The Red Filly-Chapter 1

Honey2018

 

Chelsea Resmon watched the flashy red filly galloping with tail held high, flipping her head as she floated across the green pasture, and Chelsea felt as if her heart would burst from her chest. She thought to herself, this must be what love at first sight feels like.  Chelsea memorized every inch of her 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 thoroughbreds were beautiful at Wisdom Racing Stables, but this filly had a smaller head than the rest, with a slightly dished face and delicate, curved ears.

“Mom, stop the truck!” Chelsea shouted.

Helene stopped the truck after pulling off into the grass to the side of the gravel driveway because another truck was approaching theirs as it was leaving the ranch.

“Mom!  Look!” Chelsea was still shouting.

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

Helene immediately dropped her hand because she was mesmerized by the beauty of this filly too. Chelsea knew that when her mom was young, she had spent time with horses.  Her mom often talked about one she loved with all her heart, a little bay with a star she had named, Starbuck after the character in Battlestar Galactica.

“You see her, Mom?” asked Chelsea.

“Yes…she’s beautiful…I’ve never seen anything like her,” Helene’s voice was breaking.

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

“Are you okay, Mom?” Chelsea asked.

“I’m fine,” Helene laughed. “I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed having horses in my life.”

The other pickup pulled up alongside them.  The young man driving it lowered the passenger side window as his tires grinded to a stop in the gravel and a little dust floated out behind his truck; a sleek, black, Ram, at least a 2019 model.  He had to lower it for them to even see him through the tinted windows.  Their windows were already down because…no A/C and late Spring in Texas.

“Hi!” said the young man.  He looked to be about nineteen years old.  A couple of years older than Chelsea, Helene guessed.

“Hi,” responded Chelsea and Helene in unison.

“I’m Tyler.  I’m an assistant trainer here. Are you the new exercise rider?” he asked while looking at Chelsea.

“Yes,” said Chelsea.

“Are you excited?” he asked, smiling through perfect teeth.

“Yes,” Chelsea said again.

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

“Well it’s nice to meet you both,” Tyler said looking toward Helene.  But his attention reverted to Chelsea, which wasn’t surprising because men often took notice of her curves, and thick, wavy, long copper hair.  Chelsea was often oblivious though since she spent most of her time up in her own head.

“I’m looking forward to riding with you Chelsea,” Tyler continued, gaze still fixed on Chelsea.

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

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

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

Tyler raised the passenger window and pulled away.  Helene pulled their old truck back onto the gravel drive, so 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 Chelsea.

“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 Chelsea…”

“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 Chelsea.

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

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

When they pulled up to the house, a tall, tanned, man about Chelsea’s mom’s age was standing in the driveway talking to a young, Hispanic man, but when the older man saw their truck pull up, he turned from the younger one and waved at them.  Chelsea waved back.

“Mom, that’s Kirk Robertson! He’s the one who owns this place!” said Chelsea.

Helene slowed the truck to a stop and they both got out.  Chelsea ran straight to Kirk and gave him a hug.  Helene was startled since Chelsea rarely hugged anyone.  Helene was not prepared for how handsome Kirk Robertson was.  He had medium length blonde hair and exuded masculinity with tanned muscles and black eyebrows and sideburns.  Helene had a hard time looking at him and knew it would be even harder for her to talk to him because he reminded her of a childhood crush, Bo Duke from the seventy’s television show, The Dukes of Hazard.

She shook it off and walked toward him, feeling very conspicuous in 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.  Helene had never been secure with her looks, or lack thereof, especially since Chelsea’s father just up and abandoned them.

“Hello, Chelsea’s Mom,” said a cheerful and freakishly handsome, Kirk Robertson.

“Helene, and hello, nice to meet you,” Helene answered, meeting his eyes as she reached out her hand.

“Helene, what a lovely name,” said incredibly handsome man.

Kirk turned toward Chelsea and the guy he had been talking to when they pulled up.

“Chelsea this is Strider, our trainer, Pablo Castillo’s son.  He’ll show you around the place.  He’s about the same age as you, Chelsea. He’s taking classes at community college right now,” said Kirk with a smile.  “I’m going to take the lovely, Helene inside to sign some paperwork, Chelsea, you two enjoy yourselves.”

The two of them watched as the adults walked toward the house.  Chelsea 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,” said Strider.

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

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

Chelsea opened her mouth to respond, but Strider interrupted and said, “Hey, I know you. I thought you looked familiar.  You go to Dale City High School, right?”

“Yes, but I don’t remember you…wait, you’re the gay guy the jocks used to beat up,” said Chelsea.

Strider laughed, “ Wow, you really are blunt, aren’t you?”

“What do you mean? It’s true isn’t it.  I haven’t seen you in a while though.”

“That’s because I graduated last year,” Strider laughed again.

“Oh,” said Chelsea.

Strider put his arm on Chelsea’s shoulder. “Come on, let’s take the truck to the training track.  My dad is working one of Robertson’s colts.  They say he’s a Derby contender.”

“Derby, like Kentucky Derby?!” asked Chelsea.  She had been watching the Triple Crown every year as far back as she could remember.  The series of races that the top three-year-old horses in the country started training for at the age of two.  The Kentucky Derby was the first of the three.

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

Chelsea obeyed and could hardly sit still in the passenger side she was so excited.  Strider didn’t notice that she flapped her hands a couple of times outside the truck before getting in. When Chelsea was excited or angry, she flapped her hands to help shake off the extreme emotions.  She managed to force herself to stay calm once in the truck.  She was very aware that most people did not do such things.

Strider backed the truck out of the garage and then turned in the opposite direction from the way Helene and Chelsea had driven toward the house.  There was another gravel road heading in the opposite direction from the house and they took that one.  They rode in silence and arrived at the training track in ten minutes, but it had seemed like much longer to Chelsea.

