DEATH CHASING LIFE

Marker in the sun
You know, we are like markers. We have a meaning, a reason to be here…

 

The windows were closed and the aisle was dark.
I was searching for the last straw of hay in the shavings. I had already licked the manger clean.
The usual vibrating deep sound came from the gelding’s stall; he was sleeping. I heard the sorrel gelding nibbling at his manger and the bay mare sighing.
From the end of the aisle came the sound of the old big black gelding who was trying to get some air. It was a sound that made me feel hungry for air and I started to go round in my stall, panting.
“Stop circling!” said the wise gelding, yawning. “You’re terribly noisy tonight.”
“Don’t you hear that… that… breathing.”
The gray gelding put his face to the bars. “His time has come.”
“Who is coming?”
“You know, we are like markers. We have a meaning, a reason to be here… but then we break, get useless and are removed.”
“Who’s removing us?”
“The shadow.”
“I don’t see any shadow…”
“It’s inside us, it’s something we are born with. It’s a shadow that chases the light, like the dog is chasing the cat. He cannot refrain from doing it.”
The breathing of the black gelding became smoother; he let out a sound, which was neither a nicker nor a purr, it was a sort of snort let out in the water bucket.
The gray gelding pressed his forefront against the bars and I saw a sudden light in his eyes. “C’mon, big boy…” he whispered, “let it go.”
No sound came from the other stalls. I had a cold feeling running over my back, like someone had opened up the window to the outside. But it still was shut.
Then I heard a deep and long gasp.
Nothing else.

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THE RAMP TO GLORY

Tired

I close my eyes and try to take a nap.

The show is over and we are waiting to go back home.
I’m tired. I close my eyes and try to take a nap. I recall how I came to this place the first time.
I remember I went up the ramp, excited by the sound of my hooves, with the words of the wise gelding in my ears: “The heartbeat of those leaving for the competition.”
I trusted my trainer when he led me into a small space, squeezed me against the wall, and tied me up short. Then he pressed another wall against me and I couldn’t move anymore.
I heard the thump-thump-thump of another horse coming up the ramp. “Hello baby”, said the sorrel gelding, “Going to the show?”
Soon the small space was full of horses pressed one against the other, all tied up short against a cold and stinky wall. The ramp moved, coming up with a fearful sound, closing the only escape we had. I got scared.
I could hear my trainer’s voice on the outside and I felt a little better, but then the ground under my hooves started to shake and it was like the walls were rumbling. Pictures of a similar experience came up behind my eyes and my heartbeat picked up a lope.
Suddenly I felt hot and hungry for air. Do you know how it is when you can no longer picture your manger full of grain or remember the touch of the trainer’s hand on your neck? I no longer had control over the voices in my soul: I heard shrieks coming from my inside going straight into my ears.
The ground moved and all the horses bounced from one side to the other. I straddled my legs trying to regain some balance.
“Relax baby”, mumbled the sorrel gelding, “it’s just a transportation.”
“What’s that?”
“When the ramp goes down again we step out and are at the show. It’s as simple as that.”
“…?”
“It’s the ramp to glory, baby: you climb it up, stay on top for a while and then you step down.”
“Glory?”
“Yes baby, the show.”
I’m so tired of glory.

 

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TOO BUSY

BUSY AT THE SHOW

Who’s the handler?

Sorry for not posting recently but I was very busy showing a funny lady at her best.

She’s actually claiming to be showing me.

I will try to post very soon.

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THE WINDOWS TO THE SOUL

I see a lot of things in your eyes.

I see a lot of things in your eyes.

The gray gelding was tied in the aisle and the sun hit his head. I couldn’t avoid looking at his white eyes but didn’t dare to say anything. I picked up a mouthful of hay and leaned into the aisle to look at the gelding’s head again.

“I hear you munching and feel you staring at me. What’s wrong baby?”

“I see a lot of things in your eyes.” A few straws dropped to the ground.

