- Celeste Lawrenson
Originally published in January 2015
In the summer of 2005, we lost one of our male ponies who had gotten loose and run away. We did not hear any news for several days, and then a horse ranch called, saying they had our horse and wanted to buy it. This is the true, fictitious, accurate, historial, with creative lisence, version of the story from the perspective of the horse. Enjoy.
The horse whose head was bigger than its brain
It was a sunny day in early June. The birds were chirping cheerily and the insects were buzzing over the thick green grass. Besides these, the only animals to be seen were two ponies, one black and the other light cream. The black one, fondly named 'Little Black' by the family who was right now in church, stood under the pine trees near the house, peacefully flicking his tail to ward off flies. The other horse, Silver, was not so content. He was situated in the other yard, with no trees for shade. He ran back and forth as much as the cable would allow. The flies were biting and it was hot. Angrily Silver tossed his head up and down, trying to rid himself of the flies on his face. There was a click, and he paused. The chain fell to his feet, and he bent down and sniffed it. That was weird. It hadn't happened before. Without thinking, Silver ran over to Little Black. Little Black looked up surprised.
“Hey,” Silver greeted him. “I wanted to ask you what you thought--”
“You're loose, man!” Little Black interrupted. “How'd you get loose?” Silver paused uncertainly, trying to look at his chin and failing miserably. Little black didn't appear to notice. He inspected Silver's halter and sniffed at his feet. “You must've broken the clip,” he mused. “But by all means, don't just stand there! There's a whole world to be explored! Go running somewhere!”
So Silver set off running somewhere. When he said goodbye to Little Black neither pony dreamed they would never see each other again.
Silver travelled east at a good loping pace. He felt excited and ready for anything. Following the dirt roads, he made good progress and saw nothing bigger than a bunny all day. That night he browsed through a field of corn, eating the choicest bits and raising his head once in a while to listen to the far-off howling of the coyotes. It was good to be free.
Closer to morning he found a clump of trees and slept lightly, constantly aware of his surroundings and ready to flee should the coyotes come closer.
* * *
Three days had passed. Silver was now 13 miles east of the farm he had left. He had swum two rivers.
He had been travelling mostly by dirt roads, but now he turned off the road, waded the tall grass in the ditch, and went looking for adventure in a clump of trees half a mile distant.
In the trees it was dim and crowded. A coyote paused and stared at him between the trees. Hearing a noise on his left, Silver turned and followed it out of the bush. He stopped at the edge of the trees and found himself facing a short slope that levelled out about at his eye level. Suddenly a great big animal came whizzing around the corner, travelling fast along the top of the slope. Before Silver could think, it flashed by and was gone, it's rumbling noise fading into the distance as sudden as it had come.
Unsure of what to do next, Silver turned and looked back into the wood, half expecting another strange animal to come up behind him. But the wood was silent and somewhat creepy, now that he had seen the strange animal. So he instead set off along the side of the ridge, keeping his ears pricked for more animals.
The runaway pony had now reached the 75 highway, and was heading South. Little Black was sorely regretting having encouraged him to leave, seeing that he wasn't back yet. Silver was also regretting leaving, for now he was in the middle of a great open expanse of prairie with no shelter in sight, and he could hear the approach of another animal from behind. He glanced back nervously and broke into a run. It was a little smaller than the first animal, and he could see two humans sitting on top of it.
The rumbling animal sped up, coming along the edge of the slope faster than Silver could run. He was galloping all out now, hard pressed to keep ahead. Suddenly a loud explosion sounded right behind him, and he pulled up as the quad sped by. One of the men was holding a shotgun.
Silver stayed in the ditch, trembling fearfully. Was that what a gun was like? He had heard of guns. Duchess, a big Percheron mare at the farm he had come from, had often told stories of her life before she came to the farm. Her stories were of men and big machines and strange things that they made her wear. But sometimes she spoke of guns, and how they would suddenly make a big explosion, killing things unexpectedly.
Silver shivered and decided to get away from this place. He climbed to the top of the slope and gingerly stepped across the hard substance that was there. His hooves made a clopping sound. Once in the field beyond, he stopped and ate some grass and drank from the ditch. Lifting his head from the water to watch a passing car, he suddenly smelled horse. Yes, it was the unmistakable smell of a fellow pony.
Throwing up his head and neighing cheerfully into the wind, Silver set off in the direction of the smell at a brisk trot. Before long he heard an answering whinny, and within minutes he came upon a fence bordering a clearing. Beyond that were more fences and gates, all with horses looking over them excitedly, and beyond these, a farm house. The pen nearest to him was full of ponies just his size, and now they were crowding around, pressing against the fence snorting and whinnying. One of them, a tall bronze-coloured gelding, pushed the others aside and called out a greeting.
“Howdy! My name's Starling. What's yours?” Silver had come up to the fence now, and he sniffed at Starling's coat.
“My name's Silver,” He answered uncertainly.
“Hey! D'you hear that?” Starling chortled. “This chap's name is Silver!” All the other horses peering over the fences started laughing and giggling. The news spread like wildfire.
“Hey, guess what? Starling's talkin' to a strange pony whose name is Silver!”
“Did you hear that? The new chap's name is Silver!”
Silver heard this and became indignant.
“Silver's a fine name! There's nothing wrong with it!”
“Of course there isn't,” Starling said soothingly. “We want you to live with us. Just come around to this gate over here... and just slip under... can you do it? There! Alright, everyone, come meet Silver!”
Before Silver knew it, he was part of a new family, and could not jump over the fence to go back to Little Black. Often as he would try to fall asleep during the day, He would think of his friends at the old farm, Major, Duchess, Dandy, Jewel, and Dusty, and of course Little Black, whom he had met when he came to the farm he had left.