BY SIOBHAN SEARLE
A lazy horse who would much rather be eating grain barely survives an attack from the least likely of sources.
I had just finished my grain and was about to sneak off to my beloved hay net when mom snagged me. She put my halter on and dragged me out to the tack-up stall. I snorted out of bored reluctance, while she disrespectfully primped and preened all the hard-earned dirt from my hyde. After, she squeezed me under the rather uncomfortable leather contraption she calls a saddle and crammed hard metal into my mouth. Then, with me walking as slow as I possibly could to discourage her, she hauled me off to the arena.
In the arena, I was clipped on a long line and put through the usual mundane paces of walk, trot, and canter in circles. An exercise I don’t see the point of. When mom finally called me in to her and gave me a pat on the neck, I was thrilled. Back to my cozy stall, I’d go…or so I thought. Instead, she took the long rope off me, put on a weird looking hat, and led me over to the unusual black rock she uses to stand on. She ordered me to stand still, then proceeded to use the block and climbed on my back. I raised my head in objection at being used in such a way and stepped forward, hoping she’d abandon the idea. Unfortunately, my plan failed.
Mom drove me forward and within minutes, I submitted like an obedient foot soldier and lumbered on. We did our usual drill of awkward turns and weird shapes around the arena. At times, I walked so slow I tripped over my own hooves. She was not put off and in the end it wasn’t that bad. Mom wasn’t a demanding captain and apart from her incessant babbling…why she insists on talking to me when I can’t understand her is beyond me. It was actually a nice tranquil morning march—then the enemy descended upon us.
I froze. My radar senses tuned into the honking sirens and wing beating motors of the incoming bogies. Mom tried to order me on, muttering something that sounded soothing, but I held fast. Did she not understand we were under attack? I had to plan the best course of action. My muscles twitched with alert anticipation as the arena walls echoed from the sounds of the approaching airborne fleet.
They were right above us now. Maybe if I kept still they’d pass us by. It seemed to work. However, just when I believed we were out of imminent danger, a renegade flyer dove at the outer arena door and tried to penetrate it with its lethal trumpet. I threw my head up and dodged to my left out of the path of its invisible missile. Then, as quickly as they had struck, they were gone. All was silent.
Ashamed I had been caught off guard, I lowered my head and coughed. Mom grumbled about a “silly horse” and “just a goose” as she adjusted the reins. She took no pity on me after my defeat and gave a kick for me to soldier on and continue our laps around the arena. However, this time I stayed alert, watchful. The rebel Canadian air force wasn’t going to get the better of me again; not this horse. Next time I’d be ready for them.
Writer, environmentalist, and animal lover, Siobhan Searle was farm raised but has walked many paths in life, from veterinary technician to sales representative, mother, and small engine mechanic. Author of A New Forest Witch and Tempest of Dreams, Siobhan’s uses her many likes and interests to captivate her readers with intricate webs of supernatural suspense, mystery, and frightful thrills. You can learn more about Siobhan and her work on her webpage, http://siobhansearle.wordpress.com/