I arrived in Ohio, horseless, in the middle of August. I got settled in at school, and explored the option of taking some equestrian classes. My father said no way, he would not support me taking riding as a college class. Because I didn't know anyone, I had no horse to ride. It was very sad.
After a few weeks I made plans with Blair to sell Tyler. She had said she would keep him for me, but she'd also try and find a new home for him if that's what I wanted. It's not what I wanted, but I didn't think I had any other options. She began looking for prospective buyers. She was not successful. In two months it came down to her having to get rid of him because she couldn't afford to keep him anymore.
Blair was in a bit of a bind financially because she and her husband were separating. She had sold Llano before I moved, and had recently sold Teeya. She tried to breed Teeya for a year, and couldn't get her pregnant. In frustration she just sold her, which I think in the end made them both happier. So she was just down to Bo, who she used for lessons and was planning to keep for her three year old daughter to ride, but Tyler wasn't bringing her any money. I didn't want her to give him away to just anyone, because I wanted him to have a good home. That's when I decided that I would take him back.
I made arrangements to have him shipped out to Ohio, again. Blair said she would have him ready and get him on the truck, along with all the tack and trunks. All the while I was super nervous about my parents again finding out that I had a horse. This time, I decided, I'd keep the secret. To make it work I had two part-time jobs. It was very busy for me but it was well worth it. I was very happy to have my horse back.
I kept him at first at a private home, where I couldn't ride but it was cheap and he was outside all the time. I was concerned about boarding him in a stall because he had never been kept in a stall.
Then winter came. I was completely unprepared for the amount of snow we got in Cleveland. I think Tyler was shocked too. The owners of the barn kept him outside as much as possible, but during snow storms and bitter cold they put him in a stall. He seemed to adjust to this pretty well, which made me relieved. I was looking forward to being able to afford to keep him at a stable that had an arena.
That winter I was working evenings after school in an educational toy store. They had extended hours in November and December because of holiday shopping, so I was there until 10:00 pm most nights. It gave me a chance to sneak in some homework or studying if it wasn't busy. One Friday night I got a call from my boyfriend saying that Blair had called his place looking for me. He said they spoke briefly about a voicemail that she had gotten that she wanted to play for me. She said that she'd be out that evening but if I wanted to call her later she'd be at her boyfriend's house.
I knew the voicemail situation. One of Blair's female clients had a boyfriend who was very open about how he felt about any of the attractive women at the barn. He would openly flirt and proposition most of us right in front of his girlfriend. She just kind of laughed it off, but we all felt that it was very demeaning and disrespectful to her. Blair had gotten voicemails from this guy before with him moaning and saying suggestive things to her. Apparently this recent voicemail was a doozy.
By the time I closed up the shop, I was tired. I decided I'd just call her the next day, because it was three hours earlier in California and I'd have to wait a few hours if I wanted to catch her at her boyfriends house. So I went to bed.
The next day Cheryl called me.
CHERYL - Have you heard from Blair?
ME - Yeah, she called me last night, but I never called her back. Did she play you the voicemail?
CHERYL - Voicemail? No, I'm calling because Blair didn't show up for lessons this morning.
ME - What do you mean?
CHERYL - She didn't show up and nobody has seen or heard from her since last night. When her ex dropped her off.
Eventually I got the story. Blair went out to dinner with her soon-to-be ex husband to discuss school plans for their daughter. He wanted her to go to a Catholic pre-school, and Blair was not too keen on that. They had been arguing about this and other topics for weeks, and he had started saying things that made people nervous. Things like - "If I can't have her, nobody can." and "She'll take my daughter away from me over her dead body." Everyone urged her to meet him in a public place, because he had been violent with her before and had a wicked temper. She assured everyone that it would be fine, and he picked her up. They supposedly were going to go to a restaurant, but we all think they ended up back at his place.
What happened next is anyone's guess. The ex swears he dropped her off at her place, but didn't see her enter the apartment because they had been arguing and he drove off in anger. The boyfriend said she never called him or came over to his place. He called her when she was late and drove by her house a number of times but got no answer.
Blair had disappeared.
To be continued...