The Breed Master of Atlantic Stud

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Applegate Farm

The morning is approaching fast, with a hint of light appearing in the cloudy sky. I don’t want to get up this morning, my bed is so comfortable and light, and still nurtures me further to stay and rest. I lay my head back down on the softness afforded to me, and I close my eyes to dream again.

The heather is of vibrant lilac and purple colour’s dotted over the heath, and the rain is but mizzle falling to the ground. I can hear the sound of footsteps and look on in anticipation of someone that I may know. Jessie is at the top of the hill, and is being followed by Toby, and Marcus. Filing in behind are Majesty, Pilgrim and Dusty. I can see them clearly coming down from the pasture to share a bucket full of comforting bran mash and oats. Lady, my breed mistress is nowhere to be seen, she is heavily in foal with my progeny and I am anxious to seek her out and show her my loyalty.

I can hear the mistress approaching, and the familiar scraping sound of the feed scoop entering the metal food bin where the oats are kept fresh, before being bruised and left overnight to steep for our breakfast meal. I sniff, but all I can smell is oats, so with two almighty blows I cause the herd to stand to attention and wait while I focus on the scent of Lady. I am alarmed now; the herd are hurrying into the lower pasture and I look on with frustration and concern. I am the breed master for the Atlantic herd, and Lady is carrying my most prized foal to be born to date.

I stand and whinny expecting a reply from Lady, but all is not well. The geldings are pacing the perimeter fence at the top field, whilst the youngsters, with no care in the world are bullying their way to the field managers. Old Duke, a dark grey gelding of thoroughbred breeding is pawing the ground and anxiously calling for my attention. The mistress hears him and calls him for his meal, but he will not move. I kick my stable door and look back at my sweet smelling white wood bedding, torn between returning to sleep and saving my mare. I kick again, insisting that the mistress lets me out and I gallop like the wind, head down to the ground in the snake position until the perimeter fence is in sight.

Stopping just short of Duke, I blow in recognition of his friendship and ask “Duke of the throughbred herd, why are you so uneasy, have you news of my breed mistress?” Duke lifts his head and blows back to me, bowing in respect of my status as breed stallion of the herd. “Sire,” he says, “beyond the heath, approaching the copse you will find Lady foaling, but the wolves that rest in the trees have caught the sense of her struggle and are approaching fast. I am big and strong, let me follow you and I can help you to guide Lady home?” Behind me I hear another approach, and turn to see Snowdrop the smallest member of the herd. “Sire,” he anxiously paws the ground in front of him, “I am the smallest and the fastest gelding in the herd, I am a fiercesome warrior, swift and agile, I beg of you to let me come along to save Lady, I can drive the wolves away and stand guard at the entrance to the copse?” I give Snowdrop a gentle nip on his neck for his consideration, and I know that truly this little Shetland pony is the bravest horse in the herd.Running at great speed and beauty is Arable, the breed mistress to the Arabian herd, “Sire I shall follow you and together we will bring Lady and her foal home safely; come Sire for my intelligence tells me that we do not have long.”

I turn on my heels and raise my fore limbs to the sky, the sun is just showing red like the fire in my eyes, and with a glance behind me to my army of followers, let out such a bellow to warn the wolves that I am on my way.

The thunder of hooves behind me spurs me on, faster and faster I gallop, stretching out my limbs to cover the ground whilst my heart beats fast in the confines of my chest; over the top field and down towards the copse. Sliding to a stop, I can hear my mare’s whinneys of panic and I can smell the horrendous dark and foreboding stench of blood.Snowdrop charges past my right flank, his head down in the snake position ready to fight.I take a faint moment to nod in appreciation as he thunders past. Duke is ahead of me now and I appreciate his speed as he covers the ground past my left flank, speeding down to the front of the copse. Arable is at my side, the smell of her sweet breath momentarily stirs my senses and I stand in awe of her beauty, “Come sire, you attack at the front and I will protect Lady and your foal,” her eyes are gleaming with determination and together we run with the wind to where my Lady lays breathing heavily, her flanks covered in sweat.

Faster and faster I run, blowing my arrival as a warning to the circling wolves.I can see their formation now.They too have caught the smell of blood, they approach slowly; heads to the ground and shoulders raised ready to pounce.

Lady whinny’s in recognition of my arrival, and I can see the fear in her wide open eyes as she struggles to give birth to my heir. “I am here Lady; do not panic as some of the best in the herd are here with me,” Duke has ground to a halt in front of the lead wolf and paws the ground in anger, but the wolf still approaches. “Snowdrop,” he blows, “cover my front,” and with the agility of a gazelle he turns on his forelimbs to attack with his back hooves. He catches the lead wolf under his chin and lifts him feet into the air and back against a tree. There is a crunch of bones as the wolf raises to his feet, his eyes filled with anger, when suddenly from the back of the tree appears Snowdrop, teeth bared and grabs the wolf by the scruff of his neck dragging him forward to where I am standing.

