Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Sheba was the name of the horse I learned to ride on. I was in Girl Scouts and a retired Army soldier brought his string of polo ponies for the troop to ride. Sheba was huge, a dapple grey, and I loved her. My parents bought me jodhpurs and riding boots. I already had my leather jacket with fringe on the sleeves and along the bottom. I can't say I learned to ride well, nor have I had a lot of experience on horses. I read and read and read about them. I lived with them in my imagination. I collected postcards with horse pictures on them, and horse figurines. And I watched cowboy movies on TV.  So why shouldn't I write a story about horses?

My story in progress has a horse named Sheba. She's the favorite of the main character Mandy.  I love writing horse scenes. It's like I can be there through Mandy. I check my facts through local people more knowledgeable than I am. Of course every story has to have a crisis. This is a scene that I barely got through because I was crying:

“Come in Mandy,” she said. She was sitting at the kitchen table looking at a photo album. There were pictures of when Mr. Parker was alive and he had the string of polo ponies.
“So what did the vet say?” I asked, a little out of breath.
She looked at me with soft eyes. “He said he thinks Sheba has pleural pneumonia.”
“She must have gotten a cold or influenza. You remember I told you that while you were mending your broken leg, my son brought a horse over for me to look at. Well he did buy it and he brought it again to run in the pasture. This time we were more careful with Sheba, but his horse had a runny nose. Colds can be pretty contagious and turn quickly to pneumonia.” She turned her eyes to the album. “These are pictures of when we first got her.”
I looked over and saw a younger and thinner Sheba with Mr. Parker on her back. “So does the vet have medicine to cure her? She will get better, won’t she?” I asked the questions, but I think I already knew the answer by looking at Mrs. Parker’s droopy red eyes. 
 “No honey, medicine can’t cure this. Sheba has to be put down. We need to clean out the stable so Bubbaloo and Scout don’t get sick too.”
“NO!” I screamed as loud as I could, hoping my voice would rise up as far as heaven and make it not so. “She can’t die, not ever!” Tears gushed down my face and I shook all over. I covered my face with my t-shirt and screamed. Mrs. Parker knelt down in front of me. She held me.
After a long time, she stood and grabbed my hands, boosting me up . “Come on Mandy, I’ll take you home.”
 “I…I’ve uh….got ..my um…bike.” I stuttered through “sup-sup” sounds.
“That’s OK. We’ll put it in the trunk. She put an arm around my shoulder and kept hold of one hand. At the back door, we stopped as she lifted her car keys off a hook. I leaned hard on her.                          

Writing is a strange phenomena for me. I live through my characters. They bring new color to my life. This is a way I can express my love of horses when I don't have the means to own one.

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