Admittedly, I'm no 'writer' but I did like this and decided I would post it with Curly Girl's latest picture...
It is a cold night.
The moon is bright and full; it is still and quiet in the barn.
The gray mare is older now. She is lovely.
She has seen many seasons on the circuit. Over the years, she has been handled by many; groomed and braided to look lovely in the show ring.
Tonight, she has only one braid and it is in her tail.
In the past, she traveled far distances to competitions. She didn't know what the purpose was but she enjoyed it and it made her owner, Kate, happy.
After competing, Kate would reach down and vigorously pat her neck with excitement. Later, she would groom and pat her gently.
She has been with Kate for as long as she can remember. Kate is there in the morning and in the evening; on hot days with cool baths and cold nights with warm rugs. The gray mare loves Kate.
Her days are spent in the training arena. She is not a working mount for novice young riders. She is Kate's mount. This is their time together. They are in the center of the ring and she enjoys it.
But that is day.
And this is night.
And the gray mare is in an unfamiliar box.
She is not alone.
Kate is close by, she can smell her. Nothing can mask Kate's scent.
But there is another scent.
Him. He is the one with the soft voice and gentle hands. She knows him from countless visits. He would often feel her legs and click his tongue at her.
They are quiet but the gray mare can hear them whisper sometimes. They say things like 'not yet', 'nothing is happening.'
These are not words she hears often enough to understand so she dismisses them.
The gray mare is older now. She is restless.
She has no memory of feeling this way but knows something is about to happen. and it makes her nervous. She does not like being in this box with different smells; smells of others before her.
Time passes and it is late when the gray mare feels the first pain.
She tries to get comfortable by laying down, but no amount of soft shavings will make her comfortable just now.
She struggles to her feet and shifts her weight but that doesn't bring comfort either.
She lies down again. Even on this cold night, there is a sheen of sweat on her neck.
She hears a noise and looks as the stall door creaks open.
It is Kate. She says 'easy.' This is a word she knows so she lays her head down for a moment. Kate is with her as she begins to push a minute later. There are whispers of encouragement and soft caresses. She pushes again and once more.
Kate gets up quickly and moves out of the way as the gray mare gets to her feet. There are soft words and nickers. The words are 'well done Bella' and 'beautiful Bella.'
These are words the gray mare knows well and hears often. These are words accompanied by pats on the neck. As Kate strokes her, the gray mare turns toward her foal. He is wet and dark and his scent is the same as her own.
The stall door opens again and the gray mare is alert now. But it is the one with the soft voice and gentle hands. He walks up and touches her, walking all around her without taking his hands off her. He touches her foal and smiles.
All is as it should be.
The gray mare is older now. She is tired.
She has jumped many hurdles in her life, but this is her biggest. She has had many accomplishments, but this is her best. The gray mare does not know she is a champion. She does not know the sire of her foal is a champion. She does not know there are great expectations for the foal standing beside her.
She knows that right now, she is tired and that her foal is hungry. She knows that tomorrow, when the sun is warm and the grass is sweet, it will be good.
The gray mare is older now. She is content.