Sarah spent hours grooming Cloud, and talking to her. She was delighted that her beloved mare was acting like she used to. Grace and I decided to leave them, and groom Sunny. He was standing in the back corner of his stall, his head down. At first I thought he was sleeping, but he blinked. I opened the door, and his head shot up. His ears were perked forward, and his nostrils were flared. He was breathing in short bursts, sniffing. But when he realised that we weren't Kitty. he dropped his head again, and his ears drooped.
"Awww, honey.." I said walking over to him. I hated to see the beautiful stallion like this. He had been so friendly and welcoming before. I placed my hand on his neck, and stroked him. He blew out through his nostrils. I suddenly remembered the Neroli oil in the feed room. Mam had bought it when her old mare, Bumble Bee's best friend Blackberry had died, and she was pining for him. Why hadn't I though of it before?!
"Where are you going?" Grace asked, as I began to jog to the tack room. She closed Sunny's stall door, and ran after me.
"We have Neroli oil!" I grinned, grabbing the small brown bottle off the shelf. I diluted some of it, and put it in a small green bottle, using a funnel. I brought a head collar and the green bottle in to Sunny's stable, and put his head collar on. I tied him to the ring, and put a few drops of the oil on to my fingers. I massaged the oil in to Sunny's nostrils murmuring to him about random stuff, just to help him relax.
"Can I groom Horizon?" Grace asked.
" 'Course. Just use the grooming kit with his name on it. They're all labelled." I smiled at her. She smiled back, then wheeled around, and walked towards the tack room. I continued to massage the oil in to Sunny's muzzle.
By the time I was finished, it was almost midnight. Kim popped her head over the door.
"I was wondering where you were. Where are the others?" Kim said.
"Oh, Sarah's grooming Cloud, and Grace's grooming Horizon." I explained.
"That's great. Sarah must be so happy!" Kim grinned, walking in to the stall. "What are you doing with him?"
"Oh, I'm massaging diluted Neroli oil around his nostrils. Neroli oil helps horses deal with the loss of a loved one. He's pining for Kitty." I said, sliding the head collar off his head, and walking out of his stable. I closed the door, and put my arms over the lower half, looking at him.
"Poor boy. He looks so sad." Kim said, studying him.
"He grew really attached to Kitty." I nodded. "I might rise him out soon. See if he perks up." We stood there for a few minutes, just looking at him. He sighed, and looked at us. My heart clenched as I saw the dull sadness in his large brown eyes. I pulled a mint out of my pocket, and offered it to him. He walked slowly towards us, and I smiled slightly. He took the mint out of my hand, but then just dropped it on the ground. Tears prickled at the back of my eyes. I hated not knowing what to do.
He hung his large head over the door, and blew out. I shook my head. Kim stroked his face, and I walked towards the tack room, to put the head collar and lead rope back. When I walked out of the tack room, I stopped. Sunny was snuffling Kim's face, his ears perked forward with curiosity. Then it hit me. I walked slowly over.
"Kim, have you ever ridden before?" I asked. She looked at me, slightly confused.
"Not properly. Only a few times on a lunge reign." She said.
"That's fine. I think we should go to bed now. It's almost one." I smiled. Her eyes widened.
"One? Jeasus. Okay, goodnight girls!" She called. I went to Grace. She was grooming Horizon, and he seemed to have drifted off.
"Hey." I said, and Grace jumped a little. "It's just one. We should go to bed." I said. Grace yawned, and nodded.
"Who's a good boy?" She cooed, patting Horizon's neck. She lifted his rug of the lower half of the door, and threw it over his back. While she was doing the buckles, I walked to Cloud's door to tell Sarah.
When I looked over the door, she was leaning against Cloud. She had her arms wrapped around the mare's neck, and she was sobbing softly. I decided to leave them for a few minutes. I set up the camp beds in the adjoining stable. I was rolling the blanket out on the last one when Grace walked in.
"He's such a sweet horse." She smiled.
