Howdy Friends!

With perked ears and sad eyes, Blackie watched as the truck drove away. Her long time friend, Chance called out in fear. Dust soon swallowed the trailer, but the whinnies continued. Frantically, Blackie raced along the board fence, head held over the top board, running as fast as her old legs could manage. She answered the calls with all the breath she had, and ran faster, ever faster, but soon the truck and the whinnies were gone.

Straining over the fence she looked far away, far into the setting sun where her friend had gone. Blackie stood well into the night, searching the horizon for her friend’s return. Which deep inside she knew would not happen. There would be hay at the barn, there always was, but tonight she would eat no hay.

In her long years Blackie had watched other friends leave. Too many. Sometimes it was she who was taken away. The first time, she was running free with her mama, and the others. She hardly remembers her mama, but she remembers that horrid, hot terrifying day. It started like any other, scampering about playing with the other young ones.

Then the run came! Chased from all sides, there was yelling, panic and pain. Blackie still feels the pain in her feet, and her chest from running so many miles trying to hard to keep up. Her legs were too short, she lost sight of mama, and she cried out. Like today, trying to run and call at the same time.

She never saw her mama after that day. Or her other friends. It was her first ride in a crowded truck. Tonight, looking over the fence for Chance, she remembered that first ride. A long ride, she remembers how thirsty she’d become. How tired. Where is mama? She’d cried out as long as she had voice.

The ride took her to a place so different from before. She’d never been inside, the air was tight, smelled and felt so strange, and there was so much noise.

She had her first lessons there, human lessons. It was hard, at first, to understand humans, but after a while she learned to accept them. Even love them. For a while she played there, outside with new friends.

Frolicking in the big fields was almost like being home again. It was there she was taught many new things, human things. Some were very fun, some confusing, but she always tried her best. In the evenings she and her new friends would gather together, groom each other and help each other understand.

Blackie was different from the others, they had all been born right here. They seemed to learn faster than she, but the friendships they forged were just as real as the friends she’d left behind, before the big chase.

She walked from the fence, just far enough so she could lie down. If the truck and Chance came back, she would be right here, waiting.

It had been a long time since Blackie had thought of those early friends, but tonight she remembered each of them. That first summer, long ago, in the new place, had seen each of them leave, one at a time. Blackie stayed two more years. She had her first foal there. Those sweet months with her baby by her side, those are some of her fondest memories. She would have two more foals, each at new places. Each one she left behind as she was taken to new places.

Blackie rolled onto her side, stretched out her neck, heaved a heavy sigh. She thought of those babies. She wondered where they were tonight.

She pulled her tired legs under her, stood and shook. It always feels good to shake. She gave another look far away, and got lost in her thoughts. She thought of the places she’d lived. She remembered the friends she made along the way. She thought of the children so proud to ride her. For a wonderful few years she’d been proud to teach children to ride at the beautiful farm in the mountains. Those were fun days, and she’d had great friends there. Horses and human. She met Chance there. Chance told her his stories. She told Chance, her stories. They understood each other.

One day, she and Chance were loaded together, and they came here. For a while they taught children to ride here too. Then no more children came and it was just she and Chance, and Michelle. Michelle was nice, perhaps the kindest of all the people she’d known. There had been some bad places, and people, over the years, but here with Michelle things were very good. It was peaceful here.

She would miss Chance; she knew he would miss her. Perhaps he’ll go to a place where there is a woman like Michelle, who can hear him. And know there is more to his story. There is always more to our stories, and we can tell them, if people listen.

Blackie laid down, stretched out, and closed her eyes.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch.

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