The Red Filly-Chapter 1

           

            This must be what love at first sight feels like, Bethany Resmon thought to herself as she watched the flashy red filly galloping with tail held high. The young red horse looked like a mythical creature as she floated across the green pasture, flipping her head as she ran. Bethany felt as if her heart would burst from her chest. She memorized every inch of the filly as her mom drove their 1978 Ford F150 up the long, winding gravel road that led to the house and the main barn.  All the horses were beautiful at Kuhaylah Arabians, but this filly stood out from the rest, red gold in color accentuated with flaxen mane and tail. Her delicate, dished face adorned with a white star and strip, sat atop a long sloping neck and her exquisite, curved ears danced above her head as she ran.

            “Mom, stop the truck!” Bethany shouted.

            Another pickup moved toward them as it exited the ranch, so Helene pulled into the grass on the side of the gravel driveway before pulling their old truck to a stop.

            “Mom!  Look!” Bethany was still shouting.

            Helene stuck her hand in Bethany’s face flat and palm side down.  The signal that Bethany was being too loud.  Bethany’s eyebrows scrunched down for a second because she really hated when her mother did that.  But instead of getting in an argument, Bethany placed her left hand on her mother’s chin and turned her head toward the filly. 

            Helene immediately dropped her hand and watched the filly too, mouth agape. Bethany knew that when her mom was young, she had read the Black Stallion series of books and had dreamed of one day owning her own Arabian. In fact, Bethany had followed in her mom’s footsteps when she started reading the worn paperback copies of the books her mom had kept all her life. They were the only things Helene had kept from her childhood.   

            “You see her, Mom?” asked Bethany.

            “Yes…she’s beautiful…,” Helene’s voice quivered.

            Bethany saw tears in her mother’s eyes.  Her mother never cried.

            “Are you okay, Mom?” Bethany asked.

            “I’m fine.” Helene laughed. “I’ve just never seen anything like her before in my life.”

            A sleek, black, Ram pickup pulled up alongside them.  The young man driving it lowered the passenger side window as his tires ground to a stop in the gravel, and dust floated out behind his truck. Their windows were already down because…no A/C and late spring in Texas.

            “Hi!” said the young man.

            “Hi,” responded Bethany and Helene in unison.

            “I’m Tyler.  I’m the trainer here. Are you my new student?” he asked while looking at Bethany.

            “Yes,” said Bethany.

            “Are you excited?” he smiled through perfect teeth.

            “Yes,” Bethany said again.

            “She’s just nervous,” said Helene, “I’m Helene and this is my daughter, Bethany.”

            “Well, it’s nice to meet you both,” said Tyler.

            “I’m looking forward to riding with you, Bethany,” Tyler said directly to the young girl.  

            Helene poked Bethany and she responded, “Me too.” And smiled.

            “It was nice to meet you both,” said Tyler again.

            “It was nice to meet you too,” Bethany and Helene said in unison again.

            Tyler raised the passenger window and pulled away.  Helene pulled their old truck back onto the gravel drive, the air was full of the sound of the tires from two trucks grinding over gravel as dust misted about them both.

            “Mom, you don’t need to make excuses for me. I didn’t say anything wrong,” said Bethany.

            “It’s just that you don’t seem friendly when you just give one-word answers,” said Helene.

            “Mom, you worry too much about me.  My answers were just fine,”

            “But Bethany…”

            “Mom, please just drop it. Please.  You always do this.  This is a good day. You just saw a beautiful red filly. Just enjoy it. Please,” said Bethany.

            “Okay, you’re right.  I just can’t help but worry.  You’re my only child and I love you.”

            “Mom, I love you too. Just relax,” Bethany said with a smile.

            When they pulled up to the house, a tall, attractive woman with long, rich brown hair flowing down her back was standing in the driveway talking to a young man. The woman, who appeared to be around the same age as Helene turned toward them and waived as Helene pulled their truck to a stop.  Bethany waved back.

            “Mom, that must be Antonia Silva!”

