A Horse’s Tail

December 11, 2007
By Nell Dosker, Larkspur, CA

Chapter One: The Beginning

I was born in the barn of Mr. Hopscotin, a farmer in the country in Europe. My mother is named Dark Shadow. Her coat is dark, like her name suggests. On the contrary, I am very similar to a humongous snowflake in color; that is how white I am. In fact, that is why Mr. Hopscotin named me Snowball, the first filly to be born on his farm since my mother.

I was very playful as a foal, because there were lots of other foals like me. The only difference was that they were all colts. A lot of them thought that I was too dainty to participate in their rough play. I may have been dainty, true, but I also was able to adapt to find my advantages and disadvantages so that I would be able to be more successful than most of the colts. They were very surprised: they had not expected me to be able to do anything, but it was them who had all muscles and no brains. And, since I was more ‘dainty’ than them, I was able to weave quickly in and out of my opponents’ way and trip them up.

Chapter 2: Tolner Manor

Yes, I had a very relaxed childhood until I was about two years and ten months old. Then came the time when play was put aside until after work, and I was broken in. Hopscotin was more gentle than most people would have been, and he taught me to work well for goodness. When the time came that Hopscotin had to sell me to his friend, Mr. Tolner, my mother decided to give me some good advice.

“Listen to me carefully, daughter” she said, “I have something to tell you. In this world, there are many men, of all races and behaviors. You have had a good, sheltered young life, and now that you are ready to go out into the world, you need to know this: Men can be dangerous, compassionate, cruel, and any other feeling that you know of. You are very lucky to have had such a good master for the first part of your life as Hopscotin, and hopefully all of your others will be as well. Go with this advice that I am giving you, and when you think of it, remember me, because when you next see me it will probably be in heaven when we are both dead, but I will only go when I am ready. Goodbye, daughter.” And with that, she watched sadly as I was put on a lead rope and led away.

Soon, though, I had other things to think about. I arrived at Tolner’s stables and was taken and put in a stall in the barn. There were many other horses, including a big, tall brown charger-looking horse. I decided to try and make friends.

“Excuse me?” I said. “Sir?” He snorted and looked up.

“Ah! So, there is the newcomer to the barn! Welcome, little one!” he neighed. All the other horses heard what he was saying and grew silent. It appeared that he was the leader of them all.

“Thank you. My name is Snowflake. I came from Mr. Hopscotin’s farm.” I said quietly.

“Ah! Mr. Hopscotin! You are very fortunate indeed! My name is Twotoes because I like to tiptoe when I try to sneak out of the barn.” Twotoes said. He whinnied wildly. “I’m the leader of this barn. Allow me to introduce you to everyone here. This mare over here is Barbara, the first to come here after me, and opposite of her is Bailey, who came directly after. Next is Snookums, the mistress’s personal ride. Opposite from her is Blackie. That’s everyone!”. I said hello, and everyone went about their business. A few months later, we were put out to pasture. It was spring, and the weather was beautiful outside. I was three years old by then, and a full grown mare. I was usually used as a pleasure horse for Mistress Tolner, who was never cross and always spoke to me in a very gentle voice. I adored her, and I would do anything she wanted when she was riding me. Then, the sad, sad day came when the Tolners had to sell me.

Chapter 3: France

I was sold to a gentleman from France, and was shipped there on a train. When I at last arrived, I was brought to a gigantic barn where there must have been at least sixty and maybe more horses. A groom took my lead rope and put me into the very last stall in the barn. I made a few friends, and it was a good place, but it was not to last. I was sold yet again and taken to the country outside of London.

Chapter 4: The Carthorse Days

I was sold to a carter who used me as a carthorse. He did not have any other horses, so I was a bit lonely. I pulled the cart around when he sold his wares, then came home to a nice hot bran mash. The carter and his wife were very kind to me, and their three children always came by the stall to give me a carrot or some other tasty treat once a day.

One day, the carter bought a dog whom he christened Bess. Bess was a nice dog, a Boston terrier, and she often slept in my stall in the straw. After the carter bought her, he found, to his disbelief, that Bess was going to have puppies. She eventually had two boys and a girl. Carter (as I now called him)eventually had to sell me. I then went to my last home, and lived out my days in grassy meadows and sunshine.

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