Girls Horse Club Blog

The Mare

Published by • May 10th, 2011 • Category: Competitions & Giveaways, Fiction

Story by HorseWings, age 15 | Illustration by Tasha, age 16

They were there again. Seya could hear the gentle plodding of hoof beats and the quiet nickers of the small herd as they got closer to her tent. She listened to them until she just couldn’t stand it anymore and needed to see them; then she slowly worked open the bottom part of the zipper that held her tent flaps together.

Slowly, she peeked out and looked over a scene that appeared to have come straight out of a dream. Twelve horses of varying size, color, and build stood grazing under the light of a full moon that shone silver on their glossy coats. Their long, tangled manes and tails looked as if they were threaded with stars that sparkled whenever they moved.

Seya still couldn’t believe that she was getting to take this trip. Her aunt worked for a privately owned mustang reserve, and had arranged a camping trip with the horses for Seya and her friend Amery as a birthday present.

“Amery, wake up.” Seya whispered. Amery didn’t move. Seya smiled. She was sure Amery had been up hours later than she had, sorting through the hundred or so pictures she had already taken. That was the thing about her though, she could stay up late without a problem, but once she was asleep it was a little hard to get her to wake up again. Seya loved to stay up late, but after about three in the morning she started to get really tired. Somehow though, she still managed to wake up to some of the smallest sounds.

“Amery,” Seya tried again, just the slightest bit louder, “You need to see this!” A few of the horses lifted their heads, listening for the strange sound the human made. They looked almost ready to bolt.

Seya sighed and moved away from the tent opening a little. She put a gentle hand on Amery. Amery stirred and looked up at Seya.

“Amery, come look!” Seya said, gesturing to the tent flaps.

Amery crawled out of her warm sleeping bag and peeked out of the tent.

“Whoa!” she whispered.

Seya sat next to Amery and looked out on the horses once more. This time, they were all alert and watching. One of them, a rather large horse with a dark chocolate coat and a flaxen mane, looked right at the two girls. Seya and Amery froze and watched in wonder for what seemed to be a long time, and yet not much time at all, until a piece of grass began to tickle Seya’s nose. She tried holding her breath, but it was no good. She was afraid that if she moved her hand to scratch, she would scare all the horses off. So, she just sat until the inevitable happened.

“Eh, ah, a-choo!” Seya sneezed.

The horse watching them startled and neighed, warning all the other horses to run. The herd ran off in a beautiful display of speed and strength, to the amazement of both girls.

“Wow!” Seya said once they were gone “That was amazing! Sorry I scared them off though.”

“That’s alright, Seya.” Amery replied with a smile “Thanks for waking me up. It was pretty neat watching them run like that!”

“The best!” Seya exclaimed, looked up at the stars through the mesh-like top on their blue vinyl tent. Amery followed her gaze, and the two looked at the stars in silence for a moment.

Seya was the first to get tired of the total silence. She shifted around a little, and then looked at Amery.

“Are you tired at all?” she asked.

Amery shook her head.

“Me neither,” Seya said.

“So, do you want to do something?” Amery asked.

“Sure!” Seya replied “But first, I’m starving! What do we have in the way of early morning snacks?”

“Eh, let’s just grab breakfast,” Amery said.

Seya made a face and checked her watch. Then she smiled. “Sure,” she said “I didn’t realize it was almost five anyways!”

The two laughed and grabbed some granola bars. As they munched, they talked about Amery’s photographs from the day before, and eventually Seya chose one of them to do a pencil drawing of. Amery watched as Seya’s pencil worked its way across the paper, forming the head, neck, shoulders, body, and legs of the horse. Then, out came the colors, and Seya’s horse started filling in with shades of rust red, deep brown, and tawny gold. Soon, the shadows and highlights were added. Quick, short pencil strokes became a mane and tail.

Seya held up the finished horse.

“I like it!” Amery said, studying the soft curves and angles on the head and neck.

