Hi! Jinja here yet again! Mixed emotions this time! Where do I start? Well, a lot has happened in a very short time! We’re only four months from the end of my last account and so much has taken place. I’m rushed off my feet trying to keep tabs on a new foal, two new horses and some kittens! But cats cannot be included in the herd Jinja! I hear you shout. Well forget that for now, they can and they are all right! Can we get on with the story now? Yes? Good!
Right, now, let me think for a bit. Umm, well, start from the twenty eighth of April I think. Hmmm, well, There was a very strange thing that took place that day. Domino decided to give birth to another foal! We never knew she was pregnant! I suppose that explains it all don’t it! You remember don’t you? The way Domino nearly killed me in the last story? Well at seven in the morning Domino foaled down yet again! Domino’s new foal is brown and white with a black tail. I think the shortened version of that is to say that the foal is tricoloured. But isn’t that a flag? Oh well never mind about flags and other things that wave in the breeze, we haven’t got time for those. Domino’s new foal is called Masquerade or Mac for short. She’s a spritly little thing, cheeky as you please and never a minute goes by without Mac getting into all sorts of mischief. She even ran up to me, pulled my tail and ran off yelling:
“Come and get me Jinja!” I ran after her and pretended that I couldn’t catch her. But I knew, and Mac knew that I would have outrun her five times over. Even so she mocked me for not catching her!
“Jinja’s slow, he can’t even get me!” I rushed forward at her and Mac squealed with mock fear.
“Oh Jinja, I’m so scared of you, not!” She proceeded to plague me rotten, Dancing in and out of the barn where I lived in the summer months. Domino came to see where her foal had disappeared to.
“Oi Mac! Don’t plague Jinja!” She snapped. I was getting very tired of Domino’s tight reign on her offspring! Surely she would have learned from her Son Dominic that she had done the wrong thing to restrict him! But it appeared that Domino, true to her form, had not listened to her foals. This infuriated me greatly! I let fly at Domino with all my force!
“Domino! Let Mac be herself will you! She’s a foal! Foals do that sort of thing, of course you never did, did you Domino? Oh no,,,” I paused for breath and let go at the top of my voice!
“well, that’s rubbish! Of course you did Domino! Leave Mac alone for a bit!” Domino protested,
“But what if she comes to harm Jinja?” I replied:
“Cleo’s reformed and the leader of the field horses is away, no problems there.” Domino watched as Mac challenged me to a fight.
“Come on Jinja, let’s see what you’re made of!” she said. I replied:
“Flesh and blood Mac.” The foal laughed uproariously at this.
“No, no Jinja, silly horse! I mean can you fight?” Visions of Dominic flashed through my mind as I replied:
“It’s not very good to fight other horses Mac.” Mac sighed,
“You sound just like mum, come on Jinj’, let’s see you give it some!” she urged. So I pushed her gently with my nose until she lost her balance. Mac stared at me.
“I’m not tangling with you no more Jinj’!” she said. I laughed,
“Well Mac, I’m glad to hear it.” I said. Mac rubbed her nose against mine. I had to lean down to her so she could do this. Domino watched us with disapproval! Mac said:
“You’re funny Uncle Jinja.” Domino thumped Mac hard with her nose! Mac squealed in shock!
“What was that for?” she asked agrievedly. Domino was incensed, totally apoplectic with rage!
“Don’t you ever relate me to that, that brainless idiot!” she yelled. Mac was upset,
“But mum, Jinja’s the leader of the herd, he’s not brainless!” she whimpered.
“Some leader are you Jinja! You’re only leader because you were married to Rosie! You’re leader by marriage and not by having been elected to the post!” Mac was crying. I felt so sorry for her. She said:
“But mum, Jinja’s a great horse.”
“You don’t know him Mac!” Domino replied. Mac looked at me.
“Can I call you Uncle Jinja?” she asked. I smiled at her.
“Yes if you like Mac.” I replied. Mac could have no idea how honoured I felt. I haven’t had any foals of my own. Well not me physically having foals, you know what I mean. Well, to be asked by a foal if she could include me as a member of her family, even an honouree one, I had not been so flattered, if that’s the right word, in my life! There was a lump in my throat as I looked at Mac. Mac realised I was choked up and teased me about it.
“Jinja’s gone all soppy.” She said. I felt tears pricking the backs of my eyes. Mac added,
“Jinja’s crying.” I laughed.
“I can’t explain what your question has done to me Mac. If I tried to you probably wouldn’t understand.” Domino had lost her cool and ran out of the barn. Mac came up very close to me and I put my ear down to her.
“Mum don’t like me talking to you Jinj’.” She whispered. I smiled at the little creature.
“You don’t say!” I said. Mac laughed as she realised what I was doing. I was playing her game, with her rules. I nuzzled Mac’s shoulder.
“I like you very much Jinja.” She said. I was overwhelmed by emotion. I watched Mac walk away. I had only known that foal for three days. But she had inspired in me feelings of love and affection that I never knew existed. I mean I’ve loved horses before. Rosie and I have a great relationship. But the love between a husband and wife is very very different to that between an Uncle and niece. I unhooked my tethering chain.
“What was the point of chaining me to a post when I could just as easily release myself?” I thought. I wound the chain up and put it on the shelf beside me. Walking out into the sunshine I thought of all the people who were closest to me. John, Rosie, the Manageress, Clover, Beyancca and now Mac. I walked round towards the field to speak to Clover.
I found her eating grass in the topmost field owned by the Manageress. She looked up as I drew near.
“Oh hi Jinj’!” she welcomed. I looked at the horse that meant so much to me. Clover looked back one ear twitching slightly. Clover’s ears were a talking point. They stuck out at near right angles to her head. I had seen the Manageress, on many occasions while Clover was vaulting, hang the lungline over them. Clover sidled up to me and hugged me.
“Jinja, I’m sorry,,,” she sobbed,
“I’m sorry for saying what I did about drowning myself.” She had been screwing herself up for that; I could see it in her face.
“My dear, dear Clover. There’s nothing to be sorry about.” I replied. Clover rubbed her nose against me. I felt so confused. Suddenly I heard Mac coming towards us like an express train!
“Hey Uncle Jinja!” she shouted. Clover looked towards Mac.
“Who’s that?” she asked. Mac drew level with us.
“I’m Domino’s foal.” Mac replied. Clover looked long and hard at Mac. She didn’t say anything but I knew what was going through her mind.
“I’m dying and there’s new life standing in front of me.” Clover stretched out her nose and touched Mac’s. Mac looked scared. She looked Clover in the eye and was on the verge of asking her a question, but she couldn’t. Her eyes told me what she was trying to say.
“That horse is different, there’s something wrong with her. Not meaning to pry or anything, what’s wrong?” Clover professed to know nothing of the paranormal or spiritual power, but she read Mac’s mind right enough. Clover swallowed hard. She thought:
“What do I tell a three day old foal?” She looked Mac in the eye and said:
“Look,,,” Mac interrupted her.
