Let Freedom Run

Freedom came galloping towards me neighing, his mane blowing in the wind, smelling the sweet smell of the Kentucky air. His pure black body glistened beautifully in the sun as if it were a newly polished diamond being held up to the bright, scorching sun on a hot summer day. When Freedom runs he is a lighting streak that flashes before your eyes. We are one, we seem to understand each other. As Freedom continued to gallop towards me the life that we have had together flashed before my eyes and I felt a tear trickle down my cheek. I quickly wiped it away with my dirty hands and remembered that I still had time to spend with him.

As Freedom approached me he whinnied loudly as if to say, “Where have you been? I've been waiting all morning for you to come!”

“Hello Freedom boy how are doing' today?” I said to him calmly.

“I'm here now, don't worry, we're together,” he seemed to be thinking.

It is a warm summer day, the kind of day when you seem to notice every little detail in the world. The birds singing, the newborn foals nickering softly to their mothers for milk, the breeze rushing through the manes and tails of the mustangs grazing in the wide-open pastures. Kentucky is like no other place in the world. You can't go to New York and lay out on the grass at night starring at the beautiful diamonds in the sky, listening to the horses whinny softly wishing you a good night, turning your head to see that someone has come just specially to give you a goodnight kiss. Freedom is the only horse who will whinny all night long unless you come out to the gate and kiss him good night. Yep...you sure can't get that in New York, or Colorado, or even Texas. Kentucky is the only place that holds such peace. I can hear the neighing as loud as they can, telling the world they are the sire to yet another foal. Sometimes I wonder if Kentucky is just a dream, heaven maybe. I wonder if maybe none of this has ever been real and I've just been in a long never ending dream. It's funny how you can hear so many things in only a few seconds in Kentucky that people anywhere else would only dream of hearing. Some people buy tapes that play soothing sounds, like the trickling of water from a nearby stream, the wind blowing, or the crickets chirping. I don't need to buy that though, because I have the real thing right outside my bedroom window.

Then as if to snap me back to what was going on, Freedom put his head on my shoulder and gently nuzzled me. I stroked his big black, muscular neck and I couldn't help but smile. You can see Freedom's muscles everywhere on his body. He sure is the most beautiful stallion in all of Kentucky. There are only two things Freedom enjoys- running in the endless green pastures of Kentucky, and being with me. I have never used a saddle nor a bridle on Freedom because he is wild, and that's the way I want to keep it. We have owned Freedom since he was born. We found his momma, Bella, who was also pure black with two blue eyes, and has a star on her face one day when we were out riding. Her eyes are as blue as two newly shined sapphire stones. She was hurt and pregnant. We figured she must have been kicked by another mare, because she had a huge welt the size of my hand on her chest. For being wild she did not fight against the rope we put around her neck. We took her back to our farm, Lucky Horse Farms, which is a Mustang reserve. We nursed her back to health, and before we knew it, she had become part of the family. Next thing we knew she gave birth to a stubborn, fiery little pure black colt. We named him Freedom in hope that he would always be able to run free on our Mustang reserve, like a flying Eagle soaring through the sky. We never gelded any of our stallions, because we wanted them to stay as wild and free as possible.

Things were going great, until one day I decided to go out and ride on the reserve. Of course Freedom wanted to go too, so Bella and I left with Freedom trotting close behind. It was a cool morning in October and all seemed at peace. We stopped by one of the many rivers to take a break. I laid down on the tall green grass and watched Bella drink from the river and Freedom splash happily around her. Getting the both of them wet and cooled off. Suddenly, there was a loud gun shot and I heard the horses from one of the herds screaming in terror, like a women who just saw a mouse in her kitchen! I scrambled to get on Bella, and galloped her to where the gun shot came from. Freedom was a little behind. Instead of slowing down Bella so he could catch up, I made Bella speed up, so that if there truly was danger he would have enough time to hide. I looked back and Freedom was gaining quickly. I saw how fast he was going, and thought about how one day I will be able to gallop him through the endless green sea of wide open space. I heard another loud gun shot and was snapped quickly back to reality. By the time we arrived to the scene I saw why the herd was so upset........There were poachers! The stallion was charging at them, trying to protect his heard. Boom! Within a blink of an eye the stallion was shot. This was the herd that Bella was from! Meaning the big, dapple gray stallion that had just been shot was Bella's mate and Freedom's sire!

