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by sld
Rated: E · Chapter · Nature · #1754328
After 23 yrs, my horse died 12/15/10. Had a great life together. He tells his side of it.
 
Hoofprints

rough draft
We have left hoofprints across this life. Always, it seems now, together. Separate at the beginning, one to the end of all awareness, all time! Each half making the other whole! You are the best thing that ever happened to me! After all these years, my only regret is that we must be separated for a time! The greatest mystery surrounds us now.We must endure! We walked side by side, sometimes I carried you and never minded, for you were always my brother, friend and companion! I fear to face a new existence without you! You to me and me to you...  Soulmates forever!


“I have been laying here for some little period. I know the great change is coming upon me soon, for I feel weakness of body, a knowing, though my spirit remains strong. My two-legged brother will come soon, I know, and ease my fears. So, I have only to relax, this has been a good life, one I will miss! But, Life is change. Perhaps I have time to tell you my story? If my memory is correct, I have 30 turnings of  4 seasons behind me, considered old and wise for and by my people, the People-Of-The-Seasons. The growing, The warm, The falling and The cold. I have learned much and seen much! My life has been full and rich with the things the of the Great Mane, the being that created all! Now that I think about it, I well remember the beginning!
    My first memories are of cool, sunlit days and warm nights, curled next to my Dam. Her warm milk and loving caresses. As I became older, playing in the new grasses and running with the wind, though it was, it seemed, much, much faster! Always I tried to catch it! That was maybe my favorite game, I never tired of it, even 30 turnings of 4 seasons later! I did wise up and learn that a spirit cannot be caught! But the game has always remained! The wind often became my friend, as I grew older. I was proud to call it so! I had some other 4-leggeds to play with and my Dam taught me about the spirit of life. Since this has always remained with me so strongly, affected my whole outlook and brought an understanding to me, I must tell of her teachings!
    My Dam told of the “Great Mane” who encompasses all the world and all creations it contains. My people came from the great waters in the beginning of time, crawling upon flaps of skin instead of the hard bone of  legs we now enjoy. We would come forth and yearn to be free of the wet world, always wanting to find more grace in our movement.   
    The first ones came out only a little at a time, then as time went by and generations came new to this dry world, they began to change their bodies so that they could stay there longer and longer. She told that these flappered ones liked to see the openness above and were most curious about things that were happening there. It’s told that the change of seasons affected the way they thought and saw the world they lived in. After uncounted generations of self-change, these ones lost their flappers and developed the bone that became the bones of our new bodies. Some of these early ones had different thought patterns and the “Great Mane” showed each the possibilities of this or that thought pattern. So began “The Division”! Of course what we call the “Great Mane” wasn’t seen as such by these early peoples, Rather, our elders say, “A great and all encompassing presence that guided and taught all, within the individuals ability to perceive”.  As the division progressed, the changes between thought and understandings became apparent in the new forms of  bodies the early ones developed. After turning after turnings of seasons  beyond count our people became as we have been and are now. That is legs to run with,Noses, Tails and manes.
    So, it is now said that our peoples thoughts, understandings and desires have come full circle. That we have become free of the wet world and can now claim the dry world as our own. Yet, since we came from the wet world, we still need the wet to nourish our bodies. The dry world has many plants that liken to those from the wet world, so these are able to nourish our dry world bodies. Chief  among these are the greens that 2-leggeds call “Grass”. It is good that it is so because it grows verywhere and is my personal favorite.
    Yet there are others, one called “Carrots” and  “Apples” and a seed kind of food that the two-leggeds bring that they call “Grain”! This is one of my favorites, also, my Dam says that it will help me to be strong! She warned me of many things, including a food called, Again by two-leggers, “Sugar”. She said that her sometimes-mate would often be given this food and then he would be wild and rough when mounting her and she would be hurt afterwards. This then, as I was taught, is a good food to avoid, it’s taste is good. She said a little does not hurt, but too much of a thing, thought to be good, is bad! “Always beware of things that seem too good! Test the breeze, listen closely to the relatives around you! Always trust the instincts of our people! The Great Mane will never lead you astray”!
