' When Needed Most ' ( a story of defeating the odds )
' When Needed Most ' a true story of a filly who, dispite all odds- finally found where she belonged
chapter one - a world brand new
On a cool, lazy afternoon in late April what seems to be both an eternity and just moments ago, I came into being. A tiny orange hued animal, I knew nothing of what was in store for me in the following years- and I remember only the soft breath of my mother cleaning my face as I first opened my eyes to my newly begun life. Behind a small shed, nestled between some tall weeds and the adjoining pasture, my mother- a beautiful red and white pinto stood protectively over me as I took it all in, the breeze- the smells, the sight of her lovely frame... and I felt safe. This was my mother. She would let no one hurt me.
I stayed there for a few brief moments, dazzled by the world that I had come into, before that first shot of adreneline- the very briefest of sparks that is known only to a foal- burned through my veins. With gusto, I attempted to gracefully jump up onto my feet to be closer to my mother. My legs tangled up and before I was even halfway up, they collapsed under me and I sat, dazed- staring in wonder at my clumsy feet. I tried again, only to get the same result; this time glaring at my appendages distainfully. Why would they not work? I laid my head on the soft spring grass and let out a gargly sigh.
My mother gently pressed her nose against my face and let out a soft whicker. I had never heard this sound...this...wonderful sound before, but even so I knew that the sweet tone that graced my ears was an encouragement. My eyes sparkled again and I carefully untangled my legs, moving first one back foot then the other into a standing position. 'go on,' my mother cheered, watching me with what could of only been a smile on her face. I grunted, pushed, and there I was, standing on my spidery long legs for the first time- looking more comical than graceful- but standing. I glanced at mother happily, already tired but not ready to allow gravity to pull me down. She nudged my shoulder, almost toppling me over. I shook and looked at her quizzically. She nudged me again, and this time I stretched a forefoot out testingly. Again I was nudged, this time harder. I leapt forewards, almost falling on my face as I was positioned by my ever-patient mother in front of what would be my life giver for months to come. Milk. With delight that I wasn't even sure that I understood, I grabbed for her teat and took in a greedy gulp of the rich liquid. Instantly my insides felt warm and my eyes fluttered.
"Hey guys, look!" a sound from behind startled me out of my bliss, and with a terrified squeal I lunged under my mothers belly, falling to my knees and peering out from under her. Positioned in a line only yards away from us stood some of the scariest, strangest beings I had ever seen.(before this moment, I had thought that mother and I had this whole wide world of about a half acre to ourselves) I stared wide-eyed at them as they spoke, their voices sounding harsh to my new ears. "No one said she was pregnate when she came here!" one said, scratching his head. "Sure seems like a nervouse one, probably a dud." He stared unblinkingly at me for a moment then sighed. "Better give her owner a call, then. Move them into a stall." I shook as he spoke, trying to seem invisible as I hid under mother. Two of the five people moved away, but another crouched down with a small box in his hand- clicking it and making a blinding light appear-hurting my eyes. The other man walked swiftly towards us carrying something long. I wanted to get away, but mother stood silently with no fear in her eyes. I shuddered but held still as the man clipped the rope to her halter, peered at me- and with a tug began to lead mother away from me.
Suddenly I was alone, and my blurry vision was just barely enough to see my mother walking away. I twitched, my insticts screaming for me to follow but my mind working overtime- taking in the sight of two people still standing in front of me. I rocked slightly and let out a squeal of frustration and terror. Mother answered with a reasurring whinny, calling me. One of the people left, leaving only a very small one standing infront of me. She wasn't half as big as all of those men were, and her body language told even me that she meant no harm. Our eyes met for a brief moment, fiery brown upon crystal blue- and I knew it was safe to join my mother. With a flick of my curly tail I bolted towards mother, leaving the small person with blue eyes in the dust not even thinking once of what an important role she would play in my life years later- or just how much we would need eachother as we struggled to find our place in the world that didn't welcome oddities.
disclaimer: while this story is mostly real, because it is impossible to know exactly what a horse thinks- this writing can and will have some false pieces to it. A star (*) will be included in any sentances or paragraphs that happen when I was not there to witness them myself, and they are only portrayals of what I believe happened according to people I've talked to who DID see these events. Story is in no way written to shoot down and training methods or people, and for that reason no names will be mentioned. Thank you for reading and comments/constructive critisism is very welcome. Story is broken into a few chapters to devide it well, make it easier to read, and to allow me time to get each one finished well. Once again, thankyou, and enjoy.
I stayed in that stall for a few weeks after my introduction to the world. I didn't really have room to run or play as a normal foal could, but I would amuse myself by nipping at mother, trotting around our room's perimeter, and peeking through the hole in the door to see things outside. A human came once a day to feed mother and clean up the bedding, and for a while I was able to hide under mother. After a few weeks however, I had grown enough that it wasn't easy to get under her, and she would get upset with me.
She never seemed to be afraid of the humans, but I was terrified. It was impossible to know what they would do, and they were so large. I would usually coward into a corner of the stall, quivering, until they left. It rained often that month, and at those times I would pace nervously. I didn't understand it, and only knew that sometimes it would pour in on me, soaking my fuzzy mane and making me chilled. Soon however, the storms weakened and I became more and more anxious to go outside. My chance came when I turned three weeks old.
