“Wow,” Thought Meg. “There’s so many beautiful horses to choose from! Which will become mine?” Megan Elizabeth Jordan walked around the auction grounds, looking at all the horses, ponies, and foals. This was her first auction, and she was determined to get the perfect horse for herself. After all, how else would she spend all that money that was burning a hole in her pocket? “Dad! Where are you?” Meg called. She saw a hand rise up in the bleaches from the stage, and then she knew they had a seat. So far, she had seen a cute little dun pony and a large bay horse, but those were the only two she saw as interesting. She decided to go over to the foal tent. “I love babies,” She thought. “Maybe I’ll buy one.” As she walked, she dreamed of owning the perfect foal… it would be a light paint with splotches all over his body… he’d be a bit frisky, but not too crazy… and most importantly… his name would be Sundance. Shaking herself free of this daydream, Meg found herself at the desk in front of the foal tent. “May I help you?” The man asked. “Well, um, see, this is my first auction, and, um, I don’t know, but do you sort the foals by breeds?” Meg stammered. “Why, yes,” the man answered. “Which breed are you looking for?” “Paints,” Meg answered. “Paints, please.” “OK then. Why don’t you follow me? I’ll show you where they are.”
Megan followed the man to the far end of the tent, where she saw so many darling paints, that she couldn’t decide which to aim for at first! But then, she saw him. He stood a bit away from the herd, and he was PERFECT. He was just as she imagined in her daydream. Except he was a bit smaller and skinnier, but daddy would fatten him up. “Got your eye on the light pinto? Yup, he’s a pretty one, and you should get a deal on him. Not many would buy a scrawny thing like him. You might even…” The man went on and on, but Meg didn’t hear him. She was too busy planning on this horse at her daddy’s barn.
Later, in the bleaches, Meg was sitting. Waiting. Waiting for her Sundance to come onstage. The man told her he was the very last of all of the foals. Meg could hardly sit still. She followed the bids on a palomino foal going up and up and up… ‘Till it finally stopped at $1500. “I hope Sundance’s doesn’t go that high,” Meg thought. “I’d have to borrow money from dad!” When Sundance finally got onstage, Meg was the first to bid. “$150!” She called. All was silent for a moment. Then a “$200!” From somewhere else in the crowd. It was from a boy, with a cowboy hat and jeans on. Meg immediately reacted with “$215!” “$220!” From the same boy. “$225!” “$250!” “$350!” The boy was silent for a moment. He searched his pockets. “$356.78!” He called. Meg shrugged and said “$360!” Silence. The loud intercom speaker startled everyone and said “Three-sixty going once… and twice… and…SOLD! To the young lady with the blue horse T-Shirt!” Smiling happily, Meg went up with her father to claim their foal.
Bring Him Home, Daddy!
Meg stood quietly beside her father while he claimed their foal. She thought about what had happened that day. The drive to the auction, the hour-long wait to decide what horse to bid for, the man at the foal tent leading her to the perfect horse… and just then, she thought about the boy. That boy that bid on her horse. That boy that dug his pockets trying to scrape up enough change to GET her horse. And how she easily beat his highest price. “Gosh,” Meg thought. “He must think I’m a rich snob!” Just then, she saw the boy. He walked in, looking angry and frustrated and snappy. “I’d better go say hi,” Meg thought. She didn’t know why, but she HAD to meet this boy who had tried to make her horse his. Meg walked up to him. She cleared her throat. “Excuse me, but are you the boy who almost bought the light pinto colt?” She asked in her most professional manner. He turned and glared at her. “YOU? What right do YOU have to come barging up to me and asking me THAT? You know very well I am! And if you’re just here to rub it in my face that I don’t have as much money as you do to buy that colt, then I’m leaving NOW!”
Then he showed his shyer side “That was reeeeeally loud, wasn’t it?” He asked. “Yes, and I was just coming up to say hello, and thanks for bidding on him, I was afraid nobody else would, and that would’ve made me feel really bad, but never mind, if I had known you were so mean, I wouldn’t have even bothered!” Meg said defensively. “Good day!”
“Good day!” The boy said in a nasal tone. But then, he rushed up to Meg and said “What’s your name?” Meg smiled and told him to call her Meg. “I don’t think I know your name, either,” she said. “What is it?” “Chris,” he answered. “Chris.” “Well, I gotta go, nice meeting you Chris!” “You too, Meg!” Chris departed into the crowd. Meg then rushed up to her dad. “Alright Megan, who was that guy you were talking to?” Mr. Jordan said teasingly. “Oh, come on, dad- he was the guy who bid on Sundance! Speaking of which, we’d better go get him!!”