In my birth herd there was one who was especially close to me, My elder brother who watched over me, taught me and even played some with me. Our herd always marveled at the understandings on our bodies, for, they said, we looked almost like twins! Since my True father was kept separate from us, I never knew him well, yet sometimes he would watch me from his far enclosure, and shout encouragement when I would chase the wind! My turnings older, Elder brother served as a Father figure for me. I loved him very much! He also helped teach me “Body speak.” That is a way we four leggeds can convey ideas and thoughts to each other. Much of this language is instinctual! Strong instincts make a strong speaker, yet this must be tempered with understanding!
    With these and other teachings, I have lived this life and never have I been mistreated or lost my senses as many have. These teachings became important because soon after my first four-season turning, I was taken from my birth herd and taken to a new land where I knew no one and had to find my way in a new and different kind of life. I must have succeeded there because I am here, now. It was a challenge to me then, I’m sure some lose themselves if they have not learned from their Dams, life’s important lessons! Being taken by two-leggers from my birth land upset me greatly. Yet there was so much new to see and smell that I became snared in wonders!
    I came to this new land in the growing, Alone and afraid. The two-leggers spent much time with me and I learned that they can be good to my people. Soon I went to another land and a two-legger showed me many things about their world, Here I learned to understand that they wanted to sit on me and give me commands, do this a certain way or go there at this pace. Not really a lot of fun for me, for it seemed that many of their tasks were pointless and boring. They treated me with respect and gave me good food and almost I was happy. During these times I met and spoke with some wise elders of my people and learned through stories and experience that all us four leggers were not always related as I had thought. Yes, we are related in a world view, all from the first flappers, but different blood and understandings made us separate in our colorations and intelligence and other small ways. My small division called themselves the “People-Of-The-Seasons” for we wore the understanding of the seasons on our bodies, some represent one or another season while others show a connection to many or all! Understand that we had no control over this, the All-Mane makes us to look like we do! Ours is to accept.They said that my connection was in the cold time, and the falling time as well.
    After a 4-season, I was taken back to the previous lands. I began to wonder if I would always move from one land to another or If I might be going back to my birth land in the future. All went along for several 4-seasons, then the two-leggers began to change. They started to smell of disquiet and things I have no name for. And their voices were to be heard loudly and often full of things that made us four-leggers shy away in fright. Inside full of the red light of rage. They came less and less often, and finally, another two-legger came and took us to new lands. This quickly became the nightmare of my dreams!   
    I never had an understanding of why the two-leggers kept my people separated half of the time. In this new land, I was turned out with others of the people, but not with any of my own People-Of-The-Seasons. Some were there, in this new land, but kept separated. I was in an area where there were also a small herd of ugly minded, jug-headed crazys! Lost and starving, they had not the manners common to the four-footed people. I suppose in hind sight, the lack of food and water made them ill-mannered and mean, but then I was not so wise in the way of the world. Alone, I started to lose weight and was always hungry and thirsty. A two-legger would come every couple of tides and drop bundled, cut grass in to us and a small amount of water. Then go away again. But the Ill-mannered never let me anywhere near! The two-leggers that herded with the other four leggers would take pity on me sometimes and give me some food and water, but not like my body clamored for. I tried to remember my dam’s teachings, but the daily fight for survival became the foremost thought in my mind. The season began to change to the falling and the water would fall from the sky and a cold mist would creep up from the ground. The Ill-mannered would not allow me the courtesy of sheltering with them, so I would stand out in the rain, lonely, lost, hungry and a little afraid. It was the nightmare come true!
    The Ill-mannered had eaten the grass down to the roots and in so doing, left nothing growing but woody weeds and branches that overhung our enclosure. These tasted not so good and soon were bare. I began to eat of the Ill-mannereds droppings. So foul, but it filled the empty spaces in my belly as I started to lose my mind. I thought that sweet life was leaving me, that soon I would be laying on the ground, flies and vermin claiming my body as their own as my spirit walked the star path to the Great All-Manes herd.
