THE TYPIST ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MISUSE OF GRRAMMER DURING THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE. ‘ORSES SHOULD LEARN TO SPEAK PROPER LIKE!
READING THIS STORY MAY DAMAGE THE GRAMMER OF SOME ‘UMAN READERS, YOU ‘AVE BEEN WARNED!
I was asked to put that in, ‘ope you enjoy the story.
“What was that you said? Oh right, um yeah, just describe myself, tell them who I am and such like. Yeah I can ‘andle that fine.” These ‘umans are full of ideas aren’t they. I’ll start again then.
Hi! My name’s
It all started in the yard a few months after Beyancca’s account ended. Both Brydy and B’ were doing fine after their little brush with Confiada and Misty. But Confiada and Misty were not doing at all well. I found out later that not only were they sent by Jasper and I to the Field ‘orses for a year and an ‘alf, I found out they ‘ad Beyancca’s former ‘usband to deal with, nice don’t you think? Well we were rid of two twisted ‘orses anyway. So we’re there in the yard, Jasper and I, we ‘ad Beyancca and Brydy getting on fine together and we ‘ad Silver talking non-stop to any ‘orse she could find. I know the littl’en is keen to find out things, but isn’t she going a bit far? One day she’ll really sink and end up talking to a Field ‘orse and getting the stuffing knocked out of ‘er. I looked down the yard from where my box stood. I saw many ‘orses I didn’t know and one I did. I signalled to Balugue to stop beside me. When she was alongside I motioned to ‘er that I would like to ‘ave a private chat with ‘er. Balugue nodded and I followed ‘er out of the yard and up the track towards the topmost field. We settled down in the long grass and I told Balugue about one of the Field ‘orses who ‘ad been giving me ‘assle. This particular ‘orse was named Jamie and was a proper pain in the bum! He was your usual Field ‘orse, obnoxious and rude. The stupid ‘orse was full of ‘is ‘erd’s doctrine and kept telling me stories of ‘ow ‘is breed ‘ad either killed or seriously ‘armed other breeds of ‘orse. It was depressing listening I can tell you! I told Balugue the stupid idiot ‘ad been ‘assling me on my own doorstep! The bloody ‘orse wouldn’t leave me alone! He kept on plaguing me, one night I got no sleep at all. I was living in fear ‘e might come back! Balugue sighed ‘eavily:
got a real problem
“You don’t need to tell me that.” I thought. Balugue suddenly thought of something:
“Aren’t you out in the fields with Jasper?” She asked.
“Um yeah I am, but Jamie’s still plaguing me.” I replied. Balugue said:
“Isn’t Jamie Beyancca’s former husband?”
“Yeah ‘e is. And that makes it an ‘ell of a lot worse for me I can tell you.” I replied. Balugue lay down on the grass with her legs outstretched. She sighed with contentment.
“Jamie’ll stop his game soon Chantilly.” She said. Balugue closed her eyes, she was falling asleep! I got up and shook ‘er shoulder.
“Oi Balugue you lazy ‘orse, wake up!” I said sharply. Balugue didn’t stir, I gave up. I walked back to the yard feeling rage towards my leader.
“How rude can she be? If I fell asleep while she was talking to me I’d get my ‘ead bitten off when I woke!” I thought agrievedly. I was so deep in thought I nearly ploughed ‘eadlong into Brydy. We were both so embarrassed by the situation; each tried to give the other room to pass. This resulted in us getting ourselves into a proper pickle. In the end Brydy turned and went the same direction as me.
“You all right Chantilly?” Brydy asked.
“Um yeah thanks, apart from Jamie that is.” I replied. Brydy looked stunned:
“What? What’s he up to?” I told ‘er what was going on.
“He keeps on asking when I’m gonna send more yard ‘orses to the Field ‘orse ‘erd Brydy. When I tell ‘im I’m not gonna send yard ‘orses to the fields on his say-so, ‘e gets cross and starts yelling at me. I tell ‘im to go jump off a cliff and ‘e kicks me! So there’s me, ‘opping round on three legs when ‘e comes in and takes out my other foreleg. I go down big time and am sprawled in front of the Field ‘orses. They all take turns to spit at me and shout insults. These insults are mainly concerning my ‘andling of Misty and Confiada’s court case. They said they’d like to
ave a go at Fleur. When I tell them they can’t ‘ave ‘er they get wild Brydy. Their leader, if ‘e can be called that, came up to me, bold as brass and told me that if I didn’t ‘and Fleur over to them ‘e’d see to it that I suffered. I told ‘im where to go and ‘e kicked and bit me until I was exhausted from fighting. Then they left me to bleed and think.” Brydy was staring at me.
“It sounds awful Chantilly. Have you told Balugue about it?” I replied:
“yeah I tried anyway. The stupid ‘orse only fell asleep on me didn’t she.” I looked down the track to where Jasper was lumbering towards us. When ‘e saw me ‘e whinnied with delight!
“Hey Chantilly my love!” ‘e ran to me and almost threw ‘imself at me! I did my best to catch the flying ‘orse and ended up on the grass with Jasper on top of me. He’s ‘eavy! Jasper gently levered ‘imself off me and stood up.
“Sorry Chantilly, I didn’t mean to ‘urt you.”
“That’s all right Jasper.” I panted. I lay on the grass getting my breath back. Finally I got slowly to my feet and shook myself gingerly. Jasper watched me anxiously.
“Oh Chantilly, I didn’t ‘urt you did I?” He asked.
“Oh no, squashed me though.” I replied. I saw Jasper’s pain. The truth was ‘e didn’t know ‘is own strength, nor weight neither. ‘e seemed to forget ‘e weighed more than a tonne. I massaged my aching right foreleg, and when that was a little less painful and stiff I turned my attention to other matters. Jasper came up close and rubbed ‘is nose against mine. I returned ‘is gesture and ‘e smiled.
“Wow! That does indescribable things to me Jasper!” I thought. Jasper saw the light in my eyes.
“You’re acting strange Chantilly. Come on love, I only smiled at you.” ‘e said.
“I love it Jasper, I really do!” I replied. Jasper blinked ‘ard. To anyone who didn’t know ‘im, it looked as if ‘e ‘ad something in ‘is eye, and was trying to get rid of it. But I knew ‘e was blinking back tears, the soppy old thing. Jasper’s the most compassionate and emotional chap I’ve ever met. I like an ‘usband who’s not afraid to show ‘is emotion. I embraced Jasper tightly.
“I love you Chantilly!” He sobbed. I rubbed my nose against ‘is.
“I love you too Jasper darling.” I replied. Brydy watched this display of affection calmly, as if she was used to seeing it regularly.
“Now that’s really nice.” She said. Jasper and I ‘eld on to each other for a long time. When we finally released each other we must ‘ave been like that for about ten minutes. We walked back to the yard proper with Brydy tagging along behind. On reaching the yard the first person we saw was Polo the white boxer dog. He stopped, stared at Jasper’s ‘ooves and then made comment.
“Cor, look at the hooves on him!” Jasper nearly died of embarrassment. I’d noticed ‘e didn’t like people discussing ‘is ‘ooves. He told me once that they were a permanent source of embarrassment to ‘im.
“But they give you a little bit of individuality Jasper. You don’t want to be, um, conformist do you love?” Jasper said he didn’t, but ‘is ‘ooves were still a source of embarrassment. Polo kept staring down at Jasper’s ‘ooves, despite Jasper pleading with ‘im not to. I ‘eard the Manageress calling me. I ran off towards the office with Jasper and Polo in tow. The Manageress wanted me to work, Yuck! ‘ate work at the best of times and especially now when Jasper and I ‘ad only just got used to each other. We wanted more time together, alone, in peace! I thought:
“Ah well, ‘umans pay my wages so I’d better work.” Jasper was also pressed into service. He was tacked up like me and ‘anded over to the largest, clumsiest ‘uman I’d ever seen. I pitied Jasper for ‘aving to carry that oaf. But ‘e took it all right and let the ‘uman clamber onto ‘is back. I looked across at my ‘usbband, thinking ‘ow much I loved ‘im. I stretched out my nose and touched ‘is. Jasper rubbed back against me.
“The best of British luck Jasper.” I said. I clopped across to where Fleur, Cleo, Digby and Beyancca stood. B’ noticed us and came across to meet us,, much to the annoyance of ‘er rider I must add. She rubbed both our noses with ’ers in a welcoming gesture. Beyancca looked up at the ‘uman on Jasper’s back.
“Um, draw the short straw did we Jasper?” She asked.
“You bet I bloody ‘ave!” Jasper replied. The Manageress gave Jasper a telling off for swearing.
“It’s not very nice Jasper!” She snapped.
“Leave me alone!” Jasper wailed. Of course ‘e’d ‘eard of my bit of backchat, I thought every ‘orse in the yard must of ‘eard by now. I didn’t go spreading it about! No! Other ‘orses did that for me. The Manageress mounted Candy and we walked out onto the road. I followed Jasper, ‘is enormous ‘ooves stirred up the dust on the road in front of me. At one point I ‘ad a ‘uge urge to embrace ‘im. I increased my pace , much to my rider’s annoyance, but I didn’t care! I drew alongside Jasper and pressed my nose against ‘is. ‘e laughed slightly and thumped my shoulder.
“’ang on a bit Chantilly! This isn’t the place, nor the time.” ‘e said. I fell back into line and followed the dust thrown up by Jasper’s massive feet. I drifted off into my own world. I thought of ‘ow much Jasper meant to me. He was so large, but so friendly, so caring, so wonderful! I almost cried out with joy, but stopped myself just in time. We turned right into a field and broke into a jog. I watched Jasper with ‘is clumsy ‘uman. Jasper seemed to be coping all right so I kept my nose out. But I ‘ad an ‘orrable feeling something was going to go wrong. Suddenly, for no reason I could see, the ‘uman on Jasper’s back gave ‘im a lot of crop! Confused and frightened by this strange behaviour, Jasper tried to obey the stupid ‘uman’s commands. ‘e tried to speed up but due to ‘is fear ‘e didn’t look where ‘e was putting ‘is feet. As a result Jasper put his right fore foot down an ‘ole in the turf! From then on I only ‘ad eyes for Jasper! ‘e fought to regain ‘is balance and failed! ‘is rider was thrown off ‘is back and Jasper ‘imself skidded on the wet grass and fell ‘eavily on ‘is right shoulder. Jasper lay on the grass kicking furiously with all four feet! Forgetting my rider I ran to ‘im and, avoiding the thrashing ‘ooves I knelt down by ‘is side.
“Jasper? Jasper darling? You all right love?” I asked anxiously. Jasper was panting ‘ard, ‘e looked awful.
“Chantilly, Chantilly darling, I, I’m all right.” Jasper stammered. I thought ‘e didn’t look it and told ‘im so.
“Really Chantilly, you do worry unnecessarily. I’m fine, honest I am.” Jasper assured me. I watched as ‘e tried to get to ‘is feet. The pain in ‘is eyes was terrible. Eventually Jasper managed to stand, and stood on the turf shivering violently with shock! I watched my poor ‘usband as ‘e fought ‘is emotions. ‘’is eyes when ‘e looked at me were wild! Jasper chewed ‘is tongue to moisten it a bit and said:
“I can’t, Can’t go on Chantilly!” With that ‘e limped to me and leant ‘is shoulder on mine. I don’t know ‘ow I managed to ‘old ‘im, but I did all the Same. Jasper’s nose was close to my ear. ‘e was panting ‘ard trying to get air into ‘is lungs.
“Are you really all right Jasper? Or are you telling me lies to spare me anxiety?” I asked. Jasper took a deep breath and said:
“I wann’a go ‘ome!” I embraced ‘im tightly. The Manageress came to take a look at us then. She ‘ad been dealing with the ‘uman who ‘ad fallen off Jasper’s back. She ‘ad given ‘im a real frying over the way ‘e ‘andled Jasper. Now she was coming to take a look at Jasper. The poor ‘orse was so shaken up by ‘is fall, ‘e couldn’t bare to move from my side. The Manageress took a look at Jasper and told ‘im to go back to the yard.
“You can stay here though Chantilly. You’re all right to work.”
“But no! I’m not letting ‘im go back on ‘is own!” I protested.
“Look Chantilly, Jasper’s going to be fine. I’m sending one of my instructors back with him. Please trust me.” I replied:
“No! You ‘umans know nothing!” I turned sharply and tore the reigns out of the Manageress’s ‘and! I looked at Jasper quickly.
“Come on let’s go!” I yelled. Jasper and I turned tail and charged off down the track with the Manageress shouting after us. We didn’t listen, all we were concerned about was getting away! All through this my novice rider ‘ung on for dear life! ‘e yelled:
“Chantilly! Chantilly! Stop! Stop! Please stop!!” I wasn’t listening ‘owever. I ran as hard as my legs would carry me to keep up with Jasper, who seemed to ‘ave learned to fly. When we reached the yard we skidded round the corner, much to my rider’s terror, and I came to a slithering halt by jamming my forefeet into the concrete! I used my momentum to turn and face the way I’d come. My now very frightened rider was taken off in floods of tears by an older ‘uman. The rider came round to say goodbye and I ‘ad the biggest shock of my life! The ‘uman I ‘ad inadvertently scared the life out of was only seven or eight! I immediately felt awful! I thought:
“The Manageress said “novice, she didn’t say “young ‘uman child.”” I nuzzled the poor chap’s shoulder, trying my best to tell ‘im ‘ow sorry I was for treating ‘im the way I ‘ad. The little ‘uman stroked my ears and patted me. ‘e didn’t seem too affected by our sudden turn of speed. Then ‘e turned ‘is attention to Jasper. Jasper ‘ad to lower ‘is ‘ead down to the ‘uman child because the ‘uman was too short to reach ‘im. Jasper milked the situation for all it’s worth. ‘e made quite sure the ‘uman wasn’t going away in an ‘urry. Jasper nuzzled and butted at the little ‘uman’s shoulder while the ‘uman stroked ‘im. Then we were untacked and left to go where we pleased. Jasper and I were dreading the Manageress’s return. Our thoughts were all of what she might say to us? Questions far greater in implication raced round my ‘ead.