Strider pulled up near the track and stopped the truck.  They both stepped out and Chelsea was frozen in place watching the magnificent, bay stallion gallop past them on the track.  Strider had moved alongside her and they both watched the colt cross the finish line and then relax into an easy slow gallop with ears pricked as his rider stood up in the stirrups.  It was a small track, only a half mile round. The bay slowed to a canter as the rider brought him back around.  This time as rider and horse neared them, the colt was now just walking.  The exercise rider saw them and waved.  He walked the colt for a bit longer and then headed to where Strider and Chelsea were standing.

“Hola hijo mío,” said the rider, “¿Quién es la chica?”

“Dad, English, please. This is Chelsea Resmon, the new exercise rider,” said Strider, and then to Chelsea, “This is my dad, Pablo Castillo.”

“Hello Mr. Castillo.  I don’t mind if you speak Spanish.  Well as long as you don’t start laughing and pointing at me,” said Chelsea.

Mr. Castillo laughed, “Me gusta ella,” he said to Strider.

“Great,” said Strider rolling his eyes.

Chelsea was awestruck by the beauty of the colt.  He’s a perfect bay, a blood bay even, Chelsea thought to herself.  She was mesmerized by his glistening auburn coat and four perfect black legs which ended in four black hooves. His thick black mane and tail rounded out his perfection.

“He is beautiful, isn’t he?” said Mr. Castillo in a thick accent.

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

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

“Yes!”

Mr. Castillo dismounted in one quick leap and then led the colt over to the rail.  The colt was bright eyed and curious and reached over and nuzzled Chelsea.

A small gasp of glee escaped her mouth and she reached up to rub his soft nose.

“His name is Giovanni. His sire is Bernardini, one of the greats,” said Mr. Castillo.

“I remember him! I watched him race on tv when I was little.  I cried when he lost to Invasor in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic,” said Chelsea.

“His jockey moved too soon.  The stretch run is longer at Churchill Downs than at other racetracks. But Invasor was a great horse too,” said Mr. Castillo.

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

“What filly out front?” asked Strider.

“The one with the beautiful dished face,” said Chelsea.

Giovanni grew impatient and stomped his foot because he knew it was time for his evening feed.  The colt still let Chelsea rub his nose though. Animals were always drawn to her.

“Oh, she is talking about Fyrestorm,” said Mr. Castillo laughing.

“Why are you laughing?” asked Chelsea.

“Nobody has ridden her yet.  We can’t race her, so we haven’t started training her,” said Strider.

“What do you mean you can’t race her? I saw her running in the front pasture. She barely touches the ground, as if she has wings,” said Chelsea.

“She’s half Arabian, Chelsea. That’s why her head is more distinct than the other horses. The Jockey Club only allows full-blooded Thoroughbreds to race in the U.S.,” said Strider.

“But I thought Wisdom Racing Stables only bred Thoroughbreds?” asked Chelsea as she summoned all her strength to remain calm.  When she had seen that red filly, it had immediately become her dream to ride her. She felt determined to do so.

Mr. Castillo laughed again, “The filly’s momma decided she wanted to jump the fence and make love to the black, Arabian stallion next door,”

“But I’ve studied the history of the Thoroughbred breed and all three foundation stallions were Arabians. The Darley Arabian, The Byerley Turk and the Godolphin Arabian. So, they have Arabian blood…” said Chelsea.

“That was a long time ago, Chelsea.  Most horse breeds have Arabian blood if you go far enough back because Arabians are considered the oldest breed of horse. They’re in the Bible even,” said Strider.

Chelsea dropped her hand from Giovanni’s nose and her eyes filled with tears.  Giovanni snorted and stretched his muzzle out toward the crying girl.  She reached up and petted him again and smiled through her tears.

“Don’t cry chica.  See, Giovanni doesn’t even want you to cry. Maybe we can train the filly to be a stable pony. You will have to gain her trust first though.  She doesn’t come near anyone,” said Mr. Castillo.

“I can do it! I can gain her trust! Thank you, Mr. Castillo!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Red Filly-Chapter 1 Outline

Honeyglamorshot2
Fyrestorm

Write Your First Novel, Week 2, Assignment Two: Outline Chapter One

Logline: An ostracized teenage girl captures the love and trust of wild red filly who she hungers to ride to victory before the naysayers can vanquish her dreams.

The chapter beginning:

Chelsea Resmon and her mom arrive at Wisdom Racing Stables and as they go up the drive to the main house, they see a beautiful, shiny red filly…Chelsea asks her mom to stop the car…Chelsea gets very excited and her Mom does that thing with her hand which usually angers Chelsea, but she just ignores it this time…young trainer is leaving and stops by their truck…Chelsea is short with him because she is obsessed with filly…

 

The chapter middle:

Chelsea meets Strider Castillo, who she remembers later in the chapter as being the “gay kid who the jocks made fun of” in her high school, which he no longer attends because he graduated and is now in community college.  Strider takes Chelsea out to the training track while Chelsea’s mom, Helene discusses Chelsea’s new job as an exercise rider with Kirk Robertson, the owner of Wisdom Racing Stables.  Strider and Chelsea arrive at the training track to see Strider’s dad, Pablo Castillo working a magnificent blood bay colt. Chelsea is thrilled when Mr. Castillo brings the colt over to the rail after trotting him out to cool him down and the colt lets Chelsea pet his nose.

 

The chapter end:

Chelsea asks about the red filly and is told that the filly can’t be raced because she’s not pure Thoroughbred, but half Arabian.  Chelsea becomes very upset because her heart was set on riding the filly.  Mr. Castillo is touched by her tears and promises her that she can ride the filly, Fyrestorm, if Chelsea can gain the trust of the wild filly.

