I like this version better.
I haven't been working on Whisper quite as furiously as before. I'm on Chapter Fifteen, 27000 words. The ideas are still there, I've just been having trouble A) finding time to write and B) actually getting the ideas from my head onto the computer :)
The last time I shared an excerpt, I asked for your input on whether I should make this a series or not.
I have decided to let Whisper stand on it's own, but I intend to continue writing about abused animals, horses specifically. I have already started another book about an abused horse. Samantha, the main character, lives on a dairy farm, so in addition to writing about her and the horse, I intend to include lots of fun stuff about life a dairy farm. I've always wanted to write about my experiences when we were still milking cows, but never could think of a story. Now I have story and I can weave in some of the great and not so great things that went on on the farm.
Ok, here's another shot of lovely Ashwin a.k.a Whisper and the expert. :)
I attempted to steady my ragged breathing and wiped my sweaty hands on my skirt as I stepped inside. The mare was nervous enough without taking her cues from me.
Dropping my eyes to the ground, I made sure my posture wasn't threatening in any way.
The mare seemed strangely calm. I wondered why, but didn't dwell on it. As long as she wasn't throwing a fit, I was happy.
Dad spoke softly. "Walk next to the fence, Rachel. Drag your feet."
I did as he said, keeping my right shoulder parallel to the fence. I moved slowly, occasionally glancing in the mare's direction, but mostly I watched her out of the corner of my eye.
Outwardly she remained calm except for a slight tensing of her muscles every once in a while if I made too sudden of a move, but I knew there was an inward battle raging.
I walked about fifteen feet down the fence, then Dad told me to turn and go back the way I had come.
I walked back to the gate, passed it and continued down the fence.
The mare was watching intently and I could see the fear in her eyes, but I also saw curiosity.
She swished her tail nervously. It's typical of horses to swish their tail when they are nervous or concentrating.
So far, I was thrilled she hadn't reacted to me, but her lack of reaction was also a bit discouraging. I was eager for some movement, some major acknowledgement of my presence.
A moment later, she gave it to me.
As I took another tentative step forward, she turned and trotted in the opposite direction.
I wanted to cry, laugh, dance…anything to show how thrilled I was.
True, she had moved away from me, but right now it was a huge step in the right direction.
The last time I had attempted to enter her pen, she had screamed and lashed out violently…her intent had been to
frighten me off, she was ready to fight.
Now, she had chosen flight over fight and I was thrilled. You can deal with a horse that will run from you, but a horse that wants to fight is very dangerous and not to be trifled with.
She had chosen to run from me and that I could handle.
Horses are prey animals and they have two things that they instinctively do when frightened or threatened. Fight or flight. Horses will usually choose flight, so when one chooses to fight, you know to tread lightly.
The mare was still moving away from me, following the fence. I stayed rooted where I was and after a few minutes of pacing back and forth, she stopped and faced me.
I was surprised she had faced me. Usually when a horse feels threatened, they will turn their rump to you. That is their defense mechanism and it is easier to defend themselves with their back feet.
She was showing that she did trust me to a certain degree. She was fairly certain I was not going to hurt her, but she couldn’t bring herself to trust me fully yet.
I was beginning to really understand how her mind worked and what she was thinking from her body language.
I rewarded her for stopping and facing me by turning my back to her, releasing the pressure and letting her settle for a few minutes.
I was impatient to try to get closer, but I knew if I rushed it, a lot of work would be undone, so I waited until I felt she had had a chance to calm down, then I turned back around.
She was regarding me curiously, but calmly. I began walking toward her along the fence again, keep my shoulders tipped to the outside.
Her head came up, but she did not move.
This time I got within twenty feet of her before I felt I couldn't push her any further.
I wasn't sure what to do now. I didn't want to push her too hard, but I didn't want to go too easy either.
Dad spoke in a low tone. "Sit down on the ground and keep your eyes off her." he instructed.
I settled down on the ground, watching her out of the corner of my eye.
She seemed curious about this change in tactic.
She lowered her head and blew out, creating a small whirlwind of sand.
I blew out through my mouth, making a similar sound to the one she made.
When you are working with horses, it is important to speak their language and adopt their gestures and habits as much as you can. If you walk, talk, act like them, you become another horse in their minds.
By copying her actions, I was letting her know that I was checking her out, just as she was checking me out. That put us on equal terms and made me less intimidating.
I sat quietly on the ground for about ten minutes, then Dad told me to come out.