It was a November morning. I had just gotten to the office and sat down at my desk waiting for Krishna, the cook to get me my coffee.
I rummaged through some paperwork from the day before and stacked it neatly on the right top corner of my drawer.
It was a nice little office, no frills. Just my desk, my chair and a couch across the room. From my desk I could look out the door and see the stables and the horses.
Krishna arrived with my coffee. It was more watered down than usual, but I was beginning to grow accustomed to his theories on economy and so ignored it. I gazed out the door and my eyes scanned the livestock, all standing peacefully, enjoying the lazy, misty morning.
They were a good lot of animals, all strong, well fed, coats gleaming in the gentle morning sun. Well fed… Very well fed. My gaze shifted to “Ghodi”, which means “Mare”. She was a stocky, bad tempered chestnut mare who we never got around to naming. Her belly was huge.
Wondering why I hadn’t noticed before, I called out to Mahaveer, my Head Lad.
Mahaveer shuffled into the office, taking off his sandals at the door. I looked at them and shook my head.
“Why aren’t you wearing the boots I gave you?”
“Good Morning Baba!”
“Why aren’t you wearing the boots I gave you?”
“Baba, have you had your breakfast?” He leaned against the doorframe..
I gave up…
“Has Ghodi been dewormed?”
“Last month, when we did the rest of them..”
“Ok, and how much are we feeding her?”
“Same as she always got, two barley, one corn, one bran…”
“Oh, why is she getting so fat?”
“Don’t know Baba, her, Nancy, Kaani, all three are getting bigger and bigger.”
“All of the mares Baba, all fat.”
Without saying another word, I got up and walked to the stables. Sure enough, all three mares had grown round and rotund, their bellies hanging considerably.
I quietly went through the checklist in my head. They had been dewormed, their feed was on mark, they aren’t unwell or showing signs of illness……
I looked around thoughtfully and my eyes fell at Saddam, my stallion. No, it couldn’t be.
Saddam was known to be a bit randy, and we had ensured that his stables were adequately reinforced in just about every way possible. We could have held an elephant captive if we needed to. We did eventually need to, but that is an entirely different story for an entirely different day.
I look at Mahaveer. “Do you think……….. they are pregnant?”
“The mares Mahaveer…”
“Oh.. What about them?”
“Do you think they are pregnant?”
“Yes… I know they’re pregnant. What about it?”
“What?.. Why didn’t you say anything?”
He mumbled something under his breath and shuffled his feet around. Sometimes I wonder how we ever managed to last 7 years as a business.
“So Saddam got out?
“It was the pony.”
I looked over at our pony stallion, all of 12 hh standing on the far end of the property tethered to a huge log. We tried putting him in a stable, but he kept getting out.
Mahaveer eventually ended up tying him to a 150 kilo tree stump that I had planned to use as a cross country jump.
“So you knew.”
“Why didn’t you tell me? ALL THREE?”
“Yes Baba, in one night..”
We sat down on the plastic chairs outside the office and Mahaveer began telling me about it as I texted our vet so he could come check them.
We had experienced a particularly devastating monsoon that year and our stables, being fairly open and make-shift in terms of construction were flooded. It was a horrible season, and the horses had to deal with being essentially stuck in knee high mud for most of the night. The situation was dire, and we had on more than one occasion considered moving out.
But, back to our little sex offender.
He must have noticed that our thoroughbred mares had sunk over a foot and a half in height and decided to take his chances. So one September night in the howling rain, our man, in a show of sheer frustration driven determination dragged his 150 kilo tree stump across a muddy paddock, through the arena, which was now then just a sandy swamp, to the stables and had his way with three mares in their respective stables before dragging his tree stump back to it’s original place on the far side of the field to wait quietly for his morning feed.
It was only 3 weeks later when Mahaveer, while watching the security camera footage (something that turned into his afternoon entertainment) watched the dastardly deed unfold.
I sat there, staring at Mahaveer with a blank look on my face. Three oddly shaped thoroughbreds and a mix breed 12 hand high pony. What on earth would come of it? I had never intended to breed, nor was I happy about this new burden shunted on me in an already difficult working environment.
I took out my phone and typed out a fresh message to the vet.
“Hi doc… after preg-test, need 1 castration too.”