'Hot Sand', and My Favourite Riding Horse
This is a piece I wrote in ten minutes at an Uxbridge Writers' Circle meeting. The prompt was a picture of orange umbrellas on a beach (not this photo - I don't have a copy of the one we had at the meeting).
I follow this short, short story with a true article I wrote about Eagle Bullet, the first horse I ever bought. "Anticipation' was part of my entry into a competition run by Professional's Choice in 1995.
I won a prize! I received a box full of horse boots! I still have them. They include 'ice boots': we can pack ice into pockets inside each boot and wrap it around a horse's leg (different shapes and sizes for different parts of the leg).
I use Eagle Bullet's name for the two retired racehorses who live on Meg's farm in the Meg Sheppard Mystery Series: Eagle and Bullet.
The writing isn't the greatest, but I want to share what a special horse Eagle Bullet was. I still miss him.
The heat intensified to the point that it was painful for Joan to walk on the sand in bare feet. She was late. Beads of sweat hovered over her upper lip and lethargy seeped into her muscles as she struggled to put her sandals on.
The sun radiated off the sea, dazzling her as she made her way to the only table which was effectively shaded by an umbrella. Most of the large orange canvas coverings were tilted the wrong way, or broken long ago and no longer attempting to do their work.
He wasn't sitting in his usual seat. Her heart missed a beat as she scanned the other tables, feeling frustrated and growing alarmed. He wasn't there and he was always on time. She was always late.
Her eyes were drawn to the open sea. She feared the worst. He would be at the table as promised unless tragedy had occurred to prevent it. She was absolutely and totally of the belief that her son would never let her down. He must have drowned. He'd insisted on taking the sailboat out and yes, the wind had picked up: an off-shore wind which is more dangerous. And he didn't know the waters well. There were eddies and rocks and sandbanks.
Just as she started to hyperventilate, she heard him laughing; strolling towards her with a beautiful young woman holding his hand.
This is the best photo I could find without doing an intensive search!! Eagle Bullet is the paint on the right of course!
This is my article:
I had no idea what I was doing. I had never bought a horse before. I saw a sign at the side of the road which simply said 'horse for sale', and plucked up the courage to investigate. The horse was a registered paint called Eagle Bullet. Through sheer luck I bought a wonderful friend.
Fortunately, he forgave my ignorance and overlooked my mistakes. He was probably amused by some of my antics in the early days. For example, I had no idea that a bridle came in bits when you bought one. I didn't know what should be attached to what. Consequently, I took a book and the bridle pieces down to the barn, putting it together with Eagle Bullet thinking "we've got a right one here!".
The only drawback I discovered was Eagle Bullet's over-eagerness to please. He sometimes anticipated what I wanted him to do rather than waiting for my signal. One day we galloped along the edge of a forest and turned into a path which split the forest in half, still galloping. Next time I decided that we should gallop past the turn, continuing straight on. Well, I went straight on, but Eagle Bullet decided I'd want to turn down the path. I crashed to the ground much to Eagle Bullet's amazement - he stood looking down at me. My glasses had broken and I rode home without seeing much of anything.
At this time, our children were young and needed supervising when they went for a bike ride. Eagle Bullet and I would follow behind. Eagle Bullet soon figured out that we were supposed to keep close behind the children. If I wasn't paying attention, he would suddenly start to trot when too much distance had grown between us, and would stop just as abruptly when we'd caught up to his satisfaction. He seemed eager to go into automatic pilot mode, assuming that's what I expected.
In the winter I made a make-shift harness out of feed bags and nylon rope. Then I would ride Eagle Bullet pulling sleds, and later, various people on skis, around the field at a flat-out gallop. He loved to gallop in the fresh snow. Winter did present some challenges though. On one occasion, we came across a large snowdrift as we were galloping down a path. We suddenly came to a halt, and I very nearly tumbled off. Eagle Bullet was marooned on top of the drift, his feet above ground level. I wasn't quite sure what to do at first, but I grabbed his mane and Eagle Bullet made a tremendous leap, lurching to safety.
Not long after I bought him, we were galloping up a steep hill when, for some reason, I lost a stirrup. Eagle felt my unsteadiness in the saddle and slowed to a walk. The automatic pilot came to my rescue!
I forgave his anticipation, and he forgave my faults. Eagle Bullet was a trusty friend and a filled a special spot at our farm. We still miss him.
Vicky Earle Copyright 2022