"Yeah he is. And he's only three. He's so calm for a three year old. I'm going to back him soon." I said, putting the pillows on each bed. I sat on the middle one, and sighed. Grace sat on the bed to the right of me.
"I'm so tired." She laughed.
"Me too. I'll go get Sarah." I said smiling. I walked over to the door, and Sarah was back to grooming Cloud. "Sarah?" She gasped. She turned around, and smiled through her tears. "Hey. It's one. We're going to bed now." I said gently.
"Oh. Okay. I'll just put her rug on." She said, putting the brush in the bag. I walked back the stable, and took my boots off. Grace did the same, and she climbed under the blanket. I took my jacket off, and waited for Grace. She walked in to the stable, and lay down on the bed, without even taking her boots off. I pulled them off for her.
"Thanks." She whispered. "For everything." I smiled at her, and climbed in to my bed. I let the tears that had threatened to spill out all day come. They slid out silently, and wet the pillow. I shook, trying to keep my sobs silent. Mam, why did you have to leave? Why can't you be here now? I need you! I thought over and over again. When I finally drifted off to sleep, light had begun to seep in through the windows in the stable. I dreamt of them taking Thorn away, and heard her whinny echo as I woke up screaming.
"What's wrong?!" Grace asked, immediately coming to my bedside. I was shaking, and tears were rolling down my cheeks like there was no tomorrow.
"I just had a nightmare." I said shakily. Grace smiled sympathetically, and hugged me. "You should go back to bed. It's only six." I said, looking at the time on my phone. she nodded, and climbed back in to bed. I lay back down, but again, sleep didn't come too easily. I did eventually though. The dream was mixed.
I was trying to run after the trailer, but was being held back. Mam was in the trailer next to Thorn. She was reaching for me.
"Naomi!" She screamed, "Help me! It hurts." Her hair was falling out as the trailer slowly pulled away. Thorn whinnied, and kicked the door. Her whinnies, and mam's screams were mixed. Mam was gripping the trailer, and gasping for breath. I could hear it. She fell as the trailer pulled around the corner.
I woke up, but didn't scream. I managed to hold it in. Two days before mam died, she was screaming in pain, and saying that it hurt. I remember her distress when her lovely thick red hair started to fall out. She would grip the bed sheets, and try to hold in her scream when I was there. But even then she said "Help me. It hurts." Over and over again. I shoved my hand in my mouth to silence the sobs. It was almost seven, so I got up to prepare mixes for the horses. I made mashes for Sunny and Horizon, but decided to let Sarah make one for Cloud. I put hay nets in the boy's stalls, and let them eat them while the mashes cooled.
When I brought Horizon's mash in to him, he shoved his nose in the bucket, with a nicker, as if to say thanks. But when I brought Sunny's mash in to him, he simply smelled it, and turned away. I brought his mash back to the feed room, and added thirty grams of Fenugreek Seeds to it, and mixed them in. It usually helped with horses who have a loss of appetite. I brought the mash back in, and this time he didn't even smell it. I lifted a handful out, and held it under his muzzle. He took a small mouthful, and chewed slowly. Then he took another, and another. When he finished the handful, I scooped out another. I kept it up until the bucket was empty.
"Good boy!" I cooed, rubbing his neck. I clucked to him, and pulled out a handful of hay. He ate it, and then a few more, but then he lost interest.
"Ah well. At least you ate something." I sighed, patting his neck. I walked out, taking the bucket on my way. I went to Horizon's stall, and saw that he had finished all of his food.
I shook my head, and took his feed bucket and hay net. He gently nudged my back as I untied the hay net. I turned around, and rubbed his forehead, under his tufty forelock. He closed his eyes as I scratched his itchy spot. I took his water bucket out of it's holder, and walked out, butting the buckets down to close the door.
Sarah and Grace came out of the stable, looking tired.
"I didn't feed Cloud. I thought you might want to." I said to Sarah, trying to balance the buckets.
"Let me help you." Grace laughed as I dropped the hay net. She took the feed buckets, and went to the tap to rinse them out. I washed Horizon's water bucket, and filled it. I brought it in to his stable, and then repeated the process with Sunny's.