    Once again I began to dream. A shadowy two-legger coming to help me with love in his heart and respect and understanding in his hand. Sometimes I would dream of  my dam and the day might be a little better after I woke. I would watch the other herds two-leggers come around and do things with and for them. I clung by the smallest margin to my belief in the Great Mane, It pulled me through.
    Around this time two Small-wolves started coming through the barrier. They were vicious in their play with us four leggeds. Often chasing us to exhaustion, Nipping and biting as they made sport of our fears! I quickly became their primary target because I was one alone! Even when I could get near the Ill-mannered, I was still isolated enough to torment. I would kick out at the Small-wolves, but only got close in the beginning, for they stayed out of reach of my hind feet, and were nimble enough to run circles around me. They were 2, while I was one alone. Sometimes I was able to find a place to back into and be able to guard myself passably! Once they started coming, they came most everyday! And probably could have taken me in my weakness anytime, had they desired it. My life was quickly becoming a living nightmare! But I fought against the darkness by running with the wind over unending plains of grass as I followed the herd of my people I had created in my mind!
    I had noticed a two legger who came to an enclosure bordering mine. He saw me watching  him once and stopped to make himself known. Another time, I was trying to reach the grass outside of my enclosure, {I had made sure to be around when he came, to get him to notice that I needed help!] Again he stopped for me and made talk that made me feel good, and giving me grass. Then he went in to his herds enclosure and returned with the bundled, cut grass I later learned to call “Hay.”
    I saw him watching me from a distance over the next couple of tides. Then came a morning of more cloud, wet and cold. I was standing, wishing for shelter and food as I watched the Ill mannered under the shelter. I heard a noise from in front of the enclosure, not for the first time. A two legger had arrived. Soon the “One” came down the grassy strip and stopped, turning to look my way. I saw the flash of red around him as he turned to make some uncouth noise at the Ill-mannered. He went back the way he’d come. In a short time my enclosure was opened and out of the mist and falling water came the two legger. My dream! Just like my dream, but real as you or I! I could hardly hope! He stomped into the shelter and began making loud noises and kicking out at the Ill-mannered with one of his feet when some did not follow his commands. I came erect, focusing on him as he came near, I saw the red fade into blue as he touched me for the first time and led me under the shelter, then rooted himself between myself and the Ill mannered. After a time he left and soon the ill mannered were chasing me away. But hope was born in me as I realized the dream. That night I dreamed again, now I was back in a previous land, running back and forth , but now I knew I waited on this two legger! The next tide he came again and again after that. This time he came and led me to his enclosure where he had been busy for a while. And wonder of wonders, I was put in a dry, warm place. Soft underfoot, sweet smells and cut bundled grass to eat and cool, clean, clear water to drink. ....And...... GRAIN!!!! So long since.....I tried not to choke as I wolfed it down, my eyes slid shut in ecstasy! I tried not to leak water from my eyes! I thanked the Great Mane for this respite, for food and kindness! After a long time he took me back out to the enclosure and went away. I wondered if it would happen again. It did.
    The next tide and the one after. This time he put me in another enclosure, Grass! Grass to eat! So I did! But again, back to that enclosure later. I saw him talk to another two legger, then he came to me again, but only stood watching for some time. Finally he came closer. I stood erect again, focusing with all my might. Excitement so intense I could taste it! It hung in the air. Looking me in the eyes he made his talk. I did not know the words but I hardly dared to hope as he finished. I understood his intentions all to clearly! He was here to help me! At last one had come who had understanding! One to help me, I could sense good things coming from him! The ways of the Great Mane, the teachings of  my Dam, the Elder People-Of-The-Seasons, all true, all true! My heart soared as I understood that he’d just made a “Great Promise” to me. Many never have such binding promises made, or even hear one! I reciprocated as I had been taught was proper and mannerly! And I never went back to that foul enclosure, with the Ill-mannered and the Small-wolves, the hunger and the loneliness and fear! He had come, with love in his heart and respect and understanding in his hand. He was also a two legger. Not always mindful of the ways of the Great All Mane, for sometimes it seems, two leggers break wind between their ears instead of properly! But the Great Mane teaches forgiveness, and so we started to become friends and more. 