Chelsea Resmon-Character Profile #TheRedFilly

Honeyglamorshot

Write Your First Novel, Week 2, Assignment One: Character Profile

Logline: An ostracized teenage girl captures the love and trust of wild red filly who she hungers to ride to victory before the naysayers can vanquish her dreams.

Character Profile:

 

Name: Chelsea Resmon (Protagonist)

Sex/Age: Female/17yo

Description: thick, wavy, copper hair and curvy figure, green eyes

Personal History: Chelsea is being raised by a single mom.  Her dad left when she was a baby, so she doesn’t remember him.  She is very close with her mom.  She has always been drawn to animals, especially horses.

Distinctive Personality Traits: Chelsea is a loner at her high school because the other students consider her “weird” and she knows it. She sometimes has strong emotional outbursts and flaps her hands when excited or angry.  Over the years she has learned to control some of those tendencies with her mother’s help and by mostly avoiding other people.  She lacks confidence and has low self-esteem, except when she’s around horses.

 

The Red Filly-a Novel in the Making

FyrestormRunning

So I started the Coursera course, Write Your First Novel, to hopefully guide me through completing a novel.  Like most writers, I’ve started many and never finished one.  Anyway, since I’m working quite a bit right now (I’m a pharmacist), I’m plugging away at it on my off days.

First assignment was to create the idea for your novel. I already had the idea, but the course helped me write a better synopsis I think:

The first time Chelsea Resmon sees the red filly, Fyrestorm, galloping in the green pastures of Wisdom Ranch and Racing Stables, it’s love at first sight.  But Fyrestorm is an outcast at the ranch because of her bad bloodlines.  Half-Arabians aren’t suitable for horse racing Chelsea is informed.  Chelsea is an outcast at her high school, because she too is different. She can’t help but be drawn to Fyrestorm. Chelsea forms a bond with the filly  and begins to ride the magnificent filly in secret.  For the first time in her life, Chelsea feels empowered and like her life has meaning, but then an accident threatens to separate Chelsea and Fyrestorm forever.

The next assignment was to create a logline, which is only one sentence and has specific elements to it’s structure. I always struggle with these one sentence descriptions, but here goes:

An ostracized teenage girl captures the love and trust of wild red filly who she hungers to ride to victory before the naysayers can vanquish her dreams.

And the last assignment for week 1 was to create a dramatic question. I first came up with this, which is too vague:

Will Chelsea and Fyrestorm achieve victory despite all the obstacles in their way?

So I changed it to this:

Will Chelsea and Fyrestorm achieve victory despite her mom and best friend forbidding Chelsea to ride the filly after a disastrous accident?

The course is 26 weeks long, I hope to have a rough draft of a novel when finished and I’m going to blog about my journey as I go.

For those who want to join the course here’s the link:

Write Your First Novel

For those who want to join my little writing group, here’s the link:

Scribbling Dreamers

Timmy and the Red Stallion

Timmyinthepasture (2)

Gina and Flame galloped around the inside edge of the arena as if they were one.  It had taken several months for Gina to gain the confidence to even ride the magnificent red stallion, but Renata had insisted.  At first Gina would only ride Flame if Renata were present.  Renata would stay on the ground in the arena and instruct Gina.  Eventually Gina gained the confidence to take Flame out on the trails and Renata would ride her trusty gelding Blaze, so Flame would stay calm.  Flame and Blaze had a close bond because they were born within a month of each other at their original home in Dubai.  The half brothers were a gift given to Renata by a sheikh she had met during her time in Paris working for Louis Vuitton.

Gina slowed Flame to a canter and reached down to pet his neck.  The summer sun reached through the open sides of the arena and caressed the crimson stallion’s coat, making his neck almost sparkle in its brilliance.  Gina had been so enchanted by Flame that she hadn’t noticed Renata escort a man and teenaged boy into the barn.  She looked over to see the gate open on the barn side of the arena as she slowed Flame to a trot on the opposite side.  She tensed up when she saw the teenager was her classmate, Chet.  He followed along behind Renata as she led Patriot, the gray son of Spirit, their resident black stallion, into the arena, while the man leaned on the outside of the red pipe fencing and watched.  Chet saw her at the same time and smiled.  Not a friendly smile, but more like a sneer.  He held is phone up and the sun reflected off it.  Flame was already tense because he reacted to the tense signals coming from Gina’ body.  Gina wasn’t prepared when Flame bolted, so when Flame ended up on the other end of the arena, she was left in the dust in their last location together.

Chet started laughing.  Laughing at her, the way they always did at Dale City High…

 

A week had gone by and during that time the video had gone viral, well, viral among Dale City High students anyway.  Gina found herself where she often did after being subjected to the almost daily humiliation that was Dale City High.  She was crying into Timmy, the golden pony’s, neck while he silently consoled her.  She felt something press into her back and turned to find Flame offering his muzzle for a kiss.  His best friend, Blaze, watched the trio from a short distance away.

Timmy was in the paddock with the two chestnut Arabians recuperating from an eye infection.  The brothers loved the pony because he had been their caretaker when they first arrived at the ranch to help them get adjusted.  Timmy had a knack for calming other horses and was often utilized for his “nursemaid” capabilities.

“Gina!”

Gina looked toward the paddock gate to see her friend, Strider Castillo. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand and waved as she headed for the gate.

Strider hugged her when she turned toward him after closing the gate.  Then he stepped back and looked at her face.

“You’ve been crying.  Are you okay?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” Gina lied.

Strider wasn’t fooled.   He had known Gina all through high school.

“It’s those bullies isn’t it?  That video going around Facebook?” he asked.

Gina started crying again.  He held her again and said, “You have to stop this Gina.  When you let them get to you, they win.”