            Helene and Bethany both stepped out of the truck.  Bethany ran straight to the woman and gave her a hug, while Helene was left standing by their old pickup, tugging at her baggy, full length skirt and equally baggy top. Her stuck in the seventies look was complete with big gaudy earrings and necklace and un-pedicured toes in sandals.

            “Hello, Bethany’s Mom. I’m Antonia Silva,” said the exotically gorgeous woman, complete with lovely accent.

            “Helene, and…and, hello, nice to meet you,” Helene stuttered, meeting her eyes as she reached out her hand. “I’m sorry my daughter ran up and hugged you like that, she’s not normally that affectionate with strangers.”

            “Mom! Stop apologizing for me!”

            “It’s okay, Bethany, your mother is just looking out for you, as mother’s do,” said Antonia. She then turned toward Helene, took her hand in both of hers and said, “Helene, what a lovely name.” Antonia then turned back toward Bethany and said, “Bethany this is Strider, he’s my right-hand man.  He’ll show you around the place.  He graduated last year from Dale City High, so maybe he could give you a few pointers for when you start there in a couple of years. He’s taking classes at community college right now,” said Antonia with a smile.  “I’m going to take the lovely, Helene inside to sign some paperwork. Bethany, Strider, you two enjoy yourselves.”

            The two of them watched as the two women walked toward the house.  Bethany turned toward Strider and said, “Your name is Strider, like in The Lord of the Rings?”

            “Yes, my dad loves those books,” said Strider.

            “So, he went with Strider instead of Aragorn?”

            “He thought Aragorn would be too weird.”

            Bethany laughed. “Well because Strider is so normal, right?”

            “Yeah, he didn’t think it through.” Strider laughed too.

Bethany opened her mouth to respond, but Strider interrupted. “Hey, I know you. I thought you looked familiar.  You go to Samuel James Middle School, right?”

            “Yes, how do you know that?”

            Strider laughed, “I’ve seen you when I pick up my twelve-year-old sister from school, plus you’re in the same grade as her right?”

            “Oh, your sister is Loreth Castillo. Wow, your dad really likes Lord of the Rings!”

            “Yes, he does.” Strider laughed again.

            Strider put his arm on Bethany’s shoulder. “Come on, let’s take the jeep to the stallion barn, I’ll show you Antonia’s prized black, Arabian stallion.”

            “Like the black stallion in the books and movie?!”  

            “Of course,” said Strider. When they got to the jeep, Strider removed his arm from Bethany’s shoulder and beckoned toward the passenger door. “Get in.”

            Bethany obeyed and could hardly sit still in the passenger side she was so excited.  She hoped Strider didn’t notice that she flapped her hands a couple of times outside the vehicle before getting in. She managed to force herself to stay calm once seated inside.  She was very aware that most people did not do such things, but she was so excited that she couldn’t help herself.

            Strider backed the jeep out of the garage and headed out the same gravel road Helene and Bethany had driven toward the house, but instead of turning right to exit the ranch, he veered off to the left where the road split.  They rode in silence and arrived at the stallion barn in five minutes, but it had seemed like much longer to Bethany.

            Strider pulled up near the barn and stopped the jeep.  They both stepped out and Bethany froze in place when she spotted the magnificent, black stallion peering at them over the white, pipe fence just past the barn. His nostrils flared as he whinnied shrilly at them.

            Bethany was awestruck by the beauty of the stallion.  He’s perfection. Solid black, just like the one from the book series, save a small white star planted in the center of his wide forehead, Bethany thought to herself.  She was mesmerized by his glistening black coat and four perfect black legs which ended in four black hooves. His thick black mane and tail rounded out his perfection. Atop it all, was a chiseled Arabian head complete with delicate, curved ears and ending in front with the sculpted, flared nostrils. He looked just like the picture of the stallion on the cover of her mother’s copy of The Black Stallion, the first book in the series.

            “He is beautiful, isn’t he?” said Strider.

            “Yes! Will I get to ride him?” asked Bethany.

            Strider laughed, “Maybe one day,” he said. “You want to pet him?”