I took out my phone and rooted through the contacts until I found Red Leaf Stable's number. I pressed the call button, and waited. A familiar voice answered.
Half an hour later, a dark red and silver horse truck pulled in to the yard. It had the words 'Red Leaf Stables' emblazoned on the sides in large silver letters. Naomi ran out, and told the driver where to park. She nodded, and slowed to a stop. The driver hopped out.
"Hey Naomi, how are you?" She asked gently, but cheerily at the same time. She had been good friends with mam and Kitty.
"Good, thanks. I really think this will help Sunny. He's really taken a shine to her." I said, forcing a smile on to my face.
"Leah? What are you doing here?" Kim called across the yard. "I haven't seen you in ages! How are you?"
"Hey Kim. I'm fine thanks." She pulled back the bolts on the trailer, and lowered the ramp. She walked in, and led backed the horse out. He was gunpowder grey a Connemara cross gelding. He walked down the ramp, his head held high.
"What's his name?" I asked, stroking his muzzle. He had a padded rug, black leg bandages, and a tail guard.
"Gunpowder. But when you're riding him, you can just call him Powdie." She said, undoing the buckles on his blanket.
"Powdie." I laughed. She nodded, smiling. I took his lead rope, and stroked his muzzle. He sniffed my face. I blew in to his nostrils, and he blew back. I liked him already. Leah untied his tail bandage, and then his leg bandages.
She stood up with them in her arms. "Kim, will you help me bring these to the tack compartment please?" Kim nodded, and picked up the blanket. They came back, carrying his tack. Kim seemed more than happy to have a woman her age to talk to.
I led Powdie in to the stable beside Sunny's, and tied him up. Leah hung his bridle on the hook beside the door, and the saddle on the bottom half of the Dutch door.
"Leah, will you and Kim tack up sunny please? I'll tack up Powdie, so I can get to know him." I said, grabbing a body brush from the kit I had put in the stable a while before. I groomed him quickly, as he was already shining, as he was so clean. I put the saddle on his back, and only half did the girth, so that it was against his belly, but not tight, to let it warm up while I put his bridle on. I held the bit in my hand to take away some of the coldness. I slipped the bit in to his mouth, and pulled the bridle up his face, and over his perked ears. I did up the throat lash, and the tightened his girth. I was shocked at how well behave he was. Most school horses would 'blow out' when you tried to do their girth. I led him in to the aisle between the stables, and halted him.
"He tacked up?! I asked, slipping the head collar over his bridle, and tying him up.
"Yep. Kim will you go to the tack room with us please?" Leah said, tightening the girth another hole. I walked towards the tack room, and got the body protector that mam used to use on some of the adults, when she was an instructor, and the yard was a riding school. Kim and Leah came in. Kim looked confused. I handed her the body protector.
"Put this on." I said.
"Why?" She asked, confused.
"Just do. I'll explain in a minute." I said, taking a helmet about her size from the rack. She put the body protector on. It was a perfect fit. I was experienced with this, after years of kitting out new riders. She put the helmet on.
"Shake your head." I said. She did, and the helmet moved. I grabbed a smaller size. She put it on, and shook her head again. It didn't move, so I grabbed my own hat, and body protector. I put them on, and walked out to the horses. I grabbed a long lead rope, and clipped it on to Sunny's head collar. I took Powdie's off, and led the two horses out. I mounted up on to Powdie's back, and smoothed out his blanket , where the corner had folded.
"Now you mount up." I said to Kim. "Leah will help you." Her eyes widened. Seriously? What did she expect? I got her in to riding gear, and tacked up two horses.
"He won't throw me?" She asked nervously.
"No, he really likes you." I said encouragingly. She nodded, and Leah gave her a leg up. She took hold of the reigns, and put her feet in the stirrups.
Sorry for the long, bad chapter. . .
Do you want me to make this a fan fic, or just leave it horses?
Please answer in comments. :)
And thanks for reading!! <3
~ <3Nialler'sSweetheart<3 ~ xox