“What would she say? ‘ow bad would any punishment be? Could we be sent to another yard for this? Would our ‘uman riders come back after we ‘ad done something as offensive as this? Possibly worst of all was the question, would Jasper and I be separated because the ‘umans thought we were a bad influence on each other? To this last question I ‘oped the answer was no. I couldn’t face being separated from Jasper. I think I’d go crazy! The thought distressed me so much I rested my ‘ead on Jasper’s shoulder and burst into tears.
“Hey Chantilly dear, what’s the matter?” Jasper asked.
“I’m afraid the Manageress would separate us for our little diversion.” I sobbed.
“No no Chantilly, she won’t do that my love. She can’t anyway.” Jasper said firmly.
“Oh yes she can, and she will! I’ll never see you out of the workplace ever again! We’ll ‘ave to end our relationship Jasper! I don’t want that to ‘appen!” I replied.
“neither do I Chantilly, and it won’t ‘appen love. Look be a sweet’eart and stop crying, there’s a good girl.” Jasper replied softly. I dried my eyes and looked into ‘is.
“Jasper, I love you.” I said. I saw ‘im swallow ‘ard. Jasper ‘esitated slightly. I saw ‘is attempt not to cry. Poor Jasper couldn’t take anything emotional. If ‘e came into contact with anything remotely upsetting, ‘e welled up, soppy old sod. But I knew that was why I loved ‘im. ‘e was so open with ‘is emotions it was touching.
“I love you too Chantilly.” ‘e said ‘oarsely. Jasper rested ‘is ‘ead on my shoulder and broke down in tears.
“You asked me not to cry and now you’re at it.” I thought. I cradled ‘is ‘ead on my shoulder while Jasper got it out of ‘is system. I knew the full horror of possible separation ‘ad ‘it ‘im ‘ard, and ‘e was finding it difficult to take.
Soon the moment of truth arrived. The Manageress came back from the hack, made sure Candy was safely in ‘er box and then she came to speak to us. Jasper quivered with fright at the sight of the ‘uman with the lunging whip. Jasper said something unprintable as ‘e looked at ‘er. The poor ‘orse began to sweat with fear! I pleaded with the Manageress:
“Please, could you put that instrument of torture down? I think you’ve made your point, don’t you?” I asked. The Manageress ‘esitated slightly.
“I want you to understand that this is serious Chantilly, and you Jasper.” I was so upset by Jasper’s reaction to the whip, I yelled at the Manageress!
“yes we know it’s bloody serious! What’re you trying to do ‘uman? Scare Jasper so much ‘e loses ‘is ‘ead? If you do that you’d lose a perfectly good ‘orse, because ‘e wouldn’t be fit for work. ‘e wouldn’t, can’t you understand that?” The Manageress was offended and upset by my tone. She put the whip down on the grass. I walked up to it and chipped it over the gate onto the road. A lorry came past and ran over the whip.
“A nice touch.” I thought. The Manageress watched us. Jasper was still terrorised by ‘er presence.
“What’s wrong with you two Chantilly, Jasper? You’re acting like a couple of foals lately.” The Manageress said.
“We just want some time on our own.” I replied. Jasper added:
“Also that bloody ‘uman on my back didn’t ‘elp. Did you see what ‘appened? That bloody ‘uman cut me raw with ‘is crop! I tried my best to respond to ‘is demands, but ‘e kept on whipping, whipping so bloody ‘ard I couldn’t go no faster! Then I tripped and threw the ‘uman off, good riddance I say! When I came to a halt on the grass I ‘ad no idea of where I was. I was battered, frightened and disorientated. “ I finished it:
“We ran off because Jasper couldn’t work, and I wasn’t gonna leave ‘im in the state ‘e was was I? I mean, no wife leaves their ‘usband when ‘e’s like Jasper was do they? Or they shouldn’t anyway.” The Manageress ‘eld up ‘er ‘and to stop me. She dropped ‘er H’s so I could understand ‘er better.
“What ‘appened to the ‘uman Chantilly?” I smiled at ‘er attempt to talk my language.
“Smart you ‘umans sometimes. The ‘uman was fine. ‘e might ‘ave been a little shaken up by our race through the country lanes, but that’s all.” I replied. The Manageress looked relieved at this news and changed the subject.
“Look you two. I know you’re in love and all that. But wasn’t this over doing it a bit?”
“You said I couldn’t go with Jasper. I wasn’t gonna leave ‘im on ‘is own with a ‘uman was I?”
“What do you mean by that?” The Manageress asked. I didn’t answer ‘er, instead I changed the subject.
“So what’s gonna ‘appen to us?” I asked. The Manageress replied:
“Nothing much. I’ll give you a warning though. If anything like this ‘appens again I’ll separate you, all right?” The look of ‘orror on our faces told ‘er that ‘er words ‘ad ‘ad their desired affect. The Manageress turned ‘er back on us and strode out of the field. She retrieved ‘er now very sorry looking whip from the road and looked at it.
“This is no good.” She said, and tossed it on the muckheap. We watched the Manageress go, grateful she ‘adn’t separated us. Jasper said:
“Nice work Chantilly, thanks for ,,,.” I ‘eld up my right forefoot to stop ‘im.
“Don’t thank me for anything Jasper. You don’t need to, because I would do anything for you. You do know that don’t you? It was nice to hear anyway.” I said. Jasper was close to tears again.
“yeah, I know Chantilly, I know.” ‘e said quietly. I hugged ‘im tightly. We settled down in the grass and watched the sun setting over the yard. I watched the shadows of other ‘orses as they moved round the yard about their business. I looked to my right and found Jasper lying beside me with ‘is ‘uge ‘ooves tucked beneath ‘im. ‘e was watching the Same thing I ‘ad been. I turned my attention to ‘im though. ‘e was much more interesting to me.
I took in every part of Jasper, from ‘is eyes, which were dark brown and watery, ‘is ears, large and pointed, ‘is neck, thick, long and strongly muscled. Then I moved my gaze to ‘is shoulders, massive they were, with strong bones and extremely powerful muscles. ‘is chest heaved up and down concealing a strong heart and lungs. Then my gaze travelled to Jasper’s legs. Strong they were, with massive ‘ooves on the end, and finally ‘is ‘ooves themselves. Wide and sharp and large, they were almost a status symbol, and ‘e found them embarrassing? I thought:
“What we gonna do with you Jasper? I’d do anything for a set of ‘ooves that large.” Jasper saw me looking at ‘im.
“I never knew I was that interesting.” ‘e said.
“To me you’re the best thing in the world Jasper.” I replied. Jasper looked away, greatly embarrassed by my comment.
“You can’t take praise can you Jasper love.” I thought. I reached over to ‘im with my right forefoot and touched ‘is left. ‘orses ‘ave feeling in their ‘ooves so I knew ‘e’d feel my touch. Jasper scrambled to ‘is feet and looked down at me. Then ‘e put ‘is muzzle down to mine and brushed it gently. I felt like an electric current was passing through me!
“Man you’re handsome Jasper!” I said. Jasper waved a massive ‘oof at me in mock anger.
“’e can’t ‘andle being praised.” I thought. I got up and joined Jasper in standing watching the goings on in the yard. Jasper shook ‘imself and looked at me.
“how about if we go for a walk tonight Chantilly?” ‘e suggested. I smiled with indescribable pleasure at the thought of walking with Jasper at midnight.
“Yeah, that’d be nice.” I replied. Jasper rubbed my nose ‘ard with ‘is. The touch of ‘is muzzle felt wonderful! I leant into ‘im, rubbing back against ‘is pressure! Jasper noticed this and laughed:
“You really enjoyed that didn’t you Chantilly.” ‘e observed.
“Yeah I did.” I said sincerely.
“Well I enjoyed it too Chantilly.” Jasper replied. I sighed ‘eavily trying to control a furious elation I felt. It was an incurable desire to hug and be close to Jasper forever and ever! I never wanted this feeling to leave me. I knew Jasper was the one for me and ‘e always would be. I ‘oped ‘e felt the same way. In fact I know ‘e did and still does.
I opened the gate and we escaped into the main yard. We wandered about for a bit, not really knowing where to go. Then we decided to go and pay Beyancca a visit. We found ‘er being shod in the main yard. It looked as if the job was nearly finished because B’ ‘ad three shiny new shoes and ‘er right fore foot was raised so a new shoe could be fitted. I whinnied at ‘er:
“Hey B’! ‘ow’s things?” I must ‘ave startled ‘er, because she whirled round, tearing ‘er ‘oof out of the cradle it ‘ad been put in to ‘old it steady. The Farrier looked up in anger!
“Look! Push off will you!” ‘e shouted. Beyancca got very angry at this and kicked the Farrier chap on ‘is knee with ‘er unshod right forefoot. The ‘uman ‘opped about swearing profusely at ‘er. B’ said:
“Stop wining and get on with shoeing me!” The poor ‘uman was in so much pain ‘owever, ‘e couldn’t do anything.
“You’ve busted my leg!” ‘e screeched.
“You shouldn’t shout at Chantilly then!” Beyancca replied. The poor ‘uman called Beyancca names I couldn’t begin to even ask the typist to print! ‘e stormed off without shoeing Beyancca. But ‘e left ‘er shoe on the ground, so Beyancca picked it up and carried it to the Manageress. She first showed the ‘uman the horseshoe and then waved her right fore foot to show it wasn’t shod. The Manageress, after falling about laughing at Beyancca’s antics for five minutes or so, shod ‘er, and sent ‘er on ‘er way.
“That’ll be a story you can tell other humans, won’t it.” She thought. Beyancca joined us and looked ‘ard at me.
“you scared the living daylights out of me back there. What the hell did you do that for?” She asked.
“Um, B’, sorry for that dear, but I was only being friendly you know.” I replied.
“Ah well, caused the Manageress to fall about with laughter anyway.” Beyancca said.
“You what B’?” I asked. Beyancca looked stunned:
“The Farrier left me with my right forefoot unshod. So I picked the shoe up and took it to the Manageress. I showed her the shoe and also waved my right fore foot to show it wasn’t shod. She found this hilarious and I thought I’d never get my shoe fitted because she was laughing so much. At first I couldn’t work out what she found so funny. But then it struck me horses don’t usually take their shoes to their owners and ask them to help them put the shoes on do they?”
“No I suppose we don’t.” Jasper said.
“We never do, it’s always the Farrier that does that.” I said. B’ looked at me. “What was that I heard about you giving the Manageress a bit of a hard time over what happened on the hack?” She asked. I told ‘er about our little conversation with the Manageress.
“Oh right, I see now.” Beyancca said. She clopped off, raising a shiny forefoot in a farewell salute. I turned my ‘ead to look at Jasper. ‘e was watching Beyancca’s disappearance. ‘e said:
“The Farrier will ‘ave an ‘ell of a job shoeing me. ‘e’ll ‘ave to make them specially for the job, ‘is regular shoes won’t fit.” Jasper waved ‘is massive right forefoot as if to emphasise that ‘is ‘ooves were ‘uge. I looked down for the thousandth time at my ‘ooves.
“They’re still tiny compared to Jasper’s.” I thought.
It was now getting dark. The lights came on in the yard and the evening stable run started. Lads came from all directions, sorting straw, ‘orse mix, water, drugs for ‘orses on medication and other such stuff that we didn’t really worry about, for that was the job of the ‘umans. Jasper and I returned to the fields and found our way to the river. We walked along it’s bank for a while, watching the wildlife. A fox came lumbering out of the wood. When ‘e saw us ‘e drew back in fear. I saw ‘e was only a yearling. I told ‘im not to be frightened, we wouldn’t ‘urt ‘im. Reassured by this the fox came forward a little from the cover ‘e ‘ad been standing under. ‘e looked with a sort of fearful fascination at Jasper’s ‘ooves.
“Don’t worry mate, I won’t ‘urt you.” Jasper reassured ‘im. The fox came fully out into the open and let us see ‘im in ‘is full glory, and ‘e was a magnificent sight. That fox was a proper tribute to their name. ‘e was a true Red Fox and make no mistake about it. The fox came up close to Jasper, and laid one forepaw on ‘is massive right forefoot as if to ‘old the ‘uge Suffolk Punch ‘orse down. The fox and the ‘orse looked with admiration at each other. It was as if foxes and ‘orses ‘ad never met before. I gently rubbed Jasper’s nose with mine to bring ‘im round from ‘is reverie.
“Um yeah Chantilly!” Jasper said quickly.
“’adn’t we better get going before it gets really late?” I asked. We still ‘ad a lot of walking to do if we were to reach our destination and still be back in the yard for daybreak. We said goodbye to the fox, ‘e released Jasper and watched us walk away.
We found ourselves in a clearing by the river. On the other side there was a wood much denser than the one we were in. We splashed into the river and,,,,
I felt my forefeet sink into the mud! Before I knew what was ‘appening the water ‘ad risen from just below my fetlocks to above my knees, I was sinking! I shouted to Jasper.
“Jasper! I’m trapped!” I struggled against the mud but ended up painfully twisting my right fetlock, and falling into the water. I ended up sort of on my knees if you like. My nose was under the water! I inhaled water and coughed convulsively trying to breathe. Jasper stood watching me in terror!
“What should I do?” ‘e yelled. I raised my ‘ead as far as I could out of the freezing water.
“Go Back to the yard and, get, get ‘elp!” I screamed. Then I fell back under the water, exhausted by the effort. I ‘ad to try and balance the lack of air, and the increasing cold with my lethargy. I ‘ad to keep raising my nose above the surface, ‘ard as it was, to get air into me. I felt very, very tired! I began to lose track of time:
“Where the ‘ell’s Jasper? I’ll kill ‘Im when I see ‘im!” I thought. Then I thought:
“Will I ever see Jasper again?” This thought brought tears to my eyes. I never knew crying under water was possible until then. But it is possible and I did. Until I was forced to come to air, about half a second I think. My feelings of desolation and inevitable failure deepened with every passing minute. Man the water was cold! I raised my ‘ead from the water and tried desperately to breathe! That was getting ‘arder each time I did it. I sank down beneath the surface for what seemed the thousandth time. I felt feeling going in my ‘ooves.