Face to face I stare deep into the wolf’s eyes as he convulses to the ground in front of me, “Call off your bitches’ wolf master before my herd and I kill you all,” the wolf moans as if in mimickery of my presence. I place my foot over his head and say again “Call off your bitches’ if you want to survive, leave my pastures or we will kill you. Stamp you into the ground where you stand.”I look around me and to my amazement the wolves are retracing their footsteps backwards, being herded by Duke and Snowdrop. “I will be generous towards you tonight, you have done no harm to my breed mistress so I will allow you to live, but you must leave our copse now, and this is your last warning.” The wolf master growls slowly to his pack and one by one they start to leave the copse. He stands in front of me, and bows his head lowering his eyes to gaze upon the ground. “You have won today breed master of the Atlantic Herd, but there will be another time for us to meet and you will not be so lucky.” I stand and look over to Lady and nicker with joy as my son takes his first steps in the world of man. He is strong in form and covered with spots, such big spots as to insure another generation of Appaloosas at Applegate Farm. With his power and beauty, Atlantic Stud will once again secure the show trophies and prize money in the future.

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Comments 21 comments

thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

RNMSN thank you for your encouraging comment, this was a fun piece to write and see if I could turn my experience with horses into a piece of writing.


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

oh this was wonderful!! You did good!


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Hi Eiddwen, thank you for your lovely comment and vote. I adore horses and I wouldn't be me if I didn't share in their lives. x


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Hi mar, thank you for your encouragement as always my dear friend. You know how precious my Blue if to me, my life would never be the same without him. x


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Thank you for stopping by Bobbi, horses are a life long commitment, but I wouldn't be able to cope without at least one in my life to enjoy. x


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Hi Denise, I am so pleased that you enjoyed the photos and that they gave you a few happy memories of spending time with your dad. My mum used to ride with me sometimes, great times for sharing.


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Cardissa, Thank you for your lovely comment. I have been very fortunate to live with horses for moist of my life. This story was written by pure observation of watching the herd and instincts. I am glad you enjoyed the read.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Such a magical and awesome hub. I am so glad to have had the chance to read this gem.

Thank you and I vote all the way up.

Take care

Eiddwen.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Net,

This is magical and well penned. Your love of horses shines though every sentence. Voted UP & AB, mar.


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

I absolutely love horses and this story is a wonderful as the beautiful pictures that go along with it. Great write.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Like Martie, I was into the story reveling in the beauty of the descriptive lines, before I realized it was told in 'first horse'. LOL. Beautifully crafted. Enjoyed and voted up.

BTW-I am a horse lover from way back. The photos are gorgeous and brings back memories of riding with my dad.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

Annette, I am so proud of you! You have made the story click, getting in the mind of that horse...who would know a human wrote that? Great!


Richard Proctor profile image

Richard Proctor 5 years ago

thank you


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Hi Richard, how are you my friend? Sending much love and hugs to you, and an imaginary carrot for Naylin. Blue came for his cuddle and his carrot about 1/2 hour ago lol x


Richard Proctor profile image

Richard Proctor 5 years ago

wonderful post and wonderful photos they are lovely


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Thank you Martie, I enjoyed writing this little article through my stallions view point. It is something that I would love to turn into a children's book eventually, with much more practice and refinement. This was just my first attempt to dip my toe in the water, so glad you enjoyed the read, from you that is truly a compliment. x


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

I was almost halfway through the story before I realised “I” is actually a horse. Oh, they are lovely animals, those horses. Not only thoroughbreds, all of them. So intelligent and proud. The people of Ireland are well-known lovers and breeders of horses.

This is such a cute story, Annette, well-written and the message is clear. You’ve got a lot of talent, and I've sensed your soft and sensitive heart. I’ve voted this UP in all ways.


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Good morning oldcoincollector, thank you for stopping by, this one was written as a teaser to my normal writing style of factual fiction and non-fiction. The appaloosa is only surpassed in beauty by their temperament.


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Hi Sunnie how are my friend, I must get my lazy ass in to touch and drop you a line. Yes the appaloosa, (especially my Blue) have long been my passion, but I am attempting to stretch my writing skill out of my comfort zone at the moment. If you enjoyed it, I am pleased as that is such a great compliment.


oldcoincollector profile image

oldcoincollector 5 years ago

Beautiful horses! I have always loved appaloosas


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Oh my friend this was so magnificent in everyway..this is your love, your can tell...this has wings..I hope you will continue to share your stories..I love that the horses have a voice and you captured them so well..thank you for sharing such a wonderful story,

Big Hugs,

Sunnie

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