by Charlie Tarantola
I swing the leather saddle onto his back. My cane is in the barn’s office, tucked away hidden. This to me is somewhat freeing. The smell of horses, and hay are around me. Heavy leather boots on my feet. A helmet is on my head for safety, so I don’t lose another chunk of my precious vision, or worse.
I walk him slowly into the ring, and to the mounting block. I get on quickly, ask him to walk on.
When he does, I breathe in heavy, I don’t have to worry about walking into something tripping or even where I am in space, I am free from the burden of my blindness, free from the worry.
I ask him to canter. I am flying, I can hear his smooth three beat gait, over everything else. And then I open my eyes, and see his bright red chestnut neck, I pat it, and mutter good boy Leo.
Charlie Tarantola has been somewhere in between sighted and blind all of his life. Cortical blindness changed that. Growing up, he was taught to be strong, be brave, and be hopeful. He was lucky enough to have relatives who showed him being blind doesn’t mean your life ends