“So this is death.” I thought numbly....
The voices came from a long way off. At first I thought I was dreaming, but no, it was real right enough. The voices seemed to be calling my name. I opened my eyes and saw two ‘orses standing there. They looked like Rosie and Clover. I opened my mouth to say something but the two ‘orses disappeared.
“Ang on a bit! I wanted to ask you something, come back!” I screamed. The ‘orses never returned. I began to cry because I was cold and lonely. I wanted other ‘orses, even Confiada and Misty would do, anyone! I screamed out the names of ‘orses I ‘ad known in the yard, over and over I called them, but none came.
“Where am I?” I thought. Then I felt myself drifting off, off far, far away. spinning through nothingness,,,,
I squealed in agony as my outstretched forelegs hit something ‘ard! I was sent spinning and falling vertically now. My ‘ead was uppermost and my ‘ind feet and tail were going to meet whatever I ended up crashing into first. I landed on grass, it ‘ad to be grass! I tried to roll over but was ‘eld down by strong, what were they? Not ‘ands, no not ‘uman ‘ands at all, no, ‘orses, ‘ad to be ‘orses ‘olding me down. I was restrained by ‘ooves! The ‘ooves pinned my right fore and ‘ind legs to the grass. I squealed and snapped at the restraining ‘ooves! I caught what I thought to be an ‘orse’s foreleg in my teeth! I bit down ‘ard and received an ‘oof in the face for my trouble. Bastards these ‘orses were! I felt the ‘ooves release me and I was finally able to rise. I tried but couldn’t! I was tied up by something. I struggled against the restraints with all my strength but got bloody nowhere! I gave up, the sweat poured off my body and I was panting ‘ard. I began to sob with frustration and terror! I asked out loud:
“Where the ‘ell am I?” I felt something being forced down my throat!
“Ugh Yuck! What’s going on now?” I asked myself. I felt the thing in my throat stop moving. My fear was acute! I screamed and screamed, as much as an ‘orse can with something in it’s throat anyway.
Suddenly there was bright light! Lots of it! Too bright, Too bloody bright I tell you!
“Switch off the lights!” I screamed. The lights went out. Phew! I felt soft flooring beneath me. In a flash all my will to live evaporated into nothing. I was beaten, so exhausted I didn’t care what anyone did to me. I wanted to die there.
But suddenly a voice, a voice calling me! Terrible distress, awful fear and dread in that voice! Man it sounded panic stricken.
“Chantilly! Don’t leave me love!” it squealed. I thought I recognised that voice from somewhere. I thought for a bit, but didn’t care enough to think that much about it. I fell back into my exhausted state. Suddenly the voice again, and getting closer this time:
“Chantilly! Chantilly my love, Don’t leave me!” it yelled. I asked out loud:
“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” The voice obviously ‘eard me because it yelled even louder:
“I’m Jasper Chantilly, you know me don’t you? I’m your ‘usband!” I did know Jasper. The name meant something to me anyway.
“Jasper? Jasper? who’s Jasper?” I asked myself. Then a distant memory of a field and of an enormous Suffolk Punch ‘orse nuzzling me. The memory of ‘is gentleness, and of ‘is love for me. ‘is delight as ‘e saw my reaction to ‘is nuzzling. I drifted off again.
There was a cry of absolute agony, fear and terror! I woke up sweating profusely! I looked round me to see a large Suffolk Punch ‘orse staring down at me. I stared up into ‘is face and recognised ‘im.
“J, Jasper? Jasper, is that you darling?” I asked ‘oarsely. The Suffolk Punch ‘orse knelt down beside me and put ‘is ear close to my mouth. Thinking ‘e couldn’t ‘ear me for some unexplainable reason, I shouted into ‘is ear:
“Are you Jasper? Is your name Jasper?” The ‘orse stared at me with undisguised relief and joy.
“Chantilly my love, my darling Chantilly, is that you? Can you ‘ear me love?” The ‘orse named Jasper asked.
“Well yeah of course I can ‘ear you, don’t be so bloody stupid.” I remonstrated. Then I snapped into full consciousness! I knew everything! I knew Jasper, I knew of my love for ‘im, and most of all I knew I wanted food and a dam good drink! I sprang to my feet and looked over at the now sobbing Suffolk Punch ‘orse. I hugged ‘im tightly.
“Oh Jasper, Jasper darling! I’m ‘ere now, it’s Chantilly, I’m ‘ere now love! Please don’t cry love.” I begged. Poor Jasper rested ‘is ‘ead on my shoulder and shook with terror!
“I thought I was gonna lose you, I really thought I was gonna lose you!” Jasper wept.
“Well I’m ‘ere. You’re not gonna lose me, and I’m gonna ‘old on to you as long as you’ll ‘ave me.” I said. Jasper said:
“That’s gonna be forever and ever Chantilly, and I mean that, I really mean that!”
I noticed where I was for the first time. The vet’s place stood round me like a prison! I wanted to escape with Jasper to a field where we could rebuild our almost shattered lives. Eventually we did and in no time at all Jasper and I were back in the yard, in our old field, and Beyancca was there with Brydy to welcome us.
“Chantilly!” Beyancca screamed. She came charging over to me and nearly ran me under ‘er ‘ooves.
“’ang on a minute B’ dear!” I said.
“But Chantilly, your alive, your safe!” she sobbed.
“Of course I am B’ you silly ‘orse. Why shouldn’t I be?” I replied. Jasper said:
“You don’t know the ‘alf of it Chantilly love.” Brydy said:
“There’s been some real goings on here I can tell you.” Beyancca was still crying into my fur. She dried ‘er eyes and looked at me.
“You nearly died Chantilly, you so nearly didn’t make it.”
“Why did I nearly die B’?” I asked.
“Get some food, drink and sleep and after that we’ll fill you in on all the goings on Chantilly.” Brydy suggested. It sounded a bloody good idea so I took ‘er suggestion and walked with B’, Jasper and Brydy to the topmost field, where there was still some excellent grass sustained by the rather wet summer. Excuse the pun if you will, but I ‘ate like an ‘orse. Grass ‘ad never tasted so good! I ‘ad my fill and returned to my box where I found clean straw and a full ‘aynet, wonderful stuff! I also found a full water bucket, even better! I put my mouth down to the water and drank and drank until I was sick of the stuff! I then settled down on the deepest straw bed I’d ever seen and fell asleep. I drifted off into a nightmare!
I was struggling in a river against ‘orses who were ‘olding me down and attempting to drown me! I screamed and kicked out at them, but got nowhere at all! I began to cry with terror!
I woke to someone nuzzling my shoulder.
“hey Chantilly! Chantilly darling, what’s the matter love?” It was Jasper. I looked up into ‘is eyes and told ‘im the story of my dream. ‘e hugged me and told me all would be fine. I got up and walked out to see Beyancca and Brydy. They were in Beyancca’s box ‘aving a laugh about this and that. I watched them engage in a play-fight and then break away laughing uproariously at some tiny little joke of their’s.
“Um, B’? Brydy? Are you willing to tell me what went on while I was out of it?” I asked. B’ looked at me and commented on the state of my mane.
“You need an ‘air cut Chantilly.” She said.
“Oi you, smart arse!” I replied. Beyancca ‘ad dropped ‘er H’s, the Same way I ‘ad ever since I was a foal. She was making fun of me! I was sure of it! I asked:
“Well are you gonna tell me what ‘appened then?” Beyancca waved a shiny forefoot at me.
“Yeah we’ll tell you. Where’s Jasper?” She asked. Right on cue Jasper came into view and the story began.
Jasper started it off.
“Well when I ‘eard you screaming you were trapped, at first I didn’t believe you. But then I looked round and saw you in the water. ‘aving realized you were in serious trouble I ran off to get ‘elp from the yard like you said. But I got lost, you know, not knowing the area as well as you do ‘n’ all that. Well when I finally found the yard it was about an hour and an ‘alf since you’d fallen into the water Chantilly. The Manageress and B’ came to see what ‘ad ‘appened, and at first they couldn’t believe it. But then B’ got into the water, making sure she didn’t end up like you, and she found out what ‘ad really taken place. You were unresponsive Chantilly. You wouldn’t say or do anything to ‘elp in your rescue. When we got you out of the river you were bloody cold I can tell you! The Manageress ‘elped B’ and I to get you back to the yard and then she called the vet on ‘er mobile phone thing. The vet came and got you stabilized, then put you in a lorry to take you to ‘is place. The Manageress and I went with you, and because of that there was no room for Beyancca. She was most upset about this,,,,”
“you bet I was!” Beyancca said. Jasper nodded at ‘er and continued:
“The vet driv’ as fast as ‘e could to ‘is place. At one point we ‘it a lamppost on a tight corner and you flew forward and gave your forelegs a nasty crack on the wooden wall.”
“that’s the bit when I ‘it that thing with my forelegs then.” I thought. Jasper was still talking:
“When we reached the vet’s place ‘e got you into the padded room and you wouldn’t keep still. Kept thrashing around you did. The Manageress and I ‘ad to ‘old you down forceful like. At one point my foot slipped and I accidentally kicked you in the face, sorry if you felt that Chantilly love, I couldn’t ‘elp it.”
“Don’t worry, I did.” I thought. Jasper continued:
“You eventually went quiet and the vet managed to put a tube down your throat to get rid of the water. You started squealing, and struggling against the restraints tying your legs to the operating table. I was scared Chantilly! I really was my love!” Jasper was close to tears. Seeing ‘is condition Beyancca took over.
“From what I can understand from what Jasper’s been telling me you ‘ad come out of the operating room more dead than alive. You were on a downer and it was a touch and go thing as to whether you’d survive or not. .” Jasper nudged B’ to tell ‘er ‘e was all right now and could continue.
“Well I stood watching you lying there on the floor. You looked proper beaten you did. I felt sick with fear that you wouldn’t come through it and worse still, if you didn’t make it, that you might die in pain. I kept asking the vet to give you some painkiller in case you were, but ‘e said ‘e couldn’t, something to do with your ‘eart rate I think. But then you said something. I can’t remember what it was now, but it gave me a shock I can tell you! I ran forward and tried to get you to talk to me. When you didn’t I cried out in fear and terror that I’d lost you Chantilly. That seemed to wake you up a bit and you asked me who I was. I told you who I was and that I loved you, and you replied in a similar fashion. Then all started going so quickly. Before I knew it you were standing beside me Chantilly,,,” Jasper rested ‘is ‘ead on my shoulder and wept with joy.
“now we’re together forever Chantilly!” ‘e sobbed. I ‘ugged ‘im tightly and told ‘im I’d never leave ‘im, and I meant it!
Meanwhile Beyancca and Brydy were both trying to fight back tears. They obviously felt the emotion as much as we did.
“That’s wonderful you two.” B’ said. All four of us walked out of the yard and down to the river together. Beyancca led us to where the accident ‘ad taken place. The river looked as innocent as ever. But the knowledge of the cold, sticky mud with it’s deathtrap ‘old that ‘ad nearly claimed my life seemed to dampen it’s beauty for me. Beyancca stirred the water with ‘er ‘oof, and for a terrible moment I thought she was going to wade in. But she didn’t, phew! I watched ‘er like an ‘awk and she noticed me doing this.
“You afraid I’m gonna get trapped Chantilly?” She asked.
“Of course I am B’, you stupid ‘orse!” I snapped.
“Oh sorry sorry sorry Chantilly. I forgot you’re scared.” She mocked.
“And you think that’s funny do you Beyancca?” I bellowed. Beyancca was so taken by surprise she lost ‘er balance and fell in the water. I screamed in terror.
“Beyancca!” But she scrambled out onto the bank without sinking. She came and shook all the water retained in ‘er fur all over me! I ended up cold and wet!
“That’s ‘orrable B’, thanks!” I said. Beyancca rested ‘er wet nose on mine, it was cold! I yelped with surprise and lashed out with my left forefoot! It caught Beyancca on ‘er right foreleg, just above ‘er knee. She swore loudly and ‘opped round for a bit on three legs.
“Cor’ Chantilly! That bloody ‘urt!” She yelled.
“Good job it wasn’t Jasper!” I said crossly. Beyancca’s comment might ‘ave been a joke, but it was in bad taste and she was gonna know that. Beyancca gingerly put ‘er right forefoot on the ground. As she straightened ‘er leg she winced slightly.
“You nearly busted it ‘n’ all!” She gasped.
“Rubbish Beyancca! You want me to show you busted?” Jasper asked. Brydy said:
“I’d rather you didn’t. She’d make an ‘ell of a racket about it.” Beyancca was upset by Brydy’s words.
“What are you saying Brydy? I thought you were my friend?” She complained.
“yeah I am, but it doesn’t mean I can’t agree with Chantilly that you’re joke was tasteless does it?” Brydy replied. Beyancca was defeated and she knew it.
“Oh all right Chantilly. I’m sorry for what I said.”
“Do you really mean that Beyancca?” Jasper asked suspiciously. ‘e added:
“Because if your not serious about it there’s always,,,” ‘e raised ‘is right forefoot and showed ‘er ‘is large metal rimmed ‘oof. She shrank away in fear.
“Yes Jasper, and you Chantilly, I’m sorry, really I am!” She said defensively. Brydy ‘ad watched this display of ‘orse-power with growing alarm.
“Look you three, can’t we just forget this? It distresses me to see three friends fighting.” She said. I replied:
“But Beyancca must see that what ‘appened to me was serious Brydy.”
“I think she does see it Chantilly.” Brydy said. I went up to B’ and ‘ugged ‘er.
“Let’s forget this shall we?” I suggested.
“Yeah all right Chantilly, and I’m really sorry for what I said. I suppose I felt you were treating me like a foal with your, as I saw it, overprotective manner. I suppose that’s why I said what I did. Whatever drove me to it, it was wrong of me to say it. It must have been horrendous for you in the river all that time.”
“It was B’, and I’ll tell you that for nothing.” I said.
“What? Is there more?” She asked.
“Yeah, one ‘ell of a lot more.” I replied. All three ‘orses were interested.
