Hi, Beyancca here for a third time! Mmm yeah, pay’d better be good. Well here’s another story.
I was lying about in my box, my hooves tucked under me. I was really comfortable and didn’t wish to get up at all. Having recently been shod I knew work would come my way soon, yuck! Well, that’s not quite true. I was bored during my absence from the workplace. Seeing other horses taking my share of the custom was infuriating! Even though some humans did show their loyalty to me, you know, coming to my box and making a fuss of me, that sort of thing. I stretched out my RIGHT foreleg and looked down at my hoof. I remembered kicking the Farrier with that foot. He wasn’t best pleased I can tell you. But you must understand that I will not have humans shouting at my friends, not for any reason at all. I stood up and yawned expansively. Shaking myself I walked to my door and put my head out into the barn. Brydy caught my eye as I scanned the barn for inspiration. She winked at me and opened her door. Brydy came towards me and signalled that she had seen something highly amusing. She silently opened my door and came in.
“Hey B’, guess what I’ve just seen?” She asked conspiratorially.
Well how the hell should I know what you’ve seen Brydy? I’m not a mind reader.” I replied. Brydy smiled broadly. She was obviously amused by whatever it was she’d seen. She suppressed laughter as she said:
“I’ve just seen ruby play the biggest prank on a human ever! One of the instructors was running about with bales of hay, when Ruby stuck her foot out and tripped her! I’ve never seen a human fly before, but she did, wonderfully in fact!” She noticed my stony expression.
“I don’t find it funny in the slightest Brydy. I hope the human wasn’t hurt when she landed. I think Ruby’s a stupid horse who knows no manners and no laws, except those she creates herself.” I replied. Brydy sighed:
“We horses are meant to take the rip out of humans. It’s our job isn’t it B’?” I replied:
“To a certain extent, yes, but then again, no. I for one find it appalling that any horse, especially you Brydy, should find a human’s misfortune amusing.” I said crossly.
“Oh B’.” Brydy sighed:
“What happened to your sense of adventure? You’re not siding with the humans are you? Come on Beyancca, you’re not being conditioned by them to obey every command they give you are you?”
“Brydy, it’s not like that. When you realise what I do in my work, you’ll see why I don’t laugh at a human’s misfortune.” Brydy was curious.
“Mmmm B’, I’d like to hear more about this crusade of yours to clean up the Equine perception of humans.” She said. I started telling her a little about my work with Rosie’s,
Well, I took over her job anyway. Excuse me.
BEYANCCA SHEDS A FEW TEARS FOR ROSIE. SHE TURNS AWAY TRYING TO CONSEAL FROM BRYDY THAT SHE’S CRYING.
BEYANCCA SNIFFS HARD.
Sorry about that. Well Brydy, where do I start? I have this human friend. He can’t see much at all, and I am contracted to work with him whenever he wants to ride a horse. Until Rosie passed away I’d never met this chap before. I’m sorry to say it was under these circumstances that our paths crossed. Rosie had come close to being his, well, guide horse, if you like. She had learned so much in such a short time; she was able to carry him safely over jumps and all sorts of other things. So when Rosie passed away, she left a huge gap, not only in the yard’s capability to take on new novice riders, but also in that human’s possibilities for carrying on the sport he quite obviously loved. All right, he had tried working with Fleur and Ruby. This was unsuccessful because Fleur has no common sense, and Ruby takes the rip! Horrible to him she is! He does his best to manage her, and she throws it back in his face! So then it was my turn. It was obvious to me from the start that this chap knew what he was doing with me. He wasn’t a novice. I worked with him as best I could for a lesson in the school, and then I tried something out on him. I tried showing him a little affection to see what his reaction would be. I suppose it was to see if he was the type of human that would only “use” a horse for work, or if he took a far deeper interest in us. I waited until he was standing by my head and had gathered the reigns up. Then I rested my head on his shoulder. He stroked and spoke gently to me. I took this as a sign of approval from him. We walked back to my box and I heard this male human and the Manageress talking about me. The male human said he thought I was about twenty! But when the manageress pointed out I was only six at the time, the male human seemed to like me even more. This was brought home to me when he started stroking my nose and ears gently, while talking to me reassuringly, like he wanted me to feel safe with him. There we were, in my box, I had my head resting on his shoulder and he was hugging me and stroking my nose. It was wonderful! I drifted off to sleep feeling better than I had for ages. Then it came to hacking time. Well, I was chosen to carry this human. I had to learn a lot of new things while on the move. There was no time for other horses to teach me; the only one who could have done this was Rosie. So I had to learn the ropes of the job through trial and error. Fortunately for me I had moderate success with this task and obviously the human thought the same way. I found I was scared that I would overdo it and push the human too far. But Candy put me straight on the matter, saying that this human had seven years experience of riding horses before he started riding those in the yard. So armed with this knowledge I loaped, jogged and all the rest without worrying about my rider’s ability. He obviously enjoyed the hack. As for me, well my nerves were worn, and that’s putting it mildly. I trailed back to my box that day feeling drained, rather like I had at the end of my first week in the yard after an all day hack. I flopped in my box and was soon spark out.” Brydy looked at me. She asked:
“Can I get a word in edgeways B’?” I stared back in astonishment!
“You asked me to tell you and I told you.” I said.
“So that’s why you don’t find this sort of thing funny.” Brydy said. Brydy opened my door and escaped into the barn. She disappeared round the corner and I lost sight of her. I pushed my door wide and left the barn myself. The day had only just begun and the usual chase was on. By “the usual chase” I mean the one where the instructors try to catch the horses in the fields. We invariably lose the contest. But sometimes there are horses that manage to keep one stride ahead of the instructors; Jinja did this most often. He would lie down in the middle of a field and let the instructors come right up to him, then he would leap to his feet and charge off! I saw him do this once. Jinja might be in later life, but he can ‘n’alf run! He kept giving the humans the run around for an hour or so. Then he would give up.
Today however there were no problems really. There were the usual troublemakers; those horses that wouldn’t obey commands today and never did anyway. But other than them, well nothing really happened. I noticed a Field horse coming towards me. She was a young thing about a year and a half old I think. Her name was Jitan. When Jitan spoke, it was as if she were permanently sucking a polo mint and speaking round it. This came about because she had a split lip that meant she couldn’t use it in the usual way. Try rolling up your top lip and speaking, then you’ll have an idea of what I mean. I know this might sound strange to you, but Jitan is one of the nicer Field horses. She doesn’t seem to take exception to yard horses in the way the others do. Jitan caught sight of me and drew alongside.
“Hi Beyancca, how’s life?” She asked.
“Oh all right I think Jitan, and yours?” I asked. The Field horse put her head on one side, considering my question for a minute or so. I could see she was screwing herself up to something big.
“Um, Beyancca, can, can I talk with you for a bit? Mind you I’d quite understand if you said no, me being a Field horse and all that,” I raised a hoof to stop her. “No Jitan, don’t worry, come, let’s talk if you need to.” I replied. The Field horse looked relieved at this.
“Thanks Beyancca, thanks a lot!” She said.
“Call me B’ if you like Jitan. All my friends do.” I said. Jitan smiled broadly. I found myself smiling back at her as my spirits lifted. It felt wonderful to be able to make a positive difference to another horse’s life! So what if she was a Field horse, and so what if she was the same breed as my bastard ex husband. Every horse is different, including Field horses. I motioned to Jitan to follow me. She stuck close to me throughout our journey back to the barn. Her eyes grew wide with wonder as she entered my box. I wondered for a few seconds why she was so overwhelmed with it all. Then I realized she had never seen inside a yard horse’s box, let alone been invited in. Jitan looked into every corner. Then she seemed to realize what she was doing.
“Oh! Sorry B’, didn’t mean to pry.” She said sincerely.
“Don’t worry Jitan dear. It’s all right.” I assured her.
“Like a drink before you begin?” I asked. Jitan stopped nosing about and looked at me in astonishment.
“Would I like a drink? You mean,” she pointed at my water bucket with her nose.
“Yeah, where else would you get a drink from? I haven’t got a mini bar in here you know. I can see you’re pretty impressed with it all, but I can’t afford a mini bar yet.” I replied. This seemed to lighten the mood a bit, and Jitan actually managed to pluck up the courage to lap water from my bucket. I noticed she kept looking back at me from time to time. I guessed rightly she was suspicious of my reasons for inviting her in. But she had no reason to worry. I wanted to help her because she was a horse like me, not for my own personal gain. Jitan shook her muzzle dry and rubbed it on a tea towel I had pinched from the Manageress’s place for the very purpose a few weeks before. I had done this because I had heard that humans didn’t like horses with wet muzzles after they had been drinking. So I always made a point of drying mine. Jitan turned to me and I saw she was fighting back tears.
“What’s the matter Jitan dear?” I asked gently. Her lip quivered as she tried to speak, but no words came. Instead she buried her head in my shoulder and cried.
“I can’t shake off the feeling that this is all a trap B’. I know it sounds awful to say it dear, but please, please hear me out.” Jitan sobbed.
“All right then.” I replied. Jitan continued:
“Us Field horses and you yard horses have been at odds for years now. So when you invited me into your box, just like that, no questions asked, well I, I thought there might be a catch. But then when I came and saw everything, and then you offered me a drink ‘n’ all. Well I began to have second thoughts. I no longer felt it was a trap. I no longer felt you were trying to take advantage of me.”
“I know, I know you were feeling that way Jitan.” I replied. The poor Field horse looked mortified at my revelation.
“I’d better go, I’ve taken up too much of your time Beyancca, thanks for the drink,” She tried to get out, I blocked her attempt. This made Jitan squeal with terror!
“Let me out, let me out!” I stood my ground. I replied gently:
“No Jitan, no, you’ve got it all wrong. It’s quite natural to feel suspicion towards an old enemy. But I have nothing but good intentions. I want to help you, you look as if you need it.” Just then Brydy put her chin on the top of my door and tilted her head slightly to look in. The poor horse was so short she couldn’t look over her own door, let alone mine. Brydy saw Jitan, and Jitan saw Brydy. There was surprise on both sides.
“Um, B’, you do realize you have a Field horse in your box?” Brydy pointed out.
“Mmm yeah Brydy. Her name’s Jitan and she needs our help. That all right?” I asked. Brydy opened my door and came in. She stared long and hard at the now terrorized Field horse. Poor Jitan stared back at Brydy with undisguised fear and panic!
“Two yard horses in one box! I’m in here with them and they’re outnumbering me! What am I gonna do!” She thought. Brydy rested her head on Jitan’s shoulder in an attempt to reassure her.
“Come on Jitan dear. We’re not going to hurt you. All we want to do is help where we can.” Fleur spoke up:
“Pa! Yeah right Brydy, sure you do. I must say that’s the biggest lie I’ve ever herd you tell!” She yelled. Jitan’s eyes were full of fear. In a desperate attempt to show her vulnerability, she stood in front of me and lowered her head in submission. Her nose was almost touching the straw. Fleur scoffed at this primitive behavior.
“You look bloody stupid Field horse! What the hell do you think you’re doing?” She asked scornfully.
“Shut your bloody mouth!” Brydy retaliated. Fleur smashed her door and came bulling her way out into the barn. Jitan screamed in terror!
“Protect me Beyancca!” Fleur snorted and puffed with rage! I said coolly:
“How about if you piss off back to your box Fleur and leave us alone.” I suggested.
“And what if I don’t.” She challenged.
“I’ll drop you where you stand.” I promised. Fleur laughed at this:
“Yeah right B’. You couldn’t hurt a fly! Just try it! Come on if you’re hard enough!” She shouted.
“Right then!” I replied. Brydy tried to intervene, but Fleur dragged her aside and threw her out into the barn in a whirling ball of flying hooves. Brydy rolled on the concrete and regained her feet. As for poor Jitan, she was still in my box! She stood paralyzed with fear!
“Fleur, Fleur, don’t, don’t hurt Beyancca!” She pleaded. Fleur looked sideways at the Field horse.
“Don’t worry Field horse, I won’t leave a mark on her when I kill her.” She said coolly. I watched Fleur carefully. I noticed she had turned as she spoke to Jitan. I struck! I felt my hoof go deep into her stomach! The air whistled out of Fleur’s lungs and she flopped onto the straw gasping, moaning and scrabbling!
“You see horse, I do not speak empty words.” I said. Fleur told me to go away in such awful terms that Brydy was forced to comment.
“Fleur! You’re worse than Chantilly! Even she wouldn’t use those words!” She exclaimed. Chantilly overheard Fleur’s recommendation and came flying round the corner from her box in a raging temper!
“I wouldn’t ever, ever use that word Fleur!” She screeched.
“You seem to use every other one in the book Chantilly, so why not this one?” Fleur asked. Chantilly bit back her rage!
“Because it’s dishonorable and totally wrong Fleur.” Fleur spat:
“Ah yes, I see now. Chantilly trying to take the morel highground yet again.” Chantilly replied:
“My morels have nothing to do with my language you bloody idiot!” Fleur scrambled to her feet and fled from my box leaving Chantilly enraged, Brydy thoughtful, myself bruised and panting and poor Jitan, well frightened wouldn’t do her emotions justice! She shook and trembled, her eyes staring wildly from their sockets.
“B, Beyancca?” I hugged her tightly.
“Don’t worry Jitan, I’m here, I’m here.” I said gently. The poor Field horse buried her head in my shoulder and wept with fright. When she had recovered, I asked her what the matter was, what was the reason for her seeking me out in the first place? Jitan looked frightened.
“Um Beyancca, it, it’s like this. I don’t know what you’re like when I mention the subject of disability or disfigurement, you see, some horses cannot tolerate horses who have been disabled or disfigured.” I thought about her split lip and wondered what bastard had been giving her grief over it. I had my own suspicions. Jitan was looking at me anxiously.
“You know I speak a bit funny like?” She asked.
“Well, no Jitan, not really.” I replied. This swung the balance totally in my favor. I had noticed her split lip, well who could fail not to. But you can realize someone has an unusual characteristic, but not let it get in the way of your assessment of his or her character. But I knew Jitan had come up against other horses that felt her disfigurement meant she was inferior, even sub normal to themselves. I saw in her eyes this had developed from simple name calling, to something much worse, physical attack! The human race has enabled disabled and disfigured horses to live in captivity, where they might have died in the wild. Therefore, in the wild, Jitan with her split lip would have been hounded out of the herd and isolated, and would now probably be dead. The humans have stopped this to a certain extent but in secluded corners, it still goes on.
“What’s going on Jitan? Who’s giving you grief?” I asked. Jitan whispered in my ear:
“Confiada, and Jamie, Fabrecai sometimes as well.”
“Why do they give you trouble?” I asked. Jitan stamped her foot in anger!
“Are you blind? Haven’t you noticed? If you haven’t you’re the only horse who hasn’t.” She snapped.
“What? Your lip you mean?” I enquired.
“Yeah, of course my bloody lip! What else would it be? I haven’t grown wings! I’m not Pegasus, yet!” I was shocked at her outburst. I thought she’d be glad I hadn’t noticed it. Even if I had, that I hadn’t mentioned it. I knew why she was angry. She was used to so many horses making comment and sneering at her, that she thought I’d be the same as them. But when you’re in my line of work, well you meet lots of people, humans and horses alike that have disabilities or disfigurements. I won’t pretend I wasn’t shocked and upset by Jitan’s problem when I first saw her. But I learned, from talking to her that she’s like the others. A horse, which needs love and companionship like all the rest. Jitan saw my expression and calmed down.
“Look, B’, I’m sorry dear, I didn’t mean to snap at you. Really I didn’t.”
“It’s all right Jitan.” I replied.
“No it’s not. You noticed it but didn’t comment, not like those others! You took me for who I am, not for what I look like. I’m so used to horses snubbing me because of my looks, I thought you’d be the same. Sorry again B’.” She said. I shook myself and looked over at my newfound friend.