            “Yes!”

            Bethany snapped out of her reverie and followed Strider to the fence. A small gasp of glee escaped her mouth and she reached up to rub the black stallion’s soft nose. 

            “His name is AV Olympic Spirit, but we just call him Spirit. His sire is Affirmativ, another beautiful black stallion,” said Strider.

            “Spirit,” Bethany repeated as she continued to rub the stallion’s nose.

            “So, if I can’t ride Spirit, can I ride the red filly out front?” asked Bethany as she continued to pet the colt.

            “What filly out front?” asked Strider.

            “The one with the flaxen mane and tail,” said Bethany.

            Spirit grew impatient and stomped his foot.  The stallion still let Bethany rub his nose though. Animals were always drawn to her.

            “He knows it’s feeding time,” laughed Strider. “And I think you’re talking about Fyrestorm,” said Strider laughing again.

            “Why are you laughing?” asked Bethany.

            “Nobody has ridden her yet.  She arrived here with her dam, Fyrelite, from a ranch in Montana,” said Strider.

            “Why hasn’t she been ridden? Is Firestorm, one word or two?” asked Bethany.

            “She was never touched in Montana apparently, so she’s completely wild, and Fyrestorm is one word and it’s spelled with a y,” said Strider.

            “But she can be trained right?”  When she had seen the red filly, it had immediately become Bethany’s dream to ride her. She felt determined to do so.

            “Well, theoretically, yes. But Antonia has just let her run free in the mare’s pasture so far. I’m not sure she’s planning on training her. Fyrestorm has excellent bloodlines, so she might just be planning to use her as a broodmare,” said Strider.

            Bethany dropped her hand from Spirit’s nose and her eyes filled with tears. The stallion snorted and stretched his muzzle toward her demanding her attention. Bethany smiled through her tears as she reached out and rubbed his nose again.

            “Don’t cry, Bethany.  See, Spirit doesn’t even want you to cry. Maybe the filly can be trained eventually. You will have to gain her trust first, though.  She doesn’t come near anyone,” said Strider.

            “I can do it! I can gain her trust!”

Green Grass of Wyoming

I finished reading the My Friend Flicka trilogy, which includes; My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead and Green Grass of Wyoming. I had read them years ago when I was in high school, but didn’t realize at the time how “Steinbeckian” they were. I guess I skipped over the literary bits and went straight to the horse bits. I also didn’t realize how harsh some of the training methods were with the horses because I didn’t know much about proper horse training at the time. Plus, it was the late seventies/early eighties and back then “cowboy training” was the norm.

I inherited the first two books from my Granny and they were 1940s era editions, so I splurged and bought a first edition copy of Green Grass of Wyoming from Amazon.

These are well written books and I highly recommend them. Like I said, I didn’t remember how literary they were. I plan on writing individual reviews for each one soon, I just have a lot on my plate right now, as many of us do in these uncertain times.

Stay well everyone and get Covid vaccinated if you can!

Fortitude

Thunderhead, Copyright 1943, Mary O’ Hara

I’m currently reading the 1943 edition of Thunderhead, by Mary O’Hara, which originally belonged to my Granny, Frances Grimes, who passed away in 2014. What’s weird though, is even though she knew how much I love horses, she never mentioned her love for them. She also owned, My Friend Flicka, the first book in this three horse book series. I just finished reading that one and will soon post a review. It had been so long since I had read these books that I forgot the herd stallion, Banner, was half Arabian. And even the wild stallion that they call the Albino is said to have some Arabian blood. It’s amazing to me how Arabians seem to show up everywhere in the horse world, in one way or another!

I titled this entry, Fortitude, because of a passage in this book where, Rob McLaughlin, is talking to his son, Ken, about the boy needing to learn how to handle disappointment in life and he references a quote from a book called, Fortitude: “It’s not life that matters-it’s the courage you bring to it.”.

Even though I’m not a big fan of the character, Rob McLaughlin, because he’s often stubborn and overbearing, I was struck by that passage. It is very difficult to react well when things are going wrong.

