Timmy and the Lost Horse-A Timmy Tale by Sharon Miesen

Gina’s riding skills had improved to the point that a boarder at Kuhaylah Arabians had asked her to keep her horse Simon exercised while she was on vacation.   Simon was an Anglo-Arab, sired by Spirit and out of a Thoroughbred mare.  He was very tall – the tallest horse Gina had ever ridden.  At first, she had felt intimidated by his size, but his gentle nature and excellent training built her confidence. Now she was enjoying her rides on the elegant bay gelding.   As she and Simon approached the front gate for an evening trail ride, she saw Antonia on the four-wheeler. Gina could read the worry on Antonia’s face.

“I’m missing about eight head of cattle.  They didn’t come up with the others, and I can’t find them on our land. Can you keep an eye out for them?”  

“Will do!” said Gina.  She was energized by the knowledge that her trail ride was serving a purpose.  She directed Simon along the back fence line, scanning the fence for breaks and studying the brush for the missing cattle. She was happy to spot the herd of pasture horses resting under the trees, and called a special greeting to her favorite, Timmy.   He lifted his head and flicked his ears, then returned to grazing.  

Gina had worked her way to the very back corner when she spotted dark shapes in the undergrowth of the neighbor’s property.  A quick count confirmed the eight missing head, ranging from a big lead cow thru some yearling heifers to a calf nearly at weaning age. They were on the other side of a tight, 5-strand barbed wire fence.   Gina could not tell how they had gotten back there, but there was no way they would be able to return to the Kuhaylah Arabians property.

She asked Simon to halt and stand while she extracted her phone from her leg pouch and dialed Antonia.   “I’m on my way!” said Antonia.  A few minutes later, the four wheeler’s headlights in the falling dusk signaled that Antonia was coming.  

Gina dismounted from Simon.   Since he was in English tack, she ran the irons up the stirrup leathers and pushed them securely against the bars of the saddle.  She also gave the reins a couple of twists and then buckled the throatlatch of the bridle through the middle twist.   She knew that these precautions would keep Simon’s tack from getting caught up on anything while she was dismounted.   She took an old lead rope from the back of the four-wheeler and hooked one end to the snaffle ring of Simon’s bridle.  She knew better than to tie a horse by anything attached to their bit, so she draped the end over the four-wheeler’s cargo rack.  Simon was well trained, and she felt sure he would just think he was tied. 

“They most likely crossed the fence line further south where it crosses a ravine, then wandered up here”, was Antonia’s speculation. “We need to see if we can pull the fence.”  She cut one wire and held the others up high while Gina eased through the gap.    Walking quietly, she circled behind the small herd and started to pressure them towards the gap.   Suddenly, the big lead cow bellowed and bolted towards the fence.   She brushed against Antonia as she charged under the wire, knocking Antonia to the ground.  The next one in line was a calf determined to follow the lead cow, but Antonia had dropped the wire and the gap was gone.   The young black calf was caught, trapped halfway through the wire. Simon, startled by the big cow crashing past him, was further panicked by the cries and struggles of the trapped calf.  He spun around and bolted into the rapidly falling darkness.

Gina was horrified – Simon had been entrusted to her care, but Antonia was down, and the calf was trapped. She could not chase him across hundreds of yards of fields and woods on foot. She had to believe that Simon would be able to make his way back to the front gate.   She fought back the panic while helping Antonia to her feet.  Together they were able to free the calf and hold the fence back up.  The rest of the herd wanted nothing more than to follow the lead cow back thru the fence, so they quickly vacated the neighbor’s property, and Gina and Antonia began to repair the fence.

***

Timmy was resting on the outskirts of the herd when he heard the thudding of hooves in the woods.   The sound stopped abruptly, and he heard branches cracking and saw a big shape.   It was a strange horse. Timmy felt a strong sense of wrongness in the situation.  Twilight was time for the pasture horses to find their resting spot and settle into their night stillness. The big, strange horse was out of place; agitated and wearing tack, he did not fit the rhythm of the evening.  He flung his head around but didn’t seem to know where to go.

Timmy heard the distant clang of gate chains. He knew that sound!    It was the entrance gate at the front of the property.   Images connected in his mind, and he remembered seeing horses going in and out of that gate, wearing tack and carrying riders. As he imagined this, he was overwhelmed by a strong sense that the big, strange horse needed to go to the front gate to be in his right place.  

Timmy moved next to the big horse. He kept his head low and his ears forward – he didn’t want the big horse to feel threatened.  He slowly walked ahead, willing the other to join and follow him.   At first there was silence. Then Timmy heard the following thump of shod hooves on hard ground. 

They made their way slowly.  It was a long way around and it required knowing how to go thru the woods, over creek crossings, and along dirt paths.   Timmy moved with the confidence of many years of residence as he navigated across the dam and towards the front gate in the rapidly falling night. His confidence seemed to transfer to the big horse, who grew calmer as he followed Timmy. 

