Writing and Expression From The Sunshine Coast

The Shoeless Horse, Episode 10: Horse Whisperer in Pajamas

in Spoken Word/Storytelling by

One weekend day, Bonnie and her horse, along with the dog, rode down the highway toward the power lines in Coquitlam, then slowly climbed the slope below the lines. It was a perfect day, with sunshine that was comfortably warm, and a gentle breeze.

The dog was fit and the horse was strong, and when the trio arrived at last on top of a ridge, they were tired but happy. Bonnie could feel a contentment in her horse she had never sensed before. He was for once completely relaxed, and seemed to enjoy the young alder trees, carpets of wildflowers and sweeping views of the valley as much as she did.

Bonnie was on this day experiencing one of the most beautiful afternoons a person could have with cherished animal companions. With awe, she recognized that these were the hours she’d dreamed of. Being a sixteen year old, Bonnie was sorry she had no one to share these lovely hours with, so the immense joy she felt was tempered by a subtle sensation of melancholy.

She slipped off Hogan’s back and walked with him so he could cool from the ascent. The three of them strolled companionably along a soft dirt path lined by wildflowers in bloom. When the horse gently rested his heavy head on her shoulder, she was moved deeply.

However, there were times that her horse had his own adventures. Bonnie’s hurried repair of the wire fence surrounding the pasture had been less than perfect, and it is just possible that someone may have left the gate open now and then. Though the pasture was luxuriously large for one small horse, Hogan had a bit of wanderlust.

Bonnie’s brother Steve got one of the phone calls.

‘Does your sister have a white horse? It’s here at the pool hall, standing in the planter and chewing up the shrubs outside the door.’

The pool hall was down a long hill and across the busy highway. No one remembers now just which member of Bonnie’s family went to fetch the horse,   as Hogan’s walkabouts often occurred when Bonnie was at work or school.

Bonnie wasn’t home the night the phone call about the roses came, either.

‘There is a white equine creature in my back yard,’ came the voice of a pompous neighbour one evening, ‘and he is busy eating my roses. I don’t appreciate it and would like you to fetch him.’

As the story goes, there followed a circus frenzy of family and neighbours – and even a fancy car – in pursuit of the little horse as he cavorted through the gardens and across lawns and refused to be lured back to his pasture.

Just as it was growing dark, Bonnie’s little sister Dawn came out of the house in her pajamas and announced that she could catch the horse.

Bonnie’s father was doubtful, but his youngest child walked calmly to the horse, who stopped and put his muzzle down to thoughtfully sniff her face. Dawn took the belt from her robe and looped it around his neck. The twilight street went quiet as the small girl Hogan trusted and loved led him away to his gate.

By the time Bonnie arrived later that evening, Hogan was grazing quietly in the dark pasture, and it almost seemed there was a halo hovering over his head.

 

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