head was not coming out of that awkward stage. Not ugly but not outstanding
either and she was still small but for the performance classes it might not
matter. I have had to spend more time with her halter work though than I
expected. I had hoped that she would be much further along by now. The daily
grooming and hoof cleanings have calmed her ticklish spots and she will stand
with the halter now. It is hard to tell with a yearling, she may yet get some
size and a pretty head, and all young horses have good and bad days in their
training. I’ve noticed that when I talk to her she calms down. Not when I talk
at her like telling her what to do but when I talk to her. Sort of like how you
would talk to a
friend. Like telling her about when I am happy or about being sad and about the
wonderful plans I have for the two of us. Oh, and she has such deep eyes with a
look that seems to say, ”I know.”
is not coming along very well. She does not have that “presence” I’d
like to see to catch the judge’s eye, her head is still plain and she is
only 13.2 hands. Really her best attribute is standing still for the daily
grooming and of course our talks. She will stand still for that even loose
in the pasture. Sometimes I get lazy and go out in the pasture to groom
her. Oh, I told her about Jim. Still at 2 she has plenty of time to shape
up and be someone. She may be a performer yet.
I have just about
accepted the fact that she will never compete but she may still be a good riding
mare. Her head and size..... well she could be a late bloomer. We both enjoy
the daily grooming and I tell her about the new ones that have such promise,
their attitude, conformation every thing. She will never be like them.
bloodlines don’t always produce. I am so disappointed in her. I also told her
about my accident and losing Jim. I cried then and she gave me a look that
said, “I know.” The deepest look I have ever seen. At 3 though it is still
too early to give up on her.
has been under saddle for 2 months now and I am disappointed in her performance
to this point. I have stopped trying to make something out of her. The only
thing she does really well is listen. She knows all about the progress of the
more promising horses. Their wins, their placing and training because I tell her
every day. She nuzzles my tummy as if instinct tells her about Jessie.
not make it this far and we talked about that too. I hate wasting so much time
with her but she so enjoys the daily grooming
and talking always calms her. I had such high hopes for her but now at 4 I am
not even sure I should keep her.
nuzzles my small tummy now and then looks at me with that special look. I
brought little Jessie out with me today. She liked Jessie right away.
she would never amount to anything. A time or two I thought of breeding her,
maybe the bloodlines would come through. I would hate to go through all that
effort for nothing though. She really does like Jessie. I think she would have
really liked Jim. He would be three now.
is such a chore to have around. Not good for anything! Today I had to walk out
in the pasture to get her for her daily grooming. I wasn’t feeling very good
and was plenty tired. She looked a little downcast too. On a whim I got up on
her bareback and she walked back to the barn for me. I never did walk back to
the barn after that. Jessie was waiting for us at the barn. She is not
interested in the other horses or training or such but she likes this old nag
and talks to her just like I do.
is 10 now and Jessie is 7. Today I sent Jessie out with a halter to lead her up
from the pasture, but she came back riding bareback just holding the halter in
her lap. I scolded her for doing such a dangerous thing. The mare seemed to
understand who she was carrying because she was going real easy and when she got
to the barn she gave me one of those looks that said I know. Jessie had probably
already talked her ear off but she was still ready to hear about my problems
with the more promising young ones. We talked about Jim too. She is the only one
I talk to about Jim any more. I know she would have liked him just as much as
she likes Jessie. I think she
would have been extra careful with him too. I wish she would have amounted to
is 19 now and a man offered me a very good price for her. Said he wanted a horse
that was good with kids. I should have sold her but, still, she is not too
expensive to keep around and maybe I will find a use for her yet, watching the
weanlings maybe. I saw Jessie talking real quiet to her today, about boys I
think. I guess at 17 Jessie should be interested in boys and that Bill is a fine
lad. I don’t dare tell the mare that. She would, no doubt, find a way to tell
Jessie! I told her that Jim would probably be talking about girls now.
what he would tell her about his girl problems? Foolish thought.
23 now. Jessie came over today and she nuzzled Jessie’s tummy just like she
did mine so many years past. Jessie got right up on her and I was petrified
because I remembered the accident, and Jim. But she was more careful than I had
ever seen her. She gave me one of those looks. I had many more promising horses
to train and take care of, I should never have wasted so many years on her. Jim
would be 22 now.
When Jessie named her baby Jim I cried. Later I took my new grandson to
see her and told her that this was Jim. She cried then also, and gave me one of
29 now and arthritis hurts her so badly, but she still insists on carrying
Jessie's little Jim in from the pasture when we send him out to fetch her.
hasn’t had a halter on for 12 years. Maybe she never needed one in the first
place. You know she never really amounted to anything. This past winter was
really hard on her. I told her about the new crop to be born soon. Expecting 6
walked her by the foaling stalls today. One of the foals is noticeably smaller
than the others. She seemed pleased to see it because she stopped there, and yes
she gave me one of those looks she only uses at special times but deeper than
was just yesterday that we looked at the foals. I think she enjoyed it.
with that little foal now as Jessie and Bill stand vigil quietly next to me. It
has been 2 hours since she passed away. I’ve been crying for 4 hours.
they think I am crazy to hold her head in my lap but it seems I have so many
things to tell her yet, things that never quite got said during her daily
grooming. I really should have gotten rid of her years ago you know.
did amount to anything and I wasted so much good time on her. Time I could have
spent on the more promising horses. I do need to attend to other horses you
know. I bet she really likes Jim though. I hope she is telling him all about me.
don’t think they quite understand the look in my eyes. I’ve never told them
but as my family stands by I’m sure they know that I am saying good bye to my
best friend. I told her though. Just a few hours ago before the end.
She gave me
one last look that said,
inspiration for a story about talking to a horse and a horse as a friend came
from spending many years with
my lovely wife Robin. As my love for horses has matured I have learned from her
the joy of talking to them.
Robin has loved and owned horses since before I met her in high school back in
1974 and has been talking to them for as long as I can remember. Recently I have
come to believe that, sometimes, she also whispers.
This story was printed as a
fictional work in Khamsat,
Volume 15 - 4, a publication of Al Khamsa. Although it is tough
for me to choose a favorite of among Nathan's stories, I would have to say if I
have a favorite, this is it. Thank you Nathan for granting me permission to
and Robin Howard's Hi-Power Farm