Gina took a deep breath, stepped back and looked Strider in the eye and said, “That’s easy for you to say.  You’re starting college this year, so you don’t have to deal with them anymore.”

“Exactly my point.  They’re nobody to us.  You just have one more year to deal with those losers,” said Strider.

“I thought at least I’d get a break from them in the summer, but it seems like they’ll always be in my life.”

“They won’t,” said Strider. “Trust me.”

Strider and Gina walked into the barn to find Jalissa and Renata feeding the horses.

Gina’s entire demeanor changed, and she called out, “Jalissa!” as she ran to her and swept her up in a big hug.

The expression of pure joy on Gina’s face at seeing Jalissa was not lost on Strider.

“Gina, why don’t you and Jalissa take the wheelbarrow and get some hay.  I’ll finish graining the horses,” said Renata.

Gina practically skipped off with Jalissa.

 

The next morning Gina and Strider took Flame and Blaze out on the trails at the ranch.  They had been enjoying the clear, crisp morning trotting and loping the two brothers along the flat parts of the trails.  Now they rode side by side, talking as they headed back to the barn.

“Gina, I’ve noticed the way you look at Jalissa,” said Strider.

“What do you mean?” asked Gina.

“I mean, it’s obvious you’re attracted to her.”

“She’s beautiful.  Anyone would be attracted to her,” said Gina.

“You know what I mean,” said Strider.

“Look Strider, I’m happy for you. You know…that you’re out of the closet and all, but believe it or not some, no, most of the world is straight,” said Gina.

Flame took a couple of high steps because he sensed Gina’s tenseness.  She relaxed a little, “Sorry boy,” she said to Flame as she reached down and rubbed the stallion’s neck.

“Yeah, most of the world is straight, I guess.  But not you,”

“Strider, just because I notice someone is pretty…well, it doesn’t mean anything.  And besides, I don’t want to go to Hell.”

“So you think I’m going to Hell?” Strider laughed.

“No, of course not.  You’re too nice, but I would…”

“Now you listen Gina. I know you’ve been raised in this holy roller religious bullshit, but this is what I think.  God made me this way, and God doesn’t make mistakes.”

Gina sighed and said quietly, “That’s beautiful.”

They rode the rest of the way to the barn in silence.  When they reached the outer, arena gate, they stopped and watched as Chet cantered Patriot around the arena.  Patriot rounded the far end and was then heading toward them.  When the graceful, gray gelding drew near their position and saw them, he slammed on the brakes.  Chet wasn’t ready for that, so he was launched in the air over the front of Patriot’s lowered head and landed on the floor of the arena hard.  He started crying.  Then he shouted, “Shut off that camera, faggot!”

Gina looked over at Strider and saw his hand raised with phone in hand, obviously videoing the incident with a broad smile spread across the width of his chiseled brown face.

For a moment Gina smiled too.  But then she reached over and pulled Strider’s arm down.

“I don’t want to be like them, Strider,” said Gina.

“But…,”

Strider saw the sincerity in Gina’s eyes.  He put the phone in his pocket.

“I love you, Gina,” said Strider.

“I love you too,” said Gina.

 

 

 

BlazeandFlamePaddock
Blaze and Flame
Patriot Headshot
Patriot

 

 

Book Review-Joey by Jennifer Bleakley

Joey Book Cover

Joey is the biography of a horse, but not a famous horse like Man O’ War or Seabiscuit, just a regular horse that was saved from bad circumstances and in return rescued his rescuers.  Everyone who ever meets Joey can’t help but fall in love.  Joey had been a show horse early on, but after an injury ended his show career he was passed from owner to owner and eventually ended up in a neglectful situation, which often happens to horses who are considered no longer “useful”.  At some point during this time he went completely blind, which was probably due to malnutrition.

Along comes Kim Tschirret who has a dream to unite troubled horses with troubled kids and Hope Reins is born. Joey along with another Appaloosa, named Speckles, arrive together at the fledgling therapy horse ranch to be among the first group of horses to help troubled kids.  The volunteers at the ranch, along with Kim, learn as they go and have to face special challenges brought on by a blind horse like Joey.  The book is inspiring because they learn and adapt to Joey’s needs as well as the needs of the children entrusted to their care.

There is a strong Christian theme to this book, which I thought might be off-putting for me because I am not particularly religious; although I do believe in a higher power.  But, it’s actually heartwarming following the main players and how each of them addresses their individual faiths and hope in God and the miracle that is Hope Reins.

Warning; tears will be shed in the reading of this book.  Sometimes the tears will be because of sadness, but mostly because the book is heartwarming.  Reading this book strengthened my belief in the something more that all of us can have faith in and the ability of some people to truly access the goodness with themselves.  I highly recommend this book for horse lovers and anyone who wants further evidence that there is true kindness to be found amongst the humans.

This book was a gift from my beloved Franch horses:

Joey Inside Book Cover

Pretty sure my dear friend, Julz, helped them pick it out! 😉

Timmy and the Filly-A Timmy Tale

Timmy7.7.19

 

When Renata and her friend, Jalissa, had first spotted the black Arabian stallion, Spirit in his ten-acre paddock, his head was down as he sipped water from the scenic pond near its center.  He was standing beneath a willow tree with his faithful gelding, Ambush, by his side.  It was like a scene from a movie…so beautiful, so serene. Jalissa felt the moisture in her eyes and cleared her throat, just as Renata whistled to the stallion.

Spirit’s head shot up at the sound of Renata’s whistle.  He was every bit as stunning as the black stallion from the movie the young women both loved so much.  Spirit turned on his heel and galloped toward the two women standing at the fence.  Ambush ran behind him.  Spirit slowed to a trot and the bay gelding managed to catch up staying at the gallop, and then he too slowed to a trot.