“What kind of things?”

“I see grass and clouds, flowers and leaves. There is a door and birds, a rivulet and… a star.”

“I see all those things too.”

I circled a couple of times in my stall. That gelding makes me crazy! His wisdom is often not easy to understand. I stopped at the door, picked up some more hay and while munching I asked: “How come?”

“What I have in my eyes is what I have in my mind. Does that make sense to you?”

“Hmmm…”

“What you see is what I have seen and experienced myself.”

I stretched my neck and turned my head a little as to look closer at one single eye. “I don’t see no saddles, no spurs, no bits… There’re no humans in it.”

“Watch closer”, he said without batting an eyelid, “you’ll find them too. The eyes are the windows to ones soul but what they display already went through the heart.”

I let the gray gelding stand alone in the aisle for a while and went a few more small circles in my stall. I stopped in a corner and dropped my head waiting for an answer to hit me. I heard my soul talking to itself and felt confused. After a while I went back to the stall door.

“Do you need help, baby?” asked the gelding, turning just one ear towards me.

I sighed.

“Well, I have known two kinds of humans and you have seen both.” Whispered the gray gelding: “One is the red rivulet of blood.”

“And the other?”

“The star.”

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THE HALTER CLASS

I'm a show horse

…my trainer leaned on my back, and took a nap.

 

I’m a show horse.

Early in the morning they pull me out of my stable, away from grains and hay. I have to stand still and let all the brushes run on my skin. My tuft and mane are pulling and itching, my nose is sticky and stinky with that stuff they smear on it.

They want me to stand square, not moving an ear and if I raise my head they pull it down. But if I fall asleep they wake me up.

Hungry and bored, I have to stand and wait.

I’m neither allowed to talk to other horses nor to sniff at the humans that slowly walk around me during the class. I’m a little scared of how they stare at me.

This morning, while I was waiting for my turn to be stared at, my trainer leaned on my back, and took a nap. I could hear the same noise the gray gelding does during the night. I stood still and square, watching the other horses without moving a hair.

It didn’t take too long. Then the trainer woke up.

He brushed me again and said “I have all the work to do, while you just relax…”

I’m only a show horse; he’s the trainer.

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THE LITTLE DOG

Friendship

Then I felt a wet touch on my nose.

 

The heat was terrible and there was nobody around. I was left alone in the barn; even the flies were gone.

They all had left, ready to prove their worth in the show arena, and I wondered why I had been left here.

I was still puzzling when I heard someone barking: “Are you lame?”

I’ve never had a great feeling for dogs. I know that they are not very smart and also too small to actually count for something. The dog I saw sitting on top of the shaving bags in the aisle was the smallest size I’ve ever seen.

“What do you mean?” I asked, sniffing at the little snoop.

“You’re a horse and you’re not in the show ring.”

The small thing showed some experience. “And?”

“Only limping horses have been left back in the stables… the cripples.”

Suddenly I understood what he meant. What did Claire say when the gray gelding had been left at home? Useless…

I felt very sad. I wanted to lie down and never get up again.

Then I felt a wet touch on my nose.

“Don’t be sad” said the dog. “You’re not useless while you have a friend.”

I closed my eyes and all the sadness disappeared…

It was licked away by a dog.

 

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PARTNERS

Partnership

As he put the bit into my mouth, he whispered softly in my ear: “Don’t make me mad today”.

 

My trainer took me to the arena and we walked side by side to the center.  He carried the headstall and I carried the saddle. It’s because we are partners.

I looked around while he talked to Claire. He didn’t allow me to move away from him, he pulled my head down and wanted me to stay close beside him. My partner holds on me.

Then he tightened the cinch and I stopped to breath for a moment. He walked around me and   I heard the sound of his spurs. He bent down and tightened my leg straps too. My partner takes care of me.