***

Gina and Antonia drove to the front gate and Gina hopped off to open it.  They were jubilant about their teamwork in cutting the fence, herding the cattle back thru, and doing a field repair of the gap.   It would have to be mended properly in the morning, but for tonight all was well.  Gina’s phone rang and she listened to the caller.  “You mean Simon didn’t come up to the front gate? He’s not with you in the barn?   No sign of him? I wonder if he tried to go to the back gate and got lost!”.   The cold feeling of panic grabbed her guts.  

Just then, Timmy and the big horse emerged from the night.  Gina ran to her friend, quickly checking him for injury. Antonia joined in, and they all made a big fuss over Simon.  Simon relaxed as the anxiety of his night was dispelled by the comforting presence of the humans.

***

Timmy stood off to the side in the shadows, not sure what to do next.   Then a person separated from the group with a hand extended towards him.  Timmy closed his mouth over the crisp sweetness of a carrot as a gentle voice said, “Good Boy, Timmy”.

Timmy and the Filly-A Timmy Tale

            Spirit’s head was down, his long black mane almost touching the earth as he sipped water from the scenic pond near the center of his ten-acre paddock. He was standing beneath a willow tree with his faithful bay gelding, Ambush, by his side.  It was like a scene from a movie…so beautiful, so serene. Ama felt the moisture in her eyes and cleared her throat, just as her good friend, Antonia whistled to the stallion. 

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

            Spirit trotted toward them with tail held high, Ama cleared her throat again and said, “He’s magnificent, Antonia.”

            “Thank you, Ama,” said Antonia.

            “I won’t lie, Antonia.  I’m a little jealous,” laughed Ama.

            “Ama, 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 Antonia.

            “Best friend? Oh, you mean me,” smiled Ama.

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

            “See Ama, Spirit approves,” said Antonia.

            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.  Antonia 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 Ama, let’s go to the house, I want you to meet my protégé, Gina Targoff. And then I have a surprise for you,” said Antonia.   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 Antonia.

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

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

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

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

            “I’m here.” Gina hopped around the corner pulling on her other boot.

            Gina stopped in mid boot pull when Ama stepped from behind Antonia.  Gina had always thought Antonia was beautiful, but Ama was breathtaking and at least ten years younger than Antonia.  Her black hair tumbled down past her shoulders in loose waves.  Her skin was the color of porcelain, and her eyes were emeralds. Her tiny t-shirt which bore the name of Antonia’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 Ama Yasutsuna,” said Ama.

            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.  Antonia 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!” Antonia 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 Ama, running out the door behind them.

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

            The key was already in the ignition, so Ama leaped in, 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 Ama wheeled the jeep a sharp right toward the commotion in the northwest pasture.

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

            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 frenzied shrieks.

Timmy, the golden pony, galloped toward the calamity and started 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 it seemed they knew it, when the largest one darted away with the other two close at his heels. Ralph and Lauren took off after them, but Timmy was standing with the baby as they arrived at the scene.  Antonia jumped from the jeep, shotgun at the ready before Ama brought it to a complete stop.  Antonia ran toward Timmy who stood protecting the trembling filly.  Mom was still running the fence line whinnying frantically. 

            Gina and Ama were now by Antonia’s side. Gina put her arms around Timmy’s neck, and he nuzzled her while Antonia ran her fingers over the baby, checking for injuries.

            “Antonia, how did Timmy get into the mares’ pasture?”

            Antonia laughed. “He’s quite the little jumper when he puts his mind to it. He’s the protector of the ranch and he knows it.” Finding no trauma, Antonia stroked the baby’s neck and said, “You’re okay, little Sapphire.  That was a close call.” Then Antonia 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 Ama 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.

            Antonia 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.  Antonia began to coax the filly toward the gate, while Gina and Ama 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. 

            The filly bolted through the gate and straight to her mother’s side.

            “She’s beautiful,” Ama exclaimed.

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

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

            “She’s not a gift,” laughed Antonia.  “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.” Antonia winked. 

            Ama stood up, tears in her eyes, and faced her friend.  The two women embraced as Gina looked on. “I love you, Antonia.”

            “I know,” said Antonia.

            “Gina, come join this love fest,” said Ama, 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 Antonia.  “Team Kuhaylah, in honor of the very first Arabian horse! ‘Hence, the Bedouins bestowed the name Drinker of the Wind to the first Arabian horse, whose name was Kuhaylah.’”

Timmy and the Girl-A Timmy Tale

Gina shimmied under a low spot beneath the white, pipe fence separating the front pasture of Kuhaylah Arabians from the road, and, as always, the pony trotted right up to her. She pulled the carrot from her pocket and, not wasting any time, he took the entire treat in his mouth before the rest of the herd noticed. The pony, the smallest of the bunch and not a purebred, stood out from the rest of them. He was a cutie though, a beautiful coppery, golden color, with a dishwater blonde mane and tail. A jagged, white, blaze ran the full length of his face to the tip of his nose. And on this lovely spring day, his slick coat glistened in the sun.