Bella and I were standing motionless on the edge of the woods, watching the poachers. Before I could stop her, Bella raced out of the woods with me gripping onto her long, silky, black mane for dear life. I saw that she was running to the stallion, who was now laying on the ground whinnying softly, trying hard to catch his breath. He turned his head slightly to see Bella running towards him. Realizing there was still danger, he started to neigh a loud neigh that sounded like a man screaming at the top of his lungs. I knew too well what that neigh meant! It meant danger! He was trying to tell Bella to leave him and run away. Bella was stubborn when she wanted to be, so she didn't stop galloping until she was standing directly beside him. I turned my head to see if Freedom had followed and saw that he understood the danger call that the stallion had sent out. He was standing on the edge of the woods, motionless with fear. Then I heard one of the poachers shout at me.

“Hey you! What do you think you're doing? That's our horse!” yelled the poacher who was wearing camouflage clothing and had a shotgun in his right hand.

“My father owns this reserve, and I ought to call the police! You idiots are not aloud to kill mustangs, it's against the law!” I screamed at him. The other man who was with him frantically started to climb into his truck.

“Come on Billy! Lets get out of here, you heard the gal,” yelled the other poacher who clearly hadn't had his hair cut in a long time. He had a big brown mustache and brown curly hair that went all of the way down to his shoulders. Unlike his friend, Billy, he was short and very over weight. Billy, the other man, was bald, tall, and thin. They both were weeds in a garden of red roses. They attempted to ruin anything that got in their way.

“I suppose you're right Jack,” replied Billy. Then, he spit a wad of tobacco at the fence. The poachers, Billy and Jack, were on the other side of the electrical, barbed wire fence that bordered the reserve.

Meanwhile, Bella was nuzzling the stallion affectionately. Every stallion on the reserve has a name and that's what the heard is known as. That's how we tell the herds apart, by the stallions. I couldn't remember his name.....All of a sudden it came to me, Apollo! Yes, that's his name. I knew that Apollo was dying so I let Bella stay by him. I heard the poacher's truck start and as soon as I looked to see their license plate number so that the police could track them down.........

Bam! Bella collapsed beside Apollo with me on her. She landed on my leg and I felt pain, but I struggled to get my leg out from under her so I could help her. When my leg was finally free, I quickly stood up and screamed. My leg hurt so bad. I turned and looked at the poachers as they started to drive off and I heard them yell one last thing to me.......

“Consider yourself lucky! We were aiming for you!” they yelled as they drove out of sight. The herd had all ran off and I was alone with two dying horses of whom were two of my favorite ones in the whole reserve. Then I began to sob.

“It's all my fault I should have gotten their license plate number and left. I should never have interfered, now my most beloved mare has been shot. All because of me,” I cried. I turned my head and saw Freedom galloping towards me to see what had happened to his beloved mother. When he reached her, he nuzzled her neck, all the while whinnying sadly, somehow knowing that he would no longer be running beside his mother. He did this until she neighed faintly and then,... the light faded from her big beady eyes. The passage from life to death was so quick. I didn't know how to handle it.

That was four years ago and Freedom is now four years old and I am fourteen. From that day on Freedom and I became insuperable, but now the day has come when we have to be separated. My father is behind on the bills so in order to pay them off we need to sell one of the mustangs. A guy from Wyoming saw our ad about us selling a mustang and came two weeks ago to pick one out. Guess who he picked. Freedom, he choose Freedom! My dad says it's the only way to save the ranch. Before I knew it I found myself jumping onto Freedom and galloping through the reserve. My long tree-bark brown hair flew in the wind and my dark, beady eyes closed tightly as I gripped onto Freedom's mane. I slowly drifted into a long, deep sleep..........

