Both of us stood there staring at the registration papers. Me in amazement of the name, the vet in amazement because I hadn't bothered to check that the horse and the paperwork were one and the same.
I found myself rambling excuses about how I never purchase horses without looking at the papers first, how the storm up in Denver had caused me to hurry, blah, blah, blah. All the while I was fixated on her name. How was it possible that the mare could have, as part of her registered name, my first name? What were the chances of that?
Glancing at my awestruck face, the vet couldn't have cared less about what he called a "mere coincidence". Shaking his head for the thousandth time, he studied the coggins and the Jockey Club papers and compared them to the horse that was filling his wash rack with slime. Impatiently, he walked over to the rack and slicked muddy water off the mare's forehead. He brushed her forelock back and examined the crooked "P" shaped star centered above her eyes.
My mind raced. Carlisa Dee? Was she named after a beloved family member? Why would they do that? It was my understanding that it was enormously bad luck to name a racehorse after a family member, alive or deceased!
The vet grew impatient with how long the bath was taking. I could tell he didn't like her and I found myself defending her. I explained how quiet she'd been in the trailer, even with the howling wind and hail. He didn't care. I mentioned the financial arrangements and how I had post dated the check. He told me if there was anything wrong with her, he was going to find it.
My vet had always been a bit opinionated. It was the reason I liked him. He was the perfect man for the job. I knew he would go over this mare with a fine tooth comb and examine every hair until he found something disagreeable. I figured he could have at it. Meanwhile, I found a chair and sat down to study the paperwork. There had to be a clue in there somewhere as to why this mare had ended up in such a dire situation.
I gleaned over the pages in the file given to me by the sale barn owner: JC registration, previous coggins, health papers indicating shipment between Oklahoma and Colorado and the certificate declaring the mare was in good health for the meat processors. I remember thinking how ironic it was that a horse had to be "certified in good health" before it could be turned into dog food.
Studying the JC registration, I noted the mare had three owners - the breeder, his wife and the sale barn owner. Looking at the breeders first name, I saw that by adding the letter "a" to the end of his first name, changed the gender nomenclature to "Carlisa". I figured the mare was named after a daughter, with "Dee" being her middle name. Also noteworthy, the mare had never won a race, which could explain why she was sold. I couldn't tell from the papers, how many races she'd been entered. What was obvious: the sale barn owner was the person responsible for the mare's current condition.
I decided right then and there, I didn't like the sale barn owner and his tactics, so regardless of the outcome of the vet check, she wasn't going back.
I got up from my stupor and told the vet I would be right back. I headed into the office and asked to use the phone. I had to tell my husband that I had broken my promise. I was headed home with my last and final race track reject.