Backyard HT #3 Don’t Call Me Love!
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It was interesting that humans who came to look us over called both Sugar and I leopards, even though my dark legs kept me from that category, according to my mother. The human population of the farm, as well as visitors, started calling me Love. Like all the other foals, I sought out Mom to explain what I didn’t understand. “Mom, what does Love mean?”
“Well, daughter, I overheard one of the grooms tell another that you were registered as Chelsea Love. So, the humans gave you Love as your barn name.”
I had no idea what registered meant, but I filed it away in my memory banks. What I did know, was that I took a lot of teasing once word of my name got circulated to the other horses. The harassment about my name continued throughout the fall, and winter. I guess that the other mothers thought I was misnamed. The constant teasing did not do my disposition any good. In the fall when we were all put in a separate pasture from our mothers I kicked and bit a few of the other weanlings butts when they repeated what their had mothers had told them.
Sugar went away with some unfamiliar humans just before Christmas. We didn’t even get to say goodbye! The colts were separated from us fillies in the spring. We had all grown a lot throughout the long year. I could see Mom with her new foal over in the adjoining pasture. It didn’t look at all like me! It had a big snowflake pattern on its rump, but otherwise was solid like our Mom, with the same star and hind socks. It was also a colt. Toy lost her foal a couple of months earlier, so my little brother had two overprotective mares trying to keep him from getting too adventurous too soon.
No one much bothered me anymore, they knew better, but the little filly Blue was always picked on, and excluded from the filly clique. I guess that when Sugar and I were growing up together we didn’t pay much attention to the other foals, except to put an occasional upstart in their place. I never realized how small Blue was.
Blue, alone as usual, had found a yummy patch of clover not far from where I was grazing. The gang of four—the nasty girls that always made fun of my name—decided they wanted Blue’s patch of clover.
“Scram, midget, you don’t rate sweet clover.”
Outnumbered, Blue started to back off. When she saw me coming at her from behind she froze. Bertha, the ringleader of the pack, was so occupied bullying Blue that she didn’t notice me. She laid back her ears and scrunched up her nostrils making an ugly face at Blue, and then threatening her.
“I told you to get lost, Blue, unless you want a beating!”
I whizzed past the frightened Blue, and took a chunk out of big mouth Bertha’s spotted hide. Then, I whipped around and clocked her with a hind foot for good measure. One of her friends, Lotta, tried a rear attack. I let go with both hind legs and sent her flying off of her feet. The other two gang members were long gone. I laid my ears back and challenged them, “Come on! You want to try again? I am just getting warmed up.” They backed off, and I turned my attention to Blue.
I had never noticed before—probably because she tried to stay out of everyone’s way—but Blue was very pretty with her black coat and white snowflakes. I told her, “Eat your clover, Blue, they won’t be back.”
“Thank you Love! Would you share the patch of sweet clover with me? I am sure there is enough for two.”
After that day, Blue became my new pasture buddy. A few weeks later the gang of four became the gang of three. By the end of the month the humans call June, they had become the gang of two. It was funny…or maybe not…but as their numbers dwindled so did their bullying. Another four weeks passed and a family of humans took Blue with them. I left the farm of my birth a few days after Blue. I wondered if I would ever see my mother and my little brother again, or my friends Sugar and Blue.
I was very reluctant to leave everyone that I knew, and all that was familiar to me. But my new humans were persistent, and spent a lot of time with me. From the beginning it required all their patience to convince me to step into the metal box on wheels. From the safety of my pasture, I’d watched other horses go into the trailer trap, and they all disappeared never to be seen again. I didn’t know where they went, but I didn’t want to disappear like the others. If I held my ground, I thought they might give up and go away.