When I woke up I saw that Freedom was grazing with his mother's old herd. It's no longer called Apollo, because he too passed away that night. The heard now has a new leader named Rasheed, who is a big, bay stallion with one brown eye, and one blue eye, which my dad calls a walnut eye. I glanced at my watch and realized I had been sleeping for two hours. I gripped onto Freedom's mane, turned him around, and galloped him back to the house. When we got to the gate I hopped off of him and gave him a kiss between his eyes. I starred into his eyes, they were as dark as the ocean itself. They were kind though. I would search his eyes for hours and never find one bit of anger in them.

I sat on the grass and explained what was happening and told him that I will always love him and that I am in his heart, therefore I will always be with him, and that he will always be in my heart. I continued to tell him that for another half hour. My watch beeped and I knew that it was time for me to head up to the house. I opened the gate and let Freedom through, then latched it shut. We never use halters or any kind of equipment on the mustangs, only ropes around their necks when they are either sick, injured, or new to the ranch.

When Freedom and I arrived at the house there was a big, fancy horse trailer in our driveway and I immediately knew that both Freedom and I were feeling the same way, nervous! The screen door opened and out came my parents and a short man with a cowboy hat on.

“Hello, young lady,” said the strange accented man.

“Hello,” I replied cautiously.

“What's your name little lady? Mine is Doug,” said the strange accented man, Doug.

“My name is Amy and I am fourteen, therefore I am not a little lady,” I said rudely.

“Amy! Don't be so rude. Sorry Doug she's just a little upset,” said my mom, Kathleen.

“Where are you taking my horse?” asked Amy nervously.

“The better question would be where aren't I taking your horse. See your horse is gonna be a star. He is going' to be in a circus! First I am going to take him to Montana, and then we will tour all over the world,” said Doug enthusiastically.

“You mean he is going to be cooped up in a trailer all day with other horses standing on each side of him only to be taken out to be in a stupid circus!” Amy yelled. “He doesn't want that he wants to run free and be with me, he's wild! He's a horse, not a clown!”

“I'm sorry sweetie, but he's mine now, and there ain't nothing you can do 'bout it,” said Doug. Before I could say anything more, he grabbed Freedom by his forelock and yanked his head down and slid an ugly brown halter on him. He clipped a matching lead rope onto the halter and pulled on it to make Freedom walk into the trailer.

“He's never been in a trailer,” said my dad. “We've never even used a halter on him, he's wild and that's the way we've always tried to keep our mustangs.”

“Fine then,” said Doug annoyed. Then he hit Freedom's back with the lead rope and Freedom frantically having no where else to go went into the trailer. As soon as Doug latched the door shut Freedom immediately began neighing and kicking at the trailer. Doug got in his truck and pulled out of the driveway. I ran after the trailer yelling for Freedom until I could no longer breath. Then I collapsed.....

*********************************************************************

“No! No!” I screamed.

“Sweetie, wake up. It was only a nightmare,” said my mom.

“Mom.....Where am I? What happened?” I asked sleepily.

“You're in the hospital. You've been in a coma for three weeks sweetie,” said my mom.

“All I remember is hitting my head really hard. All of a sudden I remembered what happened...

“FREEDOM! No! He's gone!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “No! I need him!” Nurses ran in and hovered around me, my dad rushed in and held my mother close as she cried into his arms. A doctor rushed in with a needle and put it in my arm.....Then everything went black again....

**********************************************************************



As I slowly woke up, I looked around the room and realized I was safe at home in my bed. I
remembered about Freedom and quickly sat up. A shock of pain shot through me like a lightning bolt
through the sky. I screamed loudly and then began to cry. My mom ran into my room and held me in
her arms.

“Do you want me to turn your radio on?” she questioned already knowing the answer.

“Yes,” I replied quietly. As soon as she turned the radio on my eyes lit up with joy as I heard
my favorite song being played. My mother and I always used to sing this song together when I was younger. It is called Wild Horses by Natasha Bedingfield. Before I knew what I was doing I started singing the song aloud and my mom joined in.

“I feel these four walls closing in, face up against the glass, I'm looking out. Is this my life I'm
wondering? It happened so fast, how do I turn this thing around? Is this the bet I chose to make? Is
greener pastures I'm thinking about? Wide open spaces far away. All I want is the wind in my hair, to
face the fear, but not feel scared. Wild horses I want to be like you. Throwing caution to the wind I'll run free too. Wish I could recklessly love, like I'm longing to. I want to run with the wild horses, run
with the wild horses! I see the girl I want to be riding bareback carefree along the shore. If only that
someone was me, jumping headfirst, headlong without a thought. To act and dang the consequence.
How I wish it could be that easy. But fear surrounds me like a fence. I want to break free! All I want is the wind in my face, to face the fear, but not feel scared!” We sang this together until I was so exhausted that I fell into a deep sleep.