“Thank,” Seya said, blushing. She didn’t think she was that great of an artist, but other people often said she was.

The two started talking, and took the time to have a wonderful chat as they waited for the sun to come up so that they could go out on their morning hike, searching for the herd they had seen. Seya was laughing about a story Amery had told, when she heard a gentle ‘clip clop clip clop’ sound from outside of the tent.

“Do you hear that?” she whispered.

“Yea,” Amery whispered in reply “Are they back?”

“It just sounds like one horse,” Seya said.

Amery tried to open the zipper, and it stuck, while behind her Seya shook excitedly. After what seemed like far too long, Amery was able to get the zipper open, and the two friends looked out on a beautiful horse!

“Wow!” they whispered in unison.

The horse was so close that they could see it was a mare, and what a beautiful one too! She was tall, and looked to have some draft blood in her. Her coat was a wonderful buttery shade of cremello, with a mane and tail in slightly darker shades, strung with a little grey.

“Seya, look at her eyes!” Amery whispered.

Seya looked at the eyes of the horse and gasped. Instead of the usual inky black, this horse’s eyes were a brilliant, aqua color of blue. Seya had studied a lot about horses, but never had she heard of something like this. It just seemed utterly impossible.

After getting over the shock of the eye color of this horse, Seya noticed something else different. Unlike the other horses on the reserve, this one didn’t seem at all worried about their presence. She saw them, she heard them, but she continued to walk around and graze slowly as if they weren’t even there.

Seya made a vague gesture inside the tent and said, “Amery, hand me that granola bar, would you?”

Amery picked up Seya’s unfinished bit of the oats-and-honey granola bar and handed it to her. Slowly, Seya crawled out of the tent and stood up.

“What are you doing?” Amery asked.

“I’m going to see if she’ll take this,” Seya whispered, holding out the hand with the granola bar in it towards the horse.

“You’re not supposed to feed the mustangs!” Amery warned.

“I know,” Seya said, “but this one isn’t a mustang.”

“What?” Amery asked.

Careful not to make any sudden moves, Seya pointed at the mare’s neck. “There’s no freeze brand,” she said. “The horse must have come from somewhere else. Besides, she’s acting a little too tame for a horse that’s only spent a little time around humans.”

The mare lifted her head and looked at Seya. Slowly, she walked forward and started sniffing the granola bar in Seya’s outstretched hand. Behind her, Amery slowly crawled out of the tent and walked up next to Seya.

The mare started to munch on the bit of granola bar, and Seya laughed a little at the funny feel of the horse’s lips against her hand. While one hand was holding the granola bar, Seya stretched her other hand out to touch the mare. The beautiful horse took a half step back at first, but she quickly came back for the rest of the crumbs from her munching. This time, she let Seya pat her gently on the side of her neck. Seya crooned a little to the horse, then turned her head to look at Amery.

“See that dark green grass over there?” she said softly, pointing near the tent. Amery nodded.

“That’s the sweet kind, pick a little and slowly walk back here,” Seya instructed. Amery did, and held out the fresh, green grass for the mare. The beautiful cremello happily took a mouthful, and Amery got a chance to feel the glossy-coated horse.

Suddenly, as if on a queue, the mare decided she had gotten enough attention for the time being and trotted off a ways. The girls could still see her clearly though when she stopped to continue her grazing.

“Where do you think she came from?” Seya asked.

Amery thought a moment. “She may belong to someone who works here,” she said. Seya nodded.

“Maybe.”

Seya looked at Amery. “May I borrow your phone please?” she asked.

Amery went back to the tent and grabbed her phone. “Who are you going to call?” she asked.

“My aunt,” Seya answered “Maybe she’ll know who this horse is.”

Amery nodded, and Seya dialed the number. The phone rang.

“Hello!” Seya said “Yea, it’s been great! We saw them last night actually, it was amazing! We were wondering about this one horse, cremello mare, no freeze brand, and blue eyes. I know, I know, but this one really did! We saw it in daylight. I’ll ask Amery to. Yea, the mare was really tame; she came to our tent and let us pat her on the neck. Okay, I will. Bye!”