“What ‘appened on your end of things Chantilly love?” Jasper asked. I told them all that I described above. When I finished Brydy and B’ were white as sheets, while Jasper shook with fright!
“Sounds ‘orendous!” Jasper said. Brydy asked:
“Did you really see Rosie and Clover?” I replied:
“I don’t know, they didn’t get the chance to speak to me before they disappeared.” Four very subdued ‘orses walked back to the yard in silence.
We arrived to see Jamie and Confiada beating the stuffing out of Misty! At first I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, neither could B’, Jasper or Brydy! Then our loyalty towards Misty took over and we all waded into the rather one sided fight. Brydy got kicked on ‘er nose and was out of it fairly soon. But Jasper, Beyancca and I stayed and thumped the living daylights out of Jamie and Confiada! In the end it was Jasper who did most of the work. ‘e used ‘is massive strength, along with ‘is size and of course ‘is ‘ooves to flatten first Jamie, and then Confiada. Once they were safely dealt with, we turned our attention to Brydy and Misty. You might be asking why we ‘elped Misty when she ‘ad been convicted of trying to kill Beyancca and Brydy? Well the reason is this. Misty was still ‘eld in great affection by most of the ‘orses in the yard. We did Misty a service for the good of the whole ‘erd as well as ‘er own preservation. Even if she ‘adn’t been convicted, we still would ‘ave ‘elped because Confiada’s a bitch! I’m sure it was ‘er who started it, and Jamie just came along for the fight, after all ‘e is a Field ‘orse by birth isn’t ‘e?
I looked down at Misty. The poor Welsh pony was bleeding from a cut on ‘er nose, one on ‘er left foreleg and a ripped ear. I looked for assistance and saw Brydy.
“Aren’t you ‘urt Brydy?” I asked.
“yeah but it’s only a bruise. Nothing like this poor thing.” Brydy replied. She ran off to get the Manageress before I could ask ‘er. Misty came round then and started moaning with pain.
“I feel crappy Chantilly!” She whispered. I saw Brydy coming back with the Manageress. She was filling ‘er in on what ‘ad taken place a few minutes before.
“it doesn’t look too good.” Brydy concluded. The Manageress examined Misty carefully and sighed:
“I think she’d better go to the vet. The vet sure gets some business from this place!” She looked at us as if it was our fault!
“’orses, who’d ‘ave them?” she said.
“That ‘uman’s got some nerve making fun of our language ‘asn’t she.” I said to noone in particular. Strangely enough it was Misty who answered.
“yeah, the Manageress comes out with some good ones sometimes.” I looked down at Misty. ‘er ear ‘ad stopped bleeding and ‘er face looked a lot better after the Manageress ‘ad cleaned the blood from ‘er fur. The vet arrived and carted Misty off to ‘is place. We then turned to Beyancca. She ‘ad ‘er nose pressed up against a wall with a ‘uge pad of some soft material on it. It looked hilarious, but I knew B’ was in a lot of discomfort, and would not appreciate the funny side of ‘er situation at the moment. She watched me out of the corner of ‘er right eye. She said:
“It’s bleeding quite bad. Cor’ Confiada’s got sharp hooves!” When B’ finally let the material fall to the concrete, and turned to us I saw the deep cut in ‘er nose. The Manageress did something to the wound on Beyancca’s nose that made ‘er squeal pitifully with pain. When Jasper questioned the Manageress as to why she ‘ad ‘urt B’, when the poor ‘orse ‘ad ‘ad enough already, the Manageress said she ‘ad only been cleaning the wound and Jasper shouldn’t talk to ‘er like that again. Suddenly she rounded on Jasper!
“Just because Chantilly did it once and got away with it, it doesn’t mean you can do the Same thing and get away with it also!” She screamed. She added:
“You Suffolk Punch ‘orses ‘ave bloody awful manners!” I replied:
“I wish you wouldn’t swear like that, it’s not very becoming of you.” The Manageress went purple with rage! I took a few ‘urried paces backwards as the ‘uman came forward with ‘er bloody lunging whip! I screamed in terror!
“Jasper! Get out of ‘ere!” But Jasper raised a forefoot in a direct challenge to the Manageress.
“Come on! Come and get it ‘uman!” ‘e said menacingly. Jasper was fired up with generations of ‘ostility towards the ‘uman race! ‘e advanced on the Manageress, threatening ‘er with serious injury, or even Death!
“Come and fight me if your bloody ‘ard enough!” Jasper yelled.
“No! Jasper, ‘she’s not your quarry! Leave ‘er alone!” I pleaded. Jasper told me to mind my own bloody business and ’e’d decide whether the Manageress was worth fighting.
“Put the whip down or you get both barrels!” Jasper threatened.
“How do I know you won’t give me them anyway?” The Manageress asked.
“Don’t you trust me then?” Jasper asked pleasantly.
“To be quite blunt about it, no I don’t! Not after your display of prehistoric aggression!” The Manageress yelled. Jasper shook ‘is ‘ead as if the sound of ‘er voice irritated ‘im.
“Why are you shouting ‘uman? I’m not.” ‘e said quietly. Jasper added:
“I ‘eard you used to whisper to an ‘orse called Rosie. Try that with me and I think ‘orse and ‘uman might get on better, don’t you?” Acting on Jasper’s suggestion the Manageress came forward with ‘er ‘ated whip. Jasper tore it from ‘er ‘and and gave it to me.
“Get rid of that Chantilly.” ‘e said. I picked the whip up and took it to the muckheap, broke it into bits and threw it on. Then I returned to find the manageress and Jasper ‘ad made up, and the Manageress wanted to talk to both of us.
“Look Jasper and you also Chantilly. You have to realize that swearing like troopers isn’t on. Nor’s beating up a horse because you felt like it.
“You think we beat Misty up? Didn’t Brydy tell you we caught Confiada and Jamie doing that?” Jasper asked.
“yeah, she told me, but I wasn’t referring to that Jasper. I was just warning you off beating up other horses. You floored Confiada didn’t you?”
“Well yeah I did, but that was ages ago.” Jasper replied. The Manageress looked ‘ard at ‘im.
“You Suffolk Punch ‘orses ‘are rather too ‘oof ‘appy sometimes.” She said.
“But Confiada deserved all she got! She bit a ‘uman, or did she conveniently forget to tell you that bit?” Jasper retaliated.
“yeah I suppose she did.” The Manageress conceded. Jasper exploded!
“ “I’ll bloody kill ‘er!” ‘e yelled.
“You’ll do nothing of the sort Jasper!” The Manageress snapped.
“yes I will, I will grind the cow into the dust! She’s already ‘ad a go at Brydy and B’, and now she’s ‘ad a go at Misty! I’m gonna kill ‘er and bury ‘er deep! Teach ‘er a lesson won’t it.” Jasper shouted. Beyancca then spoke up, she ‘ad been listening to our rather ‘eated conversation.
“Look Jasper, please listen for a minute. If you seriously hurt or even kill Confiada, then you’d be as bad as she is. Can’t you see that mate?” She asked. Jasper growled deep in ‘is throat trying desperately to suppress ‘is rage!
“Yeah I suppose you’re right. But that bitch needs to be taught, so she never forgets that she’s not able to beat up other ‘orses and get away with it.” Jasper said.
“She won’t get away with it Jasper, I’ll make sure she realizes what she’s done.” The Manageress replied.
“You make sure she knows good and proper that she’s a daughter of a cow!” Jasper said. I touched ‘is nose with mine and we walked off leaving the Manageress to contemplate ‘er next move against Confiada. After a bit Beyancca and Brydy followed us. We walked out of the yard and something made us look up at the sky. There were ‘eavy black clouds ‘anging over us.
“Looks like rain.” Brydy commented.
“Oh you don’t say!” B’ replied sarcastically.
“Don’t take the P!” Brydy snapped. Beyancca’s remark to this was:
“Brydy stamping ‘er little hooves again.” Brydy nipped Beyancca’s ear ‘ard. She squealed with shock!
“Ow! Brydy that hurt!” she whipped round on the smaller ‘orse and floored ‘er. Fortunately for Brydy we were in a field and she ‘ad a soft landing. B’ sat on Brydy while the poor ‘orse struggled beneath ‘er.
“Get off me Beyancca!” Brydy yelled. Beyancca smiled down at ‘er prisoner.
“I won’t let you go until you apologize for nipping me.” She replied playfully. Brydy tried to kick B’ off ‘er, but Beyancca ‘eld on tight to Brydy’s mane with ‘er teeth. In the end Beyancca was forced to release Brydy for a reason beyond ‘er control. In ‘er attempts to free ‘erself Brydy accidentally kicked Beyancca in ‘er stomach. The poor ‘orse squealed in agony and rolled off Brydy! Brydy jumped to ‘er feet, and looked down at ‘er friend lying moaning on the grass. At first it was plain Brydy thought Beyancca was playing games with ‘er, just like she ‘ad with Beyancca. But then it became apparent that poor B’ was in deeper trouble than Brydy first thought. The poor ‘orse was crying with pain. She looked up into Brydy’s now tear filled eyes.
“I think you’d better go back to your box you bitch!” She gasped. When Brydy didn’t move Beyancca yelled at ‘er.
“Go on! Piss off out of my sight!” Brydy replied shakily:
“But B’, I didn’t mean to hurt you, honest I didn’t!” She sobbed. Beyancca struggled to ‘er feet and looked at ‘er friend.
“you bloody infuriate me!” She bellowed. Brydy reared up on ‘er ‘ind legs in terror, spun round and fled as fast as ‘er short legs would carry ‘er. I looked at Beyancca shaking violently beside me. She tried to walk forward but as she put ‘er right foot to the ground she yelped in pain! I watched in ‘orror as she crumpled on the grass. I then saw the reason for ‘er discomfort. B’s forefeet were unshod, but surely they ‘ad shoes before?
“But B’ dear, your shoes ‘ave disappeared!” I said. Beyancca grimaced and spoke through clenched teeth.
“Tell me about it! Lost ‘em in the bloody fight didn’t I.” She gasped.
“Are your feet sore B’?” I asked. ‘er response couldn’t be ‘elped I suppose.
“What do you think?” She replied.
“Can we do anything to ‘elp?” Jasper asked. Just then it started to rain. Beyancca started sobbing at the thought of moving.
“Now it’s started raining I’m gonna ‘ave to move and it’s gonna ‘urt, I know it is!” she wailed. I looked into ‘er eyes, they were full of fear and pain. Beyancca sat up slowly, taking as much weight on ‘er ‘ind feet as she could. Then she gingerly put ‘er forefeet down on the ground, swearing profusely as the wet grass touched the raw areas on ‘er ‘ooves. Jasper and I supported Beyancca as much as we could. Even so I could see it was painful for ‘er to walk. Then another thought struck ‘er which reduced ‘er to tears.
“Oh no! The Farrier’s on ‘holiday isn’t he!” This realization caused Beyancca to stop walking. She stood, rigid as a post, easing ‘er weight from one pair of legs to the other. I’m sure if she could ‘ave reared up on ‘er ind legs and walked on them, she would ‘ave quite gladly done so. Eventually, with a lot of encouragement from Jasper and me, we got B’ moving again. She was in terrible pain, I could see that quite clearly in the way she walked, and in the way she would stiffen from time to time for seemingly no reason at all. We made it back to the yard, somehow. The feeling of concrete on ‘er raw ‘ooves almost sent Beyancca through the roof! She ‘ad to be careful she didn’t drag ‘er feet at all. For if she did she’d aggravate the sore areas. She limped back to ‘er box and flopped on the straw bed with ‘er legs outstretched. A stiff breeze was blowing, unfortunately for B’ that always comes with rain. The breeze whipped cruelly into Beyancca’s box and drew across the raw patches on ‘er ‘ooves. The poor ‘orse wailed with agony as the wind whipped around ‘er. I slammed ‘er door ‘ard to keep the wind away.
“Don’t leave me Chantilly!” She pleaded. I told Beyancca I wouldn’t leave ‘er, but could Jasper stay too?”
“yeah, ‘e can, of course ‘e can.” She replied hoarsely. I looked into Beyancca’s eyes.
“Rest now B’, keep quiet dear and rest.” I said gently. Beyancca put ‘er ‘ead on the straw and closed ‘er eyes. Jasper looked quickly at the prostrate ‘orse.
“Confiada can pay for this also!” ‘e snarled. I could see quite clearly that if Confiada and Jasper were left alone together for one moment, ‘e’d ‘ave ‘er for lunch! Not literally you understand, ‘orses are vegetarian, or they’re herbivores, whatever those are. Jasper stamped up and down, taking ‘is fury out on the concrete.
“man Confiada really piss me off!” ‘e fumed. Candy commented on ‘is use of invective.
“B’ might ‘ave ‘ad a justifiable reason for using that sort of language, you don’t!” Jasper said something unprintable about justification that made Candy snort with fury! She then said something that reduced poor Jasper to tears.
“if your mother could hear you now she’d go mad!” I was astonished what such a common saying did to Jasper. The large ‘orse was sobbing like a foal.
“Hey Jasper love, what’s the matter darling.” I asked gently. Jasper rested ‘is ‘uge ‘ead on my shoulder.
“My mum and I were being driven in a pair on a country road. It was a blind corner, I could ‘ear a car coming closer. It seemed to be going far faster than it should ‘ave been. Suddenly it burst round the corner and smashed into us! The cart was a right off, our ‘uman driver was un’urt, I was thrown on top of my mother by the force of the crash, and my mum, well, she was crushed under me and badly ‘urt. Our driver went and smashed the windows of the car that ‘ad ‘it us. The driver of the car was pissed!” Candy yelped as if the word “pissed” ‘ad caused ‘er physical damage. Silver, sensitive young thing that she was told Candy to:
“Keep your unkind comments to yourself.” Candy couldn’t argue with that. Jasper continued:
“Our driver called the police and then ‘e tried to free my mum and I from the wrecked cart. The ‘arniss ‘ad in affect tied us together. When the driver eventually freed us I tried not to crush my mum any more than I already ‘ad as I levered myself off ‘er, and into an upright position. I looked down at ‘er lying on the road. She never moved. I put my nose down to ‘er muzzle and found it to be warm, so there was still some life in ‘er. The driver checked my mum over and found various things wrong with ‘er. I can only guess that because of what ‘e did next.” Jasper took a shuddering breath and tried to control ‘is emotions.