“Would this friendship end like the last?” I asked myself. Jamie’s and my friendship had broken down first and foremost because he was a Field horse and I a yard horse. I hoped Jitan and I would last a bit longer. All right, before you say anything, I’m straight! I’m not a lesbian! I had grown to like Jitan that’s all. Jitan looked across at me.
“I get beaten up by Fabrecai every time I’m in the barn with the other Field horses. Confiada and Jamie have a go while I’m in the fields. I’ve been in the fields for the last few weeks.” She waved her right fore leg.
“That’s giving me hell.” Jitan said. I was foxed. What could I do to help Jitan? Nothing as far as I could see. I mean, I couldn’t go round with her like some type of bodyguard could I? No, certainly not! Was I going to tell her to tough it out and see what happened? No, that would be like throwing her to the lions, I couldn’t do that. So what was I going to do to help this poor horse, who for so long had been the butt of jokes, and Fabrecai’s punchbag for almost as long. I looked into Jitan’s eyes. I realized I had done this more often, looked into a horse’s eyes I mean. I did this if I wanted to see if they were genuine about their intentions. Hadn’t Rosie done much the same thing? I thought she had, better ask Jinja. Second thoughts, perhaps not, that might upset him. But I wanted so much to find out more about Rosie. All right, Rosie and I had been pretty close after her death. We accompanied Jinja when he had to visit the vet after a fight. But I felt I didn’t really know Rosie. I know she was herd leader and all that. But she kept herself to herself. She only really opened up to Jinja and the Manageress as far as I could remember. Jinja had only really become “a real horse” to me after Rosie’s passing. Isn’t that awful to say, but it’s true. By the expression “real horse” I mean I had actually seen Jinja in the flesh, rather than just being fed stories by other horses. It’s like hearing someone famous on the radio, and then seeing them in front of you. It’s a totally different thing to see someone in the flesh, after having a picture in your mind for so long. But then perhaps you wouldn’t want to see them in the flesh; perhaps for some people certain beings are left unseen by the naked eye. Jitan nudged me.
“B’? Are you in there?” She asked.
“Oh Jitan, um, yeah, I’m here.” I faltered. To be truthful I’d been so far away I’d momentarily forgotten she was there. I decided not to do that again. Jitan stretched and yawned.
“Better get back to the fields, can’t take up any more of your time Beyancca. Thanks for listening.” She said.
“That’s all right Jitan, any time you’re passing, drop in.” I replied. If she wanted to go, I couldn’t stop her. I watched the Field horse leave. I lay down on the straw and thought about what Jitan had told me. What could I do? Nothing at all. I couldn’t go up to Fabrecai and say something to the affect of:
“You bad horse! Don’t do that again.” Could I? No, thought not. On the same token I couldn’t do it to Jamie or Confiada. I could only take action if they actually did Jitan harm, and they wouldn’t risk that would they?
I thought not. I looked down at my hooves and thought of how to improve the design of the horseshoe. Let me think now. What problems do horses have that a new type of horseshoe might solve? Well, there’s always the old chestnut, and that’s not a horse over thirty. No, this old chestnut was the jarring affect that occurred when a horse’s foot impacted with a hard surface, E.G. a road. This I knew had contributed to many horses getting joint problems in later life. I puzzled over this, while looking at my hooves the whole time. I suppose I did this to get away from what Jitan had told me for a bit. I was deep in thought when Balugue came past in a distressed state. I struggled to my feet and went to see what she wanted.
Balugue’s eyes were wild!
“B, Beyancca, can I talk with you for a bit? Please, I won’t take up much time, it’s urgent!” She panted. I opened my door and Balugue came in. I saw for the first time she was bathed in sweat! She was also shaking violently! Balugue flopped on the straw as if her legs had given way under her.
“C, close, close the door B, Beyancca.” Balugue stammered. She was in a bad way; there was no doubt about that! I closed the door and lay down beside my leader.
“Hey Balugue, come on dear, calm down a bit.” I said gently. I know this is no way to talk to your leader, but Balugue wasn’t in any mood for argument. She rested her head against my shoulder and began to cry.
“I can’t cope!” She whispered. I let her cry it out of her system and then asked her what she was having problems with.
“What am I not having problems with. Everything’s falling about my ears and I can’t seem to stop it!” Balugue replied.
“Can I help at all?” I asked. Balugue looked scared. She chewed her tongue a while and finally spoke.
“Yeah, yeah B’ there is something. I wonder, could, could you take on the leadership of the herd for a bit?” I was shocked, appalled and honored all at the same time!
“I can’t Balugue. I’ve only been in the yard a year; I’m only seven myself. I haven’t had enough experience to be leader! I’m sorry, thanks but no thanks.” I said. Balugue looked sick.
“I can’t do what you’re asking me to!” I shouted. I thought:
“You’re getting upset Beyancca, that’s not a good move.” But I couldn’t stop myself. I whirled round on my door and smashed it to bits! My forefeet hurt after that! I knew I would have probably killed Balugue if I had vented my frustration on her. Balugue watched my antics with pity in her eyes.
“I keep forgetting your still very young Beyancca. I’m sorry, I’ll go now.” She said.
“No, no Balugue, don’t, don’t go.” I pleaded. I lay down beside her once more and told her what Jitan had told me.
“Did that fuel your outburst B’?” She asked.
“Mmm, yeah, sorry about that.” I replied. Balugue sighed heavily.
“I don’t know what to do B’, I really don’t.” She said. I took the liberty of hugging my leader. I know I should have treated her with deference, but then wasn’t the time for messing about with that. Anyway, Balugue seemed not to mind. If anything it made her feel slightly better. She put her forefeet on the straw and heaved herself to her feet. She turned and looked at me.
“Could you think about it Beyancca? Please, look hang on a bit, perhaps this’ll clear things up for you.” She lay down again and rested her head on my shoulder, her mouth close to my ear. Balugue said softly:
“The reasons why I’ve chosen you as leader are many and various. You are large, capable and most horses respect you. Added to this you’re great with the humans, better than I could ever be. Then you’re patient, compassionate and very loyal.” I held up my right forefoot to stop her:
“I’m not Rosie Balugue. I’m nowhere near what she was, and never could be. I’m Beyancca, a younger, far different horse to Rosie. Please don’t confuse me with Rosie. Sure we all loved her and there’s no horse that misses her more than me. But we must move on,”
“Exactly B’! You’re the one to take this herd into the twenty first century.” Balugue chipped in.
“Haven’t I heard that somewhere before?” I asked.
“What?” Balugue enquired.
“Oh, some political crap from the humans I think. A chap called Tony Blair is always spouting on about “the government for the twenty first century” and all that. I thought you sounded a bit like him. Please don’t Balugue, he’s a plonker!” I said. Balugue thumped my shoulder with her nose.
“Showing your political leanings are we B’?” She asked.
“Yeah, I suppose I was, sorry about that.” I replied. Balugue touched my left forefoot with her right.
“Come on B’. Won’t you give it a try, please?” She implored. I must admit I was beginning to like the idea, but I had to say no.
“No Balugue I,” Then something happened that decided the matter once and for all. Fabrecai came bulling into my box, absolutely seething with fury!
“What the hell has Jitan been telling you Beyancca?” He yelled. Balugue cowered in the back of my box. I had to take Fabrecai on alone.
“Oh, let me think now Fabrecai. Well she said you used her like a punchbag, now I come to think of it. You know what else? I can well believe it too.” I said. Fabrecai looked at me, obviously assessing his chances of clobbering me. I stood up straighter and challenged him.
“Come and get it Field horse.” I said conversationally. Fabrecai looked harder at me.
“You herd leader or something?” He asked.
“Mmm, yeah I am actually.” I said.
“Great bluff!” Balugue thought. Fabrecai backed down.
“I’ll leave it. Can’t have a hope in hell of challenging you Beyancca.” He admitted gruffly.
“Right Fabrecai, now sod off to your fetid barn and don’t trouble us again.” I suggested. To my complete amazement, he left! My heart was racing as I turned towards Balugue. I saw she was smiling.
“Wasn’t that bad was it?” She asked.
“No, no it wasn’t.” I admitted.
“Are you still undecided?” She asked.
“All right, I’ll give it a go, but I can’t promise anything.” I said. The relief on Balugue’s face was heart felt. She started to say:
“Beyancca, your wonderful,” I stopped her with a downward motion of my right forefoot.
“No don’t say anything Balugue.” I cautioned. I stretched my legs and shook myself.
“Better go and see what’s going on in my yard hadn’t I.” I said. Balugue started laughing.
“Trust me B’, you’ll take to being leader like a duck to water.”
“That remains to be seen. I replied. Balugue got up also and we left my box. She had regained her composure to a great extent and seemed almost herself again. She was certainly a lot further from the distraught pony that had come to me for assistance only an hour previously.
We arrived in the main yard to find the manageress and her staff having a massive row over something or other. I didn’t take much notice until I heard the words “Field horse,” I pricked up my ears! It appeared that one of the instructors had left the gate to the jumping paddock open, and the Field horses had invaded it. I thought:
“Humans never learn do they! Field horses are meant to be kept under lock and key!” The Manageress seemed to be directing her fury at one human in particular. Balugue turned and walked off, I followed. We jogged up the track towards the top field. I noticed Confiada coming the other way and stopped her.
“Hey, Confiada! Seen Jitan lately?” I asked. Strangely Confiada was very talkative. She seemed almost friendly! After a time we walked on without her. Confiada returned to a field a little way back from us. Balugue seemed nervous all of a sudden.
“Um, B’, you didn’t notice something strange about Confiada did you?” She asked slowly. I thought for a bit.
“Yeah, she talked too much, if that’s what you’re on about Balugue?” I replied.
“Yeah Beyancca, that’s exactly what I’m on about!” She said quickly. I sensed Balugue’s nerves. She was terrified of something, but what?
“What’s wrong Balugue?” I asked.
“I, I think, think there’s something more to Confiada’s manner than just wanting a chat B:” She faltered. I sighed heavily with exasperation.
“I like you very much Balugue, but you can be really oversensitive sometimes.” I thought. Even so I turned back the way we had come:
“Let’s take a look shall we?” I suggested. Balugue nodded and followed me.
We retraced our steps to the point where we’d met Confiada. Suddenly I stopped walking! At first I didn’t know why I had, but then I pricked up my ears. Something was not right! Something in the air told me there was unpleasant things going on nearby. Obviously Balugue had felt this long before I had. I began to regret thinking what I had. Balugue raised her head and whinnied at the top of her voice. There was a yell from another field a few meters to our right. Suddenly there was a scream!
“No!” Then a thud, and nothing more. I felt sick!
“Jitan, it’s Jitan!” I thought franticly. Balugue was already sprinting in the direction of the scream. I also ran, all the while dreading what I’d find. What we found was worse than I’d ever imagined!
Jitan was lying half in a ditch, unable to move and obviously in a lot of pain. I could see she was jammed tight and couldn’t escape, even if she wanted to. The poor Field horse looked up pathetically into my eyes.
“Beyancca, b’, is that you?” Jitan asked faintly. It was plain she’d been clouted over the head and was concussed, or worse! I knew who had done this, Confiada, whom else? It became horribly plain to me why she had gone to so much trouble to keep us away. Balugue stared at the scene in horror!
“I knew it, I knew something was up.” She said to noone in particular. Jitan pleaded with Balugue to go and get the Manageress. Balugue shot off like a bullet! I knelt down beside Jitan and asked her what had gone on.
“Confiada, she, she came up to me while I was eating grass and threw me in here Beyancca!” Jitan gasped. I remember thinking that Balugue was taking a hell of a long time to return. Eventually she did however and she had bad news for me
“I can’t find anyone Beyancca! They’ve all disappeared!” She panted.
“No Balugue, they can’t have disappeared.” I replied.
“Well they have I tell you!” Balugue snapped.
“You stay with Jitan Balugue, I’ll go and take a look.” I said. I fled from the field and into the yard. My first port of call was the restaurant where the Manageress and her staff had their meetings from time to time. Sure enough, all the instructors were there, and the Manageress was also present. Balugue had lost her sense of reason. Her nerves had got the better of her and she had overlooked the restaurant. I broke down the door into the restaurant and thrust my head in. The surprised looks I got from all the human occupants reminded me of the time when Rosie had done much the same thing a few months earlier.
“Confiada’s thrown Jitan in a ditch!” I said quickly. My wild appearance and frantic whinnying caused the humans to pour out of the restaurant in a torrent. They all fled from the restaurant and up to where Jitan was trapped. When I finally managed to regain my position beside Balugue I saw she was frantic!
“What’re we gonna do? Jitan’s out of it.” By “out of it” Balugue meant Jitan was unconscious. If anything this made the job of digging her out harder. I yelled at Jitan until she came round.
“Sod off will you!” Jitan snapped.
“It’s me, Beyancca!” I yelled back. This calmed Jitan down a little and I was able to get on with serious matters, like getting her out of the ditch for example. The humans had already dug round her and all that had to happen was for Jitan to get to her feet and walk out of danger. Ah! Mmm! Problem! Jitan had been lying on her right foreleg for so long, it had become numb and she couldn’t use it. So Balugue and I hauled her to her feet and shoved her across the grass and into my box. Jitan flopped on the straw and passed out. Balugue stared in horror at the prostrate Field horse.
“She looks awful B’. Do you think she’ll be okay?” She asked. I knew Balugue was fond of putting far more seriousness on to another horse’s condition. She couldn’t help it; it was the way she was. I took a look at Jitan myself.
“She’s probably feeling a little stiff, bruised and frightened. She’ll get over it soon Balugue, there’s no need to be unduly concerned. Tell you what, I’ll look after her, I’m leader after all, you go back to your box and get some sleep.” I suggested. Balugue looked at me strangely and then remembered she had delegated the post of leader to me four hours earlier.
“Um yeah, all right Beyancca.” She said. While Balugue walked back to her box I lay down beside Jitan to keep her warm. The winter was coming now, well autumn was anyway and it was cold. I thought about my position.
“Leader of the herd Beyancca, how about that now.” I saw Jitan move and she woke up.
“Who’s there? Oh it’s you B’. What happened, I feel like I’ve been kicked by a horse!” She said. I smiled at her use of a human phrase and told her what had happened to her.
“Yeah, I, I remember now. I wish someone would lock Confiada up in her box and never let her out!”
“I know she needs to be taught a lesson. But the humans can’t do that. They’d get done for cruelty, even if Confiada does deserve all she gets.” I explained. Jitan moved slightly and swore viciously.
“Shit!” I stared at her in astonishment!
“I never thought you were capable of using such talk!” I thought. My stunned expression caused her to look away.
“Sorry Beyancca, I didn’t mean to use that word.” She said contritely. I replied:
“That’s all right, I was a bit surprised that’s all, first impressions and all that.” Now it was Jitan’s turn for astonishment! She stared at me as if I had suddenly grown horns!
“You mean to say, you thought I was incapable of swearing?” She asked.
“Well yeah, you didn’t look the type Jitan.” I replied. Jitan laughed:
“Oh yeah right! And what does a horse that swears it’s head off look like? They don’t go round with a huge sign “I swear like a trooper” hanging round their necks do they.” She said.
“Mmm, no I suppose not.” I replied.
“There’s no “suppose” about it B’, they don’t!” Jitan replied.
“You’re feeling better then.” I stated.
“Um, yeah a bit.” Jitan replied. I got to my feet and stretched.
“Better look round my yard and see whether all’s well. Isn’t that what’ a leader’s meant to do?” I asked. Jitan leaped to her feet and wished she hadn’t.
“What’s this? Leader now are we B’? How did you get that then?” She asked. I told her a little of Balugue’s panic-stricken visit to my box.
“Oh right, um, yeah.” Jitan said.
“But don’t tell anyone!” I warned.
We wandered about the yard for a bit. Nothing was doing so we returned to the barn, walked through it and ended up at the restaurant.