*****************************************************

When I woke up my parents were both sleeping on the side of my bed waiting for me to wake
up from my deep and endless sleep. I felt like a bear hibernating in the winter, but it was summer.

“Mom?....Dad?......,” I said sleepily. Immediately hearing my voice they both woke up and kissed me on the cheek.

“You slept for five more days. We were starting to get worried about you,” my mom said in a calm voice.

“We've been thinking, a lot lately and we've decided that you should go to California and take a break from the ranch for a while,” said my dad obviously not entirely happy about the decision.

“We want you to go to that boarding school for art that you so badly wanted to go to. It will be fun sweetie,” said my mother.

“What about the mustangs? Dad can't round them up on his own! I won't go, I'm needed here!”
I said afraid of going out into the world all alone.

“I have friends that I can hire that would be more than willing to help me,” replied dad.

“I will be gone for at least three years though!” I said quite emotional about the whole idea.

“You are going and that is final,” said my dad sternly.

It has been three weeks since they told me the news about the art school and my plane is leaving
tomorrow. I have all of my belongings placed neatly and carefully into suitcases. I still don't like the
thought of leaving, but I found out that a bunch of my friends from school are going also. The art school is a boarding school for teenage girls only. I always loved art but had never even dreamed of going there because of the cost.

The next day my parents drove me to the airport. When we arrived I put my luggage on the luggage cart and turned around to say goodbye. My mother quickly pulled me close to her giving me a hug that nearly suffocated me all the while sobbing hysterically. I turned to my dad and he gave me a quick hug and handed me an envelope.

“Don't open this until you're safely on the plane,” he told me sternly. He then gave me a kiss on my forehead. I said my last goodbye and headed onto the plane. I turned around and glanced at my
parents one last time and saw my father's arms wrapped around my mother as she cried. They each blew me a kiss and waved at me.

When I was safely sitting in my seat on the plane I opened the envelope carefully......Inside I saw a one thousand dollar bill and two pictures of Freedom. One was of when he was just a little colt running around with his mother and the other was of me sitting on top of him laughing. I took the money out and saw there was a note also in the envelope. It said, “I'm sorry sweetie. But this is all I have left of Freedom and it belongs to you. Take care of yourself.”

“Oh, Freedom! You truly are gone!” I cried out, speaking to no one in particular.

********************************************************************

Six years have passed and I am now twenty years old and my once long brown hair is fading into dirty blond from laying out on the beautiful beaches of California. Every day I take long walks on what seems an endless shore and watch the sun set on the almost transparent pale blue water that seems to sparkle like the twinkling stars on a clear night in Kentucky. I sit on the warm sand and kneed it with the palms of my hands. I love watching the waves crash down on the shore, listening to kids laugh and giggle as they experience their first plunge into the endless ocean, and sleeping on the shore letting the waves tickle my toes and the sun guard me as I sleep. It is nothing like home. There are no twinkling stars in the sky of California. The only thing in the sky at night is the blinking lights of a plane passing through. There are no endless pastures or wide open spaces, only the endless sea and thousands of buildings hovering over it fighting over which one should get the best view.

I am sitting in a Mustang with three of my friends from boarding school, Maya, Ashley, and Sam. Today is my last day in California. I am returning home to the ranch tomorrow. Boarding school ended when I was eighteen, but I decided to stay in California a little longer to take a vacation and do whatever I pleased. As a going away gift my friends all bought me and themselves tickets to see a famous circus called, Deolbra. At first I refused to go and told them that I hated circuses, but they insisted that I go. I ended up giving in after they beseechingly begged me to death.

“I can't do this! It will be too hard,” I thought to myself.

“Why is it taking so long? I thought it was only on the other side of town?” I whined sounding
like a child.

“We just left!” said Brittney annoyed.