As they both watched Spirit trot toward them with tail held high, Jalissa cleared her throat again and said, “He’s magnificent, Renata.”

“Thank you, Jalissa,” said Renata.

“I won’t lie, Renata.  I’m a little jealous,” laughed Jalissa.

“Jalissa, I love you and I would never want you to feel jealous.  I want you to share in my joy. I was so happy when my best friend called from New York and told me she was coming to Dallas to start her own law firm,” said Renata.

“Best friend? Oh, you mean me,” laughed Jalissa.

The two women hugged, both laughing.  Spirit snorted, reached over the fence and pressed his lips to Renata’s head and then Jalissa’s.  They broke apart laughing once more and Spirit drew back his head, snorting again.

“See Jalissa, Spirit approves,” said Renata.

Now Ambush wanted to be part of the celebration too, so he softly nickered and shoved his head toward the women.  Spirit stepped aside, ever respectful of the older gelding.  Renata placed both hands on Ambush’s cheeks and kissed him on the nose, “Oh sweet, Ambush, we would never forget you,” she said.

“C’mon Jalissa, let’s go to the house, I want you to meet my protégé, Gina Targoff. And then I have a surprise for you,” said Renata.   She then whistled three short bursts in the direction of the stallion barn and two Anatolian Shepherds appeared from deep inside it.  They must have been napping because they stretched their legs for a couple of steps and then came running with tails wagging.

“Meet Ralph and Lauren,” said Renata.

“Jalissa laughed, “Of course that’s what you named them.  Still missing your days in Paris, at Louis Vuitton?” asked Jalissa.

“Those were good days, Jalissa, but this place is my destiny,” answered Jalissa in a serious tone, but still smiling.

The two women looked at each other for a moment and then Renata, turned and headed toward the house with Ralph, Lauren and Jalissa falling into step beside her.

 

“Gina,” Renata called out as she opened the back door leading to the kitchen and she with her entourage in tow stepped in.

“I’m here,” said Gina, stepping around the corner hopping as she pulled on her other boot.

Gina stopped in mid boot pull when Jalissa stepped from behind Renata.  Gina had always thought Renata was beautiful, but Jalissa was breathtaking and at least ten years younger than Renata.  Her black hair tumbled down past her shoulders in loose waves.  Her skin was the color of mahogany and her eyes were emeralds. Her tiny t-shirt which bore the name of Renata’s fashion label, bigshotcowgirl, exposed the slightest midriff. She wore jeans that accented her hips and a very fit, gluteus maximus.  A pair of red leather boots engulfed the lower part of her jeans to finish out the ensemble.

“Hello, Gina.  I’m Jalissa Green,” said Jalissa.

Gina managed to regain control of her jaw and said, “Hello, nice to meet you.”

Suddenly, they heard a shrill whinny.  Ralph and Lauren ran to the back door, whining and scratching at it.  Renata opened it and the dogs blasted out the door toward the sound.  The whinnying continued…more frantic.  It was coming from the paddock nearest the front pasture, northwest of the house.

“That’s one of the broodmares!” said Renata as she bolted toward the gunrack in the hall and grabbed her shotgun.  “Let’s go Gina!” she said as she headed out the side door to the garage.

“I’m coming too!” said Jalissa, running out the door behind them and jumping into the back of Renata’s jeep.

“Gina, you drive!” commanded Renata as she jumped into the passenger side, shotgun in hand.

The key was already in the ignition, so Gina started the jeep and shot out the back of the open garage.

The tires squealed a little as she put the jeep in drive and peeled out of the driveway.  They sped over the cattle guard and then Gina wheeled the jeep a sharp right toward the commotion in the front pasture.

They all gasped.  “My god!” said Jalissa.

At the top of the hill, they saw a baby black horse surrounded by three coyotes and her frantic mother, a chestnut, Arabian mare, running along the other side of the paddock fence, screaming. The baby was crying too, but could barely be heard over the mother’s frantic cries.  As they sped toward the calamity, they saw Timmy, the golden pony, gallop up and start kicking one of the coyotes and then as if on cue, Ralph and Lauren burst onto the scene.  Those coyotes didn’t have a chance.  They were outgunned and they knew it.  So as if they were connected telepathically, all three of them sped off at once.  Ralph and Lauren took off after them, but Timmy was standing with the baby as they arrived at the scene.  Renata jumped from the jeep, shotgun at the ready before Gina brought it to a complete stop.  She strode toward Timmy who stood protecting the trembling filly.  Mom was still running the fence line whinnying frantically.

Gina and Jalissa were now by Renata’s side. Gina put her arms around Timmy’s neck, and he nuzzled her while Renata ran her fingers over the baby, checking for injuries.  Finding no injuries, Renata stroked the baby’s neck and said, “You’re okay, little Sapphire.  That was a close call.” Then Renata called out to the mare, “Rose, your little girl is okay.”

The chestnut mare, continued to trot along the fence, upset that her filly was not by her side.

Gina and Jalissa were now consoling the filly too, as Timmy sauntered off into the pasture, grazing again as if this had all been a normal day in the life of a plucky, little pony.

Renata stood up and said, “Okay guys, help me herd this little girl back into the paddock and reunite her with mom. There’s a small gate just a little down the fence row, we’ll get her back in through there.  Renata began to coax the filly toward the gate, while Gina and Jalissa brought up the rear, tapping the filly’s rump from time to time.  The process wasn’t too difficult because the filly was drawn to her mother’s cries.

As they watched the filly trot toward her mother’s side after encouraging her through the gate, Jalissa said, “She’s beautiful, Renata.”

“I’m happy you think so, Jalissa. She’s yours.  She’s the surprise I was talking about,” said Renata.

The filly trotted back toward the fence as if to thank them. Jalissa bent down to touch her face and as she was tracing the star on Sapphire’s forehead with her finger she said, “Renata, this is too much.  I can’t accept this gift.”

