Girls Horse Club Blog

Her Sunrise

Published by • May 14th, 2011 • Category: Competitions & Giveaways, Fiction

Story by HealingHorses, age 14 | Photo by catscowgirl, age 16

1st Place - Girls Horse Club Every Picture Tells a Story ContestTaylor Marie Stevens was giddy with excitement. Yet, she was also kind of nervous. The time had come for her mare, Promise, to have her foal. Taylor had been anxiously waiting ever since her dad, Tyler Stevens, had told her that Promise was in foal. And that had been quite awhile. Now, at 4:45 am, her mom, Marie Stevens, had just woke her to tell her that Promise was getting ready to foal.

With a feeling of excitement, anticipation, and just a little anxiety, Taylor quickly pulled on her jeans, and stumbled through the dark of her room to find her boots. Once she found them, she quickly pulled them on and followed her mom rapidly downstairs.

“Taylor, can you get some clean towels?” her Mom asked her swiftly as they walked past the bathroom.

“Okay,” Taylor replied, stepping in the bathroom door and pulling a few towels out of the shelf. Then she followed her mom outside, and as she walked towards the barn, Taylor looked up at the starry night sky and hoped and prayed that everything would go smoothly with the foal. And she just knew that whether it was a filly or a colt she was going to love it.

Taylor walked up to Promise’s stall with her mom and looked over the stall door. Promise was standing in the middle of the stall, breathing heavy, and there were patches of sweat on her pretty gray coat. Promise let out a groan and her knees almost folded beneath her, but she managed to stay standing. As Promise let out another moan of pain, Taylor shot her mom a worried glance.

“Don’t worry,” Taylor’s dad spoke, coming up behind her, ”she’s just having contractions, which means the foal is on it’s way out.”

“It’ s best to stay outside the stall unless she needs help,” Taylor’s mom added. For a moment worry clouded Taylor’s brain. “Unless she needs help.” But her mother’s words quickly reassured her. “She seems to be doing great so far, so I think she’ll be fine, and we’ll soon be able to see a beautiful newborn foal!”

Taylor couldn’t wait to see what Promise’s foal would be like. She was very excited, and she almost felt spellbound by the fact that she was going to see it be born. In all her fourteen years growing up on a horse ranch, she had never seen a foal born. Several times she had seen foals right after they were born, and once she had been in the barn when a foal was born, but had fallen asleep. But now she was wide awake, and was ready to see the little foal that would be all her own.

Taylor and her parents were still watching Promise. Now she was lying down in the straw, and it was getting close to the time for the foal to come out. So far, Promise hadn’t needed any help, and Taylor prayed that her mare could stay strong just a little longer. Taylor watched closely as the foal’s head emerged, then it took just a moment before the foals slippery body was out and laying in the straw. For a minute, the foal just lay there, and Taylor anxiously looked closely to see if it was breathing, Taylor’s father went into the stall and just then the foal lifted it’s head.

“It’s a filly,” her dad said, as he gently cleared the foal’s muzzle so she could breathe freely.

The filly was beautiful. Promise walked over to the foal and gently licked it clean. Then after a few minutes, the foal slowly tried to stand. Her wobbly legs trembled and she fell over. But she was determined. Promise looked at her foal quizzically as the little filly tried again. This time, her legs still were wobbly and she tilted precariously, but she managed to stay standing. The filly stood still for a moment, balancing herself and taking in her surroundings. Then her little ears perked towards her mother and she took a tentative step forward.

Her legs were weak and wobbly, but after a few minutes the little filly reached her mother’s side. She reached out to nurse and it was a beautiful moment… until Promise snorted and jumped away. The filly looked confused and she tried again. She took a few steps toward her mother and reached out to nurse again, but Promise still moved away, snapping her teeth at her innocent foal.

“Why isn’t she letting the foal feed?” Taylor asked her mom, concerned.

“I don’t know,” her mom responded, looking a little worried herself. “She probably just needs to adjust and get to know her baby. She‘s probably just a little nervous.”

Taylor hoped her mom was right. She knew sometimes mares were nervous after their first time foaling. Taylor just hoped Promise would come around. Taylor stood with her parents and watched for a few minutes, as the foal continued to try to nurse… and Promise continued to refused to allow it.