“What’s your name?” she asked. Clover hesitated,
“Clover, and yours?” she asked.
“Mac.” The foal replied. Clover continued her original path.
“Well Mac, soon, soon I will be leaving here for good. You see I’ve got something wrong with me and I’m going to get it sorted out. But I’ll be staying there.” Clover gulped hard trying to fight back her emotions. She thought:
“I shouldn’t be telling Mac this!” Mac read Clover’s mind.
“You’re dying aren’t you Clover.” She said softly. Clover was unprepared for this kind of response. Clover had maintained a “stiff upper lip” in front of Mac, but now, overcome with fear and terror Clover let all her emotions hang out in the breeze. She cried into my fur. Mac didn’t understand Clover’s fear.
“It’s all right Clover dear.” She said gently. Clover looked through her tears at the foal.
“I wish it were Mac, I really wish it were.” She said. I remembered the experiences that I had during the last account. I remembered Pippin, the strange fruit tree, the salty stream and everything! I told Clover about it.
“Where’s this place Jinja?” Clover asked.
“I’ve no idea Clover my dear, but I suppose I had died and gone to this place.” I replied. Clover took a deep breath and said:
“Run that past me again Jinja.” I told her again, and a third time. I supposed Clover was trying to convince herself that all would be fine. Like a foal with a bedtime story. You tell them that to comfort them. By the end of half an hour Clover was calm and Mac was intrigued by the story I told. She asked,
“What happened to make you die Jinja?” I replied:
“Read the last story, in fact, second thoughts, don’t.” I told her everything that had taken place. Mac asked:
“Is Ruby still in a bad mood?” I replied:
“I hope not.” Clover looked back down the track towards the yard. Mac said:
“Clover, Jinja’s my uncle.” Clover smiled, she said:
“That’s nice.” We walked back towards the yard in silence. Clover rested her head on my shoulder as we walked.
“I don’t want to leave here Jinja, but I know I must.” She said. I looked at her quickly.
“Don’t worry about it Clover, think of Pippin, and Rosie.”
We reached the yard and Clover accompanied me back to my barn.
“Jinja my dear, I didn’t want to tell Mac that.” She said.
“Mac would have found out somewhere else if you hadn’t told her. Have you thought that what she might have found out from the others might not have been all true?” I asked. Clover replied,
“I suppose there is that.” For appearances sake I re-chained myself to the post. I didn’t like doing this because it was unnecessary, but it kept the humans happy. Clover looked towards the entrance. Domino came in.
“Have you seen Mac?” she asked. Clover shook her head. Domino sneered at Clover!
“Not you! You stupid wreck Clover, I wasn’t talking to you! It’s Jinja I was talking to, the bloody sod has taken a liking to my foal. I wondered if she was in here, well Jinja, what have you done with her?” Clover was shattered by Domino’s manner.
“Domino, Domino, she’s not in here, Mac’s not here!” Domino struck out at Clover! Clover squealed! Domino screamed into Clover’s ear!
“You’ve been talking to Mac haven’t you Clover?” Clover replied:
“Well yes I have, but she came past while Jinja and I were chatting. I couldn’t just ignore her! Mac realised that there was something wrong and I told her, I told her,,,” Domino struck Clover again and again! Poor Clover pleaded for her to stop but she continued hitting her! While Domino was beating Clover up she demanded,
“What, what, what did you tell her Clover! Tell me! Tell me!” Domino screamed. Clover tried to fight Domino off. I couldn’t watch this happen to my friend!
“Recent repairs to my body be dammed!” I thought. I waded into the fight and found that separating Domino and Clover was an easy process.
At that moment Mac made an appearance.
“Hi mum! What’s,,,” Mac stared at the scene in horror! She guessed that Domino had attacked Clover. This was obvious to her. Mac knew her mother could be violent when she wanted, and uncle Jinja wasn’t the sort to attack a lady? Was he? Mac supposed not. Mac didn’t know why she liked Clover but she did.
“Perhaps it was something to do with her caring nature, something like that.” She thought. Mac knew something for sure though. She was not going to let her mother beat up her friend! Mac attempted to stand between Clover and her mother.
“You’re being stupid mum!” she panted. Mac was driven by fear for Clover’s safety. She said:
“Mum, Leave Clover alone!” Domino glared at her daughter!
“Shut your mouth before I shut it for you!” she yelled. Mac was brave and stood up to her mother who she felt had done immeasurable damage to her friend Clover.
“But mum, I was talking to Jingle. You walked straight past me, I even called to you but you ignored me!” Mac began to cry.
“And now this has happened!” she sobbed. I felt worse than I had for a long time.
“Mac shouldn’t have to deal with this sort of thing at her age.” I thought. Mac tried to hug Clover. Clover put her nose down to Mac’s.
“Don’t worry Clover dear, mum’s being pathetic!” Mac said. Clover nuzzled Mac’s nose and tried to work out what made Domino so aggressive.
“Thanks Mac.” Clover said. Domino stormed out of the barn swearing outrageously! I watched her go feeling that Domino was a very stupid horse indeed! Clover sank to her knees and let Mac rest her head on her shoulder.
“I don’t want you to die Clover.” Mac whispered. Clover gulped back tears.
“I’ll be all right Mac dear.” She said. I watched them from a distance. I didn’t wish to interfere. Clover regained her feet with some difficulty. She swore under her breath as the bruised muscles and stiff joints complained.
“Bloody Domino’s really mucked me up!” Mac watched her friend’s pain with discomfort.
“Can I do anything for you Clover?” she asked. Clover smiled at her.
“No thanks Mac, I’ll be all right in a minute.” She gasped. Mac watched Clover limp away out of the barn. She turned to me.
“Is it wrong Jinj’, to be angry at my mother for what she’s done to Clover?” Mac asked.
“No it’s not wrong, you’re right to feel anger, beating up a horse for no reason is wrong, and beating up a dying horse is doubly wrong.” I replied.
“Thanks for sorting that for me.” She said.
“That’s all right Mac, any time you need me, I’ll be here.” I added,
“Day or night, I don’t sleep very well.” Mac laughed at this. I smiled and released my chain.
“Come on Mac, let’s go.” I said. The foal and I walked out into the daylight. I saw Rosie returning to her field. She called over to me.
“Jinja! Jinja! I’ve got to tell you something urgently!” Mac and I ran towards her.
“What is it Rose dear?” Mac had been told about Rosie and found it not a bit strange to find me talking to a horse that she had been told had passed away. But foals at three days old don’t reason such things. Rosie said:
“Jinja, Jinja, I’m sorry, really sorry, but, but, I have to, to go Jinja!” Rosie leant against my shoulder and burst into tears.
“Jinja, they have called me back.” She sobbed.
“Who Rosie? Who?” I asked.
“I don’t know their names, all I know is, is that I won’t ever be able to see you again!” Rosie replied. Mac was totally foxed by this.