The guy put his hand between my ears and dangled the headstall on my face. As he put the bit into my mouth, he whispered softly in my ear: “Don’t make me mad today”. My partner trusts me.

With my tongue I pushed the bit to the right place behind my teeth and spread my legs, waiting for him to ride on me. He pulled on the reins and I felt the pressure of the bit. I stood still, knowing what would come and waiting for the pressure of the spurs. My partner has me.

I trotted and loped, I ran fast and slowed down. I squeezed my bones to round up my back and bucked only twice. I turned willingly in each direction. My partner drives me.

My trainer and I stopped in the center of the arena. He stepped down and petted my sweating neck saying: “Great job baby.” He turned his back to allow me to scratch my itchy face on it.

That’s because we are partners.

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THE SHADOW

The shadow

“But you throw the same shadow.”

 

I love it when they pet me, I don’t care if they ignore me, but I go mad when they stare at me and say: “Hmm… she’s not like her mother.”

Since my very first moment here at the show, humans are making me nervous with that strange remark. Even a bay mare said something about me not being like my mom.

This morning they took me out of my stall, rubbed me all over with some soft stuff and used the ‘cat in the can’, as the gray gelding calls it. It’s a puff of stinky wind that sounds like an angry cat and keeps the flies away for a while.

We went to the arena where many other horses were standing around, just doing nothing. Claire and my trainer rubbed me all over again and didn’t give me any chance to take a nap.

Suddenly the guy stopped, stepped back and said: “No, you’re not like her.”

I pinned my ears back and wanted to kick him.

He slapped his hand on my butt and made sounds of fun.

I pricked my ears up again and he scratched my withers. Then he looked at the ground and said: “But you throw the same shadow.”

 

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THE OWNER

The mad mare

The mad mare looked at me with her blue eyes.

 

After work, tied in the aisle, I was taking a nap.

“Your owner is coming today.”

Claire’s words woke me up. I’d already heard that said by someone else. I looked straight forward and tried to figure what an owner is.

“You’re wondering what an owner is,” said the mad mare nearby that always has her ears pinned back.

I don’t like it when others are listening to my soul talking to itself.

“Nobody really knows,” said the gray gelding, hanging his head out, “but it’s someone tightly bound to you.”

I tried to bend my neck to check my flanks but was not able to see much. In any case, I didn’t notice anything attached to them. I looked at the wise gelding without a word.

“Everybody has an owner,” continued my gray friend.

“How does it smell?”

“I’ve heard about owners that smell like apples and carrots,” he said.

My soul suggested I should check in the manger.

The gray gelding’s voice lowered. “I’ve also heard of those having the smell of blood and cruelty.”

I felt a shudder running from ears to tail.

“So what is an owner good for?”

“It’s the one that lets you stay alive,” whispered the gelding.

The mad mare looked at me with her blue eyes. “It’s the one that lights the sun.”

I closed my eyes and tried to get back to the nice dream I was in before.

It’s raining today.

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ALONE

Image

I would like to hang my head to the outside but I have to stare between the bars…

 

Why do they let me stay here, behind these bars and looking straight into the dark?

I miss the smell of my stable, the sound of the breakfast falling into my large manger, the gray coat of my wise friend moving in the stall in front of mine. Instead I smell sweat and pressure.

I would like to hang my head to the outside but I have to stare between the bars, and the only thing I can see are more bars and other staring eyes between them.

They’re all gone: Claire, my trainer and all the others who were running around excited and nervous. They gave me a last quick pat, then closed the stall and went away.

The manger hanging on the door has been empty for some time, but it will serve later to play with, and I’ll not lose the hope that someone will come and get me out of here.

I still have the sound of human voices in my ears, so loud and unfriendly, but this silence is even worse; it carries the sighs of tired horses and the weeping of the losers.

I would like to lay down, resting my head on the ground, dream about my friends… but nobody watches my sleep.

Thus, I’ll wait.

This too is the show.

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