“The driver was an old farmer type of chap who ‘ad a gun always in the back of ‘is cart. Seeing ‘is ‘orse was in pain and that ‘e couldn’t ‘elp ‘er, ‘e,,,” suddenly Jasper shouted!
“’e pointed the gun at ‘er ‘ead and shot ‘er twice! I screamed in terror and fled from the scene. I ran until I was exhausted! Then I flopped down and thought about my situation. Being kept with my mum ‘ad made me dependant on ‘er really. Most ‘orses are separated from their mums quite early on. But for some strange reason I wasn’t. But now I’ve learned to live without ‘er. But I still ‘ate ‘umans, all of them!” I felt really sorry for Jasper. Now I knew why ‘e ‘ad been so ‘ostile to the Manageress. ‘e ‘ad seen ‘er as a member of the Same species that killed ‘is mother. But I could also see why ‘e broke down like ‘e did. Seeing anyone you love gunned down is an ‘orendous experience. But if it’s your mother, well, that’s even worse! Meanwhile Candy was still trying to up’old the standard of language in the yard single ‘ooved. She turned to carina in desperation.
“Can’t you tell them to stop swearing like that?” She implored.
“No Candy, I can’t.” was Carina’s reply. Candy, seeing she wasn’t going to get anywhere with that tactic, started verbally abusing carina.
“You’re a fat, lumbering old bitch!” She yelled. Carina’s anger at this was plain for all to see.
“Sod off!” she snapped. Another thought struck ‘er.
“What was that word you used Candy? Bitch was it? What a bloody hypocrite!” Candy turned away defeated. I now knew the reasons for so much of Jasper’s abrasive behavior towards ‘umans. ‘e reasonably or otherwise ‘eld all of them accountable for what ‘appened to ‘is mum. Jasper ‘ad recovered a little from ‘is break down. ‘e looked at me through eyes that were red from crying.
“I needed someone to love. I ‘ad always ‘ad my mum. But when she was shot I ‘ad noone. But now I’ve got you Chantilly.” ‘e said. Jasper ‘embraced me with fervor.
Beyancca ‘ad been listening to all this, and been quite upset by Jasper’s tale about ‘is mum’s death. This, along with ‘er fragile state caused ‘er to cry also. Brydy saw Beyancca’s pain and went to comfort ‘er. She opened B’s door and went in. Beyancca looked up and sighed ‘eavily.
“I thought I’d told you to piss off!” she snapped. Brydy backed ‘urridly out of the box muttering apologies and slammed the door. She walked off, or should I say dragged her feet out of the barn and out of sight. I felt Beyancca ‘ad treated Brydy really badly, I told ‘er so.
“Why are you treating Brydy like that Beyancca? ‘asn’t she suffered enough lately?” She looked at me through ‘er tears.
“Yeah right! What ‘as she suffered? Bloody nothing!” she sobbed. I felt Beyancca was being totally unreasonable and told ‘er so.
“If you don’t like me then push off!” She screamed. I didn’t take ‘er advice, this seemed to annoy ‘er. I said:
“Look B’, you’re the one at fault ‘ere. You sat on Brydy in the first place.” I pointed out.
“You deserve everything you’ve got Beyancca!” Jasper snapped. Brydy came scraping in and almost smashed Beyancca’s door to matchwood. Then she stormed off in a real mood, and who could blame ‘er? Beyancca started squealing as the wind, which ‘ad been shielded from ‘er by the now virtually non-existent door blew in and irritated ‘er sore feet. Jasper strode up to Beyancca and yelled at ‘er.
“Think of what you’ve done! Think of Brydy, and what she’s going through, and think of where you go from ‘ere as regards your friendship. If one still exists between you two, which I doubt very highly indeed after your despicable conduct Beyancca?” ‘e stormed off leaving B’ to think ‘ard, very ‘ard indeed.
I’M GONN’A GIVE THE STORY TO BRYDY NOW, SO SHE CAN TELL YOU WHAT ‘APPENED FROM ‘ER POINT OF VIEW.
“Hi Brydy here. I’ve never told part of a story before, but there’s always a first time. After Beyancca had told me to go away in such an abusive fashion, I had stormed off in a temper, before coming back to trash her door. Then I stormed off and went in search of something that would take my mind off her. I found a track that looked interesting and followed it. It led off at a rightangle to the one I was on. I decided to follow it. I am quite a small horse and I felt sure I couldn’t be seen among the long grass. It made me feel young again. You know, playing hide and seek, that sort of thing. I remember walking along another track and then my foot slipping, and of fighting desperately to stay on my feet. I screamed as I tumbled into a huge hole type thing! I landed awkwardly on my side. But owing to the narrow nature of the hole, the force with which I landed, and the way in which I landed I was stuck with my nose wedged in the wall of the hole, with one foreleg buckled painfully under me, the other outstretched on the ground at the top of the hole and my hind legs were in much the Same state as my fore. In short I was stuck and couldn’t go anywhere. At first I thought I must be dreaming.
“Surely this cannot be taking place.” I thought. Then I moved slightly and:
“yes! It was! It was happening all right!” I thought as the pain coursed through me. I squealed and fought madly to free myself, only managing to get myself more firmly stuck!
“it is almost as if this hole is made for me.” I thought. After all, it wasn’t a hole made for larger horses to fall into was it? If it was meant for them then I wouldn’t have got trapped! I knew if I struggled too hard I might end up breaking a leg or something, and then I’d be really stuffed! I lay with my body getting numb and my mind getting more and more frightened. I’m usually a religious horse, but I started blaspheming profusely as fear took hold. I’ll apologize now to my God for doing this. After I had renounced, for the moment anyway, all the beliefs I ever had, I went through a period of inevitable calm. It was as if everything shut down. My mind had wandered away from the situation and I was free again. Strangely I started thinking about Beyancca.
“Did she really mean what she said?” I thought not. I decided that they were only words, and yes she had been in a lot of pain when I approached her. I didn’t know what time it was, all I knew was that the day was taking a lifetime. I saw the day drawing to a close and a frightening thought struck me!
“perhaps I’d have to spend the night here?” This thought did nothing for my mental state but wreck it. I found myself praying to a God who I’d just renounced and denied ever existed. But you must understand that horses, no matter how religious do sometimes lose faith for a short time, I know I had.
It got darker and colder in the hole. I wondered if anyone at the yard had actually noticed I wasn’t there. I wondered for what reason they’d notice my disappearance? Would it be work related? Probably. And then who would notice it first? The Manageress? Beyancca? Jasper or Chantilly maybe? I didn’t know. I suddenly snapped into full consciousness. I wished from the first second that my nervous system had remained asleep! I ached all over, my left fore and hind legs were numb, my nose was sore from rubbing against the earth and small rocks, and my belly was screaming out for food! I was hungry but not thirsty yet. I watched the darkness creep in to my little prison and engulf me. Man the night was dark! I supposed if I could raise it, I wouldn’t be able to see my hoof in front of my face. I started screaming and yelling. That only served to make me hoarse, and tire me out. I settled back and started of all things, to sing. No demonstrations now! But I did start singing to pass the time. Unfortunately the only human who I had regularly heard singing was B’s rider, and he hadn’t come to see me for ages, miserable git! I tried remembering some of the things he used to sing. There was one song Rosie knew the first few lines to, the human taught her it just before she passed away. I couldn’t think of the words then. Then suddenly I knew them, it was as if Rosie was telling me.
“I got my first real six string, bought it at the five and dime, played it till my fingers bled, was the summer of sixty nine.” I felt there should be more to it than that, but Rosie hadn’t told me the rest.
“perhaps she didn’t know herself?” I thought. Pity really, I’d love to take it to full conclusion and see what happened in the end. It was strange, but the lack of a song really got to me. I puzzled over this until daybreak. Then the will they come? Won’t they? Started again with real force. I started recriminating myself for even choosing to go off in the first place.
“Why the hell did you do that Brydy?” I asked myself. I slept for a while.
I was woken by the sound of horseshoes on the track at rightangles to the one I was imprisoned on. I shouted:
“Hey! Excuse me?” then I thought:
“forget the pleasantries!” I yelled:
“Help!” The horse came within sight. Unfortunately he wasn’t one from the yard. He was a loaner, no rider or tack. He looked down at me.
“You’re in the shit aren’t you.” He observed.
“Um yeah, can you help me get out of it please?” I asked. But the horse had lost interest and walked on. I yelled at him:
“hey! Come back will you!” but he walked off. Now I felt more alone than ever. I wished I’d never set eyes on the bloody horse! He had only served to increase my feelings of desolation! I settled down to puzzling out the rest of the words to Rosie’s song about the six string, whatever a six string is. Now I was ravenously hungry and thirsty. I chewed my tongue and used the resulting saliva to moisten my dry lips. I ran my tongue round my teeth and thought of a story by a famous ex jockey, in which a human had been trapped in a car for three days or more without food or water. He had used a plastic bag,,, I stopped.
“No plastic bags, and even if I had one I couldn’t use it.” I thought. This thought depressed me. All the water in my body was going to be expelled into the atmosphere and I’d end up a dead horse. Bad move as it was I started crying. I couldn’t stop either, that horse had shattered my hopes of rescue into tiny pieces. Eventually I stopped crying, because there seemed no point to it I suppose. I looked up, that was all I could do. I saw branches,, leaves,,,
“I can eat leaves.” I thought. Ah but there was a problem. I couldn’t reach them. I tried my hardest to reach the leaves above me. Straining every muscle I only managed to wear myself out further.
“Where the hell were the cavalry?” I thought disjointedly. The sun sank behind the trees and it was evening again.
This sea-saw thought pattern really got to me. I watched the darkness coming in over the trees like a blanket, and felt intolerably lonely. I drifted off to sleep again. I slept for a few hours only and woke stiff, hungry, thirsty, and very very cold! I stretched my right hind foot back and down in a reflex action. It only dawned on me I was doing it when my hoof connected with a solid object. What’s more it was an object that if I could get enough leverage, I might just be able to pull myself free. I jammed the tip of my hoof into what I supposed was a rock. I heaved and put all my weight onto that one foot. I so nearly made it, so dam close! I was just exalting when the rock gave way under me. My foot slipped and I crashed painfully down on the earth. I screamed out loud in pain and frustration. I lay limply on the ground, exhausted and for the moment drained of all resolve to save myself. Looking up into the sky I saw dawn coming on through the trees. I scrabbled about with my right hind foot once more to see if I could find that rock, but it had gone. I laid my head down on the earth and realized for the first time that my position had changed. I was no longer half on my side in the hole, but lying in it almost on my chest. I put my forefeet and as much of my hind as I could down to the earth and heaved upwards. The pain was almost too much! But I forced myself to keep going, pushing, pushing my body ever further skywards until, I was standing on the track panting hard and shaking with released adrenaline. I shook myself and walked forwards carefully. I was on auto-pilot, just walking automatically. Suddenly I heard a voice say:
“Brydy! What the ‘ell ‘ave you been up to?” I whirled round to see Jasper standing there. I was so confused I screamed and tried to run, but Jasper stopped me easily.
“We’ve been looking all over the bloody place for you Brydy!” Another voice said. Chantilly joined us.
“How, how did you find me?” I asked.
“We were just walking round looking ‘ere and there, in places where we thought you might ‘ave gone to. Where the ‘ell were you anyway? And why ‘ave you got dirt and blood on your nose?” I walked back to the hellhole and showed it to Jasper and Chantilly.
“’ow the ‘ell did you fall in there? Didn’t you see it?” Chantilly asked.
“I don’t know.” I replied. Chantilly put her foot down into the hole and eventually she plucked up the courage to get in properly.
“I couldn’t fit in ‘ere, neither could you Jasper.” She concluded.
“But it held me for two days.” I said. Jasper said:
“yeah, ‘ang on a bit Brydy. ‘ow did you get out of there then?” I told them about my chance encounter with a rock.
“Oh right, yeah I see.” Chantilly and Jasper said.
“Mmmm, and it was painful and now I’m hungry and thirsty.” I said. I asked:
“Who sent you out here?” Chantilly replied:
“Well Beyancca got ‘er shoes yesterday and while she was ‘aving them fitted she remarked she ‘adn’t seen you for ages like. After we ‘ad searched the yard it was decided that Jasper and I would come out and look for you. We ‘ave been doing it now for a good four hours or so. We ‘ad no idea of where you ‘ad got to.” Jasper helped his wife out of the hole and put his massive hoof in it. Of course as Chantilly said, he couldn’t have any chance of actually getting trapped as I had.
“Must ‘ave been a tight squeeze.” He remarked.
“yeah something along those lines.” I replied. I asked:
“Where’s Beyancca?” Jasper started to reply:
“She’s,,,” Suddenly there was a shout of:
“Brydy!” then I was mown down by a huge white thing on legs commonly known as Beyancca. She floored me and we rolled over with the momentum of our meeting. We jumped to our feet and B’ looked at me.
“Where have you been?” She asked flatly. I could see she was screwing herself up to something big, an apology for her behavior perhaps? I didn’t know. But it was big, whatever it was. I told her about my imprisonment. This seemed to upset B’ so much she started sobbing.
“I hope it hurts.” I thought uncharitably. But then I felt awful for having thought anything of the sort. I’m not usually a malicious horse and cannot bare violent conduct, be it verbal or physical. I let Beyancca rest her head on my shoulder. I realized I was still on a high from the adrenaline rush during my struggle to escape from the hole. I knew when it finally dried up I would be depressed and very tearful, possibly feeling every bruise and scratch on my body. I cradled Beyancca’s head and supported her until she was composed enough to stand on her own. She looked at me seriously.