“She’s not a gift,” laughed Renata.  “You have to work for her.   You have to help Gina and me at the ranch, when you’re not too busy with your law firm, of course,” Renata winked as she said it.

Jalissa stood up, tears in her eyes, and faced Renata.  The two women embraced as Gina looked on. “I love you, Renata,” said Jalissa.

“I know,” said Renata.

“Gina, come join this love fest,” said Jalissa, reaching out to her with one arm.

Gina joined their embrace.  She shed tears too because she had never felt such love before in her life.

“We three are a team,” said Renata.  “Team Olympic Spirit, in honor of the legacy of our beloved black stallion!”

AV Olympic Spirit
AV Olympic Spirit-The Black Stallion
Ambush
Ambush
Rose
Rose
Ralph and Lauren
Ralph and Lauren

The Premarin Mare

EndPMU

PMU is used to produce estrogen and hormone-replacement drugs such as Premarin, PremPro and PremPhase and DUAVEE, a “PremPro-Lite” which contains Premarin. PMU drugs are made by keeping mares constantly pregnant and collecting their estrogen-rich urine.“-equineadvocates.org

Several years ago when I volunteered at Hope for Horses, a horse rescue which was formerly located in Blue Ridge, Texas, I learned about the details of the PMU industry.  As a pharmacist, I already knew that the Premarin stood for “Pregnant mares’ urine”, but I had no idea as to the extent of the cruelty in the industry.  I was inspired by what I learned to write the following short story from a Premarin mare’s point of view.  The story is sad, but there is hope for the mare, because Hope for Horses and many other rescues throughout the U.S. and Canada have saved thousands of these mares and their foals and continue to do so.  Please consider the multitude of alternatives for hormone replacement therapy. Estrace, for example, is one of the many alternatives available and is plant based and it has a very inexpensive generic, estradiol.

Author note: I took some poetic license with this story because I have never actually visited a PMU farm.

The Premarin Mare

            The man was leading me through the large, cold building.  I could see the heads of the other mares above their stalls.  But worst of all I could hear their mournful cries.  I had lived among other horses before, but I had never encountered such an intense smell of manure and urine before in my life.  There were too many horses in this building.

I nickered softly to the man who led me through this hellish nightmare.  I hoped that he would have sympathy for me and take me away from this place.  He refused to turn and look at me.  I stretched out my head and nuzzled his neck.  He turned and struck me so viciously with his fist that I was stunned.  I had never been treated roughly by a human before.

​            It seemed ages ago that two other men had come to my home and had taken me away.  I can still remember the sound of my little girl sobbing and calling my name after I was loaded into the trailer.  Up until that moment I hadn’t been worried because I thought I might just be going to see the man who would look in my mouth.  I could see my little girl through the panels on the side of the trailer.  She was running toward me, her long blonde hair streaming out behind her.  She was screaming my name between her wrenching sobs.  I answered her screams.  I whinnied frantically.

​           The last thing I saw as the trailer began to drive away was the big man who lived in the house running toward my girl.  He swept up my sweet little girl into his arms and held her tight.  She was struggling.  She had pounded her fists into his chest as she screamed my name.

​            Now, the man was leading me into one of the tiny stalls.  I stopped and refused to move forward.  He reached out and pinched my nostrils together with his huge hand.  The pain was excruciating, especially since he had just punched me there, but I still stood my ground.  He called to someone else.  Another man walked up behind me and pressed something against my flanks.  Incredible pain surged through my body and I bolted forward.

​            I was immediately chained to the stall.  I tried to rear and buck, but the chains were too strong.  Once my energy was exhausted the men hooked tubes to my lower body.  The tubes were uncomfortable and rubbed between my inner rear legs, but there was nothing I could do.

​I awoke to the sound of the other mares whining horribly and struggling against their chains.  It may have been morning, but I couldn’t tell.  My stall was too far into the depths of this large dismal building for me to see outdoors.  My legs ached from standing all night on the concrete.

​            Then I realized why the other mares were struggling so hard.  Men were bringing around buckets of water.  I had never been so thirsty in all my life and so I began to struggle too.  The mares on either side of me tried to bite me as the man came closer.  I snapped back at them.  We had become like vicious animals.  No longer did there exist a herd mentality among these mares.  We were struggling violently to take care of our own needs.

​            The man stopped in front of my stall with the water bucket and I quickly sank my muzzle into it.  But before I had taken three gulps, he ripped the bucket away from me and continued to the next mare.  I whined after him pitiably.  I was so thirsty.  Surely more water would come around soon.  As the men with the water buckets passed through the rows and rows of mares, I could hear them whining and struggling to get to the water.

​            Weeks or maybe months went by and nothing improved.  My body ached.  I would often dream of my little girl.  She would be riding me across the pasture on a beautiful sunny day.  She was as light as a feather and I cantered happily about the pasture listening to the sound of her laughter drifting above my head.

​            Maybe someday I will see her again and I will answer her laughter with a carefree whinny.

PMUAlternative

 

 

“Good Writing is Hard Work”

good-writing-3Snoopy Comic

I think I have like twelve loyal followers and I love you all, so I wanted to let you know that I haven’t stopped writing, just been redirecting a bit. I am currently working on the third Timmy Tale, which will be titled “Timmy and the Filly” and I’ve officially started writing my novel which was originally going to be called, Fyrestorm, but I’ve now decided on, The Red Filly, to pay homage to the original Arabian horse everyone fell in love with, The Black Stallion. Here is a picture of my copy from the 1968 printing, complete with Half Price Books sticker (that I can’t get off without ripping the cover):

IMG_5026

So before I get back to work, here’s the revised synopsis for The Red Filly:

The first time Chelsea Resmon sees the red filly, Fyrestorm, galloping in the green pastures of Wisdom Ranch and Racing Stables, it’s love at first sight.  But Fyrestorm is an outcast at the ranch because of her bad bloodlines.  Half-Arabians aren’t suitable for horse racing Chelsea is informed.  Chelsea is an outcast at her high school, because she too is different. She can’t help but be drawn to Fyrestorm. Chelsea forms a bond with the filly  and begins to ride the magnificent filly in secret.  For the first time in her life, Chelsea feels empowered and like her life has meaning, but then an accident threatens to separate Chelsea and Fyrestorm forever.