Seya hit the ‘end call’ button.

“What did she say?” Amery asked.

“She didn’t believe it was genetically possible for a horse to have blue eyes,” Seya replied “She asked us to take some pictures and to keep and look-out for the mare. She’s going to do a little tracking. One thing is for sure, this mare doesn’t belong here. There are no records for her at all.”

Amery nodded.

“Well, this is exciting!” Seya said. “Another full day on the reserve, and now a mystery horse! So, where to now?”

“I should probably take some pictures before we go anywhere,” Amery said.

“Right,” Seya replied “How about after that?”

Amery giggled “Let’s look for the horses we saw last night,” she said.

“Of course,” Seya said, bouncing around a bit. “I’m just so excited!”

“Keep it together for just a minuet Seya!” Amery said with a laugh. “I want you in one piece for the rest of our camping trip!”

Seya laughed. “Okay, okay! I’m going to pack the stuff while you take those pictures.”

“I’ll be right back,” Amery promised.

Seya had finished packing both girls stuff by the time Amery returned.

“Get any good pictures?” she asked.

“I got some wonderful ones!” Amery replied. “One of them is going to be so great in the fair this year. The horse was so tame; she let me take some great close-ups. She didn’t even shy when I used flash!”

Seya smiled. “That’s great!” she said. “I can’t wait to see them!”

She tossed Amery’s blue backpack at her, and picked up her own pink one. “Let’s get going!” she said. “I’m really excited to see if we can catch up with that mustang herd.”

The two pulled down the little tent and packed it in its shoulder bag. Seya took first turn carrying it so that Amery could take pictures. Amery was a wonderful photographer!

Seya spent a few minuets trying her tracking skills (which she didn’t really have) and shrugged.

“Let’s just choose a direction,” She said after a puzzling over the many hoof marks in the soft ground.

“Let’s forge ahead!” Amery replied.

Seya nodded. The two of them set off, and walked for a couple hours without seeing much except the blue-eyed mare, who seemed to be following them at a distance. They enjoyed the early spring weather and a nice conversation, scattered with bursts of hyper laughing, of course!

Then, Amery heard something. She stopped talking, and Seya listened and heard it too. Coming from somewhere over the hills ahead of them was a loud thunder-like sound.

“Come on!” Seya said excitedly, and with a smile she bolted off.

Amery smiled too, and ran after Seya, who was exceptionally speedy considering the fact that she was carrying her backpack and the tent. Seya darted to the top of the hill, and gasped.

“Hurry!” she called to Amery. “You’re going to want a picture of this!”

Amery dug in to run the last few paces and then stopped in awe.

Like something from a picture book, a herd of beautiful mustangs ran in the little valley below them, manes and tails flying on the wind. From this distance, they seemed almost to be galloping in slow motion, their coats shining in the sun.

“Quick,” Seya said, “take a picture of them!”

Amery fumbled a little with her camera as she tried to get it out of her backpack. She took a second to bring the image into focus, and then with a flash the scene was captured to keep forever.

“Good job Amery!” Seya said.

Amery smiled, and the two watched as the mustangs ran out of sight. Seya sighed contentedly and felt a chill run down her spine. Suddenly, she felt hot breath on her neck. Slowly, she turned her head.

The blue-eyed mare was right behind her!

“Amery!” Seya whispered.

“I see!” Amery whispered back.

Seya reached out to touch the beautiful mare, and was able to stroke her nose before the horse moved off a bit.

“Nice picture,” Seya said once the moment had passed.

“How did you know I was photographing that?” Amery asked.

“The flash,” Seya replied.

Amery snapped her fingers and whispered “Drat!”

Seya just laughed.

The girls spent the rest of the morning hiking around as they pleased, at stopped mid-afternoon for some lunch. The blue-eyed mare continued to follow at a distance, but came closer when the girls started pulling out the food.

