Home' The Horse Magazine : November 2016 Contents 120 FROM THE ARCHIVES
The big racehorse transport rolled up the drive and
just before he was stabled for the night, Lightening
was let out into the paddock for a stroll. The chestnut
racehorse trudged dejectedly down to stand under the
willows and drink from the stream that meandered through
the gully. The other horses were shocked by how tired
the mighty racehorse looked. His usual shining coat was
covered with dry sweat and his eyes had lost their sparkle.
Lightening was nearly crying.
“It was terrible,” he said. “I tried so hard to run my fastest
but I just didn’t seem able to. The jockey’s saddle was so
bad. It cut into my wither until it bled, and every time I tried
to take a longer stride it cut deeper. Then, when the other
horses ran past, my jockey became angry and pounded my
sides with the whip. I tried to run faster to catch the others
but they just seemed to run further away. When I looked
like getting a little closer in the straight, my jockey hit me
even harder with the whip. Lightening sobbed a little as he
recalled how bad the pain had been. The other horses felt
terribly sorry for him - he had always been a very highly
strung and sensitive thoroughbred.
“I failed to win the race,” cried Lightening. “I tried but my
efforts weren’t good enough and a faster horse won. My
owners hardly spoke to me, and the jockey called me ‘the
slowest thing on four legs’, and the media just ignored me. I
feel my heart is broken.
What is the use of running your fastest and still getting
beaten with the whip.”
The others were silent. They couldn’t answer Lightening’s
question. They all thought it was a terrible crime.
Lightening finished talking as Papillion’s float came off
the highway. All the horses hoped that Papillion had had a
better day at the One Day Event. But when they saw how
lame he was as he hobbled down the hill, they knew he had
fared no better. Poor Papillion. He could barely support any
weight on his near foreleg. The knee was covered in layers of
bandages, and Papillion’s eyes looked glazed from the pain.
“Oooh it was terrible,” he moaned, after he had drunk from
the stream. “My knee hurts so much.”
“What happened?” asked Dots, when it looked as though
Papillion was going to spend the whole time complaining
about the pain, and never get to the story.
“I did so well in the first part of the competition,” he
sighed. “I won the dressage easily, and had a good lead going
into the cross country. I knew that I was jumping well too.
Karen was riding me quietly and I was flying over the fences,
the way I love to fly. But then at the water... I just couldn’t
Papillion stopped for a moment and looked at his knee
with a confused expression.
“I jumped in well, but when we landed my hooves sunk
deeper and deeper into the clay. I felt like I was going to fall
over - it was very frightening. I tried to stay on my feet, and
Karen sat very well. It was difficult and I needed a few strides
to regain my balance. Then, just when I got my balance,
there was another jump in front of me. I didn’t know what to
close in, and I just couldn’t get my knee up quickly enough,”
Papillion paused dramatically, “I got caught on the timber
and somersaulted over.”
The other horses shuddered. It sounded like a bad fall.
“I tried not to fall on Karen,” Papillion continued, “I flipped
over and landed on my back to avoid her. I bruised my side a
little, but my knee was the worst part. It hurt terribly. When
I first stood up it ached so much that I couldn’t put my foot to
the ground. I heard the jump steward say that I had broken
it, and they would have to shoot me!”
Papillion looked faint at the thought, and all the other
horses were relieved that the leg had not been broken.
“Then a good Vet came and looked after me. He examined
my leg and said that the bones were alright but it was very
badly bruised. He gave me some painkillers that helped a
little, although they have given me a belly ache.”
Masterpiece nodded in sympathy. His stomach still ached
from the oil he had been fed to make his coat shine better.
For all the horses it had been a sad say... except for Dots. At
five minutes to four, he excused himself from the group and
walked up the hill to wait by the gate. He knew that Pauline
would come to see him at four o’clock and he always liked to
wait for her.
Pauline came to see him every day and Dots looked
forward to her visits. Pauline was eleven and she loved Dots
enormously. She brought him a carrot every day, and led him
over to the tack shed to groom him. Dots adored standing in
the shade of the dilapidated building and listening to Pauline
sing him a song or hum him a tune while she brushed him.
Dots knew he wasn’t as beautiful as Countess, or as fast
as Lightening, or as clever as Papillion. He wasn’t a pretty
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