    My new two legger would stop his toil in the square enclosure, [I later learned to call a “barn”] He came to the opening and leaned there watching me, I could see he was happy by his colors. As I grazed, I came across some droppings from some other four legged. I must have conditioned myself to think of foul droppings as “good”, for before I knew it I had some in my mouth, but before I could chew, he was there, prying apart my jaws and taking them out. He made some talk as he threw them far away. This happened several times over the next few tides, and he would bring hay or grain to me right after. I understood that he was telling me not to eat droppings anymore, but would snatch them up before I even thought about it. Soon I got my mind right and knew that he truly cared for my welfare. He gave me white medicine that other two leggers had given me. I always felt strong after this medicine.     
    After a tide or so, I was within the barrier where grass grew, when the two legger came into the enclosure, he made the noise that meant he wanted me to go with him, Again, I did not understand the talk he made, but his intentions were clear. How could I explain that this grass was something that I had looked at so longingly so many times. I wanted nothing more than to eat and eat. I hoped that he would understand as I kept grazing. He did not. That day we both became frustrated and he made me fall down with tricks. Then would take me in the barn and put me in my enclosure, go away for a while, then come back, take me out to the outside enclosure, go away again and come back and go through it all again....and again and again. By this time we were both angry and tired. He went and sat under a tree, and made strong smelling mist come from his mouth. Watching me graze, I could see his colors change, anger left him and a beautiful blue/white took over. This is the best of colors for any being, so I thought that perhaps I had finally made myself clear to him. No more falling tricks! He came and I raised my head to look at him in thanks, for I knew that his mind was right once again. He put one hand on my neck, behind my ears and with the other he stroked my nose, making deep, quiet talk noise. The type that friends make to each other. So I came to understand that he wanted to be friends more than make me do things that he wanted to do. That was really the only time that we had any great disagreements, even now, 23 turnings later, I can still say that!
  I think we became a herd that day, where we had been friends for a few tides, our relationship began to flourish and grow from there. Understand that I have always been able to read the colors that surround each living being. Many cannot. I have always loved to be in the free air, and experience the seasons differences. As I grew wise many would listen to my council, but I always felt that the gifts given to me by the Great Mane were strengthened by our relationship. My friend felt that also, I know. I will tell now of the times of growing close to my friend. Our relationship became so close that I finally thought of him as my two legged brother! 
    Now I would wait contented, for him to come. I even began to make friends with the others of his herd. In the enclosure next to me was a dark earth colored four legged, he was nice enough, but a little crazed. He would tell of a land where he was fed the best of everything, washed, brushed and combed till he shone in the light. Then he would be lifted in the air a little by strong, thick hairs his two legged put under him. Then his two legged would go away until his neck became so sore he could not lift his head. Then he would be taken to many places to walk in a circle enclosure, usually inside with others of his people. Many two leggers would come and make much noise, sometimes scaring him or others of his people. His two legger would sit on him and demand that he do pointless things, and hurt his mouth with his hands while kicking points into his sides or smacking him with a funny stick. This sounded very strange to me, but his colors said that he had done these things. He said he liked being with these new two leggers better, No thick hairs, no stick, no hurting though the food was not as good and not so much brushing. He was easily agitated, since he was bigger than I, I watched him closely for a while. He had a hard time accepting me in this herd, so I gave him space.
    Next to him was another of his people the color of the light in the sky. He was young and innocent, three turnings of age. While I lived in this land, I watched my two legger show him the kinds of things I had been taught. After a while the young  one would carry my friend away for periods of the tide. When they came back, both would be happy, sometimes wet and muddy. I always encouraged this young one and I believe he looked up to me. I was able to relate to him some of the teachings that had been passed to me. On the other side of the young one was another of my people.