Timmy Goes Missing-A Timmy Tale

Timmyoutontheland

 

Gina loved the weekends because her mother often allowed her to stay at Kuhaylah Arabians from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. So instead of waking up on this Saturday morning to the sounds of her mom and current boyfriend arguing, she awakened to the smell of chicken apple sausage cooking. At her own home, she would have been lucky to find a decent brand of cereal and milk that was in date.  After her usual morning ritual of face washing and such, Gina wandered into the kitchen just as Renata was scrambling the eggs.

“Good Morning, Renata,” said Gina as she retrieved a couple of plates from the cabinet and carried them to the table.

“Good Morning,” said Renata.

The morning news was playing in the background on the small television on the kitchen counter as Gina finished setting the table and Renata finished cooking.  Gina helped Renata make the plates with eggs and sausage and Renata set another plate on the table with toasted English muffins that were already dripping with butter.  Renata turned to shut off the TV because she preferred talking during meals, when a breaking news story announced a missing boy.

The local news reporter, Nancy Hill, appeared on the screen.  All blonde hair and blue eyes…a walking cliché.

“A boy has gone missing,” she announced maintaining her serious reporter face as she continued.  “I’m here at Connie’s Creatures, a local petting zoo, where the search is underway for a five year old boy that disappeared from his church group who were here to visit the sweet farm animals as part of the Mother’s Day Out program that the church runs for single mothers.  The boy’s mother has just arrived,” said Nancy with a gleam in her eye.

Seconds later, Nancy Hill, was shoving a microphone in the face of the distraught young mother.

“That woman has no shame,” said Renata as she turned off the television.

“You know her?” asked Gina.

“She used to cover horse shows and the like.  She always loved it when someone was injured.  The more serious, the better.” Renata continued, “That animal farm is near here.  We need to help with the search after we feed the horses.”

Renata walked over to a side counter and picked up her iPhone.  “Go ahead and eat. I’m going to call Lucas.”

“Lucas Remington, the sheriff’s deputy you’re friends with?” asked Gina.

Renata nodded as she said, “Hello Lucas.  Yes, I heard.  We’re going to help with the search after we feed the horses.  Gina’s with me.  Okay, I’ll call you as soon as we’re done.  Let me know if you need horses to continue the search,” said Renata and then she clicked off the call and slid the phone in her pocket.

Gina had finished eating and was starting to clean up, but then Renata said, “We’ll clean up later.  Pull on your boots and let’s go.” She grabbed a chicken sausage with one hand and ate it as she opened the back door with the other and strode toward the main barn which housed the mares.  Gina came flying out the door behind her just after slipping her feet into her steel-toed cowboy boots, her barn boots as she called them.  Even in a hurry, Renata looked graceful in Gina’s eyes as she scrambled to keep up.

Several scoops of feed later, the mare’s barn was done, and they headed to the smaller stallion barn.  Spirit and his son, Flame whinnied in unison as Renata and Gina arrived at the barn.  Renata walked straight to Spirit and held the beautiful face the black stallion offered over the stall door in her hands, placing her forehead to his.   He became a kitten in her hands. It always looked to Gina as if they were communing telepathically.  She couldn’t help feeling jealous every time they did it.  Flame nickered softly to her.

“I know.  You want your feed,” Gina said quietly.  She walked to the feed bin, lifted the lid with one hand and grabbed a scoopful with the other.  She closed the lid after retrieving the scoop and then crossed the narrow barn aisle and entered Flame’s stall.  He immediately attacked the feed after she poured it in the corner feed bucket.  The sun was peeking through the small windows up high in the stalls and Flame’s bright red coat glistened with spots of gold and copper.  Gina couldn’t help wishing he was hers and she could one day share the same bond with him that Renata shared with Spirit.  Flame lifted his head from the feed, turned toward Gina and nuzzled her, but quickly returned to the feed bucket.

“He’s bonding with you,” said Renata, as if she were reading Gina’s mind.

“What do you mean? He just turned for a second,” said Gina.

“When a horse stops eating feed, one of their favorite things, to greet someone, that means they care about that person,” said Renata.

Gina took one more look at Flame before stepping out of the stall and allowed herself to imagine for a moment that he was truly hers.

“Ok, let’s go feed the retirees.  They’re already gathered up front,” said Renata, breaking Gina from her reverie.

Gina loved how Renata called the front pasture horses retirees.  They earned their retirement she always said.  The feed buckets for the pasture horses hung on the fence just east of the stallion barn, so they didn’t have far to walk.  Renata had poured feed into a wheelbarrow that she rolled over now as they walked toward the fence.  They both grabbed a scoop of feed and emptied them into a couple of buckets before wasting no time to scoop up some more feed.  This was a process that had to be done quickly to minimize the breakout of fights.  A few minutes later, all the horses were happily munching away in their individual buckets, but then Gina noticed one of the buckets had no one attending to it.

“Oh my gosh, Renata! Where is Timmy?!” Gina exclaimed.

“I just noticed that too,” said Renata.  “I’ll saddle up Spirit, you get Freedom from the other barn and we’ll ride out to find him,” said Renata.