Finally, Taylor’s Mom walked into the stall and approached the mare. “Come on girl,” Marie crooned gently. Promise pricked her ears, stepped towards her, and nuzzled her. “Now why don’t you let your baby eat? Hmm?” Taylor’s Mom asked the mare kindly. Then she said to Taylor, “Now come in and encourage the foal to nurse.”

Taylor walked into the stall and approached the foal. “Come on…” Taylor encouraged, calling the foal towards Promise.

Marie held the mare still while the foal leaned forward to nurse, but Promise suddenly lashed out, kicking sideways and nearly striking Taylor! “She needs time,” Taylor’s mom said, her voice sounding tense, “We’ll have to feed the foal.”

“I’ll get the colostrum, Marie, you can get the bottle, and Taylor, you can feed her.” Taylor looked at her father, surprised.

“She’s your foal so we thought you would like to do it.” Marie said, smiling gently.

“I mean, yeah!” Taylor said. She was speechless. She was still in shock that the foal was really hers, and she was so beautiful.

Taylor held the bottle out to the little filly. “Come on girl, aren’t you hungry?” As if to answer her question, her filly took a step forward and mouthed the bottle, then began drinking. Taylor grinned.

After the foal was done feeding from the bottle, she stepped back and looked at Taylor inquisitively. Then she stepped forward and nuzzled Taylor in the chest. Taylor laughed. She loved her little filly and she was going to do whatever it took to take care of her, and she just knew that the foal would grow to love her too.

* * * * * * * * * *

Taylor awoke to the feeling of whiskers tickling her face. Then she opened her eyes to see a little muzzle sniffing at her nose. Taylor giggled childishly, and the little filly jumped back with a squeal of protest. Still laughing, Taylor stood up and brushed the straw off of her jeans. She had fallen asleep against the stall door, amidst a pile of straw. She looked at her watch. It was 8:30 am. For the last three hours she had been feeding the foal from the bottle every time she was hungry. She had to have only been a asleep for twenty minutes.

“Are you hungry, girl?” Taylor asked her filly, as she walked over to get the bottle from where she had set it on a table outside the stall. She picked up the bottle and headed back through the stall door. But when she turned around, what she saw both surprised and delighted her. Promise was letting the foal nurse! Taylor grinned happily as she watched them. She was so glad that the foal could nurse from her own mother, which Taylor knew was much better for her.

After making sure Promise and Sunrise were both safe and content, Taylor headed inside to get something to eat. Yes, Sunrise is what she had decided to name her filly. She had thought about the name because the foal had been born around sunrise. Well, it had been more like dawn. Taylor had thought of naming her Dawn because it was a pretty name, but it had reminded her too much of dish soap. And somehow the name Sunrise fit the little foal, as every time Taylor looked at the little foal it was like seeing a Sunrise. She was beautiful and full of light shining through her lively eyes.

“Promise is letting her nurse!” Taylor exclaimed, as she kicked off her boots at the front door.

“The foal? That’s wonderful, sweetheart!” Taylor’s mom’s face lit up at the news.

“So, have you thought of a name for this wonderful foal of yours?” Taylor’s dad asked cheerfully, as he passed the toast to her spot at the table.

“Actually, yes.” Taylor said. Taylor’s parents both looked up, obviously eager to hear what name she had chosen. “I’ve decided to call her Sunrise,” Taylor said, smiling just saying the name.

“That’s a beautiful name!” Taylor’s mom exclaimed.

“And that name fits her too,” her Dad added with a smile.

And Sunrise she was.

* * * * * * * * * * *

After breakfast Taylor went back outside to check on Promise and Sunrise. She was so glad that it was Saturday so she wouldn’t have to go to school until Monday. That way, she could spend as much time as possible with them.

When Taylor walked into the barn, a chorus of whinnies called to her. She had been so distracted with Promise and Sunrise she had completely forgotten about the other horses! Of course, her dad had already fed them a couple of hours earlier, but the horses were used to her going around and visiting them every morning.

The Steven’s ranch was called Rescuing Hearts Ranch because they rescued horses, rehabilitated them, and then paired them with families that needed them and would love them forever. At the time, the eighteen stall barn was filled. Fourteen of those horses were rescue horses, one was her father’s horse, King, two were her mother’s mares, Rosie and Faith, and of course the last stall was Promise and Sunrise’s.

