The girl's name is Rachel...at least for now! That may change later as I get farther into the story. She and her dad are looking at the horses at the local stockyard's annual horse sale. Her family raises Quarter Horses, but Rachel wants a special horse...a horse she picked.
I knew Dad was puzzled. I had been so adamant about getting a horse today.
"They just weren’t the ones, Dad." I stuck my foot on the bottom board of the last pen and hauled myself up.
As my head cleared the top board, I gasped. I felt Dad climbing up beside me, but I had eyes for nothing but what was in that pen.
Unlike the other pens, this one held only one horse…my horse.
I knew the instant I saw her that she was mine.
A gray mare, almost silver in color, eyed us warily from the back corner of the pen. Head held high, eyes alert, she had air of a princess.
She had a small head and daintily curved ears. Her body was small, but proportionate and she had the smallest feet I had ever seen on a horse her size.
I watched her, fascinated, as she tossed her head and trotted in a small circle, then faced us again and pawed the ground with a challenging whinny.
"She's the one." I whispered, my eyes never leaving hers. "That's my horse."
Dad shook his head. "Honey, she's not the one for you. She's wild and independent."
I couldn't tear my gaze from that beautiful horse…my horse. I looked into her eyes, and knew I couldn't leave without her.
Dad sighed. "Well, you stay here. I'll check her out." He threw his leg over the fence and jumped to the ground.
Instantly the mare's head went up and her nostril's flared.
Dad waited a minute then slowly approached her, his shoulders hunched and eyes on the ground. I'd seen him use the same approach on other nervous horses and it always made the horse more comfortable with him.
But it didn't work on the gray mare.
A terrifying scream rent the air as she charged him, hooves flying.
Dad leapt for the fence and made it over just in time.
Shaken, I jumped to the ground and peered through the boards.
The mare was running around the pen with as much speed as she could muster in such a small space, screaming her anger and, I realized as I watched, her fear.
Dad pulled me away from the boards. "I'm sorry, honey, but she's too dangerous."
A lump formed in my throat. Even after what the mare had just done, I wanted her more than anything in the world.
Somehow, I knew that she wasn't really like that, she didn't want to be mean and dangerous. I knew that she was protecting herself from what she thought was a threat. I wondered what had happened to her to make her behave in such a way.
"Sir, are you alright?" one of the employee's ran up to us, concern
etched on his face.
"Yes, we're fine." Dad placed a hand on my shoulder.
"I guess we should have put a sign up. That horse is dangerous." the worker sighed in relief.
"So I gathered. Why isn't she with the other horses?" Dad asked.
"We tried to put her in with them, but all she did was fight. Some of them are quite beat up." the worker shook his head. "You should have seen her when they brought her in. Had to whip her to get her into the pens."
Anger rose in my chest. How could anyone treat such a beautiful horse so badly?
"Well, I need to move on. The auction is about to start." the worker moved away and Dad and I were left alone.
"Dad," I drew a shaky breath. "I want that horse."
Dad shook his head. "Sorry, honey. She's too much horse for
Tears filled my eyes.
"Now, don't start that." Dad knelt in front of me. "You saw what she tried to do to me. How do you think you'll be able to handle
I didn't think there was any way to convince Dad, but I had to try.
"Dad," I said earnestly. "She's not really a bad horse. You heard what that man said. They were whipping her. If they did that in public, but what do you think they did to her back at their home. I saw the look in her eyes when she charged you. She was scared! Dad, please! Just give me a chance! I think I could help her. I have to try!"
Dad sighed and standing up, stared through the boards at the mare who was still pawing the ground nervously.
He was silent for a long time and I was beginning to think he wasn't going to answer me, but finally he turned around and took my hand.
"Let's go watch the auction." he said. "Maybe you'll notice a horse you didn't see before."
My heart sank. He was still determined to get me one of those old, calm horses.
I followed along behind him as we made our way to the auction ring, picturing the frightened eyes of the gray mare and wishing I could help her.
Horse after horse passed through the ring and whenever a calm one was being auctioned off, Dad turned hopeful eyes on me, but each time I shook my head. I couldn’t get the gray mare out of my mind.
Leaving Dad standing by the ring, I walked out onto the platform that overlooked the pens and saw that most of the horses were gone. They would be getting to the gray mare soon.
Forty-five minutes later, she entered the ring.