“Look Brydy dear, I’m, I’m sorry for treating you the way I did. I overreacted on many occasions. I suppose my only defense is that I was in pain from my shoeless feet, but I know that’s not a very good excuse.” I knew she’d offended me, but what were words? Just hot air and heated tones. Actions speak louder than words so I decided to forget this episode and go on from there. After all B’ had suffered enough poor thing. I told her what I intended to do, she was relieved and very grateful. I could see that Beyancca’s not a bad horse really. No, quite the opposite in fact, but she can be a little selfish sometimes, but can’t we all? I think so. Anyway enough of that. I walked back to the yard with B’, Chantilly and Jasper.
You might be, in fact I’m sure your asking ‘ow Misty is? Well I’m glad to say she’s fine, but that can’t be said for Confiada or Jamie. They’ve been dropped in it big time by Misty, who told the Manageress everything. Confiada got a bloody good whipping and an extended time out in the fields with the Field ‘orse ‘erd. Nice for ‘er don’t you think? You might also be asking what type of relief Misty received, if any, from ‘er little bit of tale telling? Well she got let off the rest of ‘er sentence, on condition that she didn’t ‘arrasse Brydy ever again. If she broke those terms she would be back in the slammer for three years, okay Misty? As for Jamie, well ‘e was beaten up by Jasper big time and told that if ‘e so much as whispered to Confiada ‘e would be seriously beaten up and Jasper wouldn’t ‘esitate in doing ‘im serious damage. Jamie, the stinking rat! Scuttled away and disappeared to lick ‘is wounds. But Confiada, oh yes ‘er who ‘atched the whole sorry plan to try and take Misty out, was furious at Misty’s sentence being commuted to what amounted to a suspended sentence. She vowed she would find a way of getting ‘er own back on the Welsh pony.
Meanwhile Brydy was kept busy recounting over and over again ‘ow she escaped from what seemed to most ‘orses an impossible situation. Brydy might not ‘ave been much of a physical fighter, but she could ‘n’alf take anyone on when it came to the survival instinct. She ‘ad chinks in ‘er armor, I don’t know an ‘orse who wouldn’t ‘ave when faced with that. But she kept a cool ‘ead all things considered, and in the end worked ‘er own way out of trouble. I’d take my ‘at off to ‘er, that is if I ‘ad one of course. I’ve ‘eard that I would look good in a Florida baseball cap, um, no thanks I’ll pass on that one I think, but thanks all the Same.
I shook myself ‘ard and ‘eaded
towards my box for a drink, man I’m thirsty!
After lapping up water for a few seconds I bolt out of my box to find Confiada trying to claim ‘er old box back from an ‘orse called ‘oney. ‘oney is a lot smaller than Confiada,,,. ‘ere, ‘ang on a bit, what’s Confiada doing in the yard anyway? I shouted for Jasper, who came and physically booted Confiada out of the yard, over the ‘edge and into the field. I must say she flew gracefully until she realized what was ‘appening to ‘er, then it fell apart. She landed with a thud on ‘er back, rolled over and sped off. ‘oney on the other ‘and was shaken up.
“I never thought I’d shake her off.” She said. ‘oney reclaimed ‘er box and stood eating ‘ay, or is it straw? I can’t tell the difference. It’s all food and that’s what matters. I slammed ‘oney’s door for ‘er and walked down the yard to where a group of very young ‘uman children were standing around waiting for one of the staff to ‘elp them do whatever they were in the yard for. When these young ‘umans, they must ’ave been around seven to ten, all of them, mobbed me and threw me in my box, locking the door and putting the kick bolt across, I whinnied at them to:
“Let me out!” They thought this was some kind of game and laughed, but I was furious! I put all my strength into attacking the stubborn door! I kicked and thumped it until I was worn out! One of the ‘umans said:
“You won’t get out Chantilly.” That did it! I backed up to the rear of my box and tensed, ready to spring at the door with all my force. Some of the young ‘umans came forward to my door to see what I was doing, bad move, bad move! I charged forward and used my half ton of weight to mow the door down! I took it with my shoulder and smashed it off it’s ‘inges! As I came tearing through I screamed abuse at the ‘umans, but, I can’t print it. I accidentally trampled one of the ‘umans under my ‘ooves! I didn’t notice until ‘er friends were screaming ‘isterically.
“Chantilly’s crushed Bonny! Chantilly’s crushed Bonny!” they yelled. I looked down at the ground, straight into the eyes of a ‘uman child! I ‘ad run ‘er down in my escape bid. I felt terrible! I dropped to my knees and nuzzled the tiny ‘uman. She never moved! I got to my feet and whinnied for assistance from the others. Beyancca and Brydy came running. They took one look at the scene and surrounded the ‘uman child, making sure that noone could ‘arm ‘er any more. Soon ‘owever the Manageress came and took over. She called an ambulance and asked the rest of the children to go and wait in the restaurant. When the yard ‘ad cleared of young ‘umans and the ambulance people were dealing with Bonny, the Manageress turned to us. She saw my shattered expression and asked:
“What ‘appened Chantilly?” I tried so dam ‘ard to get the words to form, but they wouldn’t. I made signs to the ‘uman that I was at a loss for words and she went crazy!
“What the bloody ‘ell did you do to that ‘uman Chantilly?” she yelled. I shrank back and whinnied at ‘er.
“I crushed a ‘uman! I didn’t mean to, honest I didn’t!” I turned tail, and screaming in terror for myself, and in fear for the child’s life I fled out of the yard, out of the fields, to the river. I stopped at the water’s edge. I was panting, sweating and sobbing.
“No ‘orse wants to deliberately ‘urt a ‘uman child do they?” I thought. I knew I’d ‘ad no quarrel with Bonny. All she ‘ad done is stand in the way and I never saw ‘er! Before I knew it she was under my ‘ooves! I lay down in the grass by the river and wept. Eventually I stopped crying, and walked back to the yard to see what was ‘appening there. My feeling of dread at what I might encounter grew as I got closer to the yard.
On arriving at the yard I found the Manageress sitting in ‘er office drinking the largest cup of coffee I ‘ad ever seen, not that I’ve seen that many. When she saw me she came out to meet me, carrying the cup with ‘er. She said:
“Look Chantilly dear, I know what went on, it’s not your fault. Those ‘umans shouldn’t ‘ave done what they did.” I told ‘er of my distress at being locked in my box for seemingly no reason.
“I know Chantilly, they shouldn’t ‘ave done it dear.” The Manageress said gently.
“Can’t you do something to stop them doing it to another ‘orse? I don’t know, prosecute them for false imprisonment?” I suggested. The Manageress laughed at this:
“No no Chantilly you can’t. For one thing you can’t prosecute young children, and ‘ave you ever ‘eard of an ‘orse prosecuting a ‘uman before?”
“There’s always a first time.” I said. I looked at the cup of coffee she ‘eld.
“You want some? ‘ere you go, finish it.” The Manageress said. I drank the hot sweet liquid with indescribable enjoyment. Man it tasted good! Afterwards I felt light ‘eaded and strangely elated. I almost floated back to my box and settled down on the straw. I was drifting on the edge of unconsciousness when I felt someone nuzzling my shoulder. I opened my eyes and turned my ‘ead to see who it could be. I saw Polo the boxer dog. I swallowed my fear and asked calmly:
“Yeah, and what do you want?” Polo looked into my eyes.
“Beyancca says she doesn’t like me no more.” ‘e replied. I said:
“Well I’m not really surprised at all Polo. Not after the way you spoke to ‘er last time you met. I ‘eard she was quite distressed by what you said to ‘er.” Polo replied:
“I wasn’t yelling at her at all Chantilly, it was that human with her I was yelling at.”
“Leave that ‘uman out of this! ‘e ‘appens to be one of B’s best ‘uman friends, which you’re not! One you’re a dog, and two, you’re not ‘er friend!” I yelled. This sent Polo racing from my box in terror. I kicked my water bucket out after ‘im and ‘eard ‘im yelp as it clouted ‘im.
“Serves you bloody well right!” I thought. I retrieved my bucket and put it back where it belonged. I walked out of my box, closed the door and locked it before walking away in search of Beyancca and Brydy. I met Jasper on route and my plans changed abruptly to include ‘im. We ended up in a field of lush grass where we found B’ and Brydy. Beyancca stopped eating when she saw me.
“hey Chantilly, did you get a visit from that bloody dog?” she asked.
“Who? You mean Polo? Oh yeah ‘e come round selling some sob story of you not liking ‘im no more. I told ‘im what I thought of ‘im and ‘e ran out of my box in terror. I kicked my bucket out after ‘im and managed to ‘it ‘im with it.” I replied.
“That’s all he deserves!” Beyancca said angrily. Brydy yanked up a mouthful of grass and crunched it thoughtfully. She swallowed it and asked:
“So what’ve you got against Polo B’? I remember you and him used to be mates, why the sudden change?”
“Oh, well he came in once while I was half asleep. One of my human friends was stroking me and I was enjoying the experience. I felt safe and warm, lovely it was. Well then polo came busting in and started screaming at the human for attention, and insulting me for being the reason for him not getting it. I was distressed at this and I fear I made an ass of myself in front of one of my best human friends, but puffing and blowing like a locomotive in my distress, I jumped to my feet and whirled round to face Polo. The human tried to comfort me and I calmed down. Polo was sent out with a flea in his ear and I’ve mistrusted him ever since.” Beyancca replied. I looked over at Jasper.
“Fancy going out for a walk tonight?” I asked. I saw the flicker of apprehension in ‘is eyes as ‘e remembered the events on our last nocturnal wander. Jasper ‘esitated, weighing up the pros and cons of taking up my offer. Would ‘e be the one to get dropped in it this time? ‘e ‘oped not.
“Um, yeah all right Chantilly I’d like that.” ‘e replied. ‘e looked at me seriously.
“’adn’t we better take B’, or Brydy, or both of them with us?” Jasper asked.
“Mmmm, might be a good idea. You up for it you two?” I asked. Beyancca looked at Brydy and she nodded.
“that’s if we’re not getting in the way.” Brydy said.
“Oh no, no you’re not.” Jasper replied. So that’s what ‘apened.
Four ‘orses set out from the yard after dark. We began our journey by walking down the road towards the wood. Then we turned right down a track running through the wood. It was darker than ever in there. I felt Beyancca actually press ‘erself against me as she fought ‘er fear of the dark. She rubbed ‘er nose against mine and I could feel ‘er shaking with fear.
“Why did you come with us if it scares you?” I asked. Beyancca, like all young ‘orses, denied she was frightened.
“No, no Chantilly, I’m not scared at all.” She laughed nervously:
“What ever gave you that idea?” She asked.
“’ang on a bit, ‘ere we are, in the middle of a wood, in the middle of the night, you’re rubbing your nose against mine and shaking violently. That spells fear don’t you think B’?” I asked gently.
“Oh all right, I’m petrified of the dark, will that do?” Beyancca asked.
“Thanks for admitting it B’.” Jasper replied. There was a sudden urgent rustling sound in the trees to our right. Beyancca stiffened and stared wildly about.
“What the ‘ell’s that?” She whispered.
“only a fox or something.” Brydy replied.
“It’s the something I’m scared of.” Beyancca said. Suddenly a Badger shot out from the thicket making Beyancca scream with fright! The Badger noticed the affect ‘e’d ‘ad on ‘er and commented:
“Come on Beyancca, I’m only a Badger.”
“it, it knows my name!” Beyancca stammered. The badger, confused by being referred to as, “it”, and upset by B’s reaction, tried to make amends. ‘e rubbed ‘is nose against ‘er fetlock. After all, ‘e could only reach that ‘igh poor thing. Beyancca stood stiffly as the Badger attempted to repair relations.
“Look B’, I’m only a common badger. I’ll climb onto,,,” ‘e looked at Jasper.
“can I? I would like to show ‘er I’m not a threat to ‘er.” The badger said. Jasper lay down on the leaves and allowed the Badger to climb on ‘is back. ‘e then stood up so Beyancca could see the badger at ‘er level. During this elevation the Badger ‘ung on to Jasper’s fur for dear life, I don’t think ‘e’d ever been so ‘igh before! That Badger was a brave chap to do what ‘e did. B’ looked at the Badger nestling in the long fur on Jasper’s back. She touched ‘im gently with ‘er nose, eventually plucking up the courage to nuzzle the badger gently.
“That’s better B’, you see there’s nothing to be scared of.” ‘e said gently.
“What’s your name?” Beyancca asked. The Badger smiled:
“They call me Sam.” ‘e replied. ‘e scrambled up towards Jasper’s neck and stopped as ‘e reached ‘is shoulders. Sam shouted:
“Hey big chap!,,,” ‘e stopped as Jasper turned ‘is ‘ead.
“My name’s Jasper.” ‘e said. Sam replied:
“Oh sorry! Um, Jasper, could I ‘itch a ride with you?”
“Yeah, but where’d’you wan’a go?” Jasper asked. Sam thought for a bit.
“’ow about your place? I’d love to see the other ‘orses I’ve ‘eard about.” Jasper looked round at us.
“You all right with that you three?” ‘e asked.
“yeah no problem.” We replied. So Jasper carried Sam the Badger on ‘is back as we walked. Sam was a great tour guide. ‘e knew things about the trees and the wildlife we’d never even ‘eard of. Sam told us about the Silver berch trees, and others that afterwards we couldn’t remember the names of. Sam also seemed fascinated by Jasper. ‘e kept looking down at the ground to see ‘ow ‘igh ‘e was. ‘e also nearly fell off a few times while trying to look at Jasper’s massive ‘ooves. Jasper noticed this and said:
“When we get back I’ll show you.” Sam seemed satisfied with that and ‘e stopped trying to lean out further and further. Jasper turned ‘is ‘ead to speak to the Badger.
“’ave you ever been swimming before?” ‘e asked. Sam looked nervously back at ‘im.
“No, no I ‘aven’t.” ‘e replied. Jasper looked at the river.
“Want to go for a swim?” ‘e asked. Sam looked scared!
“Look I trusted you to keep me safe Jasper, I, I didn’t expect you to throw me in the river!” Sam protested. Jasper laughed uproariously at this.
“No no Sam. You won’t get wet at all. That is if you stay in the centre of my back and don’t stray. I’ll take you myself.” ‘e replied.