“I’ll come give y’all some attention in just a few minutes!” Taylor called to the other horses. They seemed to understand, and they quieted down.

Taylor looked over the stall door and smiled. Promise and Sunrise were laying down in the straw snuggled close together and sleeping. It was a heartwarming moment, and Taylor knew that there would be many more moments like this in the future.

* * * * * * * * * * *

It was one week later and Sunrise was exactly one week old. Taylor had been handling her everyday, and spending all her time with her, except for when she was at school and doing her chores. Sometimes, Taylor wished she had brothers and sisters so she wouldn’t be the only one who had to do all the chores. But then there were some good things about being an only child, she supposed. Taylor had just gotten home from school, and she rushed inside to get changed out of her school clothes before she went to the barn to see Promise and Sunrise.

“Hey!” Taylor called as she walked in the front door and tossed her coat on the back of a chair, “I’m home!” The whole house was quiet. “Mom? Dad? Are you here?” Taylor called out. There was no reply.

Taylor shrugged, puzzled, and walked over to the dining room table to see if they had left a note. Lucky for her, they had. The note read: “Taylor, we’re at your Aunt Liz’s. We won’t be back until 8 pm. Be sure to bring in Brandy and Acorn from the pasture, and feed the horses, then you can spend time with Promise and Sunrise. Don’t forget to feed yourself too! Call if you need anything!” Love, Mom and Dad.

So she had four hours all her own. She would go upstairs, change, then bring Brandy and Acorn in, then it wouldn’t take long to feed the horses, and she could spend a couple of hours with Sunrise before she would have to go inside and eat and shower. So, she had to start with first things first.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Fifteen minutes later Taylor was walking towards the pasture gate, two halters and lead ropes in hand. Brandy, a dark bay Quarter Horse, and Acorn, a brown Arabian/Morgan cross, were both gazing contentedly, looking very relaxed. It should have been easy to catch them. But it wasn’t.

Taylor opened the pasture gate and walked through, then closed it behind her. “Hey there you two!” she called to the horses. They lifted their heads and pricked their ears towards her. Then, they seemed to see the lead ropes she was holding, and that’s were things went awry. The two horses seemed to realize that she was planning to capture them and take them away from their bountiful grazing. And they fled.

“Oh, come on guys!” she called to the horses, knowing that she would never catch them if they kept running,” All I want to do is take you into the nice cozy barn and give you your dinner!” At the word dinner the two horses nearly skid on their haunches. Evidently, they understood what it meant. “Yeah, that’s right. I’m gonna give you your dinner,” Taylor coaxed. The two horses pricked their ears and walked hesitantly towards her. Taylor hid the halters and lead ropes behind her back, and kissed at the horses to encourage them towards her. Finally, they reached her and she took the halters from behind her back, and put them on. Acorn nuzzled her gently in the chest. “Good boy,” Taylor said, smiling. Now, things were going more smoothly.

After walking Acorn and Brandy back to the barn, and putting them away in their stalls, Taylor fed the horses. Then, finally she could spend time with Promise and Sunrise. “Hey baby,” Taylor said as she went into Promise and Sunrise’s stall, “How’s my little Sunny?” As If in reply, Sunrise whinnied enthusiastically and walked over to Taylor. “Good girl,” Taylor said, touching the foal’s soft, velvety, brown muzzle. Just then, Promise walked up to Taylor, and gave her a little shove in the chest with her nose. “Don’t worry girl, I didn’t forget about you!” Taylor told the mare, with a laugh, “After all, you are the wonderful mare who brought this beautiful baby into the world.” Sunrise decided to nurse right at that moment and, although accepting it, Promise gave her a look that Taylor interpreted as her way of saying, “That child! She’s ALWAYS eating!” Taylor laughed and decided to leave the mare and foal in peace for a while.

Taylor was walking towards the house, feeling like she was starving and ready to eat, when she noticed a shiny black car driving up the driveway. Taylor didn’t recognize it, and her parents hadn’t said anything about anyone coming, so she wondered who it could be.

The car stopped and a man looking to be in his late forties stepped out. “Hello,” he said, in a rather business like manner, “Is this the Delivering Hearts Ranch?”

“Umm… This is the Rescuing Hearts Ranch, yes.”

“Okay,” the man said stoically, “My name is Clinton Chase and I’ve been told that I could come here to buy a good horse.”