Gina ran to the mares’ barn to get Freedom.  The seasoned mare had finished her feed and was happy to see Gina to take her out to the paddock as per the usual routine.  Gina slipped her halter on her in the stall and as she exited the stall, she turned right in the barn aisle to head to her paddock.

“Sorry girl.  We have to find Timmy first.  You’ll get to hang out with your paddock buddies later,” said Gina as she patted Freedom’s neck and then turned her the other way toward the saddling area.

Just a short time later, Gina met up with Renata outside the gate that led to the front pasture.  Renata on her black stallion, Spirit and Gina on the dependable chestnut mare.  Freedom was the first offspring of Spirit.  And like all his children, she was beautiful; fiery chestnut coat, flowing tail, blaze and all.

“Ok, let’s check the pond out front first,” said Renata and they cantered out together toward the pond.  What a sight they would have been to anyone watching.  Two petite women riding magnificent Arabian horses, running with tails held high.  One glistening black in the morning sun and the other flaming red.

Timmy was not at the pond, so they headed toward the gate that led to the back pasture.  It was open this time of year, so they cantered through single file, Renata leading the way on Spirit.  Kuhaylah Arabians was over two hundred acres in size, so the search was cut out for them.  They rode side by side on the main trail, walking now and watching and listening.

They both stopped in their tracks.  They heard the faint whinny at the same time.  Gina’s heart leapt into her throat, “Timmy’s alive!” she said out loud because she had feared the worst.  She loved that little golden pony so much.

Renata held up her hand, palm facing toward Gina.  She was listening intently.  Nothing.  So, she called out, “Timmy!”  There was another whinny in response to her query and this time stronger.  It came from in front of them, off to the right, deep amongst the trees.  Renata urged Spirit straight into a gallop from a dead stop.  Gina urged Freedom to follow.  The red mare wasn’t as fast as Spirit, but she willingly followed at a good clip.

They slowed to a trot as they left the trail to enter the thicket.  Halfway into the trees, Timmy came trotting up to them.  He seemed perfectly fine, so Renata said, “Timmy, you gave us a huge scare.  Come here!” Timmy looked at Renata and just as it was with Spirit, it appeared that they were communicating telepathically.  They continued to stare at each other for what seemed to Gina like several minutes, but in reality, was only seconds.  Timmy shook his head, blonde mane tossing about his neck, then turned on his heels and trotted deeper into the trees.  Renata followed without saying a word, so Gina followed too.

Timmy slowed to a walk as they entered a small clearing, so Renata and Gina slowed their mounts too.  Timmy had stopped in front of a lone tree in the clearing.  Renata and Gina had both been temporarily blinded by the morning sun.  Timmy stepped sideways, head down near the base of the tree and when Gina and Renata urged their horses a few steps forward into the shade of the great oak tree, they saw what Timmy was looking at.

The little boy stirred and placed his little hands on each side of Timmy’s soft muzzle and kissed his nose. “Hello horsey,” he said.

….

“We found the boy,” said Renata talking on her cell to Lucas. “He’s fine, just a few scratches and tired after his adventure,” she continued.

The little boy whose name was Caleb, he had informed them on the ride back to the house, was now munching happily on some leftover chicken apple sausage at the kitchen table.

“Ok, we’ll see you in a bit,” said Renata before setting down the cell phone.

Renata walked over and sat down at the table with Gina and Caleb.  “How are you feeling Caleb?” she asked.

“Great!” he answered with a mouthful of sausage.  “I love Timmy! He saved me! And I love Freedom too! I never got to ride a horse before! Can I ride Freedom by myself sometime? I mean, it was fun riding with Gina, but I wanna try on my own!” Somehow the boy was smiling, talking and eating all at the same time.  Gina and Renata looked at each other and smiled.

There was a knock at the back door.  Renata rose from the table and walked the few steps to the door, opening it and in stepped Lucas Remington, tall, dark and formidable in his deputy’s uniform.  He removed his hat as he entered, revealing the tight, jet-black, curls clipped closely to his head.  He was clean cut and smelled of leather and musk.  Gina always had a hard time talking to him because of his great beauty.

“Hi Lucas,” Gina managed.

“Hello, Gina,” he said before turning his attention toward Renata.  His face softened when he gazed at Renata, and Gina wished that someone would look at her like that someday.

“Hello Lucas,” Renata said smiling.  “It’s good to see you as always.”

Lucas smiled at her and then turned toward the boy, his face all business again. “How you feeling, Caleb?” he asked.

“Awesome!” said Caleb, now munching on an English muffin.

“That’ good to hear,” said Lucas now smiling at the boy.  Lucas reached out his hand and said, “Let’s go see your mom now, she’s been worried sick,”

“Okay,” said Caleb getting up from the table and grabbing another English muffin on his way out.

“I’ll call you later Renata and let you know how things went,” said Lucas as he turned to leave, holding Caleb’s hand.

Caleb stopped and turning toward Renata asked, “Can I come back and ride Freedom one day?”

“I would like that Caleb,” said Renata.  “Lucas, give my number to his mother, will you?” she asked.

“Yes ma’am,” said Lucas, tipping his hat and smiling warmly at her, before turning and stepping out the door with Caleb in hand.

After they drove off in the squad car, Gina asked, “Why don’t you go out with him, Renata?  He’s obviously in love with you.”

Renata had her back to Gina as she continued to look out the kitchen window even though the car was no longer in sight, but then she turned toward Gina and for a split second the sun caught in her eyes and Gina noticed a slight shimmer, as if Renata were holding back tears. But that wasn’t possible Gina thought, because Renata was always strong, never emotional.

“Gina, we need to turn out the mares,” Renata said as she turned and opened the back door, stepping out as she said it. Her voice was strong as always, no hint of sadness or longing. Gina followed her out the back door without another word.