“What? Who are they? Why are you crying Rosie?” Rosie replied:
“Don’t worry about that Mac.” Mac said:
“Well, I want to know.” Rosie told her about the place that I had, unknown to her visited myself. In a convenient pause I asked,
“Do you know Pippin Rosie?” Rosie stared at me in horror!
“How do you know Pippin Jinja?” she asked hoarsely. I told her about my brush with what I thought to be heaven.
“So you died on the operating table, but they brought you back Jinja?” Rosie queried.
“um, yeah.” I replied. Rosie asked:
“is it all right there? I mean, I just spent a few minutes there, collecting my visa and such like.” I replied that it was and that Clover knew about this place.
“You told her?” Rosie asked.
“Yes I did.” I replied. Rosie looked at me.
“Jinja, I, I have to leave you forever my love.” She said.
“Why Rosie? We’re doing fine here, there’s no problems.” I said. Rosie shook her head.
“I don’t know Jinja darling, I really don’t know.” I looked long and hard at my wife. I broke down.
“Rosie, don’t leave me my love, don’t leave me!” I sobbed. Rosie’s sorrow made her angry!
“There’s nothing I can do Jinja!” she shouted. Mac was horrified by Rosie’s apparent mall treatment of her husband.
“Rosie! There’s no need to talk to Jinja like that!” she yelled. Rosie turned towards Mac and hugged her.
“There’re things you won’t understand for many years Mac, and, this is one.” Rosie said. Mac replied:
“Jinja’s in pain, you can see it in his eyes Rosie!” I suddenly had a lump in my throat.
“Mac shouldn’t know about things like that at her age!” I thought. I felt a nose brushing my shoulder. I looked round to see Clover standing beside me. She had crept up without anyone noticing. Clover looked shell-shocked!
“R, Rosie, Rosie, I, I don’t know what to say. I can’t think of the words to describe how I feel,,,” But there was no need for Clover to put her feelings into words. One look at her eyes and you knew exactly how she felt. The loss and grief in Clover’s eyes seemed almost immeasurable. I hugged her.
“Rosie’ll be all right Clover dear, don’t worry about her.” I said. Rosie looked at me quickly.
“I hope you’re right about this place Jinja.” She said. With that Rosie walked away. She didn’t look back, but I could guess at her feelings of betrayal. She had believed that she would be with me forever. Now that belief had been shattered. Clover, Mac and I watched Rosie disappear into the distance. Clover shook her head trying to dispel her fears. As for Mac, well, she watched Rosie’s departure with sadness. But she couldn’t understand why Clover and I were so devastated by her leaving. I felt empty. Rosie had gone, possibly forever. I then remembered something she had said.
“Think of me Jinja, I’ll be there.” I would never forget her, and, I’d never have another wife. Clover suddenly turned tail and ran off! Mac called after her:
“Clover, where are you going?” Clover didn’t answer.
As Clover made her way back to the yard she turned my story over and over in her mind. She thought,
“Jinja says he has experienced this place, and he wouldn’t make something like that up. So I must believe that it is true. If I don’t then I’ll go insane with worry!” But then she thought,
“Jinja could have been making it up.” Clover was back to square one. She was so preoccupied with her thoughts that she almost crashed into the Manageress. The Manageress saw the look in Clover’s eyes and put her arms around her neck.
“Don’t worry Clover, things will be fine.” The human said. Clover thought,
“If both the Manageress and Jinja say it’s going to be fine then it is.” Clover walked away from the Manageress and into the street where Domino lived. She thought herself mad for going to the person who possibly hated her more even than the leader of the field horses, but she felt compelled to go. Before she departed she felt she had to deal with Domino! Clover searched without success for the piebald horse. She was turning back and had nearly given up when she spotted her. Domino was again searching for Mac.
“Doesn’t she ever leave Mac to do what she pleases?” Clover asked herself. She supposed that Domino didn’t know the meaning of a long reign. Clover called over to Domino.
“Hey Domino!” The much-hated horse spun round and scowled at Clover.
“What the hell do you want?” she asked. Clover replied:
“Why do you treat Mac with so little respect?” Domino shot Clover a look of total hatred!
“How I treat my foal is up to me Clover!” she said acidly. Domino then shouted in Clover’s face!
“You and Jinja are not helping matters!” Clover ran away much frightened by Domino’s outburst. Domino watched her go. She shouted:
“You’re a wreck of a horse Clover, don’t forget that, and don’t pretend anything else. You’re fooling yourself.” Clover’s feelings were beyond words. She felt anger towards Domino, concern for Mac and the other horses she would leave behind, and terror for herself.
“I can’t die without knowing Mac’s going to be all right!” she thought. Clover then thought:
“But Mac’s not your problem, leave her Clover, don’t worry about her.” But Clover couldn’t leave Mac to fend for herself. Clover wasn’t the type to leave anyone in need, especially a foal like Mac. The first time she set eyes on the tiny creature she had fallen in love with her. Clover couldn’t stand the way Domino treated Mac. Clover suddenly felt very very tired.
“Got to sleep, can’t do anything else now.” She thought. Then Clover realised what was happening! She ran, frantic with terror! She ran headlong into the field where Mac and I still stood. Her wild expression stopped us in our tracks.
“Clover darling, Calm down dear!” I said. Clover was so scared she couldn’t get the words out! Her eyes screamed their message clear enough!
The Manageress had seen Clover’s flight and now was beside her. Clover lay down on the grass shaking uncontrollably.
“I’m dying Jinja!” she said. The Manageress cradled Clover’s head in her arms. Clover looked at me.
“Protect Mac for me.” She pleaded. I promised that I would look after Mac. Clover sank deeper in to unconsciousness.
“Don’t fight it Clover.” I said gently. Clover seemed to relax.
“I’ve no need of this body any more, I’ll leave it here I think.” Clover murmured. She closed her eyes and the Manageress stroked Clover’s ears gently. Clover died peacefully. I know that in her final minutes she had come to terms with her fait. Her fear was for those horses left behind. Clover’s feared for Mac’s safety more than anything.
“Clover’s with Rosie isn’t she Jinja.”
“Yes she is Mac.” I replied. Mac was crying.
“I’m going to miss Clover.” She sobbed. I hugged her.
“Come on Mac dear. Clover wouldn’t want you to be sad.” I said gently. The Manageress laid Clover’s head down on the grass and straightened up. She then hugged both Mac and myself. I could see the sadness in her eyes. I rubbed my nose against her arm as she hugged me.
“You’re a funny chap Jinja.” She said. Mac and I walked with the Manageress out of the field and along to the main yard. The Manageress went into the office to break the sad news to the rest of her staff. Mac and I walked dejectedly round the yard trying to sort out our thoughts. We broke the news to the other horses as gently as we could. The yard was thick with grief. Ruby and Balugue felt it most keenly. Balugue had been a lifelong friend of Rosie. Ruby had lived next to Clover all her life. I hesitated about telling Beyancca because she was so young and had been close to Rosie before she departed. Beyancca realised that something had happened to her friend and managed in her own way to get the information out of me. Beyancca’s tears ran down her nose and fell onto the straw.