“We can’t go in there! Can we?” Jitan asked.
“Just watch me.” I replied. I shoved the door open and walked in.
Inside the restaurant there is a counter type affair where the humans get drinks, sweets and other rather disgusting looking things to eat. There was a proper restaurant bit as well, but I hadn’t ever been in there, the Manageress wouldn’t let me, spoil sport! I hadn’t expected to see anyone serving behind the counter, and it appeared the human behind the counter hadn’t expected to see a horse come in for a cupp’a. When the human saw me he nearly died of shock!
“Someone get Beyancca out of here! She’s destroying the place!” He yelled. I motioned to him to keep his mouth shut! I didn’t want other humans to know I’d been in here, they’d shoot me if they knew! Actually, come to think of it, the Manageress would probably laugh herself sick. I said calmly:
“Two large mugs of tea and,” I looked at the array of merchandise,,,
“Um, two packets of polos please.” I concluded.
“I ain’t serving you! Sod off before I get the Manageress!” The human threatened.
“She’d only laugh, now give me the tea and polos and I’ll be on my way. Please and thank you.” I replied.
“You’ve got’a be joking! I’ve never served a horse in my life, and I ain’t gonna start now! So push off before I get really cross!” He shouted. I countered:
“Mmmm, yeah, and what you gonna do about it if I don’t? Put it on my bill, I’ll pay later.” I suggested. The human exploded!
“No I bloody won’t! Right! I’m getting the Manageress!” He screamed. With that the poor human bolted! I was laughing so hard I had to rest my head on the counter! Unfortunatly for me it wasn’t the Manageress who came to sort me out. If it had been her, then I think I’d have actually enjoyed myself hugely. But the human found a disagreeable male human who thought he could deal with horses. I recognised him as the clumsy oaf who had ridden me about six months before! I began to shake with fright! This human’s temper was legendary! I think the Manageress had thought about banning him from the yard for the way he treated horses! But he was here, and the Manageress must not have realised it, because if she had, she would have stopped him! But he assumed the status of an instructor by picking up a lunging whip and smashing it hard down across my neck! I screamed in pain and anger! I demolished the counter and attacked the hated human! I pinned him to the wall and tried to beat him with the whip, I couldn’t! But I would give anything to be able to! I wanted to give him what he’d given so many other horses, see how he liked it! I broke off, all the fire gone from me.
“What’re you doing here Beyancca? You’re not violent.” I thought. But I had thumped a human and there was no getting round that. But hadn’t he hit me first? Yes he had, I could feel it! I slunk away forgetting the tea and polos.
“What about your polos and tea?” The human from behind the counter asked.
“Stuff them!” I snapped. With that I fled from the restaurant and rejoined Jitan outside. I was upset and frightened. Plus I had a raw patch on my neck where the whip had connected savagely. I felt awful. I felt rage against the human with the whip for using it where there was no need, and I felt rage and disgust at myself for treating the human behind the counter the way I had towards the end of the episode. I made a mental note to appologise to him as soon as possible. I told Jitan about the events inside the restaurant.
“I heard you scream.” She said. I didn’t ask why she hadn’t come in to see what I was screaming about, she is a Field horse after all. I shook myself and trudged off in search of human comfort. I found the Manageress and told her of my run in with the humans in the restaurant. At first she laughed, told you she would didn’t I? But then she became quiet as I told her of my treatment at the hands of the human with the lunging whip.
“I banned him months ago. I had forgotten all about him.” She admitted.
“Yeah, well he’s here and he’s already done one horse damage.” I replied. I indecated the red patch on my neck. The Manageress touched it gently with a forefinger; I went through the roof! My squeal of pain made her recoil in horror!
“Sorry Beyancca, I didn’t know it was that painful!” The Manageress said. I replied through clenched teeth:
“I know, I know! Just make sure he doesn’t do it to any more horses.” The Manageress got an icepack and put it on the raw patch to cool it.
“I can’t believe he’s back! There’s a big group in the indoor school, I must have missed him!”
“It’s all over now.” I replied. After a bit the Manageress took the icepack off and let me go. I wandered about for a bit and ended up almost colliding with Brydy. Brydy looked up and squealed as if she had been touched with a red-hot poker!
“What’s the matter Brydy dear?” I asked. Brydy was badly frightened, that was plain to see.
“Your, your eyes B’! Their, their, wild, angry! Oh whatever, you frightened me anyway!” She replied. I poured the whole sorry story out to her. Brydy listened attentively and made no comment until I had finished, then she exploded!
“Bastard!” I stared at her in shock!
“Brydy!” I exclaimed.
“Yeah, sorry, but he’s still a, well you know what! How can he get away with that?” She asked.
“He can’t, and he won’t Brydy, and I am not angry with you, I’ve never heard you use that word before, that’s all.” I replied. Brydy nuzzled my shoulder.
“What’s this I hear about you becoming leader?” She asked. I replied:
“Oh that thing,” Then I outlined to her what I had already told Jitan and would probably tell countless other horses.
“So now your leader you gonna change anything?” Brydy asked.
“Change? Yuck! Why change anything? If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” I replied. Brydy smiled:
“Hate change, in the yard I mean.” She said. I pricked up my ears at the sound of acrimonious disagreement.
“Coming to take a look Brydy?” I asked.
“Err, yeah all right.” She replied. I led the way and entered the driving yard. I found Sam, our now resident badger having an argument with Carmen! She was holding fourth about her hatred of badgers while he was trying desperately to make her see he wasn’t unclean. Carmen yelled:
“I’ll get the Manageress to exterminate you! That’s what humans do to badgers isn’t it?” Sam replied:
“Um no, we’re a protected species.” Carmen spat on the straw, she said:
“Come in here and you’ll be protected no longer.”
“I’ve no intention of coming into your fetid box Carmen.” Sam countered. This seemed to shut her up.
“Stuffed you didn’t he!” Jingle whooped.
“Ah shut it Jing:” Carmen replied.
“Don’t call me Jing’! I hate it!” Jingle yelled. Sam saw us and came up close.
“Oh dear, no peace for a while.” He remarked.
“No Sam! Not while you’re in this yard,” Then Carmen called Sam something the typist refused to print. Jingle was furious!
“What has Sam ever done to you Carmen?” She asked.
“Existed! Try that for starters Jing’!” Carmen snapped. Jingle lost her temper and tried to reduce her door to matchwood. But she didn’t have the strength to do any real damage any more. She sighed:
“I used to be able to smash a stable door with ease.” Carmen stuck the knife in and twisted it.
“You’re old, decrepit and finished Jing’!” This was totally uncalled for and stung Jingle deeply. She came flying out of her box and past us! Brydy tried to stop her, but Jingle shoved her roughly aside! She pounded out of the driving yard and disappeared. Brydy was close to tears.
“I only wanted to help her!” She whimpered.
“Don’t worry Brydy. It’s not you she’s angry with.” Sam reassured her. As for me I had smashed Carmen’s door to bits! The bloody horse cowered in the back of her box. She blustered:
“You’ve no right to do this, you’re not leader,” I stopped her:
“I am leader actually.” I said. Carmen began to shake with fear!
“I’ve always, always feared you’d become leader! Now I’m finished!” She screeched.
“No Carmen, don’t be obtuse, I’ve got more of a contract out on Confiada than I have on you! You’re a nervous wreck that’s your trouble.” I replied.
“So you’re not going to kill me?” Carmen asked.
“No, well where would I start?” I asked. Then I rounded on her savagely!
“What you said to Jingle was despicable!” I shouted. Carmen shrank back in terror. I got fed up!
“Think on what you said! Think what it’s done to Jingle!” I bellowed. Carmen looked on the verge of collapse. I left her and walked away with Brydy and Sam in search of Jingle. We found her standing in a field off to the right of the track. From fifteen paces I could see she was distraught! We walked closer and I nudged her.
“Jingle?” I ventured. She turned towards me and I could see she’d been crying, and who could blame her? Jingle looked past me and her gaze fastened on Brydy.
“Look, Brydy, I’m sorry for shoving you aside back there. I know you were trying to help, thanks for that, but then wasn’t the time.” Jingle conceded. Brydy rubbed her nose against Jingle’s.
“That’s cleared up then.” Sam observed. I looked at the sky. I saw large black clouds coming our way.
“Rain on the way.” I said flatly.
“Hate rain.” Jingle drawled. Poor jingle looked so tired I felt sorry for her.
“Haven’t you been sleeping well lately Jingle?” I asked. She sighed:
“No, no I haven’t. Ever since Jitan told me what she did, well, It’s been difficult. I advised her to go and see you about it. You’ve got some clout, I haven’t any more. Perhaps Carmen’s right, perhaps I am finished!” Jingle replied. This brought Brydy close to tears.
“No no Jingle, you’re not finished.” She said.
“The Manageress is thinking of retiring me, that’s finished in my book Brydy. I never want to stop work, I want to die at my work.”
“You mean you don’t want to leave the yard don’t you jingle?” I queried.
“Yeah, that more than anything.” Jingle replied. We turned away and Jingle followed us back to the yard. I broke off and went back to my box. I have a note pad I have taken to asking the humans to write my appointments on. So I can keep track of them really. There is one instructor in particular who cleans my stable who writes on it most often. She’s wonderful! Sometimes I am working in a lesson and she’s calling the shots. I can’t help but radiate towards her, literally. If my riders have the slightest doubt on where they’re going I take over, and there’s only one place I’ll be going. That place is in the centre of the riding school to be stroked and petted by my riding instructor friend. She doesn’t seem to mind either. Some instructors get annoyed with me when I do this. I can’t understand that! All I want is to be stroked! I read off my noticeboard:
“Great, what’s the time now?” I asked myself. I looked at the clock, ten fifteen it said. “Three quarters of an hour then. Good!” I thought. After taking a hasty drink from my water bucket I escaped into the main yard and milled about for a bit. The Manageress got annoyed with me and told me I was getting under her feet.
“Hang on a minute. Surely it’s the other way round? After all, you’re smaller than me.” I said.
“Ah yes, but I have the lunging whip Beyancca.” The Manageress pointed out.
“Err yeah, point taken.” I replied. I looked at the clock for the thousandth time and saw it was quarter to eleven. I stood about for a bit and was tacked up and assigned a rider. I had worked with this human before, she was no trouble. I was led into the riding school and taken through the usual boring stuff. Walk, jog loap etc. I remember in one mad moment, wishing we could do something like line dancing. Beyancca! What’s come over you? No, sorry, forget that! There was a jump in the middle of the school and I had gone over it five times and rebelled at the thought of going over it a sixth.
My attention was attracted by a loud banging commotion, and by the sound of loud squeals of complaint from the direction of the small riding school. This also attracted the attention of the instructor, so I was not alone in noticing it. She went to take a look, I followed, naturally. What we saw made me so angry I nearly forgot my rider!
A horse named Emmy had pinned Jitan at the back of her stall and was beating her up! Emmy was using her hind feet which were infinitely more dangerous than her fore. Poor Jitan was getting the stuffing knocked out of her! As soon as Emmy saw the instructor she bolted back to her stall and stood as if she were still tied up.
“Devious bitch!” I thought. I tried to get my instructor friend to let me have a go at Emmy but she refused!
“I’ll deal with you later Emmy!” I snapped. Emmy said something unprintable about me. I ignored her and tried to get on with the lesson. After seeing Jitan’s terror I couldn’t concentrate properly. I was smacked more often with the crop than was usual, I had my rider and the instructor yelling at me more than usual also. In the end I gave up! I found my way to the centre of the school and lowered my head. I was trying to show the instructor I was worn out. She showed me the business end of the lunging whip and told me to:
“Go away!” I was stunned!
“Pardon? Why do I have to go away?” I asked agrievedly.
“You’re meant to be working Beyancca!” The instructor snapped. I fled back to the track and plodded round it feeling totally hacked off! I wanted so much to go and smash Emmy into the earth! What she was doing to Jitan was horrible. I thought Jitan might tell me her end of events as soon as she had the chance. I drifted off into a dream.
“Stop the world, I wan’a get off!” I thought. I was brought back to reality by the sharp “crack!” of the lunging whip. I jumped a mile and nearly fell over a trotting pole! I stumbled over it and got myself into a tangle.
“All right Beyancca, stop, and think!” I told myself severely. I shook myself and tried to concentrate. I suddenly flipped! I started on a headlong dash round the school, running away from I don’t know what! I ended up being brought to a halt, I was distressed! My instructor friend hugged me, it felt wonderful! I rested my head on her shoulder.
“You’re upset aren’t you B’?” She asked.
“yeah, I am. How can Emmy do something like that to Jitan?” I asked crossly.
“You and Jitan friends then?” The instructor asked. I poured out Jitan’s tale about Fabrecai and Jamie abusing her. I saw her shocked expression.
“That’s terrible! I hope they get put in the slammer!” The instructor fumed.
“Mmmm yeah, and I’ve got the job of putting them there.” I said.
“You what Beyancca?” The instructor asked.
“yeah, I’m leader now, haven’t you heard?” I replied.
“No, what happened?” I outlined for the thousandth time the events surrounding Balugue’s distress call. The instructor said:
“Poor Balugue. But it clears up one thing though, you being leader I mean. The daily chase round the fields won’t be so time consuming. You’ll come to me and all the others will follow.”
“Wan’a bet?” I asked.
“No, I know what you horses are like.” She replied.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“Nothing, nothing at all B’.” The instructor replied.
“Oh yeah, I really believe that, not!” I said.
“Oh forget it B’.” The instructor replied. I shook myself and followed her out of the riding school. On route I picked up Jitan, not literally, and she followed me out of the small riding school and into the pouring rain. The wind was up and the day was becoming wild!
“I think we’re in for a hurricane.” Jitan volunteered.
“Don’t say that!” I replied.
“Why not?” Jitan asked.
“Did you hear what happened in eighty seven? The damage was horrendous!” I replied.
“Oh was it? I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t alive then, and neither were you Beyancca. So how come you know so much about it?” Jitan asked.
“Other horses told me. You know, Jingle, Rosie, fudge etc.” I replied.
“Oh right, I get it now.” Jitan said. I wiffled my nose at the wind.
“You could be right Jitan.” I said flatly. Chantilly overheard our conversation. She remarked:
“’ope you’re bloody not Jitan, did you ‘ear about the damage the last one caused?” Jitan replied:
“We’ve already finished that conversation you stupid horse!” I felt this was uncalled for and told Jitan as much. A voice I knew well said:
“Watch it Field ‘orse! You call Chantilly stupid again and I’ll crush you!” Jitan looked up into the eyes of a furious Suffolk Punch horse, jasper in other words. She gabbled an apology:
“I’m sorry, I really am!” She said. Jasper waved his massive right forefoot at her. Jitan shook with terror!
“Wha’du’wan’ me to do? Get on my knees to you or something? Well I’m not gonna bloody do it!” Jitan screamed. Jasper nearly thumped her!
“Look field ‘orse. I’ve got no quarrel with you at the moment, but that can soon change.” Just piss off and leave us alone!” jasper warned. Jitan looked to me for support.
“Don’t talk to Jasper like that Jitan. He’s serious in what he says, he will crush you if you get on his nerves.” I said.
“I thought you were my friend Beyancca!” Jitan wailed.
“I am Jitan. That’s why I’m giving you advice before, and not after jasper thumps you.” I replied. Jasper bared his teeth at Jitan. She asked:
“Did you get Emmy to beat me up?” Jasper and Chantilly both stared at Jitan in utter amazement! Jasper practically picked up the Field horse and thew her on the muckheap!
“That’s what I think of you!” he shouted. Jitan lay on the manure pile and wouldn’t get off.
“I’m safe here, he can’t get me here.” She said. Chantilly left her box and approached Jitan.
“you smell bloody awful Field ‘orse. Go and ‘ave a wash!” She commanded. Jitan scampered away towards the river.