    He was my elder, but we got along very well. He taught me many things about two leggers. His two legger was a mare, he was fortunate to have gone to her land right from his Dam, he would always be with her, he thought and indeed he was as I shall tell. I have told you that the People-Of-The-Seasons were so named for we wore the understanding of the seasons on our bodies, and he was no different, his connection was with the cold time, perhaps that is why we got along so well! While my dominant color was that of the fallers and the blinding white of frozen water, his was darkness and the frozen water. We have always taught in secret, for, we believe, a people need some privacy to bond, to not suffer interruptions, for the young are easily sidetracked. My two legger came often and almost caught us several times. One day this Elder was taken away by his two legger and I thought that I would never see him again. Sometimes in the dark I would look up at the Great Mane’s spirit trail and wonder about the whys of my life. But never was there an answer, just questions. 
    With survival not an issue, I had time to learn and truly, My thirst for knowledge became upper most in my mind. Some of the Elders in my past had told me that I had a special gift, being young, I had not thought so much about it, passing it off as old people’s blathering. Now that I had a little age and maturity, I became determined to find out what it might be! My two legger began teaching me many things, as if he wanted to know what I wanted or liked to do. I wanted to know what we could do together. It was good to graze and be around each other, be brushed and washed and fed, or go to the open enclosure. It was good to have clean, good smelling shelter and fresh water but surely there was more to life! I began to carry him on my strong back, I was proud to do so, often the young one would run along beside us in the enclosure until he reached the end of it. Sometimes we would take the dark earth one with us and the three of us would go far away, Then my friend would leave him attached to a tree and we would go about, later coming again to the left one. My two legger would change his furnishings over to the dark earth one and go away for a while, then come again, then back to our enclosure. Sometimes another two legger would go on the dark earth one, and we would all go around many places and see many things.
    I would watch the ill-mannered when around my enclosure, I felt pity for them, for they survived but their lot was not so good. Sometimes the small-wolves would come and chase them, or their two legger might not come at the right time. But, they showed the strength of our peoples in their survival.   
One day my friend sat on my back and asked me to go into that foul enclosure, I was learning to trust him so against my better judgement, I did. Unreasonably I worried that he might leave me there, but he sensed my unease and made kind talk to me, I had begun to recognize certain sounds like “Easy son” and “Good boy”! These relaxed me and gave me comfort and a feeling of love and approval. When he sat on me, he would often rub or pet my neck. I really liked that and let him know any way I could. 
    As we passed by the Ill-Mannered and on out to a farther part of the enclosure, the hair of my spine rose and I sensed the Small-Wolves. I became quite afraid for us both and turned to carry us away quickly. But my friend stopped me. He made a talk of courage and strength, but he did not know of the Small-Wolves! Then they began to call out foul imprecations to us! They had seen, smelled, saw or heard us! I did not have to see his colors to know that my friend became angry! Again he made a talk that made me feel brave and confident and strong! As one we turned and he asked me to advance. He urged me to travel swiftly in their direction! The Small-Wolves were closer, easy to see! Running straight at us! But now they saw us coming at them, and they revealed themselves to be great cowards as they changed from attack to flee. All the torment and fear turned to the greatest red anger I had ever known! I wanted to stomp them into the ground! To bite! To kick! I ran as fast as I could! My friend caught my mood and made loud attack noises! We were catching up to them! They were so scared that we could easily hear their fear sounds, but alas, they came to the barrier ahead of us! We could hear, but not see their two leggers across the barrier. My friend made loud talk in their direction as he turned me away. I blew through my nose at them, but of course they did not understand a simple insult! As far as I know, the Small-Wolves never again bothered any of my people in this land!
    There was something else as well. We had, together vanquished my greatest foe and in so doing, had become greater than each, separate! I learned a new thing! We had “Chased The Wind”! The only two legger to ever play that game with me! I felt that I had found my true two legged brother at last! We understood each other in the kind of talk made only in the spirit! Filled with happiness and contentment and no small wonder, I proudly carried my friend back, arching my neck, tossing my head and stepping high, quick and light, blowing insults at the Small-Wolves the whole time!
My friend made over me with much neck rubbing and many kind sounding noises. I was so full of myself that I forgot the manners that my Dam had taught me and insulted the Ill-Mannered as we passed! It was a fine time to be alive! 
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