“Well, Sir,” Taylor began, trying to sound as professional as possible, “We don’t sell horses. We rescue them, rehabilitate them, then adopt them out. But we do have good horses.”

There was a moment’s pause, then Clinton Chase said, “I see.” He looked down at the ground, and seemed to be thinking. He looked up and said, “May I see your horses?”

“Uh, yes you may,” Taylor said,” Just follow me.”

Mr. Chase followed Taylor into the barn and she showed him each horse, telling him their names and history.

After giving him a complete tour of the barn, he stopped in the aisle and turned to her saying, “Well, these are all nice horses, but they’re just not what I’m looking for.” He paused, and seemed to be trying to think of the right way to put it. “You see, money is not an issue, I’m just looking for a horse that has a good build and potential, and for breeding. Even if it is young and untrained, that would even be preferred.”

“I understand,” Taylor replied, “But we aren’t a breeding barn, so I’m afraid we most likely wouldn’t have what you’re looking for. But I can suggest somewhere that might.”

“Well, thank you, that would be great,” he responded with as much of a unprofessional smile as he could muster.

Taylor walked out of the barn, Clinton Chase following, but suddenly, when they were passing the last stall, Taylor heard a gasp. She turned around to see Clinton Chase looking at Promise and Sunrise. “Why, this may be exactly what I’m looking for!” he exclaimed.

“What do you mean?” Taylor asked, confused.

But he ignored her question and asked, “How old is the mare? What is her breeding? And what can you tell me about the filly?”

“Promise is six years old, almost seven. My mom’s mare, Faith, is her mother, and her father belongs to my Aunt Liz. She’s an Anglo-Arab,” Taylor replied, still wondering why he was asking all these questions, “And Sunrise is her first foal. She’s really sweet.”

“She would be perfect!” Mr. Chase exclaimed.

“Perfect for what?” Taylor asked, trying to sound polite.

“Oh. I’m sorry,” he said, “The filly would be perfect for my training program, and the mare is a nice horse too, but I could wait until the foal is weaned and just take her.” Mr. Chase wanted to buy Sunrise.

“I’m sorry, but Promise and Sunrise are not for sale,” Taylor said, “They’re our family horses.”

Clinton Chase looked disappointed. “Well, I’d be willing to pay a pretty penny for that filly,” he said.

Taylor just stood there looking at Sunrise. There was no way she was going to sell her. “I’m sorry, but Sunrise isn’t for sale.” Taylor repeated.

“Well, here’s my card. Give it to your parents, and if you change your mind give me a call,” Clinton Chase said, walking towards his car. Taylor just nodded. “Thank you,” he said, then he got in his car and drove away.

Taylor went into the house, feeling weary. As she made herself a sandwich, she thought about what Clinton Chase had said. “I’d be willing to pay a pretty penny for that filly.” How much did he mean?

Taylor took the card that he had given her out of her pocket and looked at it. Printed on it was Clinton Chase’s name, address, phone number, and website. Taylor flipped the card over and what she saw made her gasp. On the back of the card he had written how much he was willing to pay for Sunrise. And it was “a pretty penny.” Taylor didn’t know what to do. Her family wasn’t really in need of money at the moment. But they weren’t rich either, and what Clinton Chase had offered was a lot of money!

Taylor finished her sandwich and went upstairs to shower. It wouldn’t be long before her parents were home, and she had to think about what to tell them about Clinton Chase’s offer for Sunrise. She had thought about it, and even though she really didn’t want to sell Sunrise, Clinton Chase’s offer had been unbelievable, and Taylor thought if her parents thought she should sell her, it was the right thing to do. So, she would just have to tell them what Clinton Chase had said. And she would just have to be brave.

Taylor was upstairs towel drying her hair, while doing homework, when she heard her parents get home. She sighed, knowing she would have to go downstairs and talk to them about Sunrise. She set her homework on her desk, then treaded slowly down the stairs.

“How was your day sweetie?” Taylor’s mom asked cheerfully, giving her a hug,

“Well…” Taylor began hesitantly.

“What’s wrong?” her dad asked. Both her parents were looking concerned by the frown on Taylor’s face.

“It’s a long story,” Taylor replied.

“Well, let’s sit down and hear it,” her dad replied.

“Okay,” Taylor said.