“Don’t you think that was a bit harsh Jasper? Throwing her on the muckheap I mean?” I asked. Jasper hawked and spat!
“No of course I bloody don’t!” He fumed.
“She’s gone through a lot Jasper. I’m trying to help her through it and your not helping matters.” I said. Jasper went mad!
“You sympathize with Field ‘orses Beyancca? If you do, your scum like them!” He bellowed. Chantilly tried to calm her husband:
“Come on Jasper, not all yard ‘orses feel the same as you towards the Field ‘orse ‘erd.” She said. Jasper kicked me! His hoof smashed into my ribs! I screamed in agony! Chantilly tried to catch me as I fell but failed. I crashed onto the concrete and lay there winded and helpless. Chantilly rounded on her husband: “You’re nothing but a big bully! You’re an extremist thug! I ‘ate you for what you did to Beyancca! She didn’t deserve it! Can’t you accept other ‘orses views? It appears not! I ‘ate you, I bloody ‘ate you!” She screamed. I blacked out.
When I came round I found myself in my box with Brydy on my right, and Chantilly on my left. They were lying close to me to keep me warm. I raised my head and wished instantly that I hadn’t. The box turned upside-down! I let my head flop back on the straw, even that was painful! I squealed and thrashed about. The pain then started to make its presence known. Awful searing, jabbing pain from my head, a dull but unrelenting throbbing from the rest of my body and to top it off, the whole box was jumping up and down! I remembered hitting the concrete, but surely that couldn’t do so much Damage? I looked at Chantilly.
“What the, what the bloody hell happened?” I gasped. She looked with sadness at me.
“Jasper, ‘e, ‘e ‘ad a go at you B’. I couldn’t stop ‘im! ‘e said ‘e was gonna kill you!” She buried her head in my shoulder and burst into tears. I looked at Brydy. She was staring at me in horror! She poured fourth a stream of four letter words that would have shocked Confiada! It appeared she felt better after that. Brydy stretched out her left foreleg and touched my right forefoot with hers. I tried to speak but couldn’t, my mouth was too dry. Then the Manageress came round. When she saw Chantilly and Brydy she yelled:
“Get out! Go on! Both of you!” I put all my strength, which wasn’t much, into turning my head and trying to form the words:
“Don’t, don’t send them away.” But I fear it sounded nothing like that. I collapsed!
The next thing I knew, I was being lowered onto snow! It was ice cold! I thought:
“They’re freezing me!” I tried to scream but the air was too cold! It hurt to breathe! I felt my hooves touch the snow and then terrible pain as they were frozen stiff! I tried desperately not to fall onto the snow, but failed. I screamed as I fell!
I was then in the riding school. I got up and walked about for a while. I had no pain anywhere.
“Where the hell am I?” I asked out loud. There was no answer from anyone. I could see the Manageress, Brydy and Chantilly, but they weren’t saying anything. I walked towards the door and through it to the small riding school. Suddenly the school exploded into shards of dazzling light!
I snapped into full consciousness! The pain from numerous bruises and who knows what else made itself known. I thought:
“I wan’a die!” But then I remembered Brydy’s courage after her encounter with misty and Confiada. I resolved not to die on her. Then I realized I was thrashing about furiously! The Manageress and three other Lads were trying to hold me down. I stopped thrashing, there seemed no point to it. I got to my feet and tried to walk. I stumbled over my own feet and ended up falling again. I lay on the peat and thought about my situation.
“I suppose I’m getting what all leaders get. Rosie got it, Jinja did for a while, Balugue did to a lesser extent.” I tried walking again and managed to get to my box this time. I settled down on the straw and closed my eyes. I drifted away into oblivion.
Someone slapped me in the face! I awoke with a start and saw Jasper standing over me!
“J, Jasper? What the hell’re you doing here?” I asked. The huge Suffolk Punch horse looked at me.
“Try this!” he yelled. With that jasper launched a flying kick at me! It didn’t connect! Before I knew what was happening Jasper was crashing down on the concrete! I couldn’t work it out, Jasper falling over? It didn’t make sense! Hang on! Yes it did, it made perfect sense! That is when I saw who had overbalanced him. Brydy lay on the concrete where she had been thrown by Jasper’s wild kick at her as he lost his footing. She looked to be unconscious. I struggled to my feet and stumbled towards her. Dropping to my knees, or rather my side, my balance wasn’t that good, I took a look at Brydy. Brydy trembled uncontrollably, she looked awful!
“Brydy? Can you hear me Brydy?” I asked. Brydy shifted slightly and gave vent to language that was sordid in content. She looked at me through half closed eyes.
“Beyancca, B’, are you all right B’ dear?” She asked.
“Yes I am, thanks to you.” I replied. Brydy’s embarrassment was plain to see.
“It was the least I could do. After all, didn’t you do the same for me?” She replied. I then took a look at Jasper. He was lying on the concrete, at first I thought he was dead! But then he opened his eyes and looked at me.
“I, I bloody ‘ate you Field ‘orse!” He said hoarsely. I ignored his reference to me as “Field ‘orse.” I shoved him to his feet and bundled him into the riding school. Jasper flopped down on the peat like a sack of potatoes! He was seriously out of it! Brydy struggled to her feet and followed me in. She was appalled by Jasper’s condition
“I know he tried to kill you B’, but I can’t help feeling sorry for him. She said.
“you what Brydy? Why do you feel sorry for scum like Jasper?” I asked. Brydy was confused.
“He’s feeling ill.” She said simply. I replied:
“Yeah I know he is, you hit him Brydy!” I reminded her.
“Oh! Yeah, that’s right, I did didn’t I.” She said. I bared my teeth at the prostrate Suffolk punch horse. I yelled into his ear:
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Chantilly dumps you for what you did!” Jasper whimpered in protest:
“She can’t, she can’t!” Brydy replied:
“She can and she will if she’s got any sense.” Jasper began to cry.
“I can’t live without ‘er!” Someone said:
“You’re gonna bloody ‘ave to aren’t you!” Brydy and I whipped round to see Chantilly standing behind us. She was furious! She yelled:
“yeah Jasper! I don’t know what I saw in you, I really don’t! I loved you, I really loved you, and you know that. But there’s some things I cannot tolerate, and beating up other ‘orses is one of them! Not only did you beat up another ‘orse, a yard ‘orse, but also you beat up Beyancca, seemingly for no justifiable reason! Worst of all, you beat up our leader!” Jasper gabbled:
“Leader? Since when has Beyancca been leader?” Brydy put jasper in the picture.
“Oh yeah right! I’ll take that as a joke! Beyancca, leader of the yard ‘erd, oh yeah yeah yeah! Funny, really funny that is!” Jasper said. He began to laugh uproariously at this. Chantilly lost her cool:
“Shut your bloody mouth before I shut it for you!” She warned.
“Oh yeah Chantilly, I really think you would. You couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding! I would take the threat seriously if you were Beyancca, but your not, so stuff you!” Jasper replied. Chantilly clobbered him then! Her hoof crashed into his neck! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Brydy ran to me and buried her head in my shoulder sobbing!
“She’s gonna kill him!” She screamed. Chantilly did indeed kill Jasper. She broke his neck! I looked down at the lifeless horse in wonder.
“Chantilly? What possessed you?” I asked. There was no answer. Chantilly was hugging Jasper tightly, and was sobbing into his fur. She knew she had killed him! She got slowly to her feet and looked down at Jasper’s now lifeless form.
“I’m gonna be put down for this! The Manageress will shoot me!” She said. I looked at Chantilly.
“Did you mean to kill Jasper?” I asked.
“Of course I bloody didn’t! I wouldn’t kill ‘im would I? Think logically Beyancca! I’m not gonna kill my own ‘usband am I!” Chantilly replied. Brydy pointed out:
“You did say you would shut his mouth for him if he didn’t.” Chantilly exploded!
“That’s only a figure of speech! I didn’t really mean ‘im ‘arm!” I said:
“you know you’ll be charged and tried for this.” Chantilly whimpered:
“No! No! Oh bloody ‘ell! Not that, not that!” I looked hard at her.
“I’m leader now, you’ll have to answer to me.” Chantilly stared down at her dead husband.
“I didn’t mean to kill ‘im, honest I didn’t!” She said. I swallowed hard and tried to work out what I should do next`. I had a problem. The leader of the herd tried all those horses who were charged with` capital offences such as murder. You might be saying now:
“Well that’s fine, what’s the problem in that?” I am leader! Chantilly and I are friends! How can I try my friend for murder? But I have to. Chantilly could plead that it was a crime of passion, in which case she might get three years with the Field horses. If not, well, then, it’s worse! That is if anything can be worse than three years with the Field horses. Chantilly could be expelled from the yard, or, well the other option is too awful to mention! I must add that it’s never been carried out before and I hoped wouldn’t be carried out at all. I felt sick! The thought of having to try a friend for murder made me want to throw up! But a horse can’t do that! I walked out of the riding school and approached Emmy. I tore a strip off her for clouting Jitan. I felt better after that. Then I went to see Jitan and find out what had been going on since I had last been outside, um about an hour previously. That hour had seemed like a lifetime! I found Jitan eating grass in the topmost field. She turned her head as I drew near.
“Oh, hi Beyancca.” Then she noticed my expression.
“Shit! You look awful B’!” She exclaimed. I snapped:
“Don’t use that sort of language with me!” Jitan replied:
“Oh sorry Beyancca. But what’s come over you? You’re acting strangely.” Jitan asked. I wanted to tell her, yes I wanted to tell her everything, but I couldn’t.
“She’s a Field horse.” I thought. But then I thought:
“She’s also my friend, and at the moment I need all the friends I can get.” I poured out the whole sorry tale that led to Chantilly taking Jasper’s life. Jitan stared at me in horror!
“You’re not serious, are you Beyancca?” she asked. I swallowed hard, I was beginning to cry! Dam it!
“Would I, would I make something like that up Jitan?” I asked.
“No.” Jitan replied. I looked down at the grass through streaming eyes. Jitan tried to comfort me.
“Hey Beyancca, don’t cry dear.” She said gently.
“It’s not that easy. I have to try Chantilly for the worst crime possible, and I can’t do that!” I replied. Jitan said:
“Chantilly and Jasper tried Misty and Confiada. Why can’t another horse try Chantilly?” I replied
“All the horses know Chantilly. It wouldn’t be fair.” This was a real mess! What could I do? What could anyone do? I thought about asking the Manageress about it. She might be my only hope. She probably knew all about it anyway. Sure enough she came looking for me.
The Manageress took me to the restaurant, and brought out the largest mug I had ever seen! She filled it with tea and put it in front of me. I put my mouth down to the hot liquid and drank the lot! Tea had never tasted so good! She then put a warm rug on me, for it was cold. Then she asked me questions about what I had seen of Jasper’s murder. I told her everything. I also expressed my view that it could have been a crime of passion and wasn’t premeditated, or whatever the word is. The Manageress said:
“You know you’re unfit to try Chantilly don’t you Beyancca?”
“yes, I know that.” I replied.
“But you’re leader aren’t you Beyancca?” The Manageress asked.
“Yeah.” I replied faintly. The Manageress sighed and said:
“Chantilly’s put you in an awkward situation. She has done this to all of us. I don’t know if I can say this. But Jasper was hoof happy. He was a bully and an extremist. Granted he loved Chantilly, and she loved him, but he still inspired fear and terror in horses who should not have had the slightest reason to be frightened of him. Jasper always threatened violence if anyone crossed him or someone he loved. All right for those in his favor, but if you fell out, well even the leader was not safe, as you saw to your cost. I’m sorry for that Beyancca.” She put her arms round my neck and I rested my head on her shoulder.
“All leaders get it.” I said. The Manageress shook her head.
“No Beyancca, they don’t.” She said. I replied:
“Rosie got beaten up, so did Jinja and Balugue after her.” The Manageress poured us another cup of tea and then she said:
“They might have been beaten up. But they were nearly always intervening in a fight. Jasper consciously made a decision to come and kill you if he had the chance. He hated your liberal attitude, and most of all, he hated the way you help Field horses.”
“Tell me about it. But we still haven’t decided what to do about trying Chantilly. What’re we gonna do? No horse in the yard can try her fairly, so are we going to get a horse from another yard?” I asked. The Manageress put down her mug and stroked me.
“I don’t know B’, I really don’t know.” She replied. I finished my tea and got on with enjoying being stroked. I drifted away. Suddenly a voice, the Manageress talking sharply to me!
“Um, Beyancca, get off! You’re heavy!” I woke with a start!
“Oh! Um, sorry. Err, was I asleep?” I asked.
“yes you were.” The Manageress replied. I shook myself and looked out at the fast darkening sky.
“Autumn here again.” I said.
“yes, more horses in the stables.” The Manageress replied.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“Oh Jingle and Carmen came banging on the office door after finding two strangers in their boxes. Two instructors are wintering their horses here. Carmen was proper annoyed, she kept swearing at me!”
“Probably Jasper’s teaching.” I thought. I approached the subject of Chantilly’s trial once more but we got nowhere! I began to think we’d never get round to trying her at all. The Manageress suggested:
“Why don’t you use your judgement Beyancca. I’m sure you can make Chantilly see she’s done wrong. The Field horses might want more yard horses to corrupt, but that’s only a last resort. I know Confiada and misty were sent there, but this is different. They premeditated their actions, Chantilly, as far as I can see did not. I have spoken to Brydy about this, and she feels the same as I do.” I was feeling uneasy again. The next few days would be hell for me as well as Chantilly.
“All right I will do that.” I replied. With this our meeting broke up and we went our separate ways. The cold night air whipped through the rug and into my bones! It was horrible! I clenched my teeth and ran! Diving into my box I slammed the door and nearly tripped over Brydy!
“Watch out you clumsy idiot!” She yelled. Lulu, in the next door box complained loudly:
“Shut up Brydy!”
“It’s all right for you! You didn’t have half a ton of horse come at you from nowhere!” Brydy retaliated. Lulu kicked her door in anger! This made Fleur wake up. I thought:
“Now we’re in for some fun! I’ll not get any sleep tonight!” Fleur started squealing and whinnying!
“Oh look who it is, Beyancca who else! You cause all the trouble round here Beyancca! If you weren’t here then, then Jasper wouldn’t have been killed, Chantilly wouldn’t be near total collapse,”
“And we wouldn’t have a leader. Good night Fleur!” Brydy interrupted. Fleur came flying out of her box and started smashing my door with her hind feet! This behavior made Brydy back off squealing in terror! I watched Fleur’s hooves intently. Sometimes she kicked over the top of the door and her foot came within range. I aimed carefully with my right forefoot and struck! My forefoot caught her hind with a sharp “crack!” Fleur screamed in agony and turned on me!
“What the bloody hell did you do that for?” She yelled.
“Can’t you guess?” Brydy asked.
“Shut it Bitch!” Fleur replied. Brydy’s squeal of rage nearly deafened me, she came surging forward!
“Brydy! Don’t do anything stupid!” I warned. This stopped Brydy in her tracks.
“let me deal with this thug!” I said. Fleur snapped viciously at me!
“Come out ‘ere then and fight me!” She challenged.
“No B’, don’t do it! Fleur’s not worth it!” Brydy cautioned. I ignored her:
“Come on then!” I said. Fleur and I faced each other and both waited for the other to make the first move. In the end, it was Fleur who struck first! I dodged her flying kick and planted my right forefoot hard and fast in her ribs! This made her crumple on the concrete and I saw my chance, I sat on her! Best way to keep them down that is. Fleur struggled and swore at me! Her hooves flailed about uselessly, I wasn’t going to get myself hurt unnecessarily was I? I think not! Fleur tired and her thrashing stopped.
“All right Beyancca you, you win.” She panted.
“Thank you Fleur. Now be a good girl, go back to your box and get some sleep.” I said gently. I released Fleur and she leaped to her feet.
“Don’t treat me like a foal!” Fleur screeched.