I’m currently quarantined because I was in close contact with someone who is now struck down by Covid-19. I’m on the fourth day of said quarantine, and the first three days were not handled well by me at all. The first day was the worst, because I allowed my anxiety to take control of me the whole day, and that night I couldn’t sleep because my heart wouldn’t stop racing. I’ve wasted three days of prime writing time just waiting to get sick. I kind of snapped out of it a little yesterday; did a few household chores and worked out, but no writing…

Well now I’m writing this, so I guess that’s something, even though I’m reaching the end of the fourth day. To quote Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Tomorrow I’ll be back at work on The Red Filly!

NaNoWriMo and Pops the Rescue Horse

Pops; living the life at Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue (my sponsor horse)

This post is a little late obviously, since we’re well past Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and barreling toward Christmas, whether or not we’re ready for it (I’m not by the way). I was super busy with NaNoWriMo in November working on The Red Filly, so I let everything else slide as one does, when trying to write a novel in one month:

NaNoWriMo=National Novel Writing Month

So you’re supposed to write 50,000 words, but I only got a little past 15,000 because Covid has finally struck my workplace. We have two people out right now with the virus. At least neither of them has had to be hospitalized and the rest of us are well so far, so if it continues on like that I consider myself and my crew blessed. We’re just working ourselves to exhaustion, due to being short handed…but at least we’ve managed to stay healthy so far.

I’m a retail pharmacist, so it’s not unexpected that we would be affected by Covid, but like everyone else, we do our best to avoid it. So when you’re dropping off prescriptions at your local pharmacy, please be understanding if the wait time is longer than usual since a lot of pharmacies are dealing with quarantined staff, whether they have the illness or have been exposed.

But like I said, I feel blessed because I am healthy and I managed to get half of the rough draft done for, The Red Filly, which is the farthest I’ve ever gotten on any of my novels!

Everybody hang in there and stay well! These are tough times, just keep writing, reading and mask up!

Baby Spirit-“The Black Stallion”

AV Olympic Spirit aka Spirit with his mom (dam), Raylee Asasi

This post is just for fun because I received these awesome pictures today from Renee Boeshans, the owner of Spirit’s sire, Affirmativ. Here’s a pic of Affirmativ:

Affirmativ (Andreanov x Cedaridge Folaura)

Affirmativ’s sire, Andreanov:

Andreanov (Negatraz x Andorra)

Affirmativ’s dam, Cedaridge Folaura:

Cedaridge Folaura (Folltan x Sharene)

As followers of this blog may remember, Spirit is the sire of my two Arabian loves: Flame aka NH Fyrecracker and Honey aka Spirits Fyrestorm.

Flame aka NH Fyrecracker (AV Olympic Spirit x Fyrelite Bynite)
Honey aka Spirits Fyrestorm (AV Olympic Spirit x Fyrelite Bynite)

Here’s their mom, Fyrelite:

Fyrelite Bynite (Nite Mover x Pure Silk)

More Spirit baby pictures:

Spirit’s dam, Raylee Asasi, was owned by Janice Johnson. Affirmativ spent several summers with the lovely mares owned by Mrs. Johnson, who was an ardent admirer of his. Renee spent three weeks with them on the first visit, riding horses and showing them how to hand breed the stallion.

One of the black fillies sired by Affirmativ at the Johnson farm, who was sold to Germany:

Affirma Fantasia (Affirmativ x AA Khaibar)

AV Midnight Lyric, a full sister to Fantasia, is still owned by Mrs. Johnson and is currently leased out to Belesemo Arabians:

AV Midnight Lyric (Affirmativ x AA Khaibar)

I’m going to wrap this post up with some pictures of Spirit all grown up:

Okay, I lied; here are two more pictures of Affirmativ (Who ever gets tired of looking at pictures of horses, really?):

Affirmativ
Affirmativ at Scottsdale

Sheila Varian-Dreamer and Doer

Sheila and Farlotta

Not too long ago a fellow horse loving friend loaned me the DVD, “The Legacy of Sheila Varian”. He said, “You’ll love this because it’s all about Arabians,” or something along those lines. I didn’t watch it right away because I figured it was a boring documentary about some rich lady and her horse farm. I finally popped it in a week or two later and found myself drawn in by this woman, who was the quintessential dreamer of dreams!