“Be patient Tess, I'm sure it won't be much longer,” said Ashly sweetly.

I didn't know what to do. I was bored out of my mind. I looked out the window, but only saw cars passing by instead of pastures, I closed my eyes, but saw nothing, I played with my long ponytail, but that just made me anxious for the ride to be over.

When we arrived, we jumped out of the car and sped to the enormous, white tent where the circus was being held. We raced to our seats two rows from the very back of the tent. They weren't the best seats, but I was okay with that because I didn't really want to see all of the vivid details anyway. It seemed everyone in all of California had come! The tent was completely packed and some people even had to stand in the aisles. I sat in my velvet red seat, looked all around me, and tried not to think about the circus, but focusing on the people who were there. The crowd went hush and a tall man wearing a tuxedo and tall hat came out and began to announce the first act.

“Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and girls! Prepare yourselves to see the best circus in town..Deolbra!” he announced loudly. Kids screamed and hooted, parents clapped with joy, and everyone seemed to be excited. Everyone except me. The man left the stage and out came men on stilts. Then acrobats swung from bars hanging on the top of the tent. They leaped, swung, and flew through the air. The crowd cheered. Then out came a line of elephants and the acrobats started jumping from one elephant to another. The elephants did not seem pleased at this and looked almost angry. When the first act was over the announcer came back out.

“Prepare to see a wild mustang as we saddle him up and make him go!” he announced in a deeper voice than before. A round gate came down over the circular stage, like a round pen. Six tall, muscular men ran out onto the stage with long whips in their hands. The crowd hooted with excitement as to what was going to happen next. Then a loud whinny was heard and a mustang galloped out onto the stage. He had a saddle and a bridle on. There were two long ropes tied to the bridle that were attached to the saddle that forced the mustang to keep it's head high and neck arched. We were too far back for me to really study the horse's markings, all I knew was that it was a dark color. Probably bay or black. The men with the whips chased the poor horse around and hit it with the whips. The crowd cheered and clapped. It was horrifying! I couldn't bear to watch any longer! I wanted to get away from the cheering crowd, away from the men with the whips, away from California. I wanted to be at home in Kentucky, laying on the grass, watching the sun set, listening to the horses neigh as the wind rustled and howled around them. I couldn't bare to watch any longer! I turned my head and looked at my friends who were staring at the stage horrified. They turned and looked at me with tears in their eyes. Sam, who was sitting next to me gave me a hug and asked me if I wanted to leave.

“No, I want to speak to the owners of the circus afterward and give them a piece of my mind!” I yelled trying to be heard over the crowd. The second act seemed to last forever, and I was glad when the announcer came back onto the stage to announce the third and final act.

“Get ready to see the finale, the best part of the show! The lion tamer!” he yelled. The crowd went wild! Children screamed at the top of their lungs. A truck brought in two huge hoops. Two short men poured gasoline over the enormous hoops and then lit them on fire. A man wearing the same thing as the announcer ran onto the stage with a long whip in his hand. The whip was even longer than the ones that the men were using in the second act. The crowd cheered and clapped, but quickly went silent when they heard a loud roar come from a small opening in the tent. Everyone turned their heads, including me to see a huge lion leap onto the stage. The lion tamer whipped the lion and the lion leaped through the first flaming hoop. Then the lion tamer whipped it again and instead of going through the second hoop the lion charged at the tamer. The tamer began to shriek and scream for help. Three short, muscular men ran out onto the stage with whips and forced the lion to return into the small hole in the tent. All went silent......The announcer came back out.

“Wasn't that scary?!” he said in a sarcastic voice. He then began to laugh. The crowd joined him thinking they had planned that to happen, but I knew the truth. I knew that the announcer lied so the circus would get good reviews and continue to be the best of the best. The announcer was as sly as a fox.

“We hope you enjoyed the show!” the announcer exclaimed in a relieved voice. The lights lit up and the crowd began to shuffle towards the exit. My friends and I did not. We sneaked behind the tent where the animals and workers were. I spotted the owner of the circus right away and headed straight for him.

