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A Little Horse Story

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dean's Fork is where I go to forget and remember, to mull and think and talk out loud to myself and feel the world back away.  On this day, a little horse story was unfolding. I always love to talk with this beautiful little Appaloosa mare and her companion, a red roan gelding. But today the mare was alone, and she was letting the world know she was unhappy about it. Her whinnies rang up and down the holler.

Excuse me, ma'am, do you know where my friend is? If you see him, could you tell him to come back?

He's been gone for hours. Or at least it seems like that. It's very rude of him.

                                                                         I worry.

Sweetheart, wait here. I will look for him and see if I can send him back to you. Hang on.

So Chet and I walked on up and sure enough, there he was. Having jumped the fence, he was ankle-deep in some very nice grass, and deaf to the pleas of the mare to come back to her.

You are a very bad boy. You hear her calling you, and you don't even nicker back. Naughty, naughty horse.

That's her problem. If she misses me, she should jump the fence and come after me.

I'll head back when I'm ready.

Just then, a truck came along and out jumped my neighbor Kathy, who owns the animals. And I got the story. The red roan gelding is named Rocky, and he's a Virginia Highlander, a very young breed of gaited horses that have a little of everything in them--Arab, Tennessee Walker, Morgan,  and Welsh pony to name just a few! I knew I liked his looks and build. Virginia Highlanders have amazingly smooth gaits and are excellent jumpers, which means it's very hard to keep Rocky in any fence. Luckily there's not much traffic on the Fork.

The Appaloosa's name is Hannah, and she was rescued from an abusive situation. She was being ridden at the tender age of 1 1/2, being very badly treated. It took months for the filly to even let Kathy approach her, so badly was she abused. Kathy's patience and gentleness shine through now--Hannah hurries up to the fence for hugs. Kathy brought out her inner sweetheart. As far as riding goes, Hannah's a work in progress. Kathy may come and work her out in our meadow, with no cars or distractions to spook her. She's welcome here.

Kathy gathered Rocky up and brought him back to Hannah. When we left, he was already eyeing the fence...boys will be boys.

I sure like getting to know my neighbors. Getting myself out on a regular basis is the best way to do that. Running into someone is a natural way to connect. And there are stories everywhere I stop to chat. Thanks for this one, Kathy. These are two of the luckiest horses in Ohio, living on Dean's Fork, in beauty and with love. They punctuate my walks and bring me joy.


Great story Julie and a happy ending too! My daughter just started horseback lessons and loves it! My wife wanted her to take dancing but she wanted no part of that...ha ha.
Thanks for sharing this.

Julie, we have two horse neighbors at our weekend place (Pinto Bean is an appaloosa, Brownie is, well, brown). Visiting with them is a highlight of the weekend, horses are amazing creatures. The highlight of their weekend is carrots and horse cookies. Loved this story with its happy ending! Miss Weezie in TX

Posted by Anonymous December 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM

How delightful, thank you for publishing the short photo-doco of Hannah & Rocky! I heart your stories... xx

Posted by Anonymous December 2, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Have you ever thought about writing a children's book? I think you would be great at that too. I walked with you. Smelling the crisp fall air...

So glad Hannah found a good home with someone who is patient to wait until she is ready to accept the love she deserves. I've got a Morgan horse who has been pampered his whole life. Rocky sounds like a character! I agree on the children's book.

Thank You Julie!! I love the story. I look forward to running into you again. Kathy :)

them some purdy horsies!!
(...and I second the children's book suggestion)

Thanks for the nudges, guys. Still writing and painting for big people, but there are a fair number of kids who dig my stuff too. The children's book field is a whole 'nother thing, a castle at whose great oaken door I've knocked and backed away from (after having a little molten lead poured down). Would I love to have written the next Great Kapok Tree--a book by Lynn Cherry that paid off her farm? Oh, yes. Do I have the writing/illustrating chops *and* the fire in my belly to push it across the moat and up the ramp? No. My true heart is in writing for big people (remember the chapter in Letters from Eden, "Calling Kali?) and the kind of younger people who read above their age level. Schadenfreude--it's essential.

Until I die I will never understand how a human can mistreat an animal. It is the most cowardly act on earth. But I am glad there are other humans that can save the mistreated ones and make them feel loved again.

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