“ah, right, okay then.” Sam assented. So Jasper waded into the water until it was up to is knees and started swimming. Sam relaxed and settled comfortably on Jasper’s back. The Massive ‘orse swam on, with us walking alongside ‘im on the bank as we ‘ad no desire to get wet. It was a funny sight, a Badger on the back of a swimming ‘orse. Soon Jasper stood up gently and climbed out of the water.
“’ow was that Sam?” ‘e asked. There was no answer from the Badger, Sam was asleep. Beyancca stroked the sleeping badger with ‘er muzzle.
“he’s lovely isn’t he?” She said softly.
“New boy friend for you is he?” Brydy asked.
“Shut it Brydy!” Beyancca replied sharply.
“Oh sorry B’, I meant that as a joke?” Brydy said.
“yeah right Brydy. You can be so stupid sometimes. I mean, think of it, a horse going out with a Badger? I don’t think so Brydy. Now be honest with yourself and with us, do you think it’s possible?” Brydy thought for a bit. While she was doing this Sam woke up.
“sounds Great! ‘ow about it B’?” ‘e asked. Beyancca whipped round:
“not you as well?” She asked. Suddenly Beyancca raised ‘er ‘ead and whinnied:
“What’s this world coming to? Before you know it all us horses will be going out with tadpoles!” The thought of an ‘orse going out with a tadpole made Jasper laugh so ‘ard ‘e nearly dropped Sam.
“Cor’ B’, going to extremes there aren’t you?” Brydy asked.
“Well I don’t know, this world’s crazy Brydy.” Beyancca looked pointedly at Brydy as she said this.
“You’re not saying I’m crazy Beyancca?” Brydy asked. Before B’ could reply Brydy shoved ‘er in the shoulder and Beyancca toppled into the water! She screamed as she fell. B’ landed with a massive splash! She swam to the bank and ‘ad some difficulty getting out because ‘er shoes were wet and the ground was also. Jasper and I watched ‘er with apprehension.
“oh no! not again!” I thought. But I needn’t ‘ave been worried. Beyancca did eventually get out of the water. She came slowly towards us so not to disturb the water in ‘er fur. Then she shook it all over Brydy! Brydy screamed and fell in the river ‘erself!
“Help! I can’t swim!” She yelled. I leaped into the river and fished ‘er out.
“silly ‘orse!” I remonstrated. Brydy nipped my ear playfully.
“I couldn’t ‘elp it could I?” she replied. I didn’t answer ‘er. We reached the bank and Brydy scrambled out of the water. I followed ‘er and was relieved to get my ‘ooves on dry land once more. Sam was laughing ‘isterically at us.
“‘twas all right for you! You were on Jasper’s back Badger,, and he can at least bloody swim! I can’t!” Brydy snapped. Sam looked at ‘er carefully.
“You from Ireland Brydy?” Sam’s question made Brydy rigid with fear.
“yeah.” She replied quietly. Sam noticed ‘er reaction to ‘is question and asked ‘er what the matter was.
“um, well, some people who notice my accent and then ask where I’m from have other interests than just finding out whether they’ve got the country right.” Brydy replied.
“You don’t mean the occasional Irish joke do you? If you can’t take a joke then that’s pretty poor.” Brydy went mad!
“Listen to me badger! You don’t know the ‘alf of it so keep your bloody nose out!” Brydy bellowed. The poor Badger was upset by Brydy’s coarseness.
“But Brydy, I didn’t mean it like that, honest I didn’t.” Sam replied. Jasper said:
“Yes Brydy I agree with Sam, you did overreact a bit. All Sam wants to know is why you are so edgy when it comes to Irish affairs.”
“I’m not having an affair!” Brydy screeched. Jasper gave up and shoved Brydy back in the water. She floundered for a bit and then B’ fished ‘er out.
“Look Brydy, lighten up a little will you. We know you’ve had a hard time, but don’t think we’re all ill informed like Misty.” Beyancca said softly. Brydy went up to Sam and appologised for blowing ‘er top at ‘is comment.
“That’s okay.” ‘e replied.
“No it’s not. Perhaps I am being a little too sensitive about things.” Brydy said. Beyancca ‘eard warning bells ringing.
“Don’t go to the other extreme and bottle it up Brydy.” She warned.
We walked on for a while in silence. All that could be ‘eard was the “crunch, swish” of the leaves under our ‘ooves.
The dawn was coming now. I turned back for ‘ome and the other three followed me. We jogged the majority of the way back. Sam asked Jasper to gallop. In the interests of safety Jasper refused to gallop, but ‘e did loap. Sam ‘eld on tight! Jasper’s ‘uge feet threw up the leaves in all directions as they thudded into the earth! Suddenly the shoe on Jasper’s right fore foot flew off! The next second ‘e trod on something sharp with ‘is now unshod ‘oof! Jasper squealed in pain and reared on ‘is ‘ind legs! Sam flew off ‘is back and landed with a sickening thud on the forest floor! While Beyancca and Brydy checked Sam over, I went to take a look at my ‘usband. Poor Jasper was lying on the ground gasping for air and shaking violently, ‘is right forefoot was outstretched in front of ‘im. I asked ’im if ‘e were all right.
“My ‘oof, my bloody ‘oof!” ‘e yelled. I took a look at it. Yes Jasper was right, it was bloody. I saw a nail sticking out and didn’t remove it. I told Jasper what I’d found.
“Oh ‘ell! That’s great! Now what am I gonna do?” ‘e gasped. I knew we were miles from anywhere and it would take Brydy or Beyancca hours to find their way back. The only horses that knew the trail were Jasper and myself. Sam came and took a look at the damage. ‘e was not ‘urt by ‘is tumble. ‘e whistled through is front teeth, and commented:
“Looks a mess.”
“Shut up!” Jasper pleaded.
“We’ve got’a do something quick.” Brydy said.
“Stating the obvious a bit isn’t it?” Sam asked. Brydy ignored ‘is comment. Jasper tried to reach the nail with ‘is teeth to pull it out.
“No Jasper! Don’t touch it!” I warned. Jasper looked at me, ‘is eyes were full of pain.
“When that bloody nail’s out it won’t ‘urt me no more!” ‘e gasped. B’ said:
“if you take the nail out you might cause more bleeding Jasper. But I can see we’re not gonna get home if we don’t.” Jasper began to sweat with the thought of ‘aving the nail pulled out of ‘is ‘oof. I couldn’t do it, not to my own ‘usband. Beyancca couldn’t neither, and Brydy was too scared. So that left Sam the Badger. ‘e took a look at Jasper’s ‘oof and casually whipped the nail out before Jasper knew what was ‘appening! Jasper screamed in agony and lashed out! Sam jumped for cover and I threw myself on top of Jasper to stop ‘im from going after the Badger. ‘e was moaning with pain.
“Cor’ bloody ‘ell!” ‘e gasped.
“Can you walk?” Brydy asked. Jasper bared ‘is teeth and screamed at ‘er:
“Of course I can’t! Try sticking a bloody great nail in your ‘oof and see if you can walk!” Sam remarked:
“Where’s a ‘elicopter when you need one?” The spontaneity of this comment made us all laugh, including Jasper! Sam gently wiped away the blood from Jasper’s ‘oof and inspected the damage more closely. ‘e then instructed Beyancca to get some leaves, wet ones if possible, from the ‘ighest point she could reach. B’ did as she was asked and gave them to Sam. Sam rolled them up small and slotted them into the wound. Jasper cried out a few times while this was going on, and who could blame ‘im poor chap? The leaves were packed in tightly, so they wouldn’t come out when Jasper walked on them.
“This is a job for the ‘umans.” Sam commented. I made a mental note to tell the Manageress the moment we got back, Jasper wouldn’t. Most male ‘orses will only go to the vet when they’re close to death, by then it’s almost too late sometimes. Jasper got to ‘is feet and swore even more viciously than was usual for ‘im. We made slow progress towards ‘ome. Jasper remarked that Sam ‘ad seen ‘is ‘ooves now.
“Yeah, ‘uge they are.” Sam replied. Eventually we reached the yard and the Manageress was informed of Jasper’s injury. She took a look and gave ‘im some shots of medicine. ‘e squealed as the needles went in, wimp! When I asked Jasper if ‘e’d like me to ‘old ‘is ‘oof for ‘im, ‘e told me:
“Piss off!” I took ‘is advice and went in search of Jinja. As I didn’t find ‘im I started roaming the yard for something to do. I ‘eard running ‘ooves behind me and turned to see Jasper sprinting towards me.
“”I didn’t mean it really Chantilly!” ‘e was yelling. I caught ‘im as ‘e threw ‘imself at me.
“You can run then.” I observed. Jasper didn’t seem to ‘ear. ‘e buried ‘is face in my shoulder and burst into tears. You’re probably thinking Jasper’s a bit of a wimp? Well you’d be right, ‘e is, but ‘e’s a very loveable one and I love ‘im to the moon and back, further in fact. I know I’d never leave ‘im for the world! Jasper recovered from whatever was troubling ‘im and looked at me.
“You’re scared I’m gonna leave you aren’t you Jasper?” I asked. A look of fear crossed ‘is face as I said this.
“There you go, you’ve proved it, you’re scared witless Jasper.” I said.
“Yeah I am.” ‘e admitted. I reassured Jasper that I was with ‘im till the end.
You want to know what ‘appened to Sam? Well ‘e was following B’ about and getting ‘is tour of the yard. Unfortunately for ‘im there were some ‘orses who didn’t like badgers. I think Carmen put up the strongest resistance, well apart from Confiada that is, but she doesn’t matter. Carmen saw Sam and the whole yard knew about it.
“ugh! Yuck! A badger! Spread tuberculosis all over the place! Go away you horrid scumbag!” She screamed. Poor Sam appealed to Jingle who ‘ad fallen in love with ‘im from the start.
“Can’t you make ‘er see I’m not dirty?” Jingle’s reply was:
“Perhaps if you jump in a bathtub in front of her it might work. But then perhaps not.” Sam turned ‘is back on Carmen and left ‘er to ‘er own thoughts. Beyancca went with Sam to see a few more ‘orses. Sam was looking inside Fleur’s box when Fleur came up behind ‘im.
“What’s this badger doing here Beyancca?” B’ turned towards Fleur and introduced Sam.
“His name’s Sam, he’s a badger.” She said. Fleur’s reply was:
“yes Beyancca, I can see he’s a bloody badger, and I hate badgers!” she yelled. With that Fleur ran into ‘er box and slammed the door with poor Sam still inside! Seeing the danger, Sam buried ‘imself in the straw ‘oping Fleur wasn’t going to find ‘im, and worse still that she wouldn’t tread on ‘im, she ‘as massive ‘ooves. Beyancca didn’t realize Sam was missing until it was too late! She sprinted back to Fleur’s box and screamed at ‘er.
“Where’s Sam?” Fleur looked dumbly back at B’. She tried again:
“Where’s Sam, the badger where is he?” she asked urgently.
“How the hell should I know?” Fleur growled. Beyancca’s diplomacy flew out the window.
“Look you clumsy bitch! Sam’s in there, right, I’m coming in to search for him.” She said. Fleur replied:
“No, I’ll look.” Beyancca knew she ‘adn’t much time.
“Look Fleur, I think it’s better if I do it don’t you?” She opened Fleur’s door and shoved ‘er aside. Fleur got really furious! She kicked Beyancca in ‘er forelegs and in ‘er stomach! Beyancca was lying on the floor winded within five seconds. Fleur bulldozed through ‘er box intent on killing Sam! Beyancca summoned all ‘er strength to yell:
“Sam, Sam wherever you are, don’t come out, don’t move darling!” she fought for air:
“Fleur, for heaven’s sake, stop, please stop,,,” B’ stopped shouting. She stared in ‘orror at what Fleur ‘ad dug out of the straw. Sam ‘ung from ‘is right foreleg and that was in Fleur’s mouth. Sam was screaming!
“Fleur! Put me down! Please put me down!” Beyancca saw one chance, one chance to save the badger’s life. She knew that if she could only get the strength to knock the wind out of Fleur, Sam would be safe. Beyancca struggled to ‘er feet and walked across to Fleur. she struck! Fleur’s squeal as she was set upon was heart rending. Sam Flew out of ‘er mouth and over the door! Fortunately for Sam I caught ‘im on my back. ‘e lay there sobbing and shaking. Once B’ ‘ad floored Fleur, she ‘ad a look at the damage she ‘ad caused. She found bite marks on Fleur’s nose, for which she couldn’t account.
“Had Sam tried to free himself?” She asked herself. Fleur was bruised and battered. She deserved it after all. No ‘orse would usually dare set upon a badger like she ‘ad! Stupid mare she is!” Beyancca left Fleur to recover in ‘er own good time. B’ walked out, ignoring Fleur’s protests that she should stay with ‘er.
“Shove off! You got yourself into this, now get yourself out!” She snapped. Fleur whimpered and kicked the wall, ‘urting ‘erself in the process. She squealed and screamed at Beyancca who slammed the door on ‘er racket.
Meanwhile I ‘ad calmed Sam and we were talking together. ‘e told me what ‘appened in Fleur’s box. I was amazed that ‘e ’ed survived Fleur’s search, she could be vicious with ‘er large ‘ooves if she wanted to be. Jasper walked out of the barn, Sam and I followed. ‘e walked to the top field and settled down. Jasper lay on the grass with ‘is legs outstretched. I took a look at ‘is ‘oof and saw it ‘ad a dressing on it. Very neat it was too. Jasper saw me looking and made comment:
“push off Chantilly! It’s only a small wound.”
“That’s not what you were saying earlier.” I pointed out. Jasper knew ‘e was beaten. ‘e shifted ‘is weight a little and looked across at me.
“Can’t we ‘ave an uneventful walk Chantilly?” ‘e asked.
“If it was uneventful it wouldn’t be any fun.” I replied.
“You know what I mean.” Jasper replied.
“Mmmm, yeah I don’t know why we can’t.” I said. Jasper said:
“We get pissed on from on ‘igh Chantilly, that’s the problem.” I was shocked!