“But Jinja, how can Rosie die twice?” she sobbed. I explained the theory of Re-incarnation. The expression on Beyancca’s face told me that I had foxed her.
“First Jinja tells me that Rosie’s vanished, and then, he goes on about this re-incarnation thing. I can’t understand it.” She thought. Mac stared at Beyancca until she started feeling uncomfortable. Mac was so inexperienced that she didn’t recognise the signs. Beyancca shifted uneasily from foot to foot while trying not to look Mac in the eye. I thumped Mac until she yelled at me.
“Jinja!” I snapped:
“Don’t stare at Beyancca like that, she doesn’t like it Mac!”
“Sorry.” Mac replied.
“It’s not me you should be apologising to Mac, it’s Beyancca!” I yelled. Beyancca unbolted her door and walked away from us. She dragged her feet as she walked. I watched a very distressed six year old horse walk towards, she didn’t know where. Beyancca was walking without purpose. Aimless wandering that took her round and round the yard. I’m convinced that she didn’t know where she was. Once I saw the expression on her face. Beyancca’s blank stare and confused expression frightened me. She said:
“First Rosie, then Clover. Who next?” She was passing the riding school where Balugue and Ruby had just finished work. Ruby snapped at Beyancca to:
“Stop whinging you bloody fool!” Ruby’s outpouring appalled Balugue.
“Don’t speak to Beyancca like that Ruby!” Balugue said forcefully.
“oh! Hey! Here’s something. Balugue being leader, like she wanted to be all those years ago, remember that Balugue?” Ruby sneered. Balugue remembered her failed bid for the leadership of the herd. She had regretted it ever since. Right now was not the time for Ruby to be teasing her about it either. Balugue bared her teeth at Ruby and snapped:
“Shut it Ruby!” Ruby mocked her. Balugue lost her cool in a very un-leader-like manner.
“Look Ruby, I’ll bloody murder you!” she yelled. Then Balugue realised what she had said.
“Oh, I didn’t mean that!” she said quickly. Beyancca on the other hand had been destroyed by Ruby’s comments. She had gone beyond weeping! Her anger at Ruby was so intense she didn’t know what to do. Beyancca just stood there, her eyes full of hate! Beyancca turned and walked away. Ruby jeered at her.
“Scared at the sight of me Beyancca? Well you’d better be! You’d better watch your back, I’ll be round to knock you from here to the moon and back again!” Beyancca tried so hard to ignore Ruby’s comments. But like all young horses she could only be so tolerant. Suddenly Beyancca’s control snapped! She whirled round on Ruby and attempted to put a stop to her spiteful remarks. But Ruby was a lot stronger than Beyancca and knew more than she did about fighting. Before Beyancca could really think about what she was doing she was lying on the concrete panting for breath as Ruby thumped the air out of her lungs. Balugue was so shocked at first by Ruby’s sudden turn that she stood and stared for precious seconds. By the time Balugue ran off to get help, Beyancca was already winded. Balugue ran as fast as she could possibly go. Even that did not seem fast enough! Balugue was searching franticly for Dominic!
“Got to find Dominic! He’ll sort this mess out, I’m not powerful enough to stop Ruby!” Balugue thought. She skidded around a corner and came face to face with whom at that moment was the most welcome person on this Earth. Dominic stopped her.
“Balugue, you look awful! Hey what’s happened love?” He asked pleasantly. Balugue jabbed her hoof at him!
“This isn’t a laughing matter Dominic! Beyancca’s being attacked by Ruby! I can’t deal with it because Ruby’s gone beyond reason.” Dominic swore viciously. He thundered off up the yard like an angry tornado! From the beginning of Balugue’s search, to when she finally located Dominic must have been a few minutes, no longer. But to poor Balugue it had seemed like hours. She followed Dominic up the yard at a more leisurely walk. When she got back to where the fight had taken place she found Ruby, Beyancca and Dominic all standing upright. Ruby was screaming at Beyancca!
“Beyancca! You attacked me! I was only defending myself!” Beyancca, confused to start with was now switching off. She couldn’t work out anything at all. Ruby took this silence as proof of Beyancca’s guilt.
“You don’t deny it Beyancca? Thought I was right, ha got you!” Beyancca knew this was wrong. She knew Ruby had wronged her, but she didn’t know the words Ruby did. She couldn’t express herself in a way that Ruby would understand. Dominic threw his two pence worth into the now heated monologue. You see, Beyancca wasn’t saying anything. Before she had time to think of one reply Ruby had ploughed onto yet another bone of contention. Poor Beyancca was in a spin. Dominic said:
“But Ruby, you kicked Beyancca when she was quite clearly down. That’s a very dishonourable thing to do you know.” Ruby spat at him.
“What rubbish! You kick the field horse leader all the time Dominic, and you know it!”
“The field horse leader is dangerous to all of us. Beyancca couldn’t have hit back, even if she wanted to. It’s all a matter of who you’re fighting Ruby. I’m not saying what you did was right, no, what you did to Beyancca was disgraceful!” Ruby spat repeatedly at Beyancca. Beyancca ran away in terror! Balugue watched her go.
“Poor young thing.” Balugue thought. Mac and I walked round to the riding school after hearing Ruby’s shouts. Beyancca was so frightened that she didn’t see me standing in front of her. She Crashed into me nearly knocking me over. I watched the poor horse run into her box. She slammed the door and hid her head in the furthest corner. Mac ran round to comfort Beyancca. She tried to scramble over Beyancca’s door. Beyancca couldn’t help laughing as she watched Mac’s attempts to get into her box.
“Hang on Mac dear, let me help.” She said. Beyancca opened her door and let Mac in. Mac settled down in the straw, Beyancca did likewise. Mac had something she wanted to ask her friend.
“Beyancca, today I saw a notice on Clover’s door. It said that Clover passed away on the twenty ninth of April. It also said that loving memories of Clover would always be treasured.” What is the meaning of that notice Beyancca?” Beyancca looked at the foal.
“It’s called an obituary. It’s a human thing. It helps them to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones.” Beyancca replied. She didn’t know much about human grief, so she couldn’t answer Mac’s question as well as she might have wanted. With that Beyancca closed her eyes and settled down. She seemed to be comforted by Mac’s presence. Mac watched her new-found friend sleeping in the straw. Beyancca may have run away at first, she was distressed at the news about Rosie and Clover. Mac gradually fell asleep in the straw. She drifted off gently into a fantasy world. She had seen birds flying. She dreamt that she could do as they were. She dreamt that she could lift her feet off the Earth and fly.