“You’re acting like one.” I replied. Fleur slammed her door and threw herself down on the straw.
“Ah! Peace at last! Brydy said.
“Shut it you Irish cow!” Fleur snapped. I saw Brydy’s quick serge of rage.
“No Brydy! Leave it.” I said.
“That bloody foal infuriates me!” Brydy whinnied. I rubbed Brydy’s nose with mine, gently, reassuringly, trying to calm her. It worked magnificently. Brydy settled down and fell asleep. After all that, I couldn’t sleep. My mind was full of Chantilly!
“how would she cope with what she did? Was she really a friend? Could I do what was necessary to, one show Chantilly that what she did was wrong, and two, prove to the rest of the herd that I had done what was expected of me.” I asked myself. Chantilly came calling then.
“Beyancca, can, can I ‘ave a chat, please!” She said. I had to refuse her request.
“No Chantilly,” I felt terrible doing this.
“No, Chantilly, go away, please leave! Go on! Go!” I replied. I tried to make it sound convincing, but there was no go in it. I didn’t want to turn Chantilly away! But I had to! You can understand that can’t you? Chantilly turned her back and walked off dispiritedly. I turned away and crumpled totally. I wept like a foal. I had never had to refuse anyone! It wasn’t my way. I settled down in the straw and tried to sleep. But there was an aching sadness inside me that wouldn’t let me sleep. I was in a pit of depression. Suddenly I was aware of a horse’s nose rubbing mine. I looked to my right and couldn’t believe whom I saw! Rosie was lying beside me! I looked hurriedly to my left; yes Brydy was still there. I blinked hard and shook myself, but Rosie was still there! This frightened me!
“What, what do you want with me?” I asked hoarsely. The Large Irish Draft mare gave me a sympathetic look.
“I wanted to give you some support, if I could. Balugue’s put you in a horrendous situation Beyancca. You’re not detached enough to be able to leave horses when they’ve done wrong. I was, I could do it. But you, you’re young, inexperienced, and innocent in some ways. I saw your reaction when Chantilly came for comfort. You and her are good friends?” She asked.
“Yes Rosie we are.” I replied. Rosie nodded:
“Yeah, thought as much. I’ve been watching this horse, she’s not a bad sort really. But her husband left a lot to be desired. He was unstable, and that’s not what Chantilly needed. What I’d like to say is this. Keep a cool head, but at the same time don’t bottle things up. Use your judgement and be true to what you believe in. Sending Chantilly away was the right thing to do. I know it was hard.”
“You’re not kidding.” I replied. Rosie changed the subject.
“As far as the rest of the leadership goes. Well, I think you’re doing all right so far. Keep at it.” I watched in disbelief as Rosie disappeared! I wanted to ask her so much. I wanted to ask her about Clover. I hadn’t seen her in ages! I drifted off into a dream.
I dreamed Clover was nuzzling my shoulder and talking to me. She was lying beside me on the straw, hard up against me, like she used to do.
Then I realised it wasn’t a dream. Clover was indeed lying beside me. She looked into my eyes.
“How’s things Beyancca?” She asked. My mouth was dry. I moistened my lips and tried to speak, but it was a hoarse whisper.
“I, I’m, I’m all right Clover.” I croaked. Clover shook herself.
“Haven’t been round here much, they wouldn’t let me.” She said. I rubbed my nose against hers.
“you coming back more often now?” I asked. Clover replied:
“Wish I could. I wish I could Beyancca.”
“Why can’t you?” I asked. Clover took a deep breath and said quickly:
“Rosie!” I was stunned!
“Rosie? What’s Rosie got to do with you not getting back here as often?” I shouted. Clover became distressed!
“Don’t, don’t shout at me Beyancca!” She pleaded.
“Blaming Rosie isn’t right! She didn’t stop you from doing what you wanted did she?” I replied. Clover then told me about allocations of time and other rubbish I didn’t believe.
“Rosie took all the allocated time Beyancca! She was trying to sort out Jinja! That’s why I haven’t been able to get back here!” She bellowed. Her shouts woke Brydy. When she saw Clover she squealed in terror!
“What’s going on? Why’s she back here!” She asked. Clover tried to calm Brydy.
“Look, I’m only trying to sort things with Beyancca Brydy. Go back to sleep.” Brydy started questioning Clover. Clover went crazy!
“Look Brydy, leave us alone will you!” Clover yelled. Squealing in terror Brydy fled from my box and disappeared. Clover sighed:
“Got rid of her didn’t I.” She stated.
“Really Clover. Do you `think that was necessary? Brydy’s got every right to question you. All she wanted to find out was the basics, how you were getting on and such like. She didn’t mean you any harm at all.” I said wearily. Clover stormed out of my box!
“I’m going to find Brydy!” She yelled.
“Why?“ I asked.
“I’m going to talk to her, find out if she really meant me harm, ‘cos if she did, then, well I’ll have to do something to make her back off!” Clover replied. I wondered what had made a previously kind mare react like this? Clover had been the horse who had helped Jinja when he needed it most.
“Perhaps she’s angry with Rosie for taking up too many allocations.” I thought. I shouted after Clover:
“Oi! Clover! You’ll do nothing of the sort!” Clover didn’t reply. I fled after her! I skidded round a corner to find Brydy and Clover facing each other across the concrete in confrontation. Clover was holding fourth that Brydy shouldn’t be talking to her because it was against Brydy’s religion.
“You aren’t meant to believe in re-incarnation are you Brydy? If you’re not, then why are you even considering talking to me?” Brydy started to say:
“Rosie didn’t mind me talking to her,,,” Clover shouted her down!
“Ah rubbish! That’s utter crap! Rosie had no religios beliefs, you do, and you should honor them!” Brydy was distraught!
“All I wanted to do was talk with my friends! Rosie was my friend! Anyway, how do you know she had no religious beliefs?” Brydy asked.
“She was an atheist!” Clover replied.
“How do you know that? She might not have liked openly displaying her faith. I don’t!” Clover snapped:
“You can’t mix religions Brydy, and that’s what you’re doing!” Brydy flipped!
“I didn’t want a religious education lesson from you Clover!” She screamed. Clover turned her back on Brydy.
“I don’t wan’a talk to you no more!” Clover snapped. Brydy replied:
“You used to be a peaceful horse Clover. You used to respect all religions, what happened?” Clover whipped round and nearly attacked her!
“Look Brydy do I have to spell it out! I tolerate and respect religions, yes, but what I DON’T LIKE IS HORSES CROSSING FROM ONE RELIGIOUN TO THE OTHER!” Brydy recoiled from Clover’s fury! Clover rounded on Brydy, going in for the kill!
“you’re a nervous, confused wreck! I’ll bet you don’t know the first thing about the religion you claim to belong to! It’s just a way of keeping yourself away from the reality of life. You’re deranged, totally crazy Brydy! Let’s have none of this religion nonsense any more.” Brydy was close to tears.
“I can’t stand this, I can’t cope with it! She yelled. My heart went out to Brydy. She was getting unfair treatment from Clover. I had a fairly good idea what religion Clover belonged to. She talked a lot about re-incarnation after Rosie’s passing. Working from that, then, she must have been a Buddhist. Brydy turned her back and walked off. She didn’t see me standing in front of her until it was too late! Brydy crashed into me and collapsed totally. I supported her whole weight on my shoulder.
“Do you want to chat?” I asked. Brydy nudged my nose with hers, but said nothing. I walked away and she followed slowly, dragging her feet as she walked. I led her along the same track Chantilly and Jasper had taken. The autumn was well in now and the leaves lay thickly on the ground. Brydy shuffled along behind me, a mass of leaves collecting in front of her. Soon, if you looked at Brydy head on, she looked as if she was floating on leaves! Her hooves had disappeared under a carpet of multi colored brilliance. Brydy didn’t seem to notice me watching her. As she walked under a tree the wind got up and a fresh cascade of leaves fell on her. They stayed on Brydy’s coat while she walked. Brydy stopped and lay down on the leaves. The tree that had deposited it’s leaves on her proceeded to drop more. Brydy was soon covered in leaves, and she didn’t seem to notice. Soon she was totally covered. Even her hooves disappeared under a blanket of leaves, and leaves still fell! Soon there was nothing to show Brydy’s presence, just a pile of leaves. I wondered what she was playing at! Was she this disturbed? I thought:
“You’re looking after Misty already, then Balugue passes the leader ship on to you, then Chantilly kills jasper and to top it off Brydy’s lost her way. What a mess hey Beyancca?” yes, it was a mess. I looked at the now huge pile of leaves. It must have been three feet tall! I had read that leaves kept the ground warm beneath them, so Brydy was in no immediate danger. The dawn was well in. I stirred the leaves gently with a forefoot.
“What’s going on under there.” I began to fear the worst!
“now that would be a theatrical way to go. How Hollywood would that be!” I thought. I wanted to dig Brydy out, but I dared not. I kept watch over the pile of leaves all day.
Brydy didn’t move for fifteen hours! Eventually however I saw the pile shift and Brydy’s nose appeared. Then her right forefoot appeared, then the leaves cascaded from Brydy as she levered herself to her feet. That was a wonderful sight. To see a horse emerge from a pile of leaves was strange! Brydy shook herself hard and the leaves flew in all directions. She looked hard at me for a long minute.
“Brydy?” I asked. She shook her head and motioned to me for silence. I watched with increasing wonder as Brydy walked away. I followed a few paces behind. She plodded along the track whilst staring straight ahead. I tired after a wile. I had been awake for over twenty-four hours and was exhausted! I lay down on the track and closed my eyes. Brydy, realising I was no longer following her, came back to find me. She rubbed my nose with hers urgently! I ignored her agitation and asked her a question.
“Why don’t you talk to me Brydy? I’m your friend; I’ll listen, even if noone else will. You know that don’t you Brydy?” I asked. Brydy nodded, but didn’t speak. I regrettably lost my temper!
“Look Brydy! If you think not speaking to anyone will solve anything, it won’t! You need to talk! If you don’t talk noone will know what you’re feeling. Please Brydy, don’t be a stupid idiot!” I implored. This broke Brydy. She clung to me, sobbing into my fur. I knew she felt terrible confusion and torment. I had an idea:
“Look Brydy dear, tell you what we’ll do. There is a place I know, a little way from the yard it is. But we can stay there for a few days and talk this over. Just you and me, how about it?” I suggested.
“I, I don’t know Beyancca, I really don’t know.” Brydy replied. I hugged her.
“What’s bothering you Brydy? Please tell me.” I coaxed. Brydy sighed heavily. She replied:
“I’m beginning to think Clover’s right. Perhaps I am just a nervous wreck, and this religion thing’s all fake. Perhaps I am running away from problems, hiding from them behind this screen of religious belief. I don’t know what I think B’, I really don’t know!” Brydy buried her head in my shoulder and shook with terror!
“It’s awful! I seem to be frightened by anything these days. I’m scared by Plastic bags, freaked out by cars, terrified by roads! But I love the countryside, and to get to that, well I have to cross a road or two.” I didn’t know what to suggest. I hugged Brydy, that was all I could think of doing that might show her how I felt. I was lost for a solution. Then an idea reared it’s head.
“How about if I take you out on the lane, show you how to deal with cars and other things you might meet on the road?” I asked. Brydy was horrified!
“No Beyancca! No! I couldn’t do that!” She protested.
“How else are you going to do it Brydy?” I asked reasonably.
“Um, I don’t know, give me time will you!” Brydy pleaded.
“All right.” I replied. I stood up, turned tail and walked back to the yard, Brydy followed more slowly.
On reaching the yard I was collared by Chantilly.
“Where the ‘ell ‘ave you been?” She asked.
“Oh, well ‘ere and there you might say.” I replied. Chantilly touched my nose with hers.
“’ang on a bit, you’re all wet! You been out in the woods already?” I denied it:
“No, no Chantilly, what’re you talking about?” I asked. Chantilly looked at me suspiciously.
“You’re telling me stories.” She stated.
“No Chantilly I’m not.” I replied.
“Oh yeah, you really expect me to believe that Beyancca?” I shook my head.
“No.” I replied.
“Well where were you then? I’ve been looking all over the bloody place for you!” I looked at Brydy. She looked scared!
“Don’t, don’t tell her Beyancca.” She pleaded. Chantilly said:
“If it’s to do with Clover and her accusations then I know all about that.” Brydy replied:
“It is, sort of I think anyway.” Chantilly sighed heavily.
“What’ve you decided to do about the trial Beyancca?” She asked.
“I can’t answer that one.” I said.
“Why?” Chantilly asked.
“You don’t know how much trouble you’ve caused!” I yelled. Chantilly backed off hurriedly!
“Look Beyancca, I know! I know how much trouble I’ve caused! I’m sorry for that! I didn’t mean to kill Jasper! I really didn’t! ‘e was threatening your life, I couldn’t ‘ave that could I? So when ‘e started giving me ‘ell I flipped! You can understand that can’t you?” I looked at her steadily.
“The Field horse herd beckons.” I said. Chantilly raised her head and whinnied!
“No! No! No! Not there, not there! I beg you! Don’t send me there!” She pleaded. I didn’t dare look her in the eyes. I knew the terror in them would crack any resolve I had to deal with her properly. But I wasn’t Rosie; I couldn’t detach myself from members of the herd. I couldn’t do it to Chantilly! I knew she’d get torn to pieces in the fields. Confiada would probably kill her. This last realisation made me give in. I couldn’t see a horse lose its life because of a decision I had made. I would have blood on my hooves, and I couldn’t stand that! But then Duty called. I am leader, and as leader I need to be firm, ruthless sometimes also. But could I really send another horse to her death? I felt sure the Field horses would tear Chantilly limb from limb if they had half a chance. I looked into her eyes. The terror was frightening! I steeled myself to ask:
“How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?” Chantilly gulped:
“Guilty I suppose, I haven’t any choice.” She said faintly.
“Don’t give in! What ever happens, don’t give in!” I told myself. But it was difficult.
“Six months.” I said. Chantilly’s squeal of terror was heart rending! I became angry!
“Get over to the fields now Chantilly! Go on! Move it!” I commanded. Chantilly ran! Her hooves clattered on the concrete as I chased her. She fled from her leader, and I loathed myself for chasing her! I chased her into the Field horse herd’s field and slammed the gate! Chantilly turned and faced me.
“I ‘ate you, I ‘ate your bloody guts Beyancca! Some friend you turned out to be!” She spat.
“I hate myself also.” I thought bitterly. I turned tail and walked off. I felt drained. My job done, I was now beginning to feel really ill. I can’t explain how I felt. You’ll know if you’ve ever had to betray a friend in the line of so called duty. But a leader has to do what a leader has to do, and putting horses in the slammer was one of the less rewarding parts of the job. I walked dejectedly back to my box and flopped down on the straw. Brydy came calling then.
“Piss off Brydy!” I snapped. Then I regretted my outburst.
` “Yeah, Brydy, sorry dear, I, I’m chewed up about Chantilly.” I admitted.
“You didn’t want to send her down did you.” Brydy stated.
“No, of course I bloody didn’t. Chantilly’s my friend, friends don’t put each other in the slammer do they?” I replied. Brydy said:
“Sometimes they have to. You had to, much as you hated it.”
“Yeah, I hate it Brydy!” I sobbed. I clung to her much as she had to me only two hours previously.
“You’re a soppy young thing Beyancca. You really shouldn’t take these things to heart. Sure Chantilly was upset, but she committed a crime and needs to be punished for it. You as leader have to deal out punishment. She might say she hates you now, but you wait. In a few months, she’ll get her sentence reviewed and when you let her out, well things will be back to normal.” Brydy assured me.
“If Chantilly comes to any permanent harm because of the decisions I made. I’ll not be able to cope with that! I couldn’t live with myself.” I admitted.
“I know Balugue, and then Chantilly have both put you in an awkward situation B’. But as Rosie said, you need to be strong, fair and compassionate.
