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The year was 2013 and everyone was laughing at the fools who sold everything they owned a year before preparing for the world to end. I had just turned 16 and my old horse MSU ALL THE WAY was finally sold. I was at the French horse action with my dad when I heard a voice say “Bonjour c'est ma jambe non le vôtre!”
“What?” I asked my dad.
“I didn’t say anything.” He said scanning a young chestnut. Nobody was around us, or that is what I thought. I walked slowly around the horses pins until I arrived at a pin that held a sixteen hand, black, thoroughbred stallion. I looked at him and he looked at me. The voice appeared again to say, “Bonjour petite fille.”
I jumped there were no humans were around me only horses. “Je ma’ppelle Hugho. Comment tu t’appelle?” asked the velvety voice. I scanned around me, and then I focused on the nameplate of the black stallion, it read: “Hugho”. I repeated his name in my mind, “Hugho.”
“Oui, comment tu t’appelle?” Asked the black stallion.
“Uh… I don’t speak whatever you’re speaking.” I responded in my mind.
“I said: Hello little girl my name is Hugh, what is your name?” He replied snorting nosily, “it’s French.”
“Well Hugho, I am Anna. How are you talking to me?” I asked stunned that a French speaking horse was asking my name.
“Je ne suis pas. I mean, I don’t know, I can only talk to a few people including you.
“So you can talk… I must be going crazy.” I concluded stroking his long sleek neck.
“Well, it would be nice wouldn’t it? To be able to talk to your horse.” He shook his long black mane looking at me with one thoughtful eye.
“Well your price is reasonable.” I said, “Dad!”
“Yes,” he said walking over to me, “what is it.”
“This horse, Hugho, he’s perfect. Can we buy him?”
After two hours we were on the road with Hugho in our trailer, I spoke to him the whole ride home detailing to him his new life how we would do trail riding and arena work. He love the idea of trail riding, or as he said he: J’adore it. When we arrived home, I unloaded him into his stall where he discovered the jolly lick. This is a round treat between the plastic apple top and bottom, made for them to lick not bite. It hung from the ceiling, able to swing when he put pressure on it. After smacking himself in the face several times on the way down he yelled, “Je te fappie en la figure.” Then reader up and smacked it down with his massive hoof.
“If I tie it up it won’t move but you can’t bite it.” I warned. He agreed but after my bathroom break, I discovered that he ate the whole treat leaving yellow smears across his face.
“Je suis désolé, it means I’m sorry.” He commented. Over the next three days I took him trail riding, he loved every bit of it. Next, we worked on arena riding; we did so over the next three seasons until one winter day we rode to the mailbox to find a letter addressed to me. I read the letter gasping by the end of it.
“What is it?” Asked Hugho
“It is from the Olympic selectors, they picked us to compete in the winter Olympics!” I exclaimed jumping up and down before hugging his fuzzy neck.
“That’s amazing!” He said tossing his head up and down, “when do we leave?”
“In two months!” Over the next month and three weeks, we trained hard preparing for the Olympics. The morning of the first day in the last week, I woke to find Hugho missing. I sobbed while dad called the police, searching the barn I found a note taped to his stall door it read:
j’ai tu Cheval. okay i don’t know much fRench, but i do know if you want to sEE hugho again you’ll bring one million dollars to Krest WATles, you’ll nEveR see him again if you don’t. So aT hAlfway By eLeven you’ll bring thE money.
See you soon anna.
The note crinkled in my hand. I ran to my dad who was with the police and showed them the letter before running to my room and locking the door. I looked at the letter the letters: C-R-E-E-K-W-A-T-E-R-S-T-A-B-L-E-S, were capitalized.
“CREEK WATER STABLES!” I shouted at the top of my lungs.
“What is it?” Asked my dad, breaking the lock on my door as he burst into my room.
“Creek water stables! It’s in the note! Hugho must be there!” After ten minutes of arguing, we were on our way to creek water stables, an Olympic training barn.
“Hugho!” I called when we reached the drive, “are you there?”
“Oui, je suis ici!” His velvety voice called.
“Where?” I asked
“In a small blue barn!” He exclaimed. Jumped out of my dad’s truck and ran around the property until I found the small blue barn in the corner, on my way I found no one. Pulling open the door I found Hugho standing with his head tied to the stall door.
“I’m stuck!” he exclaimed as he pulled his head backwards. I ran to him, pulling the knot of his lead rope out. I clicked the lead on to one side of his halter then tied the other side. Launching myself upward, I pulled myself up onto his back, and then cantered out of the barn. As I rode to the truck my dad’s face when pale with surprise.
“Don’t let them out!” A voice called, “close the gait!”
Four men were there, two closing the gait and two coming for Hugho and I. They carried lead ropes, ready to stop us from leaving. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a boy no older than I, talking into a cell phone from behind a barn. Closing the phone, he jumped upon the men closing the gait.
That was all Hugho needed, he jumped into action rearing up on his hind legs land on top of the closets man’s arms pining and crushing him to the ground. Still on top of the man’s arms, he struck out with his back legs striking the other man square in the chest. Looking up I saw the boy coming toward me.
“Are you alright?” he asked. Staring at Hugho, he muttered to himself, “it’s him alright.”
Hugho sniffed him before saying, “good to see you again.” The boy’s face lit with pleasure.
“And you too!” He said in his mind the same way Hugho spoke to me.
“You can hear him to?” I asked him astonished.
“Yes, my family trained Hugho, and sold him just a year ago.” He explained. While the police arrived and spoke to my dad the boy explained everything. His family bought Hugho, trained then had sold him to the auction, while he did not want to sell him his father said they must. After figuring out what Creek water stables had planned for a horse named Hugho, he joined in planning to become a spy for the opposite team. Writing the letter, he left a clue for me to find them.
“I just have one last question,” I said as he exhaled annoyed, “what is your name?”
“Colin, Colin Heaterer.” He answered. My dad then broke free from the police to come take me home.
“Well, bye Colin.” I said turning Hugho away.
“Wait!” He said running after me, my dad had started driving away in the truck and I wanted badly to follow him.
“What?” I asked.
“Would you like to go out sometime, you know after the Olympics?” He asked.
“Sure, my number is 1734-478-5381. Call me sometime.” As I rode home on Hugho I marveled how my life had taken a huge turn, I was a sixteen-year-old girl from a small town who had her horse stolen, has a talking horse, has enemies because she is competing in a show, found her horse and had the stealer put in jail, and was now on her way to the Olympics. Not to mention how I am going on a date with, not only a horse guy but a guy who trained my horse and can talk to him. Life is pretty good. No, life is great! However, I still need to learn to flow with life, but I am already getting better. I guess I have time to do that.