The pony didn’t leave after he finished the carrot. Gina was drawn to him because she was an outsider in her circles too. And, like him, she had dishwater blonde hair, although it was cuter on him in her opinion. Gina felt less than cute with her skinny body, flat chest and long, stringy, often tangled, hair. Gina spoke softly to the pony, rubbing his neck and scratching his cheek, the way she knew he liked. “I love you little boy, I wish I could stay here with you.” Tears streamed down Gina’s cheeks. She hugged his neck as the events of the previous day came crashing back into her brain.

“We have to add Gina Targoff to the list,” Chet whispered.

“Of course! She should be at the top!” responded Cassie, in a louder whisper. Chet, Cassie, and their minions all giggled.

Gina was keeping her head down, pretending to read whatever textbook she had opened in front of her. She refused to cry; she would not show them weakness. Even though Gina knew they were whispering loud enough for her to hear on purpose. Samuel James Middle School was almost a daily exercise in humiliation. She fought back the tears though…

“Yeah, Gina is definitely the ugliest girl in the school,” said Chet.

They all laughed again.

The golden pony put his head on Gina’s shoulder as if he were trying to comfort her. She hugged him tighter and let the tears flow until there were no more, but she continued to hug him, taking in his horsey scent, and allowing it and the quiet to calm her mind.

“Timmy has really taken to you,” said a voice behind Gina. One with the slightest hint of an accent, an accent from another country though, not rural Texan as Gina had grown accustomed to.

Gina straightened and jumped back a step from the pony in one quick move.

“I’m sorry. I know I’m not supposed to be here.” Gina gaped up at the woman astride a black, Arabian stallion, solid black save a small white star on his forehead.

“Come closer girl,” said the woman.

Gina walked toward her and saw that she was probably around her mother’s age. But unlike Gina’s mother, she was attractive and there was something different about her, something Gina couldn’t quite put her finger on. She had her long brown hair pulled back with a black velvet scrunchy. Her eyes maybe? Gina had never seen such brilliant green eyes before. But then Gina’s gaze was drawn back to the horse. So much like the black stallion she had read about, except the one in the books was solid black. But this stallion before her had the same wild look of the one in the books; thick black mane, forelock blowing in the breeze about his face, and a thick, flowing tail. He pranced about a bit and snorted a couple of times. The woman said something to him that Gina couldn’t quite hear, and he settled down.

“What is your name?” asked the woman.

“Gina…Gina Targoff. Please don’t have me arrested. I’ll never come on your property again.”

The woman laughed. But in a lilting way, not in a, you’re darn right you’re going to jail, kinda way.

“I was actually thinking of offering you a job. I’ve watched you with Timmy. You two have formed quite a bond.”

“Timmy, a cute name, for a cute little boy!” said Gina.

The woman laughed again. “My name is Antonia Silva, and I am the owner of this ranch. So, what about the job?” Antonia asked.

“I don’t know anything about horses or ranches,” Gina answered.

“Do you know how to drag a water hose or carry buckets?”

“Umm, yes…” answered Gina.

“Okay, good. We’ll start with that.” Antonia smiled.

Gina smiled back and then jumped when something firm and soft rubbed the small of her back. She spun around and little Timmy nuzzled her chest. Gina reached out and stroked his face.

“He loves you and trusts you. You’re a natural with horses,” said Antonia.

“He’s so sweet. May I ask how he came to be here among…” began Gina.

“…among all these purebred Arabians?” Antonia finished.

“Well…yes. Is it rude to ask?” said Gina.

Antonia laughed again. It sounded like music to Gina. “No, it’s not rude. He was my horse when I was a young girl in Brazil. The story of how he and I came to be here in this small north Texas town is a long one.” Antonia rubbed her black stallion’s neck and smiled. “Spend a little more time with Timmy and then head up to the big house and I’ll show you around.” Antonia wheeled her glorious steed around and galloped up the hill toward the house.

Gina watched the beautiful woman in control of such a magnificent animal and couldn’t help wishing that could be her one day. She turned back to Timmy and gave him a hug. “Did you hear that boy? Now I can see more of you and no more sneaking around!” One of the gray Arabian mares had come closer, curious about this skinny, young girl in the big pasture. Timmy laid back his ears and turning on a dime chased her off as if to say, “This is my girl!”

Gina laughed for the first time since she could remember. It had been a long, emotional journey from Dallas to Dale City. Even though they were only an hour apart, they were miles apart in cultures. The small-town Dale City students at Samuel James Middle School did not respond well to newcomers. For the very first time in a long time, Gina felt like she was where she belonged.

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