lead line, on each side of her; the idea was to get her to relax, walk straight, and enjoy things. Paul said to hold my line, and it would be fun.

IMHO, it WAS fun. Annie did okay except for one time she did a lone ranger dance on her back legs, and a minute later, she did a two-hoofed back kick, which was quite impressive. It was almost like she just wanted to get a few things out of her system, and then Annie thought, this isn’t so bad.


Today was much like yesterday. I was amazed at how much more relaxed I was. The only new twist was that Paul hooked an ancient wooden cart between him and Annie’s rear. Then we just walked around in the grass. Annie fussed a bit, gave a few mini kicks, and came to a complete stop a few times. I think she just enjoyed her feet on the grass and the breeze in her face.


Today was like yesterday. I am beginning to feel like a pro. This time, we went a little further, and we walked Annie out of the grass and walked a slow lap around the racetrack. Back in the barn, Bart said he had to fix a toilet in town, would see us tomorrow, and headed for his bicycle. Yes, he rides a bike with a motor.

As Bart disappeared over the ridge, I asked Paul if Bart had an addiction.

Paul said yeah, but Bart won’t admit it. Even though it was none of my business, I asked if Bart did drugs. Paul answered he wasn’t sure, but he didn’t think drugs were part of Bart’s problem. After a pause, Paul said Bart’s problem was with alcohol, but the guy is not a typical alcoholic. Most of the time, there is no problem. Bart has a sly sense of humor and is polite. But then Paul’s voice trailed off. I waited for him to continue. He said that around supper time, Bart will stop at a bar for a few beers every evening. No problem, he has two, maybe three, and goes home to his trailer in a park just outside town. He does this nine times out of 10, so he doesn’t believe he has a problem or needs meetings or help. Nobody knows when or why the problem is the 10th time, but the 10th time is a flat-out, black-out bender for a couple of days. Paul said once he found him in a stall under the straw.

When I asked about the bicycle, Paul explained Bart had crashed his car twice and lost his license. He can’t keep a job. His nickname is Bart-time because he needs to work part-time. His days at the track ended when a trainer scheduled him to drive a trailer with six horses, but Bart never showed. It was a mess; a few no-shows like that are poison to an employer. So, for us, he is strictly hourly. We are in a situation where a bender will not screw us up.

Two things flashed in my brain: addiction can come in many forms, and Paul used the words our and we.


Auction day, when Paul will buy the three other fillies, is getting closer. He showed me a book as big as a bible with names and information on all the horses for sale and said I could find the catalog on my iPad or phone. Honestly, he wasted his time. The numbers and information went right over my head. TMI!

I am trying to stay away from my drug friends. Drug friends are pretty much the only friends I have left, so I’m out of the loop for loopy losers. My mom had some news about Betty Feldman, one of my high school friends. She was always quiet and friendly, a year ahead of me. She died from Fentanyl. I had not seen Betty since she left for some college in Arizona after high school. I did not know she dabbled. Sad.