Mac’s dream released her from the constraints of her own body. She imagined she was flying through the air. She looked down to see a river passing beneath her. She flew down towards the river. Mac panicked at the last moment! Unable to stop herself from hitting the water she screamed for help! Mac awoke, she was soaking wet! She shook her head and was surprised to see the volume of water that came off her fur. Mac couldn’t work out what had happened to her. She looked towards the door and saw the reason she was wet. A bucket lay on the concrete of the yard just outside the box. Mac looked towards Beyancca. Beyancca was wet also! This was very strange indeed. Mac thought:
“Beyancca’s wet, I’m wet. What’s happened here?” Mac heaved herself onto her feet and walked out into the yard. She stopped. Turned back and returned to Beyancca. She wondered why Beyancca hadn’t woken when she had the water thrown over her. Mac nudged Beyancca until she got a response. Beyancca struggled to her feet and shook herself. She looked down at the sodden straw.
“Yuck! What a mess! I’m not impressed by it!” She fumed. The two very wet friends walked around the yard trying to dry off. Beyancca walked out into the road. She turned left away from the main yard and went in search of Cocain. Cocain is the resident stallion. Beyancca wasn’t looking for sex before you wonder! No, she felt sorry for the poor stallion. He never seemed to get any social visitors. All the mares that visited him were there for one thing and one thing only. Beyancca wasn’t interested in procreation. All she wanted was to make Cocain feel needed for more things than just his sexual prowess. Beyancca then did a very unhorse-like thing. She whistled as she walked. She surprised herself. Then she realised what the tune was.
“Oh no, Stop by the Spice Girls, what’s come over you Beyancca! Better stop whistling it, think of another tune quick!” she thought. The sun was shining, the grass was warm, and it was a great day to to be alive. Beyancca tried whistling another tune. She was feeling so happy that she almost danced along the road. Cocain saw her coming and wondered what the yard was coming to.
“Hey, Beyancca isn’t it?” Cocain asked.
“Yeah, well I was when I last checked.” Beyancca replied.
“Oh very funny. What can I do for you?” Cocain asked. Beyancca explained her reasons for searching him out. She noticed the flicker of realisation in Cocain’s eyes as she explained her business. Beyancca knew that Cocain wasn’t just driven by sex. There was another side to him that most other mares had no concern for. But Beyancca knew about this other side to Cocain. She wondered if she had inherited some of her knowledge from Clover.
“Clover knew a lot about a horse’s mind.” Beyancca thought. Cocain rubbed his nose against Beyancca’s shoulder.
“Thanks for your concern Beyancca. I’m fine really I am.” He said. Then he remembered something.
“Oh, I almost forgot, how’s Clover these days? I heard she had something wrong with her.” Beyancca’s face told Cocain what she couldn’t bare to say out loud.
“I’m sorry.” He said. Beyancca knew he meant it. Cocain looked up the road to where the Manageress was coming down towards him with Fleur and Domino in a driving pair. Beyancca thought:
“Better make myself scarce!” She jumped the fence into Cocain’s field. Domino and Fleur came along-side Cocain. Domino forgot all about her driving duties and attempted to snap the harness so she could get at Beyancca. The Manageress fought to keep control of her. Fleur was copping it big time! Domino had already kicked her twice! Once on her right fore fetlock and again on her right shoulder. She was not happy! So the Manageress had Domino plunging and bucking in her attempts to get at Beyancca, and Fleur hitting out at Domino because she was getting hurt! The Manageress jumped down and freed Fleur from the harness. Fleur turned tail and ran! She fled back to the yard and tore open her box door. Hurling herself inside she slammed it hard! Fleur realised she was panting for air. She calmed down a little and was immediately questioned by the horse that lived one door to her right. This horse was named Chantilly. She was new to the yard and had not yet got used to the goings on.
“What’s going on Fleur?” Chantilly asked.
“Domino’s going ballistic!” Fleur replied.
“But why?” Chantilly asked.
“Beyancca’s meant to have wronged her in some way or other.” Fleur then tried explaining what she knew of the feud between Domino, Beyancca and myself over Mac’s welfare.
“Sounds complicated.” Chantilly observed.
“It is, I don’t fully understand it myself.” Fleur admitted. Just then Beyancca came back into the street and opened her door. She slammed it behind her. Misty asked:
“Didn’t you have Mac with you earlier?” Beyancca nearly bit Misty’s head off!
“Yes I did, don’t mention Domino or her foal ever again!” she screamed. Misty became concerned.
“What’s the matter Beyancca?” Beyancca was almost crying.
“I went down to see Cocain. To see how he was in himself, nothing more. Well, while we were chatting, the Manageress came down the road with Fleur and Domino in a driving pair. Domino saw me and went mad! I think Fleur can tell you the rest. I’m sorry for including Mac in my outburst, I didn’t mean to include her. She’s done nothing to harm me, quite the opposite in fact.” Beyancca said. Fleur filled Misty in on the details as far as she knew them. Misty shook her head in wonder.
“Why doesn’t Domino just let Mac find her own way?” she asked herself. Domino came sweeping into the street in a raging fury! She scanned the surroundings to see where Mac had gone. Domino fastened her gaze on Beyancca’s face.
“You’re a, a,,,” Domino couldn’t think of the words to insult Beyancca. Beyancca tore open her door and ran out of the yard. She fled up the track and into the top field where Clover had first met Mac. Beyancca threw herself down on the grass feeling sick with fear and grief. Mac and I found her there a short time later. Mac ran to her friend when she saw the expression on Beyancca’s face. Mac skidded to a halt and fell onto her knees beside her.
“Beyancca, are you all right dear?” she asked. Beyancca looked sadly at Mac.
“No, I’m not really Mac.” Mac rubbed her nose against Beyancca’s. Beyancca closed her eyes and laid her head on the grass. I watched the Manageress come towards us from the yard. I wondered what she wanted. I didn’t have long to find out.
“Come on Jinja, time to work.” She said.
“Do I have to?” I asked. The Manageress sighed,
“Yes, if you didn’t have to I wouldn’t ask you.” She replied wearily. I told Beyancca and Mac where I was going and left the field. I was tacked up and led out into the yard.
“I’m hacking at least.” I thought. The Manageress climbed onto my back and I walked out onto the road. My aversion to work subsided as I walked along the road towards the track leading into the woods. We hacked in a part of the wood that had not been damaged when Fleur’s part had been destroyed. Oh, I have good news about that. I nearly forgot to tell you. They’re re-planting the trees that were mistakenly cut down. I’ll never see the wood in its former glory. But Mac might. I accelerated to a jog and then tried to loap, but, the Manageress checked me back and I had to be content with half speed. My hooves clattered on the road as I jogged. I went into a sort of auto pilot and concentrated not on where I was going, I had no need to do that because I knew where to go, because of this I concentrated on my surroundings, what I could see, hear, smell, and feel. I turned right into a field and the clatter of my hooves became a gentler drumming, I was still jogging. The grass was green. I remember thinking that I hadn’t seen such lush grass for a long time. The air was warm and smelt of freshly mown grass. I drifted off into my own world then. I was half-conscious of what was going on around me, but the greater part of my mind was focused on nature. I looked through half closed eyes at the surrounding bushes, trees and plants. I remembered the time when Figaro Perdy and I had swam downstream to their home. I remembered the fox and the brainless Dalmatian. I reflected on how wonderful life was. I thought:
“Don’t waste it Jinja. Do things while you can.” A slight touch with a riding crop on my flank brought me back to reality.