Seya ate quickly, but she couldn’t beat Amery when it came to munching fast! Once they were done, they decided to take a short rest before continuing. Amery started taking photos of the many butterflies that were flying around from flower to wild field flower while Seya started picking a handful of the flowers and chaining them together.

When she had gotten a long circlet of flowers together, Seya grabbed what was left of her apple from lunch, and approached the mare. Amery saw what she was doing and followed her slowly.

Seya held out the apple remains to the beautiful cremello, and as the horse munched, Seya quickly slipped the flower circlet over her head so that it hung around her neck like the necklace of a fairy-tale elf’s mount.
Amery snapped a quick photo. The mare just stood there for a moment, long enough that both girls got a chance to run their hands along her sleek sides.

It was only about five minutes before the mare managed to break the flower chain.

“Oh well.” Seya said once Amery had pointed it out. “It was pretty while it lasted!”

The rest of the day was spent without much more horse spotting. Seya and Amery hiked around a lot, but they only saw a glimpse of a mustang here or there. Eventually, they gave up and set camp up early.

To the girl’s happiness, the mare stayed with them the entire time.

That night the girls cooked hot dogs and roasted marshmallows over an electric stove (there were no open fires allowed on the reserve, for obvious reasons) and munched under the open stars.

Seya pulled her sketchbook out and began to draw a picture of the mare, but she couldn’t seem to get it right for some reason. Eventually she gave that up altogether, and began a conversation with Amery.

“You know,” she said, “after spending two full days together, I’m going to miss you when we go back to regular life!”

“Yea,” Amery replied. “At least we still have Thursdays!”

Seya smiled. Thursdays were when the two got to go to Amery’s house together and go trail riding.

The two talked for a couple hours, until Seya began to fall asleep. After a while, Amery drifted off too.

Seya was the first to wake up. Her first thought was ‘gosh it’s cold!’

Then Seya realized that they had fallen asleep outside. She went into the tent to grab a pair of blankets, and saw that there was a new message on Amery’s cell phone.

Usually, she didn’t mess with Amery’s phone. It was none of her business. This time though, she had to wonder who would call or even text at this time of night.

She picked up the phone. It was a text from her aunt! It said: Amery, Seya, I found out where the mare is from. Is she still with U?

Seya peeked out of the tent, expecting to see the mare there. She was gone though!

Seya texted in reply: Mare stayed with us all day. I can’t find her now. Amery’s asleep. Do U need us 2 find her?

She waited a minute for a reply. Then the text tone buzzed with the reply: No. I M coming 2 find U. Mare is a stolen horse.

Seya gasped. They had to find that mare!

R U sure? she texted. We could find her.

I M sure, her aunt replied.

Seya tried to stay calm, but she felt all jumpy inside! She knew she needed to stay until her aunt arrived, but what she really wanted was to search for the blue-eyed mare.

With a sigh, Seya left the tent. She put a blanket on Amery, who looked cold, and walked around the tent a few times scanning the darkness for the beautiful cremello. She couldn’t find her.

By the time Seya gave up, she could hear her aunt’s jeep coming towards their camp. She reached over and woke Amery.

“Amery,” she said, “we need to go!”

“More horses?” Amery said.

“What?” Seya asked, shaking her head. “No, not more horses, my aunt thinks the cremello is a stolen mare, and we can’t find her!”

Amery sat up quickly.

“Let’s go!” she said “We need to find her!”

Seya nodded. Just then the bright lights of her aunt’s old maroon jeep flashed in the girl’s faces.

With a ‘HONK!’ of the jeep’s horn, Amery heard Seya’s aunt call out, “Come on in girls! We’ve got a mare to find.”

The girls jumped into the jeep and Seya’s Aunt began to drive over the bumpy terrain as she explained about what she had discovered.

