Here's Stories #1 & 2
***STORY ABOUT INJURED HORSE***
I hold Storm’s head in my lap and sob into her mane, because she’s dying. It’s inevitable. But while most people would keep their horse on drugs so they would live longer, even though they might be in pain, I couldn’t let Storm hurt anymore.
The vet stands off to the side, twirling the syringe in his fingers like it didn’t just kill my horse. I want to burn it. No, I want to burn the whole concept of laminitis. I hated how it had pained my horse. I hated how it had continually grown stronger as she had grown weaker. It cared nothing about how Storm on the Horizon and I had spent my entire life together, how she had taught me to ride, lowering her head to the ground so I could clamber on and up her neck to mount when I was not even three years old. It didn’t care how Storm and I had won ribbon after ribbon at the rodeos for whatever we felt like doing that day, be it barrel racing, roping, team penning, or speed racing.
***STORY ABOUT AN ABUSED PONY FINDING HIS OWNER AGAIN***
I was beaten. I was head-shy. I was neglected, in a terrible, miserable state after a horse 'breaker' broke me of my spirit.
I had been a talented 12.2" fleabitten grey Welsh, jumping for pure enjoyment. I'd belonged to a 6-year old child who loved me more than life, who had spent every waking moment of every day with me...brushing me, bathing me, loving me, riding me, jumping with me.
However I had gotten into this awful man's hands who stood at the far end of the round pen holding a whip with a malicious grin painted across his face, I didn't have a clue in the slightest. But however misery had been awakened beneath the flesh of me, it had been and nothing was going to stop it from advancing.
I picked up my delicate head carefully, but cowered back against the far rail in the corner wrapped in barbed wire. I silently winced as the spokes of the wire struck and dug down, enflicting pain upon my hindquarters. My eyes followed every daring move the muscular rider took, untrustingly.
Suddenly, he took an obnoxious step towards the me and flashed his yellow-teeth filled glare, swinging the crop around until I took off again, head low, cantering along the rail until I came to the trainer, skidded to a halt, and looked him in the eye.
The wind's direction shifted, scattering my mane across my neck and into my eyes. I shook it off. In the scent of the wind, there was leather...iron...brass. What was going on? A glance to the left told me exactly what I had dreaded-a saddle. A bridle. Riding was inferred. Back-stabbing pain radiated from my mind, striking my whold body as if it were physical pain, not mental.
I was saddled. I hadn't held a grudge, it was too much work...what was coming was inevitable. Nothing would stop that rancher from sitting astride my back, too heavy or not, as he did now. Spurs jutted into my sides, and I shot around the pen.
I shivered at the frigid weather, chilled. Ice clashed with my hooves, which hadn't been trimmed in months. I was slipping a bit, but I forgot about my hooves and focused on galloping...which I hadn't done since I'd left Darby's place.
Faster! Faster! my brain coaxed. My body behaved and sped up again, breezing. Far from effortless. I was slapped again with the thin iron whip. How could I explain that I had no more speed left in reserve? I had reached another gear--
CRUNCH! I didn't finish my thoughts as something cracked-it could have been the ice or my leg, but I was so overcome with pain as I slipped and fell down on the ice. The rider had come down with me. My front left foreleg bent into an unatural form, twisting as I tried to untangle myself.
As I lay on my side on the ice, I left out a puff of air and re-counted what had just occured. The rider had shifted his weight, jerked back on the right rein, an I'd slipped and caught myself in the barbed wire. I was half-hanging from it now, my skin bloody and torn up. My leg had been forced weight unto, and had been twisted. The rider flung himself from the saddle and sat down on the fence post.
He started crying now, a tear rolling own his stiff face. "I can't believe what I've just done to you, you magnificent creature."
I flinched at the typically harsh edge to his voice. it was now raspy and cracked. I swung my neck around to view him, only causing more damage.
"I shouldn't be here, on this beautiful earth right now. I should be loathing in the pits of despair, dead. This is abuse." Sensing my forgiveness, the rider cautiously walked forth to where I rsted and ran a weathered hand over my sweating, bloody neck. I was at once calmed by his gentle touch. I let my eyelids close and wandered to a better place. Pictures of life experiences flashed through my head. They turned frightful somewhere during the slideshow in my mind, images of being here on this farm...falling with a pleading whinny...
I jumped back into reality as the trainer spoke. "I called a vet. they'll help, and I'll admit every shameful thing I've done to you. I'll return you to your Darby."
My eyes snapped open at the sound of her name. I began to wonder if this was a dream...the trainer breaking down like this. But I was going home to MY Darby! Finally! I drifted to sleep and didn't even notice as needles pricked me and clippers untangled me from the barbed wire fence, all I felt was the trainer's hand running along my neck and all I thought about was Darby. MY Darby.
I couldn't stand still 6 months later as the trailer pulled off of the blacktop onto a dusty dirt road. I pranced at the end of my lead shank and let out a whinny of excitement as I was led out of the everlasting darkness into the penetrating sun drenching my withers.I peered towards the house, but little Darby was no where to be seen. Then I heard an exasperated intake of breath as a child stood from resting on a haybale in the barn. My gaze flickered, then locked on Darby as she ran towards me, arms wide. I half-reared from joy, she ran faster. The trainer dropped the lead, and I galloped to Darby. I hugged her tight to me, head draped over her shoulder. I nudged her for a treat, and she toom a carrot she'd been snacking on from her pocket and held it flat in the palm of her outstretched hand. I seized it and chewed it slowly over her hair, carrot juice dripping from the corners of my mouth.
her mom ran out from the farmhouse then, hand over her mouth. Darby led me into the barn, but I refused and stepped towards the trainer, who looked at his feet, hands in his pocets. I threw my neck over his shoulder, and he hugged me tight. He had saved me. True, he had beaten me almost to death, but he had saved me. He loved me.
Once again, Darby brushed me and bathed me, rode me, and we jumped out of pure love for the sport. We placed first in a show where people laughed at our registration...an 8-year old girl and her grey, 12.2" hand fleabitten gelding couldn't win. But we did. I was proud of Darby. We were a team, and together forever. Best Friends.