It had been a normal morning of dozing, eating, and peering out of the crack. Our daily visit from the humans was approaching and I was tucked securely in the corner as I always was, and I was ready. Mother was waiting patiently at the door, knowing it was meal time. Normally a woman came to feed mother, but today when the stall door creaked open I saw three men with ropes standing in front of me. I bared my teeth as I had seen mother do when a grass snake came into our stall one day, and backed further into the corner. This wasn't what was supposed to happen. "Yeah, lady said the foal wasn't show material and to just bring her and the dam out to the summer pasture." One said gruffly. The other two nodded. "I'll grab the mare, you guys try to get a halter on the foal."
As soon as the words were spoken the man turned, took mother by the halter and lead her out. She glanced at me but didn't do much else. I assume she must of just been happy to get out of that place. Once she was out, two men stood in front of me, blocking me from her. I turned a tight circle and whinnied to mother nervously. She called me back. One man suddenly lunged for me, getting his hands around my neck before I could even protest. I squealed fearfully and tried to bolt towards the door- but he held tight. Being as tiny as I was, it was easy for him to keep me in place. Again I bared my teeth, but this time the man slapped my muzzle. I held still except for my shaking. The second man quickly buckled a halter to my face and clipped on a rope, then I was released.
Instantly I crowhopped and spun, trying to locate the door. I found it and leapt- only to be stopped short by the horrid rope. My face was spun around to look at the man. I braced myself, shocked- and glared. "quit fighting me and I won't have to pull you" the man said.
I didn't understand, and even if I had- I wouldn't of stopped. I was terrified. By the time I turned towards the door again, mother was already loaded into a huge shiny thing that hurt my eyes, and was silently waiting. I called for her. She replied with a snort. I was too afraid to lunge again, but I didn't have to. The man holding my rope started forward, heading towards the trailer. I balked, sitting back on my haunches. No way was I going with such a terrible monster! My mind was suddenly changed though, when the second man came behind me and let out a whooping noise.
I bolted forward, almost dragging the man to the trailer. I didn't even think twice as I jumped into the trailer, almost falling on my face as my tiny hooves collided with the metal. The sound spooked me but I was finally with mother. The man let go of my rope and closed the door. Once again, I was trapped into a small space. I had mother though, it was alright. I crowded close to her, letting out small distressed sounds every few moments as the truck started up, hurting my ears- and began to move. The ground shook beneath my feet, but with mother beside me, I still felt safe.
The ride seemed to last forever, despite it only being about twenty minutes- and when the truck finally stopped I felt weak. When the door opened, I didn't even protest as the man grabbed my lead rope and lead me out. Mother was right behind me, her nose on my rump as it to tell me she was there still, and it was alright. I didn’t feel alright. Before this day, I had seen nothing but the four walls of my enclosure, and tiny glances at the grass around it. Now, I had just been unloaded from a large box- I had an itchy red piece of material over my face- and I was standing exhaustedly in front of a pasture bigger than anything I had ever seen before with almost a dozen other animals alertly watching us approach.
* I didn’t see them at first, but as we began to get closer I caught their scent. I stopped quickly and raised my nose to the air. Mother almost ran into me, excited to get to the pasture and rejoin a herd after so long in isolation. I, however, was confused. Something smelled sort of like mother out there, but at the same time different. My young eyes- used to the dimness of our stall- made out the animals ahead of us as blurrs. I whickered nervously to mother as the man yanked me forward. She didn’t respond. We reached the gate and the man who led my mother pulled it open, leading us both into the large pasture.*
“Should I take the foal’s halter off or leave it?” One asked. The other shrugged. “She’ll be faster when they come to get her again. Better to keep it on.” They seemed to both agree on this and a moment later the man leading me reached out to unclip my halter. I squealed at him and snapped, barely missing his finger. He yelled in outrage, smacking my face before quickly unclipping the rope. I bolted forward at a clumsy run, tossing my head as the halter slapped against my cheek. Not five steps later, Mother joined me at a much more graceful canter, kicking up her heels and whinnying in pure bliss. I glanced at her wonderingly, then added my own whinny to hers.
Running was hard, but already I loved the feeling of the wind against my face and of mother moving beside me. Gone was the enclosure that held me captive so long. Disappeared were the terrible people who I only knew to be untrustworthy. *The large blobs in front of us began to take more obvious shape. They looked like mother. She moved into a faster canter, leaving me a few strides behind her as I tried to decide what to think of these creatures we were coming up on.
Mother didn’t seem afraid, but she wasn’t afraid of the humans either. I slowed to a trot, slowly approaching where she and the other horses were already standing in semi-circle exchanging greetings. When I came up, two of the younger horses approached me. I backed away at first, my ears pinned. I had no clue how to react.* After a little coaxing however, I finally touched noses with the smallest, grey colt. It was an instant friendship.
For many months afterwards, I learned to be a horse. My legs strengthened and I grew into a baby doll faced weaningling. I played and I began to eat grass, I rolled and I play fought. My life was perfect. My hair was wrecked with burrs, my too-small halter was beginning to embed into my face, and my baby fuzz was still patchy, but I didn’t care. I was at home.