“You were listening to our conversation?”
“Mmmmm, yeah I heard it.” Brydy replied.
“Well why did you freak out when Clover appeared then?” I asked.
“I suppose it was the shock of seeing her after so long.” Brydy replied. I shook myself.
“I probably won’t be able to sleep tonight. I, I’ll be listening out to see if they hurt Chantilly.” I felt tears pricking my eyes.
“I betrayed her Brydy!” I sobbed. Brydy hugged me tightly.
“Don’t worry Beyancca, she’ll be fine, you’ll see.” She said.
“I hope so.” I replied. Brydy nuzzled my shoulder.
“”Chantilly will be all right, I’m sure she will be fine.” She athermed.
I shook myself and opened my door. Brydy and I walked out into the evening air. It was cold and windy out there! Brydy shivered as a cold blast of wind whipped savagely at her.
“Bloody hell it’s cold!” She said.
“Wait a minute, I’ll go and get you a rug Brydy.” I said. I found the rug room and raided it for the large duvet rug Rosie used to favor.
“I hope she won’t mind me borrowing this.” I thought. I lifted the rug from it’s rack and was frozen stiff by something nuzzling my shoulder! Swallowing my fear I turned to see,
Rosie! She was standing behind me watching me! My scream of terror frightened her!
“Hey Beyancca! There’s no need for that, come on, it’s only me.”
“Oh Rosie, Rosie, I, I wasn’t, I didn’t know,” I gabbled. The huge Irish draft mare looked at me.
“I caught your thoughts as you picked up that rug. I don’t mind you using it, it’s not mine any more Beyancca, That’s for live horses.” I felt a lump in my throat.“ But Rosie, I can see you, you’re here.” I said.
“I’m here because you want me to be here.” She replied. I found myself pouring out all my troubles to Rosie. I told her about the problems I had coming to terms with sending Chantilly down for six months.
“We all have to make those decisions some time in our lives B’.” She said.
“Yeah Rosie, when you’re twelve or thirteen perhaps. But not now! I’m only seven! I’m not ready for this yet!” I whinnied. Rosie rubbed her nose against mine soothingly.
“Look B’, you’re more ready than any of the others. You’ll become more experienced, you’ll learn more as you go. Don’t give it up. There’s an up side to leadership also.”
“Yeah I know what that is. I’m the first sucker to get collared by some bloody B.B.C reporter whenever the yard sneezes, right?” Rosie smiled.
“Yeah, sorry about that.” She said. I exploded!
“I’ve had enough of reporters! All they do is ask questions! “Why this? Why that? Why the other?” It really gets to me Rosie!” I snapped. Rosie was upset:
“Surely I can’t do anything to stop them, they’re human Beyancca! That’s what they do!” She whimpered.
“Yeah, nosy buggers they are also! Look Rosie, I’m sorry for shouting. It’s not you I’m angry at.” I hugged her tightly.
“Have you seen Jinja lately.” I asked. Rosie gulped back tears.
“He’s still finding it difficult to accept what happened to me. I C, I can’t do anything more to make him see Beyancca,” Rosie rested her head on my shoulder and burst into tears.
“Hey Come on Rose’ don’t cry dear. Jinja’ll be fine. He needs a bit of time to come to terms with what happened. You know how he worshiped you.” I said gently. Rosie dried her eyes.
“Thanks B’, I’ll let you get back to Brydy now.” She said. I watched her disappear. As she vanished I felt an aching sadness for her. She and I, along with the Manageress and her staff were trying so dam hard to sort out a screwed up yard. The bottom had fallen out when Rosie and Clover died. Five months after their passing, and the yard had only just started recovering. I knew Rosie wouldn’t ever leave the yard, it was in her blood to be a leader, and she wouldn’t stop. Then I thought of Clover. She had been a strange horse. She seemed to be linked with the paranormal in some way. I don’t know what drove her to say what she did four days after Rosie’s death. But those words were strange and had never been heard in the yard before or since. Then she passed away. Clover’s passing, while a sad event, was not so much of a shock for the humans. She had been ill for some time and they had come to terms with the realisation. I miss both of them, it’s always a big wrench when any established member of a herd either dies or is removed. I think I’ve already said that however.
I shook myself hard, picked up the rug and went in search of Brydy.
I found her sheltering with Silver in Silver’s box. When Brydy saw me she whinnied:
“Where the hell’ve you been? What took you so long?”
“Oh Rosie stopped me, she wanted a chat Brydy.” I replied airily. Brydy noticed the rug I carried across one shoulder.
“That’s Rosie’s.” She said indicating it.
“Yeah, I know that.” I replied. I threw it over Brydy and she disappeared under it! The rug dwarfed her! She struggled out from under it.
“I think I’ll go for something a little less large.” She said. I replaced the rug and picked one that was a good deal smaller than my previous choice. Throwing it over Brydy I helped her fasten the buckles. You might be asking how two horses accomplished this? Well don’t! It’s fiction! I’ll just say we did do the buckles up and after that Brydy was a good deal warmer than she had been five minutes before. We embarked on a journey to who knows where. We left the yard and jogged along the track. Then we pulled off the track onto the main road. At this point Brydy became nervous.
“Beyancca, I, I can’t do it.” She stammered.
“Just follow me and you’ll be fine Brydy.” I replied. Brydy gulped and followed me out onto the road. Keeping to the left-hand verge we walked along the road. A car came into sight round a bend, Brydy squealed when she saw it!
“Don’t panic! What ever you do don’t panic!” I warned her. She ran to me and tried to hug me.
“Get back! Get back! Don’t be a fool!” I snapped. Brydy was abreast of me, right in the path of the oncoming car! Fortunately for us the car was not travelling too fast to stop. It did and we passed it safely enough. But my nerves were worn, very worn, and I was furious with Brydy! I took her into a field and yelled at her!
“Look Brydy! You’ll kill us someday if you carry on like that! You’re foolish actions nearly cost us dearly!” I jabbed my hoof at her as I shouted. Brydy shook with fright.
“Beyancca, I’m only new to this! You can’t expect me to be confident yet!” She wailed.
“No, perhaps not, but you can at least use some common sense! I would expect that sort of behavior from Fleur, not you Brydy!” Comparing her to Fleur would enrage her, I knew this, and I meant it to. Brydy screamed into my ear!
“Look you bloody foal! I don’t want to hear that again! You compare me to Fleur again and I’ll, I’ll, I don’t know what I’ll do, but it won’t be pleasant!” She yelled.
“I’ll take that as a joke Brydy.” I replied. Brydy bristled with fury!
“It’s unfair!” She wailed. Brydy was beginning to sound like a foal, I told her so.
“Who’s the bigger foal now?” I asked. Brydy’s right forefoot crashed into my ribs! While Brydy’s attack had nothing like the force of jaspers, it was still unexpected and caused me to flop on the grass. Brydy looked down at me. I was panting hard! This frightened her!
“Beyancca, Beyancca! Oh B’ are you all right? Talk to me, talk to me!” I was too shocked and disorientated to reply. I lay on the grass gasping for air!
“Cor’ Brydy, you, you stupid bitch Brydy! How, how could you,” I stopped, totally exhausted by the effort of drawing air. Brydy looked terrified!
“Have I really done you serious damage?” She asked urgently. I groaned and stood up.
“You’re really impossible!” I yelled. Brydy screamed in terror!
“Don’t hurt me B’!” I lost my patience with her.
“Look Brydy you stupid idiot! Just shut it and listen! What you did almost killed both of us back there! You do realize that don’t you? Or are you that stupid? I can’t believe what you did!” I bellowed. Brydy turned tail and fled! I charged after her, tripping and stumbling over roots and ruts. I ended up catching her up by the road. I panted up alongside her and nudged her.
“Don’t touch me Beyancca! I don’t wan’a know you!” She snapped.
` “I know I was angry Brydy, but it’s all past now, finished! I had every right to be upset with you` don’t you think?” Put like that, Brydy was forced to look at the situation from a different angle.
“Yeah I suppose you were right B’.” She conceded. I nuzzled her shoulder.
“Let’s forget this Brydy.” I suggested.
“I suppose there are far more important things to think about than this stupid argument.” Brydy replied.
“Yeah, like Chantilly, Jitan and you yourself Brydy.” I thought. I shook myself hard and walked back to the yard with Brydy.
On reaching the yard we turned the corner into the main yard and,
Jamie and Confiada were ripping into Chantilly, literally! Chantilly was struggling on the grass with Jamie lying on top of her holding her down, and Confiada kicking and biting her! Brydy and I stood in stunned silence for precious seconds while Chantilly fought for her life! While Brydy fled towards the office to summon assistance, I waded into the battle and managed to beat Jamie off Chantilly! No time for sentimental thoughts now! I kicked and beat Confiada into the grass! When I had finished with her, Confiada was panting, bruised, sore, and very, very angry!
“Why the hell did you return? I saw you leave and I thought we, Jamie and I could finish Chantilly off before you got back! And now look what you’ve done!”
“Yeah, saved the life of a dear friend.” I replied.
“A murderess don’t you mean Beyancca?” Confiada asked.
“An unwitting murderess perhaps, but still a dear friend.” I said. Confiada spat in my face!
“You’re a terrible leader Beyancca! You’re bios!” I hit her once more! Confiada’s scream was deafening.
“Shut up you stupid bitch-cow!” I yelled. Confiada tried to bite me. I slammed my right forefoot down on her nose! Confiada squealed in agony and struck out with all four feet! Her right hind foot caught me a glancing blow on the fetlock of my left foreleg! I swore viciously with the pain and looked down at my adversary.
“You deserved all of that!” Confiada snarled.
“Yeah right! And you didn’t?” I replied. Confiada called me names the typist wouldn’t print. I ignored her and watched Chantilly. She had got to her feet and was now limping about drunkenly. Jamie had disappeared, as he always did after a fight. I watched in horror as Chantilly collapsed against me!
“I feel bloody awful Beyancca.” She whispered.
“When the Manageress comes to take over then we’ll go back to my box Chantilly.” I assured her. Confiada wailed:
“Why does a murderess get this type of treatment? When I don’t?”
“You attacked Chantilly, she didn’t attack you Confiada.” I replied. The Manageress arrived then. She took a look at Chantilly, then at Confiada, and finally at me.
“Take Chantilly back to your box Beyancca, I’ll take over here.” She said. Confiada shouted:
“Beyancca stamped on my nose!” The Manageress replied:
“I dare say you deserved it.” Confiada swore at the Manageress until she put a bandage thing around Confiada’s nose and mouth to hold her mouth shut.
“That fixed you.” The Manageress said finally. Confiada snorted and puffed her anger!
“Come on Chantilly, let’s go my dear.” I said. Chantilly and I made slow progress towards my box. Chantilly limped along beside me panting hard. She spoke through clenched teeth:
“Cor! Beyancca, I, I wouldn’t be surprised if, if Confiada’s bust something.” I supported her, much as she had me, after my run in with Confiada. When we reached my box I let Chantilly lie on the deepest straw I could find. She lay limp and exhausted! She began to cry and who could blame her?
“I feel terrible Beyancca.” She sobbed. I hugged her gently. Chantilly rested her head on my shoulder and passed out. I watched her anxiously.
Chantilly was out of it for about four hours. When she woke she complained of feeling stiff and sore. I wasn’t really surprised, considering she hadn’t moved in all that time. Chantilly levered herself, swearing and cursing fluently, to her feet. She looked blearily at me.
“It’s all your fault! If you hadn’t done what you did, I wouldn’t be in this state!” She spat. I ignored her. Trying to explain the duties of a leader to her would be fruitless and she wouldn’t listen to a word of it, so what’s the point? Chantilly nudged me roughly!
“Oi! Beyancca! What kind of friend are you? Sending me down for six months isn’t something you should have done if you were a true friend.”
“I had to do it, it’s my duty to do what I did.” I said flatly. Chantilly sighed with exasperation.
“I can’t believe what I’m ‘earring! What’s all this crap about duty all of a sudden? You think your duty was to send a friend down for six months of ‘ell do you? I ‘ate you Beyancca! I can’t stand you! And there’s another thing also! No other ‘orses will be able to stand you either. Not after what I’m gonna tell ‘em!” She snarled. Chantilly thumped me!
“I’ll bet when I’m back on my feet, you’re gonna send me back there aren’t you Beyancca? Tell me! Tell me!” I countered with:
“Chantilly, if I was not your friend, would I have risked my life to get you out of Confiada’s way? Tell me, would I do that if I didn’t feel some affection for you?” Chantilly’s ears drooped as she considered her reply.
“No, you wouldn’t risk your life if you didn’t feel it necessary. You would have left me to die in there.”
“Exactly. Now let’s hear none of this crap Chantilly.” I replied. I opened my door and beckoned to her.
“Where’re we going?” She asked.
“Um, ah, somewhere.” I replied.
“‘Ang on a bit, I’m not going back to the Field ‘orses!” Chantilly snapped.
“No Chantilly, it’s all right. I’m not sending you back there. Please trust me.” I pleaded. Chantilly walked unsteadily out of my box and along to Brydy’s. I yelled:
“Come on Brydy! Stop washing your mane or whatever you claim to do on a Thursday night and get yourself out here!” I banged on her door enthusiastically with a forefoot. Brydy ripped open her door and stuck her head out, her eyes were wild!
“What the hell’s going on here?” She asked urgently.
“I wondered if you would like to come for a walk, that’s all.” I replied. Brydy relaxed:
“Is that it? I thought the sky had fallen in.” She said.
“You ‘aven’t been reading fairy tales again ‘ave you Brydy?” Chantilly asked. Brydy looked at her strangely:
“No Chantilly, why would I want to do that?” She replied.
“No reason.” Chantilly said. Brydy gave us both a withering look and half closed her door. I noticed for the first time that she had both portions of the door linked. This meant in affect, she had a complete door. I wanted to ask her about this change, but decided not to. Brydy came out a few minutes later and walked off down the yard.
“Come on you lot!” She urged. Chantilly and I followed.
“Where are we going?” Brydy asked.
“Somewhere.” I replied. Brydy turned a frustrated gaze my way. She addressed herself to Chantilly.
“Don’t you hate it when people don’t answer your questions` fully?” Chantilly nodded:
“Yeah, bloody frustrating it is.” She replied.
“Oi! That’s not very nice!“ I whimpered.
“Oh dear, littl’en’s stamping her feet again. You forgotten her bottle Brydy?” Chantilly teased. I tripped her and jumped on top of her! We rolled on the grass in a play-fight. Soon we gave up, laughing hysterically. Brydy watched our game with amusement.
“That’s sorted then.” She thought. Chantilly and I returned to Brydy’s side. Chantilly beat her nose against my shoulder until it hurt!
“Stop! You’re hurting me!” I whinnied. Chantilly nuzzled my shoulder instead.
“That’s better.” I said. By this time we had reached a main road and a Zebra Crossing for crossing it. I think the law is:
“If a pedestrian is waiting at a Zebra Crossing, then cars have to stop to let them across.”
But alas, I don’t think law came into it now. By the skidding tyres and stunned expressions of the drivers, I think they stopped more out of amazement than any rule of law. We crossed anyway and arrived safely on the other side. As we entered a field I heard Brydy mutter something about her painting a zebra crossing on the lane. The thought of Brydy with a paintbrush in her mouth, painting white stripes on the road made me choke on the grass I was eating.
“Brydy? Are you serious dear?” I asked. Chantilly said:
“Of course she isn’t Beyancca, use your ‘ead!” Brydy shook her head:
“I am serious! Really I am! I’ll gladly paint one on the lane, if it helps horses get across it safely.” I hugged her tightly.
“I love you Brydy, you’re so funny sometimes.” I said.
“Should I take that as a complement?” Brydy asked.
“Yeah.” I replied. Brydy ripped up another mouthful of grass and crunched it thoughtfully.
