Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Gray Mare

Before having children, I had horses for several years. Even though I don't have that luxury any longer, they are never far from my mind. The other day I woke up with this short story in my head so I wrote it down.
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.


Lindsay-ann said...

Your story is wonderful. I loved reading it. I share your love of horses too. There was one particular gray horse that was special to me. It was almost like you were writing about her. She had a foal and he was just as sweet as his Mummy. Many of my teenage years were spent with this horse and several others that belonged to a friend of mine. You really should submit this story to a horsey magazine along with your daughter's beautiful painting. Or better still you should write a whole book. I wanted to read more.

Robin (rsislandcrafts) said...

Fantastic story! It has a nice feel to it. I love waking up with an idea in my head.

Ruhammie said...

I LOVE short stories...this was wonderful!! For a really long time now I've wanted to write a book, I just haven't. I have many, many ideas jotted in a notebook, but don't sit and type. This was a neat little story.

jillytacy said...

Curly Girl's picture goes perfectly with the story! It's a beautiful story and I'm so glad you decided to share it!

Aunt Pitty Pat's Fun said...

Oh my sweet friend Val.. I love love love your story. It touched me so... I have tears in my eyes trying to type this note to you! The story was wonderful and curly girls drawing is just the right touch to win our hearts. Thank you for sharing your love of writing and your love of horses with those of us that own or have owned them.
Maybe someday when your babies are grown you can once again own a horse of your own. I know that no matter how old I get.. I know I will own a horse.. even if its a miniature.
Hugs sweet friend!

Amy said...

Love your story. Curly Girls' picture is beautiful.

Melinda Cornish said...

oh you two are a team! I love it!

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