Sheila Varian did not come from a rich family. She fell in love with Arabians the same way I did, through reading the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. Her parents weren’t horse people but supported her dreams and at the age of eight she started riding her first horse, a Morgan/Percheron mix and because money was tight, learned to ride bareback. She didn’t acquire her first saddle until the age of twelve.

Horses were in Sheila’s blood, heart and soul from the start and while working as a high school physical education teacher, she worked toward her dream. Farlotta was her first Arabian and most beloved of all. When Farlotta passed on to the rainbow bridge at the young age of seven due to health problems, Sheila was holding her cherished mare’s head in her arms.

Sheila later acquired the mare Ronteza, who would set Sheila on her way toward creating her legacy. In 1961 Sheila and Ronteza won the Open Reined Cow Horse Championship at The Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. She was the first amateur, the first woman and had the first Arabian to take the title.

Through acquiring mares from Poland and careful breeding over the years, Sheila Varian created the dynasty that is now known as Varian Arabians. Her is a link for the video that tells the story of this great lady and her legacy:

The Legacy of Sheila Varian

At one point in the documentary Sheila talked about following your dreams. I can’t remember the exact quote, but what she said really made an impression on me. This woman was not rich, or beautiful (in the traditional sense), but she was driven. I’m sure she encountered pain and roadblocks along the way, but she didn’t let that stop her. She lived the life she wanted and that is inspiring!

Sheila and Ronteza

Marwari-The Desert Horse of India

The Marwari is a rare and ancient breed of horse that originated in the Marwar region of western India. The breed is easily recognizable due to its inwardly curved ears. The Marwari is believed to be descended from the warhorses of the Rajput warriors of the Marwar region.

The origins of the Marwari horse are uncertain, but the breed is likely to have been influenced by Turkoman type horses brought to the area by Mughul invaders, as well as the Arabian horse. There is an Indian legend that seven Arabian horses of good breeding were shipwrecked off the shore of the Kachchh District and were taken to the Marwar region to be used as foundation bloodstock for the Marwari. Like the Arabian, the Marwari is know for its hardiness and also like the Arabian they were bred as warhorses. They were renowned for their courage in battle and loyalty to their riders. It was said that a Marwari horse would only leave a battle under three conditions; victory, death, or carrying its master to safety.

Maharana Pratap on Chetak, Moti MagriUdaipur, by Ankur P

Chetak was a legendary Marwari horse. The grey stallion purportedly carried Maharana Pratap to safety after he slayed the last of the Moghuls in the battle of Haldighati. The courageous stallion was said to have been brave enough to take on an elephant and reared so that Pretap was able to kill the Moghul who sat atop the war elephant. Chetak was mortally wounded by the elephant’s tusks, but he carried his master to safety, traveling many miles before dying near a river.

The Marwari were almost eliminated during the British rule of India during the early 1900s. The British preferred their thoroughbreds and polo ponies and ridiculed the horses with the inward turning ears. Even after independence from Britain, the Marwari horse was still endangered because war horses were no longer needed and many of the Indian nobleman who bred them had lost their land.

The Marwari horse was on the verge of extinction until Maharaja Umaid Singhji stepped in to save them and his work was continued by his grandson, Maharaja Gaj Singh II.

Later in 1995 a British horsewoman named Francesca Kelly founded the group, Marwari Bloodlines. Then, along with her husband, Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod, they led a group in 1999 that founded the Indigenous Horse Society of India which helps promote and preserve the breed.

Ashwarya aka Rae Rae

Ashwarya who is named after a Bollywood actress is currently residing at The Kentucky Horse Park and she was donated to the park by Francesca Kelly. She’s the only Marwari horse in the U.S. presently as far as I can tell due to the fact that India does not allow the export of the breed at this time. According to my research, Francesca Kelly has since moved the rest of her Marwari brood to the UK. If anyone is aware of others in the U.S. I’d love to hear from you.