Once at the foal tent, Meg and her dad went to the man Meg talked to. “So, did you get your foal?” “Yes, sir,” said Meg. “And we’re here to take him home!” “OK then, follow me!” The man led them to where Sundance was tied. There, he gave them details about him. “He’s halter trained and you can tie him up. He’s OK in the trailer, so you don’t have to worry about him bashing his head, he has never seen a saddle before, so be careful with that, and, he’s sure to bring you happiness!” “Thank you!” replied Meg, who was taking mental notes. “Anything else?” “Nope, you’re all set!” “Thank you so much for your help. Had it not been for you, Meg might have picked a trained horse!” Mr. Jordan said, then laughing at his own joke. “It’s not that funny,” The man said. “Anyway, here you are, now be gone!” he said handing them Sundance’s rope. Meg looked at her father in sheer delight, then took the lead and led Sundance out of the tent.
I don’t like this. I’ve been standing in this hot tent all day. What are they going to do to me? Will I ever get out of here?
Now they’re leading me out. They’ve already led everyone else out. What’s happening?
It’s very noisy outside. There are yummy smells of oats and corn… and then yucky smells like burnt horse manure.
A man is leading me up to a stage. I hear a big voice coming from a big box. I also hear two littler voices calling out numbers in the crowd. One of them stops.
A girl is rushing from the crowd to the big box. She looks nice.
Oh, no! They’re leading me back to the tent! I frolic and try to break loose. Now the man is talking to me in a soothing tone.
I am tied up in the tent. I see the girl that rushed into the box coming towards me with two men.
One of the men is untying me. He gives my rope to the girl.
The girl and one of the men take me to a big, black, hard rock with big shiny things on it. They lead me to one of them and open the back of a big white box that 3 of me could fit into.
Now they are putting me into the white box. I go in easy, I know what this is.
They lock the door behind me. The girl comes to reassure me, but I don’t need any reassuring.
They get into they shiny thing, and we are off!!!
The Ride Home
“Yippee!” exclaimed Meg on the drive home. “He got in easily! I think he likes me, dad! Don’t you think he’ll make the most beautiful horse EVER?” “Yes, yes, Meg! He will be very pretty, but just know that you have to take care of him. He won’t stay that pretty unless he is well cared for.” “I know, dad! I live on a farm! I know how to take care of horses.” “Ah, but Meg, your Sundance isn’t a horse yet. He’s a foal! And foals have to be treated very carefully, so they don’t get spooked or scared. You can’t just put they saddle on. He’s got a couple weeks yet before we do that. Let him smell the brushes and rub them all over him before you use them. Don’t be too rough with him, remember, he’s just a baby!” “Dad, he’s 8 months old!” Meg exclaimed, looking at the papers with details about him and his birth. “You’re not listening to me, are you?” Mr. Jordan said with a chuckle. “Oh, well. I did that when I had my first foal… Just be careful with him, OK?” “OK, dad. Hey, look! We’re almost here!” Meg added. In a few minutes Meg and her father pulled up into Heaven’s Hill Farms. Meg could hear the cows mooo-ing and the cats meow-ing and the dogs woof-ing and, best of all, the horses whinnying. She could smell leather and fur and hay all in one big jumbled mess. This place really was heaven. She pulled her senses back together and went to help her father unload Sundance, only to find it already done. “Can I work with him, daddy? The papers said he knows how to roundpen.” “I think he’s had enough for today. Go turn him out into the field.” “Alright, come on Sundance, buddy, let’s go meet the other horses!” Meg said as she led Sundance out into the field. “You’ll have fun.” She turned him out and went back to her dad. “What stall can he have?” She asked. “The one closest to the outside,” her father answered. “He needs fresh air.” With that, an exited Meg went to the house to make a name plate.
I stood in the big white box for awhile, until it stopped moving. I smell horses and cows and all sorts of things that I don’t know.
The man is taking me out of the trailer. I whinny loudly and the other horses in the field answer me. “It’s all right,” they say. “The people here are kind.”
Here I learn that the girl’s name is Meg and the man is her father. I also learn that my name is Sundance.
The girl, Meg, is putting me into the field. I run around a bit, and then I go to the other horses. “Hi,” I say. “What are your names? Mine is Sundance.” A pretty, young palomino mare tossing her mane says her name is Taffy, short for Taffata Golden Princess. Another pretty young mare, this one a sorrel, says her name is Sassy, just Sassy. A big pregnant mare says her name is Skye. The appaloosa with no tail’s name is Dirt. A paint like me has a pretty name: Candy. A tall brown horse with a bit of white in his black mane and tail says his name is JJ. A black-and-white stallion in the other field says his name is Shadow, and that he’s Taffy’s boyfriend. A gray-and-white appaloosa named Fancy says she hates Shadow. And finally, two matching Clydesdales say their names are Bonnie and Clyde and that they pull the carriage.