“But where am I going to get the paint from?” She asked noone in particular. I heard a snorting sound from Behind me. Looking round I saw Chantilly rolling on the grass, delirious with laughter! She waved her legs in the air, stupid horse!
“You stirred a reaction in someone anyway Brydy.” I said. Chantilly recovered after five minutes or so and rejoined us.
“I must say Brydy, that’s the funniest thing I’ve ‘eard in a long time.” She whooped.
“I’m not laughing Chantilly, I’m serious!” Brydy replied firmly. Chantilly collapsed on the grass laughing uproariously once more.
“Oh Brydy! You’re so funny, really you are! The thought of a horse painting stripes on a road is funny. But you, you painting stripes on a road is ‘ilarious!” She whooped. I watched Chantilly as she thrashed about wildly. Eventually she recovered enough to stand up on her own four feet.
“Ah! That’s better.” She said. Brydy gave her a strange look.
“I can’t see what’s so funny about wanting to improve road safety for horses Chantilly.” She said.
“It’s just the idea of you painting stripes on a road that set me off.” Chantilly replied. I stretched and yawned.
“Can we get back on the road now?” I asked. Brydy hugged me and rested her head on my shoulder.
“You two are strange. One minute you’re at each other, the next you’re the best of friends.” Chantilly remarked. We wandered off along the track, talking, sometimes eating grass that sort of thing. Suddenly I pricked up my ears! I’d heard something, a sound out of the normal rhythm of the countryside. Yes! There it was again! A cry so full of fear and terror that it sent a chill down my spine! I stopped, twitching my ears and wiffling my nose at the breeze. Brydy noticed my tense manner and listened also. She also wiffled her nose at the breeze. We looked like a couple of bloodhounds on a cent. But we cannot look like bloodhounds, we’re horses! Brydy suddenly shot off to the right and I followed. Chantilly unnerved by our behavior stood immobile for a few minutes watching us go.
Brydy and I fled along a narrow track into a field. The cry had come from somewhere near here, I was sure of it! Brydy screamed in horror!
I looked at what she was staring at. A chestnut colt had got himself stuck in a ditch on the far side of the field. He lay across what looked like barbed wire! Brydy went closer and nearly touched the wire with her nose:
“Don’t! Brydy! Don’t touch the wire! It might be an electric fence!” I yelled. The poor colt stiffened slightly.
“Of course it’s bloody electric!” He panted. Brydy went crazy!
“Well don’t just stand there Beyancca, help me get the wire off him!” She yelled. I shook my head:
“No Brydy. If we take the wire off him, one, we might get shocked ourselves. Two, Even if we managed to get the wire off, the shock of sudden release might be fatal.” I said calmly.
“Fatal? Why would releasing the poor chap be fatal?” Brydy asked.
“His heart might not be able to stand the sudden release of stress.” I replied.
“You mean he might die?” Brydy asked.
“That’s exactly what I mean.” I said. The poor colt looked up at me pathetically.
“Can’t, can’t you do something? I, I’m in so much pain!” He gasped. Chantilly arrived then. She swore viciously as she saw the colt’s state.
“You and Brydy stay here Chantilly, I’ll go and get help.” I suggested.
“Right you are.” Chantilly replied. I ran as fast as I could, while being careful not to become another casualty. I arrived in the yard an age later. I banged on the office door and was greeted by the Manageress, she was furious!
“Look Beyancca! Can’t you see we’re,” She stopped.
“You look terrible, is something the matter?” She asked. I took a deep breath:
“There’s a, there’s a, there’s trouble!” I gabbled. The Manageress stroked my ears.
“Where’s this trouble Beyancca?” She asked.
“Along the road, across a zebra crossing, along a track, in a field.” I replied. The Manageress ran for a driving cart, then She dragged Jinja, complaining and cursing from his field and strapped him into harness. Then the Manageress rounded up a toolbox, first aid kit and other paraphernalia that I have no space to mention here. She then turned to Jinja:
“Listen to Beyancca Jinj’, she’ll tell you where to go.” She said quickly. The Manageress vaulted onto the cart and we fled from the yard in a cloud of dust! I ran along the road and made quite sure Jinja had to gallop to keep up.
“Cor, Beyancca, Hang on a bit will you!” He panted.
“There’s no time! There’s a colt in a ditch, and he’s got electric fence wire wrapped round him!” I replied. This spurred Jinja into wild flight!
“Shit!” He exclaimed. The Manageress held on for dear life as we hurtled along at full tilt! The Cart swayed alarmingly as we turned corners at something approaching twenty miles per hour. The Manageress threw herself about the cart like something deranged as she fought to keep four wheels on the road. No matter how she tried to tell him, Jinja wouldn’t slow down. He had the taste of fear, and he was running! We bumped and rattled up the track and came skidding into the field an hour after I left it. Exhausted, Jinja and I flopped on the grass. The Manageress gently cut the wire away from the colt. She made quite sure it wouldn’t hurt any other horses and then turned her attention to the frightened youngster. I saw the colt was only a yearling. Jinja went and took a look.
“The poor guy’s shaking like a leaf B’.” He reported. Brydy looked at Jinja.
“Took you long enough to get here didn’t it!” She snapped.
“There’s no need for that Brydy! Jinja ran as fast as he could!” I retaliated. Brydy sighed:
“The poor colt was crying out with pain. Chantilly and I kept reassuring him that you’d come. But you took so dam long!”
“Jinja and I ran as fast as we could! The Manageress was hanging on for her life!” I shouted. Brydy retired to the furthest part of the field, much offended. Meanwhile the colt had been freed and was being soothed by the Manageress. He seemed to be fine, apart from a bad experience to stay in his memory, not for too long I hope. The colt galloped off.
“Not even a word of thanks! Bloody nothing!” Chantilly complained.
“Some colts are like that. Even when they’ve had an awful time, they still try and make out that they would have got through it on their own.” I replied. Chantilly exploded!
“Like ‘ell ‘e would ‘ave got through it Beyancca! Oi! You come back ‘ere!” She shouted.
“He won’t be able to hear you now Chantilly.” The Manageress said. Chantilly bristled with anger!
“Man! The Behavior of some colts really piss me off sometimes!” She yelled.
“Don’t swear Chantilly, there’s a good girl.” The Manageress said gently. Chantilly stamped her foot in rage!
“But he does! That bloody colt do piss me off!” She replied.
“You’re use of minor invective is beginning to do the same for me actually Chantilly.” The Manageress warned. Chantilly fell silent. Jinja went and took a look at the wire, which had held the colt. I saw him draw back in horror at the sight of blood, horse’s blood on the wire. I saw his face as he turned away. Jinja looked sick! He walked back to me, I saw he was shaking violently! Jinja flopped on the grass and passed out. The Manageress stared at him for a while.
“He could never stand the sight of blood.” She mused. Brydy asked:
“Now he’s out of it, Well howler we gonna get the cart back?” The Manageress looked at Brydy and smiled suddenly:
“Well I was thinking you might be able to pull it.” She said. Brydy was livid at the suggestion!
“Me? No! I’m not pulling the cart, that’s Jinja’s job!” She wailed. This seemed to wake Jinja. He murmured:
“I ain’t pulling no cart now.” Chantilly said:
“Well Brydy, looks like you’ll ‘ave to do it.”
“No!” Brydy complained. All eyes fell on me.
“What? Me? You’re asking me to pull the cart?” I asked dumbly.
“Yeah stupid, ‘aven’t you been listening?” Chantilly asked.
“Well yeah I ‘ave actually Chantilly. But I’ve one question, ‘ow are we gonna get Jinja back to the yard? ‘e’s not fit to walk.” I said. Chantilly bared her teeth at me for dropping my H’s when speaking to her. I ignored her antics. She replied:
“Carry Jinja on the cart of course. It’s big enough for ‘im.” Jinja scrambled to his feet complaining about the arrangement.
“I ain’t traveling on the cart, I suffer from motion sickness!” He wailed.
“Ah rubbish Jinja!” The Manageress said. Jinja snorted:
“I ain’t traveling on no bloody cart anyway. I’ll walk.” The Manageress put me in harness, rounded up Brydy and Chantilly, and finally grabbed Jinja, much to his annoyance I must add, man handled him onto the cart, strapped him down and jumped up her. She told me to drive on. I shot off like a bullet! Jinja complained that he was feeling ill and he would throw up at any moment. When Chantilly pointed out that for a horse, throwing up was physically impossible, he shut up. We charged into the yard at full gallop! Jinja staggered off the cart and into his field. Silver was eating grass and watched in astonishment as he collapsed in a heap!
“’e’s ‘ad a rough time of it.” She thought. She went up close and prodded Jinja with her tiny forefoot. Jinja never moved.
“Cor! Well out of it isn’t ‘e!” She thought. Silver lay down beside Jinja to keep him warm.
“That was a nice thought Silver, but how are you going to keep Jinja warm? You’re much smaller than he is.” I thought. I walked into the field and lay down beside her. Silver rested her head on my shoulder and closed her eyes. Then Brydy came and lay down on my right. She rested her head on my right shoulder. So there we were Jinja, Brydy, Silver and I, all leaning on each other and keeping one another warm. The day had turned cold. Chantilly, seeing what we were doing, came and lay down beside Jinja. This behavior caused much comment amongst the humans. They came and watched us. The day was turning really cold! We decided to get Jinja into a warmer place than the open field. So we woke him up, shoved him to his feet and got him over to the riding school, somehow. We laid Jinja down on a bed of straw and lay down on either side of him ourselves, Brydy and Chantilly on his left, Silver and I on his right. Jinja flopped onto the peat and rested his head on my shoulder once more. It was clear he felt less than fine and wanted to have company. Company arrived then in the form of an unwanted guest. Fabrecai came into the school to have a go at Jinja. He walked calmly up to Jinja and stamped hard on his outstretched right forefoot! Jinja screamed in agony and lashed out with his left! Fabrecai was waiting for this. Quickly he crashed his left forefoot down on Jinja’s. The poor horse squealed and tried to bite Fabrecai’s foreleg. Jinja missed and Fabrecai got away, running out of the riding school.
“The bastard! The rotten Bastard!” Chantilly shouted. Jinja was sobbing with pain. He rested his head on my shoulder and worked himself closer to me. I rubbed his nose with mine.
“I like you very much Beyancca.” He whispered. My mind strayed back to the time when I had tried to come on to Jinja. I still feel awful for doing that to him. It wasn’t right and still isn’t. I looked at him. Jinja was flat out on the peat with his head resting on my shoulder. I touched his nose with mine. He was falling asleep. Chantilly looked at me. When our eyes met the fear and loneliness in Chantilly’s was pitiful.
“You missing Jasper?” I asked gently. Chantilly gulped hard and made a huge effort to control herself.
“Yeah I am B’.” She choked. Emmy overheard this and made comment:
“You know who to blame for that, don’t you Chantilly? You killed him! I can’t believe you could do something like that! I thought you were a yard horse Chantilly? Well if you are then you’ve seriously undermined their reputation. I thought yard horses didn’t kill anything, but you’ve proved me wrong. You yard horses are as bad, no worse! Than Field horses! The Field horses don’t pretend they have a clean sheet, where yard horses do!” Chantilly was crying now. She buried her head in Brydy’s shoulder. Brydy hugged Chantilly and stroked her ears with her muzzle. This seemed to calm Chantilly a bit.
“Emmy’s comments are founded. She has a point.” I thought bitterly. To credit Emmy with anything was unthinkable. She might have a point, but she has the manners and temperament of a Field horse! I hate her for that! I also find her treatment of Jitan disgraceful! I tell you something else as well? I think Emmy and Fabrecai would make a great couple. Their both as awful as each other! Silver got up and walked round the school. She looked into every corner and even ventured along the corridor leading to the restaurant. She opened the door at the end and walked through, letting it close behind her. The next thing I knew Silver was running headlong out of the restaurant! Her hooves made a frantic clattering on the concrete as she ran! The reason for her flight became obvious, horribly obvious in fact! You remember the man who had beaten me with the lunging whip in the restaurant? Well he was chasing Silver, and gaining on her! He caught, overtook and tackled Silver to the ground! The next part makes me feel sick!
The human pinned Silver down and beat her with the whip! She squealed and kicked, but the human was too strong for her. If it had been any other horse, the human wouldn’t have stood a chance of getting close. But Silver, poor Silver was a sitting duck for cruel humans like him. She couldn’t outrun anything! The human thrashed her with the whip until a very angry and very distressed Manageress picked him up bodily and threw him out of the riding school. Silver’s cries had alerted her to the situation. I think in all the episode had lasted, oh, let me think now, a minute, no more. But it had seemed like a lifetime to me. It probably seemed a lot longer to Silver. Silver lay motionless on the peat. The Manageress had to deal with the cruel human before she could safely deal with Silver. She returned with icepacks and other soothing things to help relieve the pain. Silver didn’t move as the Manageress worked on her. I began to fear the worst. But then I reasoned that she wasn’t going to do anything if the worst had happened, there would be no point. I went up close to Silver and brushed her nose with mine. She was trembling and very hot! Her eyes suddenly focused on my face.
“Beyancca!” She gasped.
“Don’t move Silver, don’t move dear.” I replied. Silver did what I told her not to and suffered for it. Her scream was full of fear.
“What, what has he done to me?” She shouted.
“Bruised you badly. Now let the Manageress get on with her work Silver. Just lie still, there’s a good girl.” I replied gently. The Manageress finished her work and left us to look after Silver. Silver tried to get to her feet but the bruising stopped her. Sobbing with pain and frustration she sank down again.
“I want to get over there Beyancca.” She said. The only way I could think of getting her over to where Chantilly, Brydy and Jinja lay was to carry her. I lay down beside Silver and she managed to clamber onto my back. Heaving myself to my feet I walked across to the others and lay down again. Silver slid off my back and into the space between Jinja and myself. Jinja, Brydy and Chantilly had seen what had taken place, it sickened them and me alike to think of the way the human treated Silver. Chantilly volunteered her usual:
“Whom does the Bastard think ‘e is? I mean, what ‘uman could treat an ‘orse like that? ‘E’s nothing but a gutter type!”
“Yeah, MMmmm, I see what you mean Chantilly.” Brydy replied.
“You’d better do! I ‘ate those ‘umans who treat ‘orses like crap Brydy. I really do ‘ate their bloody guts!” Chantilly fumed. “I would appreciate it if you refrained from using so much invective Chantilly.” Brydy said reasonably.
“Ah shut it!” Chantilly replied. Brydy walked out of the school and disappeared. Silver touched my nose gently with hers. She whispered:
“That ‘uman, the one with the whip? ‘E was awful! ‘E wouldn’t stop ‘itting me! I pleaded with ‘im not to ‘urt me, and look what ‘appened! The sod beat me into the dust! But why did ‘e do it B’? I ‘adn’t done ‘im any ‘arm ‘ad I? I mean, sure going into the restaurant is unusual, but it doesn’t merit that sort of punishment does it?” I could tell Silver was worrying about the answers to these questions.
“No, no Silver, of course it doesn’t merit the whipping you got. That’s a horrid human, I should know, I’ve met him and he worked with me.” I replied. Silver wrinkled her nose at the thought:
“Yuck! Ugh what an awful prospect. I ‘ope you gave ‘im ‘ell Beyancca.” She said. I replied:
“Don’t worry Silver, he fell off.” Silver began to laugh hysterically.
“That sure taught ‘im didn’t it!” She whooped.
“You’re not feeling too bad then?” Jinja asked.
“No, well a bit bruised and sore. Nothing that a good night’s sleep and a square meal won’t cure. Thanks for asking.” Silver replied.
“I think I offended Brydy.” Chantilly said to noone in particular.
“She would rather you didn’t swear so much Chantilly. I think we all would want that. But I can’t see it happening. You’re who you are and you won’t change, no matter what anyone says.” I replied. Chantilly asked:
“I’m not that bad am I?” Silver replied:
“Oh, let me see now, every fifth word is the norm.” She mused.
