The Diary of Bridgette M., Part 16

by Trey Nosrac

Series introduction ishere.

Part 1 ishere.

Part 2 ishere.

Part 3 ishere.

Part 4 ishere.

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 is here.

Part 12 is here.

Part 13 is here.

Part 14 ishere.

Part 15 ishere.


Since late Thursday afternoon, I have been mentally in a lousy space.

Imagine walking across the street, and a speeding car loses control and barely misses running you over. This near miss scares you. Your heart races a million miles an hour, and then you get wobbly and sit in the grass thinking about the close call. Eventually, your feelings of fear, shock, and anxiety fade away, and you get back to normal. Thursday at the farm was a close call for me. Three days later, I’m not close to getting over it. That is sort of what people deep into addiction feel.

My problem was not a speeding car. It was a day with a handful of what should have been minor things; two people not showing up, being alone with an injured horse, a door slammed in my face, rain on the roof, and other fears all clenched me into a trembling ball. I am not good at handling stress, but the part that scared me the most is that if I had drugs available in that barn on Thursday, I’m almost sure I would have used them.

My experience alone at the horse farm reminded me of Angela, a lady from NA, not my current NA group, but another NA group. Angela was about 30. She looked a little like the actress Kristen Wiig. Angela was sober for over a year and seemed to have her act together. She only came to NA once a week for what she called her tune-up. Then Angela relapsed. When she relapsed, her system was clean, and her usual intake damn near killed her. She told us what triggered her unraveling in an NA meeting; a flat tire! A flat tire! An event part of everyday life grew complicated with heavy traffic, her phone not working, traffic whizzing, and a sketchy guy stopping. A bad day with a bunch of small events made her so stressed and rattled she needed a few pills to chill; boom, sobriety was gone, addiction was back.


This diary entry is about money.

The morning at the horse barns was like a business meeting. Paul was a very open and direct CEO. Paul, Bart, and I sat on straw bales in the barn. Paul told us several things using simple sentences. Bart and I will make $16 per hour, but we do not need to sign in. We will each receive a 10 per cent bonus from the net profit of any yearling we sell. At this moment, we do not have health insurance, but Paul is looking into coverage and hoping that our preexisting addictions will not be a problem. He said insurance is tricky since we are not members of a horseman’s association. He is looking into care for his mother, but he is unsure if she can stay at the farm.

Then he told us the big picture about his family and this farm. Grandmother Edith was first in ownership, his mother second, and he was third. However, due to his mother’s stroke, his grandmother’s advanced age, and his five years of sobriety, he was now the family trustee. The farm consists of 646 acres in two parcels. Last year, his family sold 70 acres to a development company. That money is in an account that he uses to pay family bills, pay himself, pay taxes, pay operational expenses for the horses he bought, and pay for the renovations of the farm.

Then Paul finished his little speech with a few tidbits. He considered himself very fortunate because he OD’ed several times, and twice NARCAN brought him back. Despite massively screwing up most of his life chasing drugs, today is good. His late grandfather would be happy. He also said that he had a master plan for the farm that might involve non-profit status. And finally, he repeated, ‘Call me day or night, anytime the dragons in your mind roar.’


The four fillies now living at Flying Flags Farm are beautiful creatures. FYI, we dropped the word red from Red Flags Flying Farm because Paul didn’t think selling a horse from a place named Red Flags was a strong selling point for a horse.

Another red flag for me was the future. As I understand the yearling project, if everything goes according to plan, all the horses will be gone in six months, so what will Bart and I do? I asked Paul about it, and he did not answer. He said we would cross that bridge when the time came. Just like sobriety, let’s take one day at a time.


My comfort level handling the fillies is outstanding. Who’da thunk it? Each of the fillies has a particular personality. I have no idea if they will be fast racehorses. These four fillies are ridiculously perfect to my rookie eyes, but Paul explained they are not. He said that the three things that buyers look for in yearlings are conformation, pedigree, and the racing performance of siblings. Paul told me that middle-tier buyers like him were like the Rolling Stones song You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

He said buyers in the $20,000 range needed to make sacrifices, and his wiggle room was horse conformation. While he would not bid on a little horse, he would bid on a horse that did not stand perfectly. He said that his grandfather’s best horse toed in (whatever that means). Then Paul took me to each horse and noted something he was not wild about. I did not see a single problem; they all looked perfect.


Solo flight with Annie today! I, Bridgette Malone, harnessed my favorite filly, Annie, climbed into the sulky (actually called a jog cart), and took a two-mile spin in the morning sunshine. I was nervous for about five seconds, but suddenly, it was terrific. The rest of the world faded away, the sounds, the smells, the peace; I could have driven Annie to Alaska. For once in my pathetic life, I knew where I belonged.