Mary and Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue

Maryjune 2020

The sweet Tennessee Walker in the picture above is a horse that I’m currently sponsoring at Becky’s Hope and her name is Mary.

Like many people, I became fully aware of the impact Becky’s Hope has had in the animal rescue world when I heard about, Bubbles, The Rescue Horse:

Bubblestherescuehorse

His story is inspiring and full of hope. He was obviously a horse who had led a rough life, but he was still brimming with love and hope when Becky’s Hope found him. This is the short version of what led to his rescue, “Bubbles, a smart old horse with frostbit ears, escaped a kill lot by hiding with a group of mini donks being rescued from slaughter and hopping a ride on the Freedom Trailer bound for Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue!”

Sweet Bubbles has since passed away, but he found great joy and happiness in his final years at Becky’s Hope, even falling in love with a mare named, Muffit:

BubblesandMuffit

Check out his Facebook page, which is now run by another sweet rescue horse named, Pops:

Pops

Here is Pops with Bubbles and Muffit:

BubblesMuffitandPops

Horse rescue is dear to my heart, in fact all animal rescue is important to me. It’s only 50 dollars a month to sponsor a horse at Becky’s Hope and any donation is welcome. Thousands of people view the FB and Twitter posts for Becky’s Hope as well as the FB page for Bubbles The Rescue Horse, so if everyone just donated one dollar that would make an enormous impact.

For more info about Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue, Inc and Bubbles The Rescue Horse, check out the following FB pages, Twitter and their website:

On Facebook:

Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue, Inc.

Bubbles The Rescue Horse

Twitter:

Becky’s Hope

Website:

Becky’s Hope

#BeTheChange #RescueWorks

 

 

 

 

 

Mary-My Sponsor Horse

MARY (1)

I’ve been following Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue on Facebook for some time and when they posted that they needed a sponsor for the beautiful, Mary, I couldn’t resist.  She’s a Tennessee Walker and here is her bio:

MaryBIO

Animal rescue is important to me and I’d like to dedicate my life to it through my writing.  As I’ve mentioned on my home page I have several rescues of my own. I wish I could save all of them!

Becky’s Hope has saved countless lives and continues to do so.  If you sponsor a horse (which is only 50 dollars a month), you get this cool certificate (and the above bio and thank you card):

CERTMARY (1)

They are a wonderful organization!

Check them out on Facebook: Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue, Inc.

or their website: Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue

Hard at Work on the Next #TimmyTale

WritingaTimmyTale

On the surface, writing seems like it would be easy. I mean, you just sit there in front of a computer or relax in a chair while you write in a spiral notebook… How hard could that be? It’s not like laying concrete in 90 degree heat after all.  Yet so many of us writers seem to find it so hard to do.

When I was in my twenties, I couldn’t understand where writers got their ideas. But now in “middle age” (I’m 54), I have more ideas than I can possibly put into book form in one lifetime, so that shuts me down.

too-many-choices-paralyzes-progress

Too many choices paralyses progress.  Here’s a good article on the subject:

Too Many Choices: Problems With Searching for an Extraordinary Life

And for me, it’s not just writing, but being interested in so many things (like I think a lot or writers are), such as; astronomy, artificial intelligence, physics, it goes on and on…

Unlike the guy in the article, I didn’t have a childhood with choices or support, in fact, I mostly just had to survive my childhood.  But now, I do have choices, which has become a problem.  So because I can’t choose, for now, I’m going to keep writing Timmy Tales or other horse related short stories and horse related articles, because one constant in my life has always been horses.  Not that I had them growing up, but I read everything I could get my hands on about them, fiction or non-fiction and I watched every movie and tv show that had horses whether or not I liked the show itself.

So for now, I choose horses (and all my other 4-legged loves).

Joey and Chandler approve of this post:

JoeyandChandlerwriterhelpers