“You’ve got to be bloody Joking!” Chantilly snapped.
“See what I mean? You’ve just proved it.” Silver said.
“Shut it Silver!” Chantilly commanded.
“No I bloody won’t!” Silver replied. Chantilly waved her right forefoot at Silver.
“She’s almost as bad as me!” She stated.
“Look who taught her all she knows.” Jinja remarked. Chantilly knew she was beaten.
“All right I give up.” She conceded.
I stretched and got to my feet.
“I’m going to have a look round the yard, anyone coming with me?” I asked. Silver tried to jump to her feet and failed.
“No, Beyancca, I, I can’t, much as I’d love to come.” She said. I smiled at her.
“I’ll carry you.” I suggested.
“Ugh no! I’m not a foal no more B’! I don’t need carrying, ‘ow degrading that is!” Silver replied.
“All right, I’ll take the hint.” I said. Silver caved in.
“Oh all right, I’ll let you carry me if that’s what you want.” She said.
“No Silver, that’s what you want. You want to come with me, but you can’t because you’re too bruised and battered. So I offer to carry you, but your pride has got the better of you, and you refuse to let me. I’m only trying to help.” I replied.
“Yeah, thanks B’.” Silver said.
“No problem, any time.” I replied. I lay down and she clambered onto my back. I got to my feet slowly and walked out of the riding school. Silver started looking about her and making loud comment:
“Wow! This is fun! ‘Ey I’ve never been this ‘igh before! Yeah! This is wonderful!”
“Don’t fall off for heaven’s sake.” I warned.
“I won’t, promise. But this is amazing Beyancca, totally cool!” Silver replied. I turned the corner and walked towards the road.
“Where’re we going B’?” Silver asked.
“Um, well how about somewhere?” I suggested. Silver was excited:
“Yeah! I like adventure!” She whooped. I realized then why I liked Silver so much. She was young and playful, but she could be serious if she wanted. Also she had a fantastic personality. I turned onto the main road and walked along it slowly. Silver held on to my coat with her hooves and teeth, I didn’t mind. When she was looking round her, her grip was maintained by her feet alone, pretty precarious it was! I turned left into a field and dropped to my knees.
“Don’t you want to walk now?” I asked. Silver’s ears drooped:
“I don’t know, you see B’, I was quite enjoying that. You know, being up that ‘igh ‘n’ all that.” She replied. Apart from the occasional halt because she moved in a fashion that her body couldn’t cope with, Silver got on fine. Soon she got tired and I had to carry her once more. We ventured further and further from the yard towards Wickham market. We ended up in the centre of the village. Silver looked round her in wonder.
“It’s so large! Cor’ B’, this place is huge!” She exclaimed.
“Wait until you see Ipswich.” I thought. The church clock said two thirty. It was of no concern to us really, as long as we were back for sunset time was no matter.
Meanwhile, back at the yard, the Manageress was looking for us. She wanted to find Silver because she hadn’t seen her at all that day and me for the same reason, and that I was due to work at three. She and her staff looked all over the yard for us, but of course, we were nowhere to be found.
Silver and I wandered about the village for a while. Humans took a huge interest in us, stroking, petting, and hugging us. They took a very keen interest in Silver, because of her stature no doubt. The humans seem to like horses that are unusual in some way, be they smaller, or larger than is the norm. The clock said five to six in the evening. I decided we’d better be getting back to the yard. Silver wasn’t in agreement with me.
“Oh Beyancca! Don’t be a bore. I thought you were full of adventure, come on! Let’s buck the system, stay out all night? ‘ay ‘ow about that now? That would be fun, real fun!” She said.
“But Silver, don’t you think the Manageress will be worrying about us? We’ve been out for three hours, more than that! I really do think we’d better get back.” I replied.
“Oh yeah right! The Manageress won’t mind, will she B’? ‘er ‘orses are always going missing, but they always turn up, we will. But not before we’ve ‘ad an adventure! Come on Beyancca, you know you want it!” I admired her enthusiasm, but I still felt sorry for the humans. How would they feel if they didn’t know where their beloved horses had got to? It was worse for Silver and me. We were the smallest and the top novice horses respectively. We had special places in the yard. That was not to say the others weren’t well loved also. But there was something we had over the others. I think the same could be said of horses such as Rosie and Jinja, Rosie had it, and Jinja’s got it now. I couldn’t explain what it was, but I knew the humans would be frantic with worry about our safety. I told Silver we were going back to the yard and literally dragged her away from the village and along the road. I ran as fast as I could so she felt compelled to follow. Silver panted and stumbled along ten yards behind me.
“Come on slow coach!” I teased. Silver panted:
“It, it’s all right for you Beyancca! You’ve got long legs, you can run fast! I can’t do that! Slow down! Slow down!” She pleaded. I did so and let her climb on my back.
“Hang on tight, I’m gonna gallop.” I warned. I felt Silver dig her hooves into my fur. I shot off like a scolded cat! Silver hung on grimly as I thundered over the tarmac. A car came into view in front of me, it screamed to a halt as I thundered past! The driver screamed something unprintable at me from his window. I charged back to the yard and galloped in around six thirty. Silver had been hanging on for dear life! My mane was suddenly grabbed and given a shake! Then a very angry voice asked:
“Where the hell’ve you been? I’ve been looking all over the bloody yard for you!” I turned my gaze on the Manageress.
“Um, ah, well, Wickham Market, how about that?” I asked. The Manageress exploded!
“Wickham market! What were you doing there?” She asked. Silver spoke up then.
“We were on an adventure.” The Manageress seemed to notice where Silver was for the first time. She stared at her for a long time.
“Um, Silver, what are you doing up there?” She asked. Silver reeled off the reasons why I was carrying her. The Manageress hugged me and made the usual comments humans make when praising their pets. You know the stuff?
“Good girl, clever girl” etc. This praise was undue in my opinion. I told her so.
“You don’t need to praise me, really you don’t.” I said. Silver mocked me:
“Ah! Beyancca’s all embarrassed. You like it really don’t you B’?” She asked. I didn’t meet her gaze. I dropped to my knees and Silver slid off my back. She raised her left forefoot in a farewell salute as she left. The Manageress turned to me.
“Um, Beyancca, you weren’t here for the three o’clock lesson. We had to put the rider on Cleo. She wasn’t very happy, Cleo I mean. She was furious! I think you have some explaining to do.” I sighed heavily and walked off dejectedly. Worst of all, Cleo had been moved into the next door box to mine, fun don’t you think? I didn’t meet her gaze as I walked back to my box. Cleo made the first move.
“Enjoy your little adventure did you?” She asked acidly.
“Err, yeah it was all right.” I replied. Cleo sighed:
“Because of your little adventure I had to work with a novice, a green horn! What do you have to say about that?” She asked.
“I hope you treated the human well.” I replied. Cleo exploded in my face!
“That human was your responsibility, you, not me! Should have been working with her, To be quite honest with you, the human was a bloody disgrace! She didn’t know her walk from her canter, and there’s another thing Beyancca, when you decide to swan off on your “adventures,” please don’t take Silver with you, she’s too impressionable.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked incredulously.
“You’re a bad influence on her B’. That’s what it’s supposed to mean!” I kicked the partition wall in anger!
“How can you say that? What evidence have you to back up your slanderous claims?” I shouted. Cleo gave me a sideways look, which annoyed me intensely.
“You taught her to swear, you let her lead you on into situations where you have no control and neither does she!” Cleo replied.
“Where? When have I done this?” I asked. Cleo gave me another infuriating sideways glance, I held onto my temper, just!
“Take today for example. You led her out of the riding school, on your back I must add. Carried her along to the road and disappeared out of sight! The Manageress thinks a lot of Silver, and she didn’t take kindly to you walking off to goodness knows where with her! When I told her that you’d swanned off she was most upset! Have you seen the Manageress yet? I doubt you have, if you had, then you would be fried to a crisp by now!” Cleo screamed.
“I have seen her, and she did nothing.” I replied.
“She was probably too relieved to find Silver safe to think about dealing with you Beyancca. I’d watch your back if I were you.” I stared at Cleo.
“You seem to take issue to me carrying Silver on my back? Why is this?” I asked coolly.
“Why did Silver have to travel on your back in the first place? She can walk can’t she?” Cleo asked. I told her about the human’s assault on Silver. Cleo was outraged!
“How can anyone do anything so cruel? To Silver ‘n’ all! It’s disgusting! I hope the Manageress had him for lunch!”
“She can meat out many punishments, but I doubt cannibalism is one.” I replied.
“You know what I mean Beyancca.” Cleo said.
“Mmmm yeah Cleo.” I replied dreamily, my mind was elsewhere. I had seen someone come into the barn that I most definitely wanted to attract the attentions of. This someone was my riding instructor friend. You know her don’t you? I mentioned her earlier in this account. Anyway, she was making her way through the barn and I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity like this! I whinnied and kicked my door enthusiastically. The female riding instructor human looked round at me and made comment.
“B’s going crazy, I can’t guess what she wants.” I whinnied:
“Yes you can, you know only too well what I want.” The human came to my door and stretched her hand out to me. I nuzzled her arm while she stroked my ears and hugged me. I can’t put into words what this does to me. I think it’s the most exquisite pleasure I’ve ever known.
“Polos and sex can never rival this!” I thought. I rested my head on her shoulder and closed my eyes. Wonderful! I drifted off into my own world. I ventured far away from the confines of my box. Far, far away to a place to total peace.
I lay down in this place and let all my troubles, which were many and various, drift away from me. This place was amazing, total peace and tranquility filled me utterly. Soon however it was time to come away from that place and reenter the real world. Saying a fond farewell to my island I drifted back to reality slowly and regretfully. That place was so wonderful!
I woke to find the riding instructor shouting at me, she sounded frantic!
“Um, yeah? Wha’s-matter now?” I asked lazily.
“Where the hell were you B’? You were totally gone. I began to fear I’d never wake you.” The human replied.
“Oh, um, sorry for that.” I replied. I stretched and opened my door.
“Oh yeah, message for you Beyancca. Jitan’s in trouble with Fabrecai again.” The instructor said cheerfully.
“Oh no! Not again! Thanks for the good news.” I thought miserably. As I walked round to the indoor school I pondered on what twist of fait could turn a peaceful afternoon into a scrambled mess?
I found Fabrecai and Jitan facing each other across the corridor between their stalls. I walked right between them and stood, fore and hind feet apart ridged as posts, with the fur bristling on my back! I was finding Fabrecai’s antics a little trying and he was gonna bloody know that this time! I turned to him..
“And wha’d’u’wan?” Fabrecai asked lazily.
“To smash you into the earth preferably Fabrecai.” I replied. He snorted with laughter.
“Oh yeah Beyancca, right you are. Come and have a go at me then, if you think your bloody hard enough that is.” I reflected Fabrecai didn’t know how to swear effectively. I decided not to refer him to Chantilly for lessons. For one, she wouldn’t teach him, and two, we don’t want any more blue air than we’ve already got thanks very much. Fabrecai snapped his teeth at me! Jitan wailed with terror:
“He’s gonna go mad B’!” I flipped! I kicked Fabrecai so hard in his forelegs that he pitched over backwards, ending up on his back, with all four legs kicking the air furiously! Jitan cheered as she saw her enemy overthrown. I sat on Fabrecai and told Jitan:
“Go and get the Manageress, quick! Don’t hang about Jitan, go now!” I commanded. She shot off like a bullet! The Manageress came tearing into the small riding school two minutes later. When she saw whom I was sitting on she fetched a coil of very strong rope and tied Fabrecai up securely. She then turned to me.
“I know why you were sitting on Fabrecai Beyancca. Just don’t make a habit of it, all right?”
“No, I won’t! He’s most uncomfortable to sit on.” I replied. Fabrecai clenched his teeth and swore through them. A previously unheard of Field horse snapped:
“Shut it Fabrecai!” I looked at the nameplate on the speaker’s post. “Canterello” it read.
“So Canterello’s getting annoyed with him also.” I concluded. Fabrecai squirmed and snapped at the ropes holding him.
“Let me go!” He gasped.
“No! You deserve all of that!” Jitan replied. Fabrecai told her to go and do something I can’t print. The Manageress tied a rope muzzle round Fabrecai’s jaws and knotted it securely.
“Good bye to bad language from you.” She said finally. Fabrecai puffed and snorted his anger. Jitan said:
“Someone take the muzzle off. I wan’a hear him beg for mercy!”
“Revengeful are we Jitan?” I asked.
“Yeah, now it’s my turn!” She replied. To say I didn’t have revengeful thoughts was untrue, I did and I’ll admit it. But as leader of the yard herd I couldn’t let personal vendettas get in the way of duty. I had to be seen to be Impartial to the fait of one or the other, while at the same time defending what was morally right. All right, tying Fabrecai up was wrong, but what else are we gonna do? The Manageress demolished the prison type thing she held Ellen in months before all this. So we had to do something else, and that involved a coil of rope and some unbreakable knots. With the muzzle removed and his limbs finally declaring their surrender, Fabrecai gave up.
“All right, I, you win, you win!” He conceded. Jitan cheered:
“Yeah!” Fabrecai looked at the knots holding him down.
“Can someone help me untie these? I think I’d have a bit of trouble.”
“That was the idea Fabrecai.” Canterello replied. Fabrecai groaned pitifully. The Manageress untied him and Fabrecai got stiffly to his feet.
“I’m going to apply for asylum!” He yelled.
“Where?” Canterello asked.
“The yard herd of course stupid!” Fabrecai replied.
“You’ll have trouble getting what you want.” I said.
“Why? I have the same rights as any other persecuted horse don’t I?” Fabrecai asked.
“Um, Fabrecai, you see, I deal with all the applications for asylum. I can tell you now, you’re not getting it, all right?” Fabrecai exploded!
“No! No! No! It’s not all right! You give my case a fair hearing Beyancca or I’ll, I’ll make your life hell!” He roared.
“Mmm yeah, like to see you try.” I scoffed. Fabrecai shook his hoof at me!
“You listen to me Beyancca! I want a fair hearing, if I don’t get it I’ll break you into tiny bits and feed you to the seagulls!” He threatened. Jitan left the school, turned right at the entrance and disappeared out of sight. I watched her go.
“What about her? Will you leave her alone?” Fabrecai snorted with laughter:
“Who? Jitan? No I won’t leave her alone! Why should I? She’s a misfit, a deformed misfit.” Fabrecai pronounced. Balugue, stabled a few stalls to Fabrecai’s left, heard his comments and volunteered her own.
“I think you’re a horrid, filthy, selfish, blood thirsty horse who doesn’t give two craps for the feelings of any horses you deem to have crossed you.” She said. Fabrecai swore outrageously at Balugue. As usual I can’t print what he said. I reflected that these Field horses used far worse invective in one sentence, than Chantilly would ever use in a week! This really didn’t surprise me, the Field horses are traitorous, and every yard horse is taught that from birth. I felt tired, really shattered! It came over me in a wave I couldn’t control! I weaved my way back to my box in a haze of sleep. I hardly felt the straw as I lay down upon it. Man I’m tired!
BEYANCCA YAWNS EXPANCIVLY.
That’s it, I’m finished! Adventure may be a fun thing, but it really takes it out of you! All I have to add is that Chantilly’s punishment is over now. I’ve released her as from midnight tonight. Confiada’s still causing trouble, but that never really changes much. If it’s not her then it’s Jamie causing us grief. Got’a go, sleep’s catching up with me, ah! That’s better.
BRYDY WALKS IN TO BEYANCCA’S BOX AND LIES DOWN BESIDE HER.
“B’ you asleep?” She asked.
“Yeah pretty much Brydy.” I replied. Brydy rests her head on my shoulder and falls off the black cliff of sleep also.
I, MARTIN WILSHER, here by assert and give notice of my right under section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of the foregoing article.
© Copyright Martin Wilsher 1998-2000
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