I thank the horses and we all start grazing. I always stand beside Taffy.
I stay in the field for a couple of days.
Two days after she bought Sundance, Meg started working with him. At first all she did was groom him, letting him see and smell the brush before using it, and then she got him used to the fly spray, and got him in the roundpen for some work-outs. She used a small whip and got him used to her cracking it. At first all she did was a slow trot, but she worked him until he could do a fast lope at her command! Then came the hard part. Teaching him to turn. Meg’s best friend, Steph, who owned Taffy, came to help at this part. She also brought over Hannah, another one of Meg’s best friends, who owned Sassy. Hannah was stout, had short brown hair, and was going into the 7th Grade. Steph was tall, had long dark blonde hair, and was going into the 6th Grade. Meg was also going into the 6th Grade, with her tallness and chocolaty brown hair.
“OK, what do you need help with?” they asked. “Teaching Sundance to turn. I’ve tried and tried, but he’s not got the hang of it!” “Hmmmm…” Steph said. “You said he hangs around Taffy?” “Right,” Meg said. “Maybe if we get her out and let him see how she roundpens, he’ll do better.” “Crazy idea, but it just might work,” said Hannah. “But don’t you think you should have your dad help you with this?” “No! I want it to be a surprise for him, to see how well he’s progressed in the past month.” “OK. Hannah, will you come with me to get my horse?” “Sure!” answered Hannah. “You two be careful! Bonnie and Clyde are a bit feisty today!” called Meg, stroking Sundance’s silky coat. Meg remembered that before she had Sundance, she had been jealous of Hannah and Steph’s beautiful horses, while she, the daughter of the owner of the barn, had squat. She sighed. After she got Sundance, everything changed! Hannah and Steph got their horses out less often, just to help her with Sundance. And right then and there, she decided that she had the best friends in the world!
Once Steph and Hannah got up to the roundpen with Taffy, Meg hugged them both and thanked them. They thought that was awfully funny!
“OK, you can go ahead and roundpen her. I’m going to leave Sundance in there. He’ll probably follow her.” But he didn’t. Instead, Sundance stood in the middle and watched her. Steph turned her several times so Sundance would know what to do. When Meg went up to roundpen Sundance, he did great. “Thank you, guys! I couldn’t have done it without you!” “No prob!” “Any time!” they said. “Hey, can we help you groom him?” asked Hannah. “Oh, no, you guys go get out your horses and ride. You’ve already done more than your share of helping me today!” Meg said. “Are you sure?” asked Steph. “Yeah, I mean, I bet you want to ride Shadow today,” said Hannah, referring to Meg’s usual riding horse. “C’mon, Meg, you could use a break!” “OK, but just groom him and then just put him in his stall, alright?” “OK!” “Will do!” Steph and Hannah answered. And that’s what they did, with Sundance eyeing them suspiciously.
Meg is now taking me out of the field with my pretty purple halter. She ties me up at a post. “I am not afraid, I know what this is,” I tell myself. She lets me sniff a hard thing with soft bristles underneath. Then she rubs is all over my body. It gets dirt off of my coat, leaving me soft and shiny. She calls the thing a ‘brush’. That’s all she does for a couple of days.
Now Meg picks up my feet as well as using the ‘brush’.
Now Meg takes me into a round wooden ring with soft sand inside it. She waves a long, skinny pole with a string attached in the air.
Today when Meg waves the pole, a loud CRACK sound comes and scares me! I run, I try to get away from the CRACK!
I learn now that the crack is just a sound to make me go faster. I am no longer frightened by it.
I learn to go faster and faster around the ring at Meg’s command.
Now Meg keeps putting the pole in front of me and clicking and saying some words. I am confused!
Today two other girls are here. Meg showed them what I can do, then put the pole in front of me. The girls talked. Then two of them left. They came back with Taffy! I whinnied to her, “Hi!” They put her in the roundpen with me. One of the girls trotted her around and around. Then she put the pole in front of her. “Taffy,” I said. “What do you do?” “Turn around,” She answered. She quickly turned and headed the other direction whenever the girl stuck the pole in front of her. “Oh, so that’s what you do!” I say.
Once Taffy arched her neck in defeat, she stopped and said, “Your turn, kid.” And was led out of the ring.
This time I know what to do. Meg starts me out at a trot, then puts the pole in front of me. I turn around. The girls clapped. I did it!
Meg took me out of the ring and tied me up. Taffy was at a different post.
The girls talked a bit, then Meg went out into the field with a big black halter. The two new girls groomed me and put me in my stall. From there, I see Meg riding atop of Shadow!
I am heartbroken. I thought Meg love ME most. Then I thought about a poem a horse had once told me: Poor, poor lad, why can’t you see; She can love others, but still love thee. Maybe she just loved Shadow, but she adored me!