“This mare,” she said, “sounds just like a horse named Windchaser, which went missing nearly two months ago. The blue eyes you noticed come from her heritage of Gypsy Vanner horses. Her damsel was a Gypsy; her sire was a mustang. Well, anyways, we believe that the horse was stolen, and that the thief hid her here amongst the mustangs hoping we wouldn’t notice.”

Seya nodded. “That makes sense then,” she said. “All we should have to do is find the mare and return her to her owners. They must be worried sick!”

Amery looked at Seya and her Aunt a moment, and had to add, “Unless the thief decided to come back for her tonight.”

“That’s what we were worried about,” Seya’s Aunt said. Seya nodded.

“I was hoping that you wouldn’t say that,” she said, “but I was just thinking the same thing.”

The three rode around in worried silence for a while, straining their eyes in the dark for the mare. They didn’t see any horses though.

Just when Seya and Amery were beginning to fall asleep again, Seya heard something.

“Stop the jeep!” she called.

The jeep screeched to a halt.

“Kill the engine,” she whispered.

Her aunt turned the key in the ignition to the off position.

The girls listened for a few moments, but only heard crickets and June bugs.

“What did you hear?” Seya’s Aunt asked, but before Seya could answer the girls heard it again.

A horse’s terrified scream.

Seya’s aunt keyed the ignition and the jeep went screaming off in the direction of the terrible sound.

When they arrived on the scene only seconds later, two men were on the reserve with a truck and horse trailer. They were trying to steal some of the horses!

“Hey! Get away from those horses!” Seya’s aunt yelled.

The two men jumped into the truck and tried to flee. Another scream of fear came from one of the horses.

Amery pointed to the horse trailer, which was quickly being towed away, and cried out, “It’s Windchaser! She’s in the trailer!”

“Let’s go!” Seya practically screamed. “We’ve got to save her!”

Seya’s aunt yelled, “Hold on girls!”

The two girls held tight as the jeep went blazing after the thieves. The jeep, though older, had no trouble catching up with the badly-kept truck, which also had a trailer to tow. Soon, they were right up behind it.

“I think I might be able to reach the latch on the trailer from here!” Seya yelled.

“That would be dangerous!” Seya’s Aunt replied. “You’d need something to support you if you reached out to pop that thing open!”

“I could hold her!” Amery said. “She’s relatively light!”

“Are you sure?” Seya’s aunt asked.

“I trust her,” Seya replied simply, looking into Amery’s eyes.

“Fine,” Seya’s aunt said reluctantly. “Try it.”

Amery grabbed Seya’s waist, and Seya leaned out of the jeep, first a little, then so far that she would have fallen if Amery weren’t holding her.

“Come on,” Amery whispered, “you can do it, Seya!”

Seya reached for the latch, it was barely out of reach.

“Let me down just a little further,” Seya said.

Amery gripped Seya tighter and let her lean out farther.

Seya reached and could touch the latch now. Suddenly, the jeep bounced, and Amery almost lost her grip of Seya! Seya screamed and pulled her hands away from the trailer. Amery kept didn’t let her fall though. Once again, Seya reached for the latch and began to wiggle it around. Suddenly, it popped, and the doors began to slowly swing open. Amery pulled Seya back into the jeep.

“Good job girls!” Seya’s aunt said. “Now, let’s stop this truck!”

Seya’s Aunt drove out in front of the truck, and began to gradually slow down, forcing the truck to slow too. When they got so slow that they were nearly to a stop, Seya jumped out of the back of the jeep and ran to the horse trailer. Inside, Windchaser was huddled against the back wall in fear.

Amery appeared at Seya’s side, and the girls began calling to Windchaser.

“Come on girl!” Amery said. “We won’t hurt you.”

Seya looked at the mare and softly called, “Wind-chaser, Windchaser, come on!”

Slowly, as the two girls continued to call softly, the beautiful blue-eyed mare followed them out into the grassy plain. Hoof by hoof, Windchaser stepped out of the trailer. The moment all four hooves hit the ground, she took off running.