“’ey Jasper! Sam’s ‘ere remember!” I remonstrated. Sam laughed:
“Don’t worry Chantilly, I’ve ‘eard it all before.” ‘e said. Jasper asked:
“You’re not getting like Confiada or Candy are you Chantilly?”
“Of course I’m bloody not! Who do you think I am Jasper? I just don’t think you should be swearing in front of another species. They might not know the words we do.” Sam replied:
“I think it was the badgers who taught the ‘orses to swear.” Jasper said:
“There you go!” I ‘’ad been stuffed, and I knew it. Jasper sighed and rested ‘is ‘ead on the turf. ‘e closed ‘is eyes and slept. Sam went up to the ‘uge Suffolk Punch ‘orse and took a look at ‘is damaged ‘oof as I ‘ad done.
“Neat work these ‘umans do.” ‘e remarked.
“Mmmmm, yeah.” I replied. Sam came and rested ‘is ‘ead on my shoulder. It felt strange ‘aving a badger rest ‘is ‘ead on my shoulder, but it was not unpleasant. Sam said:
“I want to stay ‘ere forever.” I looked down at ‘im.
“You can’t stay ‘ere, ‘ere is not your place.” I said. Sam replied reasonably:
“It’s not yours neither. You’re only ‘ere because the ‘umans want to use you for their own ends. They want to exploit you for their own needs Chantilly!”
“What do you mean Sam?” I asked. Sam’s eyes blazed with fury!
“Those ‘umans are only keeping you ‘ere to ride, and to make more ‘orses for them to ride when the ones they ‘ave already are too old! You’ll get laid by some ‘orrable Stallion and you’ll go through the pain of pregnancy for the ‘umans own selfish ends!” I stopped ‘im.
“’ang on a bit! Cocain’s not ‘orrable!” I protested. Sam retaliated:
“Who the ‘ell’s Cocain? I thought you were married to Jasper?.”
“Jasper’s a gelding Sam. Cocain’s got the, um, tackle to do the job.” I replied. Sam said:
“Oh right, ‘e must ‘ave fun then.” Suddenly a voice said:
“No Sam, it’s not much fun being a sex machine.” I turned my ‘ead to see Cocain standing behind us.
“Oh hi Cocain, ‘ow’s things?” I asked. Suddenly Jasper woke up, saw the stallion and leaped to ‘is feet.
“What the ‘ell’re you doing making sexual advances towards my wife?” ‘e bellowed. Poor Cocain was so frightened ‘e turned tail and disappeared in a flurry of ‘ooves. Jasper ran after Cocain and caught ‘im! ‘e floored the Stallion and beat ‘im senseless!
“That took care of ‘im!” Jasper snarled. ‘e returned to my side and asked:
“What did the bastard do to you Chantilly?” ‘’e then noticed my ‘orror stricken expression for the first time.
“Cocain wasn’t your quarry Jasper. ‘e didn’t mean any ‘arm to me at all! All ‘e was doing was chatting to us!” I sobbed. Poor Cocain ‘ad struggled to ‘is feet and was weaving towards us in a drunken fashion. ‘e rested ‘is ‘ead on my shoulder and I could feel ‘im shaking violently. Cocain panted desperately! ‘e looked very ill.
“I feel terrible.” ‘e moaned. Jasper stared at the ‘battered ‘orse.
“I, I didn’t, I didn’t know, really I didn’t know!” ‘e yelled. COCAIN WHIMPERED WITH MISERY AND FLOPPED ONTO THE GRASS. Jasper stared down at the fallen ‘orse in dismay.
“What ‘ave I done Chantilly?” ‘e asked.
“You’ve seriously ‘urt a perfectly innocent ‘orse, I ‘ope your satisfied!” I snapped. Then I turned my back on my ‘usband and walked off.
“I’m sorry Chantilly! I was only trying to protect you!” ‘e shouted.
“try telling Cocain you’re sorry, see what response you get.” I suggested. I walked back to the yard in a raging temper.
“’ow could Jasper do such a thing to Cocain?” I asked myself. I was deep in thought and didn’t at first notice Beyancca nuzzling my shoulder and calling me.
“Chantilly? Chantilly, are you in there?” she asked.
“Oh, yeah B’ what can I do for you?” I asked. Beyancca rubbed ‘er cheek against mine.
“Are you all right Chantilly dear?” Beyancca was so observant. The whole sorry story about Jasper and Cocain came out. Beyancca was both shocked at the story, and angry with Jasper.
“He’s a law un to ‘imself!” She snapped. Then she realized what she’d said:
“Oh! Sorry Chantilly, I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t know what I meant to say. I’ve blown it ‘aven’t I?” She faltered.
“I think saying Jasper’s a law un to ‘imself is a little ‘arsh B’. But ‘e’s been very stupid I’ll give you that.” I replied slowly. Beyancca sighed ‘eavily.
“Look Chantilly, I’m really sorry about what I said to you.” She said.
“Doesn’t matter B’, forget it.” I replied. Beyancca’s eyes filled with tears.
“What’s ‘e done to Cocain Chantilly?” She asked.
“I’ve no idea B’, none at all.” I replied truthfully. Beyancca let ‘erself go. Tears ran down ‘er nose and fell on the concrete.
“Most mares think of Cocain as nothing more than a sex machine. But there’s more to ‘im than that.” She sobbed.
“I know B’, you don’t ‘ave to tell me that.” I said gently. Beyancca dried ‘er eyes and looked at me. The tears ‘ad stained ‘er fur and she looked a proper mess. I brushed the mane out of ‘er eyes and nuzzled ‘er ear. She rested ‘er ‘ead on my shoulder and closed ‘er eyes. All Beyancca wanted was to feel safe and well loved. She, in my opinion, thought more about an ‘orse’s personality than any other ‘orse in the yard. B’ was very observant, loved everyone, no matter what their breed or religious background, and was one of the most open minded ‘orses in the place. On top of that she ‘ad a brain on ‘er that would put most ‘orses to shame. B’ ‘ad taken on the biggest ‘uman challenge that any ‘orse could ever do. She’d started working with those ‘umans with special needs as far as riding an ‘orse went. I’ve ‘eard she’s working with a ‘uman who can’t see much. That must be ‘ell for ‘im, ‘aving to put ‘is trust inn an ‘orse. But if ‘e doesn’t do that, well ‘ow will ‘e ride? Beyancca’s only young, and she’s learned so much. I looked at ‘er. B’ is a very attractive ‘orse, and I’m not being funny when I say that. She would make male ‘orses look twice, but I knew this wasn’t ‘er game. B’ is a working ‘orse, she doesn’t care for foals, yet. Beyancca noticed me studying ‘er and acute embarrassment took over. She ‘id ‘er ‘ead and wouldn’t meet my gaze.
“you’re wonderful Beyancca.” I said. This did it! Beyancca, embarrassed and overcome by ‘er emotions, broke down utterly. She ‘eld on to me as if I were the last ‘orse alive. I let ‘er cry, get it out of ‘er system like. Eventually B’ stopped crying and looked at me.
“Thanks Chantilly, you’ve been a great friend.” She said.
“What? No, don’t mention it B’. it was the least I could do.” I replied. Beyancca let me go and she made a great effort to walk away, but she couldn’t.
“What is it B’? Is something bothering you dear?” I asked. Beyancca sighed ‘eavily, she then looked round ‘er and took a deep breath.
“Um, it’s Misty. She’s not ‘er usual self.” Misty ‘ad come back into the yard a week previously, after being rushed to the vet’s after a fight.
“What’s wrong with ‘er?” I asked. Beyancca looked sad.
“She keeps forgetting things. Like she couldn’t remember ‘er date of birth or anything. She couldn’t even remember where ‘er box was. I don’t know what Confiada did to ‘er, but it was bad, very bad indeed!” Beyancca swallowed ‘ard, she continued:
“Misty came to my door in the night. ‘er eyes were all glazed over. She banged on my door screaming to be let in. I told ‘er to shut up and she refused. I watched ‘er return to ‘er box, and in the morning I asked ‘er about the goings on in the previous night. She said she couldn’t remember a thing, and the worst thing is Chantilly, I believe ‘er. Oh what ‘as Confiada done to Misty Chantilly?” Beyancca was crying again.
“I know she’s done ‘er fair share of bad things. But Misty’s a good ‘orse really, she doesn’t deserve this!” She sobbed. I said:
“It sounds as if she might ‘ave suffered some brain damage during the fight.”
“That’s what I was afraid you’d say.” B’ replied.
“But the Manageress won’t keep a brain damaged ‘orse will she?” I asked. Beyancca looked downcast.
“I don’t know Chantilly, I really don’t know!” She replied. We went to see Misty.
We found ‘er in ‘er box. She was sleeping on ‘er straw bed. I gently opened the door and walked in softly. I shook Misty’s shoulder and she woke up.
“Mmmm? Who’s that?” She asked.
“It’s me Misty, Chantilly.” I replied.
“Who? I don’t know you do I?” Misty asked. Beyancca turned away and walked off, she couldn’t ‘andle it.
“Yes Misty, you do know me. I’m the ‘orse who put you in the fields with Confiada.” I replied.
“Who the hell’s Confiada? All you horses seem to be going on about her non-stop.” Misty said.
“come with me and I’ll introduce you to ‘er if you like.” I said. Beyancca ‘ad returned and now pulled urgently at my ear with ‘er teeth.
“Yeah B’ wha’du’want?” I asked lazily. Beyancca was frantic!
“You sure that’s a good idea? Introducing Misty to Confiada I mean. She’d ‘ave ‘er for lunch!” B’ warned. I shook my ‘ead.
“No, no I don’t think so Beyancca.” I said. Silver piped up then.
“She’s a bad ‘orse, that Confiada you know B’.” She said.
“Yes Silver, I know she’s bad. I’ve been beaten up by ‘er before.” Beyancca replied patiently.
“Don’t come crying to me when she bites your bloody ‘ead off B’. You’ve been warned.” Silver said. Beyancca was enraged by Silver’s talk.
“Teaching your mother to eat grass don’t you think Silver?” She asked crossly. Silver replied:
“No B’, I’m not. I ‘eard ‘er say she’d smash Misty into the earth when she saw ‘er next.” Misty didn’t appear to ‘ear this, or if she did it didn’t sink in poor thing. Just then Confiada came flying into the barn like an express train! She caught sight of Misty and stopped dead!
“I thought you were dead Misty.” She said coldly. Misty replied:
“No, I’m not dead as far as I can tell.” It was clear she didn’t recognize Confiada. Confiada spat at Misty,opened ‘er door and gave ‘er the Equine equivalent of a slap in the face! I suppose it’s best described as Confiada’s right ‘oof coming up ‘ard and fast and catching poor Misty on ‘er nose, splitting the skin above ‘er muzzle right open! Misty began to cry as the pain registered it’s presence.
“What did you do that for?” Misty sobbed.
“Because you’re a sniveling cow. That’s why Misty.” Confiada said calmly. Then she became really spiteful!
“Do you realize Misty, that now you’re brain is damaged, you’ll get no more work. Do you know what that means? Or have you forgotten that as well?” Poor Misty looked dumbly at Confiada.
“Yeah, mmm, thought you had. Well it means you’re going to be sent to the vet’s, and you won’t come back! Bitch!” Confiada began to laugh:
“you’re finished Misty, and I’m glad of it. Because I ‘ate your guts!” She said. There was a mad light in Confiada’s eyes. Poor Misty might ‘ave been a shadow of ‘er former self, but she knew what Confiada meant by “not coming back” and she knew what what would ‘appen to her. She began to tremble with fright! I could ‘ave killed Confiada for saying what she did. In truth there was no chance of Misty ending up where Confiada said she would, none at all!” Even so Misty wasn’t to know this. She was sweating and sobbing with terror! I felt bloody sorry for Misty and felt also that I wanted to ‘elp ‘er as much as possible. I physically threw Confiada out into the field and slammed the gate! I went back and managed to coax Misty out of ‘er box and along to where Beyancca and Jasper were talking together. I was surprised to see Cocain standing eating grass as if ‘e ‘adn’t been clouted about the ‘ead only two hours before. Misty looked at Beyancca in wonder. It was as if she ‘ad never seen an ‘orse like ‘er before. Beyancca let Misty stare at ‘er for a long time.
“Are you all right Misty darling?” Beyancca asked softly. Misty blurted out the sorry events with Confiada. Beyancca couldn’t afford to fall apart like she’d liked to ‘ave done, that could come later. She ‘ad to deal with this much disturbed, and very very distressed Welsh pony. I saw Misty GIVE Beyancca a look of such complete and utter trust it was ‘eart warming. Then she went up to B’ and hugged ‘er. Beyancca returned Misty’s embrace knowing she’d forged a friendship with ‘er under far more distressing conditions than she would ‘ave liked to. Misty ‘ad always been an acquaintance of B’s, never a real friend. Beyancca ‘ad tried to make friends with ‘er on many occasions, but Misty ‘ad resisted it strongly. But now, now Misty was in deep distress, and to be truthful no other ‘orse than B’ could ‘elp ‘er, that was when it clicked into place. It wasn’t that the others didn’t want to ‘elp Misty, no, quite the opposite in fact. But Beyancca ‘ad something that we didn’t. she ‘ad AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE MIND THAT WAS UNRIVALLED IN THE YARD. Beyancca knew she ‘ad to try and unscramble Misty’s shattered mind. Then she could really see what damage ‘ad been done. For all she knew, Misty’s apparent forgetfulness could be a result of ‘er trying to shut everything out, not of actual brain damage. This was an ‘ard thing to prove, but even if B’ couldn’t in the end get to the bottom of Misty’s problems, she was going to ‘ave a dam good go at making Misty’s life better for ‘er. Jasper and I turned and walked away, leaving Misty and Beyancca to sort things in peace.
Well that’s it. I’m finished with this story thing. I ‘ope my way of speaking wasn’t too confusing for you. See you sometime later. Oh yeah, one thing more. The next ‘orse to tell a story will either be Beyancca or Misty, okay?
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
© Copyright Martin Wilsher 1998-2000
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