“Come on Jinja. Wake up mate.” The Manageress said. I shook myself and tried to concentrate on my job. This was difficult. I trailed back into the yard feeling more tired than I had for a long time. The Manageress led me back to my barn and tied my chain to the post. As soon as she had gone I untied the chain and escaped. I walked up to the top field and rejoined Mac and Beyancca. Mac jumped to her feet when she saw me coming.
“Hi Jinj’, Beyancca’s asleep.” She said. I smiled at the foal.
“No sign of Domino.” I said. Mac gave me a disgusted stare.
“Domino can go fly as far as I’m concerned.” She said viciously.
“That’s no way to talk about your mother Mac! I know what you mean though.” I remonstrated. Beyancca stretched and yawned.
“Was I asleep? Oh dear, mustn’t do that again.” She said. Mac laughed.
“Beyancca’s been asleep for hours Jinja.” Beyancca stretched her legs and got lazily to her feet. She looked round her with half closed eyes.
“I don’t want this day to end.” She said dreamily. I shook myself vigorously.
“Ah well, what next?” I asked. I looked down the track towards the yard. I watched the other horses going about their business. We walked out of the field and down the track towards the main yard. Domino watched us coming down the track with a mixture of hatred and rage! As Beyancca passed Domino kicked Beyancca on her fetlock. Beyancca squealed with shock and pain.
“Domino, I can’t stand you, your treatment of Mac, your treatment of Fleur and your attitude in general!” Domino turned her back on Beyancca and stormed off. Mac watched her mother go. She couldn’t control her rage!
“I think you’re stupid mum!” she yelled. What happened next was so quick that I have trouble remembering it. Domino came flying back, grabbed a piece of Mac’s mane in her mouth and dragged the poor foal off! Domino looked like a terrier with a rat! Beyancca shouted at the piebald horse to be careful with Mac. Domino dropped Mac on the concrete, swore at Beyancca, picked up her shocked foal and dragged her off. Beyancca started screaming!
“Domino, if you hurt Mac I’ll be sad forever!” Mac yelled:
“Somebody help! Please! My mum’s gone mad!” Domino dropped her foal and ran towards us in one of her blind furies. She barged through me and I ended up on the floor after that. Domino’s target was Beyancca. She saw Beyancca as the root of all her problems! Domino and Beyancca fought like cats! Hang on a minute. Domino and Beyancca are horses, so could someone please tell me how they could possibly fight like cats? Anyway they did. The Manageress saw what was going on and came to deal with it. I lay on the straw strune concrete looking up at the mayhem. The Manageress separated Beyancca and Domino with difficulty. She called over to another instructor to lead Beyancca and Domino back to their boxes. She then attended to Mac and myself. The Manageress examined Mac and found nothing more than a very frightened foal. She then came to me. The Manageress ran her hand down my legs and across my ribs. When she touched my right shoulder I squealed!
“That hurt!” The Manageress sighed heavily.
“Back to the vet’s place Jinja.” She said. She called the vet on her mobile phone and he came out to visit me. He checked me out and diagnosed a badly bruised shoulder. It felt a lot worse than just a bruise. I limped back to my barn. I heard Mac following me. I stumbled into the barn and flopped onto my straw bed. Mac came in and settled down on a spare bale beside me. The Manageress watched us.
“Poor old Jinja, Mac’ll look after you.” She said. Beyancca walked in then. The Manageress stared at her.
“I thought you had been locked in your box.” The Manageress said. Beyancca smiled.
“I couldn’t leave Jinja in his state.” She replied. The Manageress stroked Beyancca’s ears and ran her hand down her nose. Beyancca rested her head on the Manageress’s shoulder.
“That feels great.” Beyancca murmured. Beyancca booted a bale of straw over to where Mac and I were lying and settled down beside us. It was blazing hot sunshine outside. But indoors it was cool and not too dark. Beyancca, Mac and I drifted off into a deep sleep. Nothing could wake us. We slept for what seemed to be an age. Beyancca had many vivid dreams during that time.
She dreamt that she was standing in a field with Clover. She could see Clover quite clearly. Beyancca felt that if she stretched out her nose she could touch her. Clover said:
“Don’t worry about me Beyancca. I’ll be all right.” Then Clover walked off. Beyancca watched her go unable to follow, no matter how she tried. She remembered having a very empty feeling when Clover left.
Beyancca was sobbing as she awoke. I got up off my straw bale and went to comfort her.
“Hey Beyancca, what’s the matter my dear?” Beyancca sniffed,
“Clover, she, she, oh Jinja!” Beyancca hugged me. She continued:
“I saw Clover, she said that I shouldn’t worry because she would be all right. I tried to follow her when she walked away, but I couldn’t Jinja, I couldn’t.” Beyancca dried her eyes and looked at Mac.
“Clover’s doing fine then Beyancca?” Mac asked.
“Yes Mac, she’s doing fine.” Beyancca replied positively. She had to be absolutely definite in her convictions. If she weren’t then Mac would notice for sure. This would lead to all sorts of awkward questions. Balugue stuck her head in at the door.
“You three all right in there?” she asked. We told her that all was fine. But Balugue knew it wasn’t and came in to the barn to help as best she could.
We told Balugue everything that had happened between Domino, Ruby and ourselves. Balugue listened without interrupting.
“If Rosie were here I’d ask her about your problem.” Balugue said. She saw the look on my face at the mention of my wife. Tears rolled down my nose and fell onto the straw.
“Sorry Balugue.” I sobbed. Balugue nuzzled my ear and hugged me.
“It’s all right to show grief for a loved one Jinja.” She said. Balugue continued:
“As I was saying, I’ll have to deal with this now.” Beyancca asked:
“Will you stand to be elected as leader of the herd?” Now it was Balugue’s turn to gulp back tears. She had bitterly regretted challenging Rosie all those years ago. She had never been able before a few weeks ago to say sorry to her for all the upset she had caused. But before Balugue could find a convenient time with Rosie on her own, well, Rosie had passed away. Balugue felt wretched. Mac saw Balugue’s tears and asked her why she was crying. Balugue explained in simple terms about the failed leadership contest and about how Cleo had always been the one that the horses thought was challenging Rosie. But the real challenger was herself.
“Rosie was furious! She vowed never to speak to me again. I can’t really blame her either.” Balugue concluded. Beyancca now realised why Balugue could never face being elected as leader of the herd.
“But Jinja, you’re doing a good job.” Balugue said.
“Do you really think so? Well, thanks Balugue.” I said. Balugue closed her eyes, she was thinking deeply.
“I think you should team up with Dominic Jinja.” She said.
“Why Balugue, I’D NEVER FORESEE Dominic and I getting on!” I replied. Mac put Balugue’s thoughts into the simplest terms possible.
“You’re the brains and he’s the muscle of the operation Jinja.” We all fell about laughing.