Seya wanted to follow, but Amery stopped her.

“Let’s go get the jeep,” she said.

Seya nodded and the two girls went back to their Aunt, who was desperately trying to scare off the two men.

“Is the horse gone?” she asked.

Seya nodded.

Her aunt sighed in relief and helped the girls quickly into the jeep. Then, she drove off at top speed.

To everyone’s relief, the truck high-tailed it off the reserve.

* * * * * * * * * *

It was a week later when Amery came over to Seya’s house with a gift.

“It’s a late birthday present,” she said, handing Seya the package.

“Oh, but your birthday gift to me was the pack-away tent for the trip, remember?” Seya said, looking the rectangular package over curiously.

“Just trust me,” Amery said, “Like you did when we were in the jeep!”

Seya laughed. “I guess if I could trust you then, I can definitely trust you now!” she said as she began to tear at the green glittery paper that enclosed the gift. She lifted out a small book and opened it, then gasped.

It was a photo album filled with the pictures Amery had taken on the trip! There was a picture of the horse Seya had drawn, photos of the wild mustangs running, and an especially beautiful one of Seya touching the blue-eyed mare. The next picture caught Seya off-guard. It was Windchaser and Seya, when Seya had been giving the mare the flower garland!

“How did you get that one?” Seya asked. “I didn’t see you take any pictures!”

“I turned off the flash,” Amery replied. “It was midday. Plenty of light without the flash.”

Seya laughed as she flipped through the next few pictures, which contained the mare prancing about in the flowery necklace.

The last picture in the book had a picture of a little girl riding Windchaser. It was a picture of the horse with her real owners.

“Awww… that’s so sweet!” Seya said.

“Isn’t it?” Amery replied.

Behind the picture was a note. It was written by the mother of the girl Windchaser belonged to. It said,

Dear Seya and Amery,

Thank you so much for finding my daughter’s horse, and for your bravery in catching and returning her. We missed her very much and can’t tell you how glad we are to have Windchaser back. I am especially impressed by what I heard of you, Seya. Your aunt told me about the whole adventure, and I would never have the bravery to lean out of a moving vehicle, especially not in a chase after horse thieves! I look forward to a chance to spend some time getting to know you two. You are always welcome here at our ranch. Windchaser will be happy to see you once more.

Seya looked up from the letter and smiled at Amery.

“That came in the mail yesterday.” Amery said “Along with a note to show it to you. Apparently she lost your address!”

Seya smiled. “Thanks Amery!” she said.

The MareAmery hugged her, and she hugged back.

“Oh, I almost forgot!” Seya said, reaching for her dresser. “This is for you!”

Seya handed a wonderful drawing of Windchaser to Amery. She had drawn it so that the blue eyes had become especially prominent.

“You were able to finish it!” Amery exclaimed happily. “It’s wonderful! I’m going to put it on the wall next to my bed so I can remember our adventures together.”

Seya smiled. “It was amazing, wasn’t it?” she said.

“Yea,” Amery replied “So, what are you planning to do on your next birthday?”

THE MARE 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 »

5 Nickers »

  1. haha i loved it! Especialy the ending! Gave me a warm familar feeling when I read about the adventures of two best friends! Your story fit the picture nicely and it gave me so many memories…

    best
    HF

  2. Ahhh, I KNEW that horse looked like a Gypsy ;) Great Job Horsewings!

    BTW, I thought this was an amazing coincidence, because the first ever buckskin Gypsy Vanner colt with two blue eyes was born this year! Ghost’s Comet of MVP!!

  3. To HorseFeathers: I based the two characters off me and my best friend, so it gave a very ‘warm familar feeling’ when I wrote it! I’m glad you were able to get the same feeling!

    To Gyspsy Vanner: I’m happy you liked it! And yes, that’s an amazing coincidence, I hadn’t heard that yet!!!

  4. Nice.

  5. I love this story, so exciting!!
    Great job Horsewings! :)