Then they all sat down, and Taylor told the whole story of Clinton Chase coming and how she had showed him the horses, and his offer for Sunrise.

“And this is his card he gave me, and he wrote how much he was willing to pay for Sunrise on the back,” Taylor said.

Her father took the card, and flipped it over. He raised his eyebrows and let out a shrill whistle of amazement when he read it. “That is quite an offer,” was all her dad said.

“But you don’t want to sell Sunrise, do you?” her Mom said, in more of a statement than a question.

“Of course not,” Taylor replied, “I love her. But, I mean, I thought you wouldn’t want me to pass up an offer like that. I mean, I thought…”

“Honey,” Taylor’s mom said, clearly sounding surprised, “We would never want you to sell Sunrise unless you wanted to! That is a lot of money, but we are okay right now, and Sunrise is more important than money.”

Taylor just stared, relieved and dumbfounded.

“Sunrise is yours,” Taylor’s dad said emphatically, “And unless you want her to, she’s not stepping a foot off this ranch.”

Taylor felt as if a huge burden had been lifted off her shoulders and relief washed over her. Her parents both laughed as she sprinted out the door and ran towards the barn.

“Sunrise!” she cried, running into the barn. Sunrise pricked her ears and whinnied when Taylor unlatched the stall door and came inside. “Oh Sunrise!” Taylor proclaimed joyfully, “You get to stay! Rescuing Hearts Ranch is your home forever!” Taylor bent down and kissed her little filly on the nose, and Sunrise returned it with a nuzzle on the cheek. Taylor laughed, and happy tears pricked her eyes. “And you’re mine forever.” Taylor whispered to the foal, “And I love you.”

As if in reply, Sunrise nuzzled Taylor in the face with her velvet soft nose and made a sound that, to Taylor, sounded a lot like, “I love you, too.”

* * * * * * * * * *

The next morning Taylor decided to let Promise and Sunrise free in the pasture, so they could enjoy the sunshine. After turning them out, she went inside and got ready for school. As she was about to leave, she suddenly remembered that she had forgotten something — her camera! Last week at school, they had announced a photography contest. The contest was that you had to photograph a series of photos that showed the growth of something. It could be a plant, an animal, or anything that grew. And of course, Taylor had decided Sunrise would be her subject. She had taken some pretty good photos of Sunrise, and today was the day to turn them in.

“Hurry up Taylor — you’re going to miss the bus!” her mom yelled from downstairs. Taylor quickly grabbed the camera bag and ran downstairs. With a quick “see ya later” call to her parents, Taylor ran outside, and headed down the drive.

As Taylor jogged past the pasture, she waved goodbye to Sunrise and Promise, and she stopped for a moment to watch them. They looked so peaceful, the little foal following the mare, walking under the clear blue sky, sunlight glistening off their coats. Then it dawned on her — right here was the perfect picture for the contest! So, she got out her camera, looked through the lens, and took the picture. She smiled, satisfied, and then she realized she was about to miss the bus. She ran towards it and barely caught it in time.

As the bus pulled out of the drive, all Taylor could think about was how happy she was, because she knew that Sunrise could be happy, and she would always be her Sunrise.

Mare & Foal

HER SUNRISE is an entry in the Every Picture Tells a Story contest, where authors create a short story inspired by image submissions, then readers vote for the winning collaboration. Click here to learn more »

6 Nickers »

  1. What a well made, beautiful, story! I love it!

  2. Thanks XDDXDD!!! The story kind of went its own way, and didn’t come out quite like I planned and I was a little nervous since it was my first time submitting a story to GHC, but now I am really happy that it got published!! :D

  3. Wow! Great story! I was so happy that nothing really sad happened in the story, beacasue something sad happened in almost all the other stories! (Including mine!) I think this story is interesting, amazing, lovely, and touching. Keep up the great work Healing Horses!

  4. HH- awesome heartfelt story, I love the begining very much! How great would it be if every girl could have her own foal?? =)

    DragonRider- haha I guess the sad parts make a story more realistic.. it shows that everything can’t be ‘happy’ 100% of the time. That’s what I wanted to incorporate in part of my story. It gets readers interested if there’s change of mood in the plot line.

    again sweet story!
    HF

  5. B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l! I think it was perfect. I can’t wait to read more.

    ~HorsesForever

  6. Just wonderful. I really loved it.