“That maybe true Mac, but Dominic’s not stupid.” Beyancca said. Domino came bulling her way into the barn!
“Where the hell’s Mac?” she shouted. Mac quickly hid between Beyancca and Balugue. She didn’t want to encounter her mother right now.
“I’m sorry Domino, but We’ve not seen Mac for ages.” Balugue lied. Domino’s look of horror as she absorbed this news was heart felt. She was truly worried for her foal. For once this wasn’t just another shot at controlling Mac. Domino was concerned for her foal’s welfare rather than for its behaviour. Domino’s eyes told us of her worst fears. She looked really frightened!
“If you see her, tell her I’m looking for her!” She gasped. Domino fled in panic!
Mac emerged from her hiding place smiling broadly.
“She never found me Jinja.” Mac laughed. I looked seriously at Mac. This was a shock to her. I had always been a playmate and now, I was acting more like a teacher.
“Domino was really worried for your safety Mac. I have a good mind to go and tell her where you are. This wasn’t one of her control bids. Domino was really frightened for you. I saw it in her eyes.” I said. Mac looked grave.
“Put like that it’s different.” She replied. Suddenly someone shouted:
“There you are Mac!” We spun round to find Domino standing in the doorway. Mac’s response was as cool as ever.
“Yeah mum, I’m here.” Domino replied:
“But you weren’t five minutes ago?” Mac explained what she had done. Domino wasn’t happy! She said quickly:
“You sod Mac! I was looking all over the yard for you. None of the horses had seen you, Polo hadn’t seen you, Cocain hadn’t seen you, no one had! I didn’t get to speak to the Manageress, she’s out. But I was so worried Mac! And you hid from me! And you three,,,” Domino shook her hoof at Balugue, Beyancca and myself. She continued:
“You three covered for her! You were part of the game!” We all apologised to Domino, and Mac had one last thing to say.
“It was fun wasn’t it?”
We walked out of the barn together. Domino and Mac peeled off and walked into a nearby field to find grass to stem their hunger. Beyancca, Balugue and I returned to the top field. The grass was excellent all over the field network. We pulled up great mouthfuls of the stuff, enjoying it hugely. I had an idea.
“Hey Beyancca, I think the typist would like you to tell the next story. Would you like to take over the rest of this one?” Beyancca’s face told me that she wouldn’t. Balugue looked over at the river. She stood motionless for a long time. She thought about the events of the last few weeks. Balugue lay down on the grass and tucked her fore feet beneath her. She closed her eyes and settled down. Beyancca and I lay down also. Balugue rolled onto her side and stretched out her legs. She fell asleep. We lay, I think the human term is “being “couch potatoes.” The Manageress came to get us to take us back to the yard. She found us flat out on the grass.
“Come on you lazy lot!” she shouted. The Manageress walked among us stirring our manes with her hand.
“I’m not moving.” I said. The Manageress tried to lift my head. I made myself as heavy as possible. The Manageress left me alone. She whistled to Balugue and Beyancca. They got up and followed the Manageress out of the field and down the track. I jumped to my feet and ran after them.
“Got you Jinja!” the Manageress said. I ran down the track towards the yard. I knew all would be all right now. Rosie and Clover were safe. Mac had a good friend in Beyancca, and an uncle in me. I decided I had to get to know Beyancca and Mac better.
We returned to the yard and Beyancca returned to her box. She flopped onto the straw, she rolled onto her back and waved her legs in the air! What a carry on! The Manageress watched Beyancca’s antics with amusement.
“You’re a silly horse Beyancca.” She said. Beyancca jumped to her feet and nuzzled the Manageress’s shoulder.
“Soppy thing aren’t you.” The Manageress said. The Manageress stroked Beyancca’s ears; Beyancca rested her head on the Manageress’s shoulder. The Manageress stroked Beyancca for a few minutes longer before leaving and going into her house. Beyancca unbolted her door and went in search of me.
I was in my barn wondering what to do next when Beyancca found me. I still had the three straw bales that Mac and I had lain on. Beyancca stretched out on one. She looked up at the ceiling and thought about her life and where it was going.
You see the truth was that Beyancca liked me a lot. Although she wouldn’t admit it. I suppose she would never ask me, because she knows that I’m committed to Rosie. But, well, I don’t know whether that commitment will last forever. I hope it will. I’d hate to think in a month or two I’m to use the human phrase, “going out” with another mare. I suppose life has to go on, and humans find other partners if their partner in marriage dies, so why shouldn’t a horse?
Then I decided that I couldn’t do it! My ties with Rosie were too strong. I looked at Beyancca. There was no doubt that she is attractive. Not only is she attractive, but she’s got an amazing personality. But I still loved Rosie!
Beyancca rolled onto her back and sighed contentedly.
“It’s a good life isn’t it Jinj’.” She said.
“Yeah, it’s good.” I replied. Beyancca jumped off the bale and came round to my side. She nuzzled my shoulder and watched my reaction. I hugged her.
“Jinja, Jinja, I like you very much Jinj’.” She said, I smiled at her.
“I can’t do it Beyancca.” I thought. I jumped off the straw bale and stood up. Beyancca’s eyes lit up as she watched me. I decided I would tell her straight.
“No Beyancca, I’m sorry.” I said. Beyancca stared at me.
“I don’t mind Jinja, perhaps it’s not a good thing to do yet.” Beyancca left the barn and I followed. We saw Domino and Mac coming from the field where they had spent, I don’t know how long. The sun was setting and the day was closing.
The shadows were getting longer. Beyancca looked at me in the fading light.
“Sorry about that Jinja.” She said. I was totally foxed.
“Please don’t worry about it Beyancca.” I reassured her. Beyancca looked sadly at me.
“Sorry Jinja. I really didn’t mean to.” She said. Beyancca looked at me for a long minute. She looked as if she would burst into tears any moment.
“I don’t want to ruin our friendship.” Beyancca said. I rubbed her nose with mine.
“Look Beyancca dear. Don’t worry about it. Please don’t feel bad about it.” I reassured her. Beyancca blinked back tears.
“I’m sorry Jinja.” I replied:
“Stop being sorry for things Beyancca.” Beyancca suddenly took fright! She turned tail and ran off! I called after her:
“All I want is to protect you Beyancca!”
I followed Beyancca at a safe distance. She didn’t seem to mind. I ran towards her meaning to run past her. When I drew near however she screamed in terror and lashed out!
“Get away from me Jinja!” she yelled. Beyancca took off at a terrifying speed! She fled towards her box. I returned to my barn feeling a little annoyed with myself. In fact that’s an understatement if ever I heard one. I was furious with myself. I started to ask myself questions.
“What had I done to upset her? Nothing as far as I could see. After all it was Beyancca who turned on the heat. She had made the first move, and now she was blaming me for it! All I want is for Beyancca to be happy! If she wants me as a friend, well fine, that’s no problem. But when she comes on at me, in an unmistakable way, and then when I respond cautiously she runs screaming! She told me she didn’t want sex. I hate the bloody practise, produces more foals than we can ever care for properly. Perhaps I did do something Wrong. Perhaps this, perhaps that, perhaps, perhaps, I don’t even want sex! oh forget it Jinja!” I kicked the partition wall in frustration! I grabbed my chain, whirrled it above my head and let it go with all my force! It shot across the barn and hit the wall with a satisfying “CRASH!” I yelled after it:
“Take that you sod!”
The noise brought Balugue in from the yard.
“What the hell’s going on here?” she asked. I stared at her, my eyes blazing!
“Who, Jinja, you look awful!” Balugue said. I quivered with pent up rage! I suddenly poured the whole sorry business out to Balugue.
“Hang on Jinja, wait, slow down a bit, please run It past me slowly mate!” she pleaded. I did as she asked.
“And now I’ll bet you she’s spreading lies about me!” I concluded. Balugue looked sadly at me.
“No, Beyancca wouldn’t do a thing like that Jinja.” She replied.
“I hope not, I really hope not.” I said. There was the distant sound of a horse’s hooves on the concrete outside. I turned to see who had come in. Imagine my shock when I saw Beyancca! She came in through the door and stood there staring at me! My surprise turned to fear! My legs turned to jelly as she faced me! I tried to hide my inner feelings from her.
“What can I do for you?” I asked. Beyancca snapped:
“Let me make amends, but I don’t deserve it!” She explained that Misty and Fleur had knocked some sense into her. They had made her see that it had been she who had made the first move. I told her about my questioning myself. Beyancca sighed.
“I’m sorry Jinj’.” She said. I knew that was all she could say. Her feelings of loneliness were indescribable. I hated seeing her like this! Beyancca should be without a care in the world at her age! But she had to deal with this situation. I walked across the barn, picked up the chain and recoiled it. Placing it on the shelf I turned to face my friend.
“Look, Beyancca, let’s forget this. Let’s carry on as before.” I said. Beyancca shook her head.
“I wish it were that simple Jinjj’. But it’s not so simple for me. I have to live with what I did.”
“All I want is to protect you Beyancca.” I replied. Beyancca nearly cried.
“I know Jinja. You wouldn’t hurt a fly. But I thought you were going to try and, well you know.”
“I would never do anything to hurt you Beyancca.” I reassured her. Balugue had watched this exchange with good grace. She hadn’t butted in and tried to change things. Thanks Balugue. She said:
“I’ll leave you two in peace.” Balugue walked out of the barn and disappeared. Beyancca sidled up to me and hugged me. She opened her mouth to apologise again but I stopped her.
“Don’t say anything Beyancca dear.” I said gently. Someone said:
“That’s nice Jinja.” We spun round to see Mac standing in the doorway watching us.
“How long have you been here?” I asked.
“Oh about a week.” Mac said sarcastically.
“Oh ha ha very funny. No Mac, what I meant was how long have you been watching Beyancca and me?” Mac smiled.
“Balugue led me to you.” Beyancca was shocked!
“You mean she told you?” she asked.
“No, No Beyancca. I followed her here and hid. I listened to all your conversation, so I know the whole thing.” I nearly let fly with a lecture on privacy, but I stopped myself.
“What would a seven day old foal know about privacy?” I asked myself. I reasoned that she wouldn’t know much. Mac laughed.
“You two would make a wonderful couple you know.” She said.
“We’re just friends that’s all Mac.” Beyancca replied. Mac’s eyes sparkled.
“I’m glad about that.” She said.
The Manageress came into the barn then. She saw Mac and told her to:
“Go back and see your mother Mac. She’s worried about you.” Mac ran off. The Manageress stroked our ears for a while. This felt good!
The next day the Manageress had a question for Beyancca and myself.
“What about a hack you two?” Our pricked ears and bright eyes told her all she needed to know.
“That’s settled then.” The Manageress said.
She walked out into the sunshine and we followed. The Manageress led us to the tack room where she fitted Beyancca and myself with the more comfortable western style tack. We gained saddles and riders. I carried the Manageress while Beyancca carried another instructor. We walked out into the countryside and were soon lost in the woods surrounding the yard. I drifted off into my world again and was quite contentedly thinking of the times Rosie and I had spent in the various fields we walked through when the Manageress gave me a command. I ignored it and carried on walking. The Manageress became more and more agitated until it was too late! My foot slipped and I found myself falling! THE Manageress baled out right enough, but I fell further and further,,”SPLASH!” I was in the river. The Manageress, Beyancca and the other instructor were standing on the bank finding the funny side of the situation. While I was finding a more uncomfortable and wet side to it! I floundered about for a bit wondering where the hell I was, sorting out up from down and wet from dry. I eventually found my way out of the river and hauled myself up onto the bank. The Manageress kept her distance from me. I wasn’t surprised either. All the tack was wet through, and the state of my coat did not bare thinking about. The Manageress attached a leading reign to my bridle and led me back to the yard. Once there she got hold of the hose and hosed me down.
“Get wet did we Jinj’?” Digby asked.
“Shut it Digby!” I snapped. Digby was upset by my tone.
“Sorry Jinja.” He said contritely.
“No, sorry Digby, I didn’t mean it.” I reassured him. My bad temper was because I had been suffering from a cold for the last few days and this encounter with the river wasn’t going to help recovery. The Manageress then got out the shampoo.
“Here goes.” I thought. I had what the humans call the works. I had my fur shampooed, my mane and tail brushed, my hooves cleaned out, basically anything the Manageress could do without actually giving me a full blown bath was done. Oh apart from a hair cut. I suppose horses don’t get haircuts. The Manageress then said something that all grooms say.
“Don’t roll in the mud Jinja.” What! I ask you! A human telling a horse not to roll is like us horses telling them to stop destroying the countryside. They just won’t take any notice! Horses are horses the world over. All right, we might all have our own personalities but we’re all horses. The same as all humans are human, if you see what I mean. Well perhaps not all humans are human. I’ll leave you to work that one out for yourself. While all this clean up was going on Beyancca was telling everyone about my swift departure from the track into the river. Most of the horses found it funny, but Mac found it hilarious! The thought of her uncle getting soaked appealed to her greatly! Thanks Mac!
I had a cold for the next week! I stayed in my barn feeling awful. All the horses came to visit me. But my constant companions were Mac and Beyancca. They kept me sane throughout those long days with nothing to do but lie feeling terrible. Many a time during that week did we discuss memories of Clover and Rosie. So much had happened since their passing that I couldn’t work out where the time had gone. It was now a month since Rosie and Clover’s sad deaths, and the yard was slowly recovering from the shock of their passing and getting back on it’s feet again.
I lost two of my best friends, but I’ve gain two new ones.” I thought. I looked at Beyancca and Mac. They watched me. There was no need to speak our thoughts, because each had similar thoughts to the other, even Mac.
I, MARTIN WILSHER, here by assert and give notice of my right under section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of the foregoing article.
© Copyright Martin Wilsher 1998-2000
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