“Look out!” yelled a grouchy old man. He was escorting six men who were trying to lead the mustang from the show where to go. I heard a loud whinny that sounded very familiar and froze. I stood motionless, unable to speak. I turned my head to see where the whinny had come from. I saw a black stallion rearing high, trying to break free from the many ropes that were wound tightly around his neck.

“Freedom!” I screamed with all my heart. I ran towards him, but was slapped across the face. I was so stunned that I fell down.

“Stupid girl! That horse is wild! You trying' to git yourself killed?!” yelled the old man. The men continued to bring the horse to one of the many trailers. I knew it was Freedom! It had to be, he just didn't recognize me. I ran to my friends who were looking for me and told them what happened.

“I have a plan,” said Ashley. We were going to steal Freedom! Ashley and Sam went to distract the men watching the trailer, Brittney went to get into the mustang to be ready, and I headed towards the trailer that was hooked up to an old, rusty truck. I opened the truck door and saw the keys were in the ignition! I thanked God for the luck he gave us and jumped into the truck. Freedom started to kick the trailer not knowing what was going on. I started the old truck and hit the gas pedal. Sam and Ashley jumped into the Mustang with Brittney and followed behind. Freedom was on his way to freedom! I slept out in a parking lot in the trailer with Freedom. He knew who I was, he remembered! The anger that was in his eyes had vanished and turned to kindness and happiness. He knew he was safe, now that he was with me!

The next day I said my goodbyes to my friends and drove off in the old truck with Freedom to the airport. It was going to cost a ton of money to have Freedom fly on the plane too. Luckily, I had saved most of the money that I got in the envelope and was able to use that to pay for his ticket. The plane ride back to Kentucky seemed endless and I became fidgety with excitement of being home with Freedom! I couldn't believe I had found him.

When I got off of the plane my parents were there waiting for me as if I had just left a day ago. I ran to their arms and they kissed and hugged me like I was still only fourteen.

“Mom...Dad...I have something wonderful to tell you,” I said enthusiastically. “I found Freedom and brought him home with me!” My mom started hysterically crying and my dad ran to the cargo hold to see if it was true. He came back crying, holding Freedom by the neck. We ran outside to join him.

When we got to the ranch, Freedom and I ran straight to the gate, like two little toddlers running to their mommy. I opened it and jumped on him and we galloped off into the pastures! I screamed and hollered with joy and he neighed until both of our voices were hoarse. We were as happy and at home as coyotes howling before the moon.

***********************************************************************


Freedom came galloping towards me neighing, his mane blowing in the wind as he recognized me. His black body glistening in the sun. He is free to run now and to be with me! He no longer has to be humiliated in front of crowds or whipped. He can be the way he was born to be, fierce, untamed, and wild! As I had always told him and his mother, he will always run free and wild on our mustang reserve, where his real home is.

Freedom and I grew old together and never stopped loving each other. Freedom and I have our own song, and wherever I go, wherever I am I never can stop singing to myself.

“I feel these four walls closing in, face up against the glass, I'm looking out. Is this my life I'm
wondering? It happened so fast, how do I turn this thing around? Is this the bet I chose to make? Is
greener pastures I'm thinking about? Wide open spaces far away. All I want is the wind in my hair, to
face the fear, but not feel scared. Wild horses I want to be like you. Throwing caution to the wind I'll run free too. Wish I could recklessly love, like I'm longing to. I want to run with the wild horses, run
with the wild horses! I see the girl I want to be riding bareback carefree along the shore. If only that
someone was me, jumping headfirst, headlong without a thought. To act and dang the consequence.
How I wish it could be that easy. But fear surrounds me like a fence. I want to break free! All I want is the wind in my face, to feel the fear, but not feel scared!”

Freedom lived until he was thirty-one years old. Which is pretty darn old for a horse, but Freedom was no ordinary horse....He was wild and free! To this day his spirit runs free in the pastures of my mustang reserve. The pastures are green oceans, waves of grass crash down everywhere. Every now and then, when I look out at the pastures, I see Freedom galloping towards me. Neighing, his mane blowing in the wind and I think about all of the good times we had had together and how he would always be remembered as the horse who never stopped fighting for freedom. He got freedom, freedom to run in the reserve, freedom to be wild. His spirit will never leave the mustang reserve, because I, let Freedom run!





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback