Intro: Irish Red
Love that great, big red horse. ~Candy
In the early days of adolescence all young girls want a horse, and not just any horse. It has to be a certain color, height, and gender. Not any horse will do when it comes to a juvenile girl’s preference. Maybe they prefer a dappled flavor, a jet black, or a roan colored equine. In any case, the horse has to be just right and needs to possess a calm disposition.
Irish Red was the name I gave a tarnished ruddy-colored horse in the summer of ‘83. He had the correct look that appeased me as I stared into his large brown eyes on the sheep farm in Oregon that summer. I could see within his pupils that there was an elevated intelligence never before seen in a colt his age. He was still with his mother and was about to wean when my own mother led him from the small dirt enclosure. After one look, I knew he had to be mine.
I had not seen my mother in over five years. She and my father had left me and my sister with my aunt and uncle so they could “work things out.” That did not happen, and I was glad. She married a new man that shared her passion for animals. Their job was to not only care for the many horses on the sheep ranch, but they fed numerous bunnies, goats, cattle dogs, and a black bull that weighed a ton.
I glanced back at Irish Red’s off-white colored mother as her frantic whinnies called out to her departed son. He responded by strutting before the humans gawking at his fine form. Was he showing off? I thought he was as his tail swished to and fro. The colt’s long legs were perfect for rounding up cattle or sheep, and his half quarter, half Arabian hide revealed strength and endurance, much like the horses galloping over the sands of a faraway place. That was where I thought he belonged, in some exotic time where equines ruled the land.
The young colt frolicked in the pasture with the sheep and pretended he too was a white snowball grazing on the tender strains of grass. It was there that he learned how to romp and play, even though the sheep acted pushed out of shape by his antics. He wanted to be noticed by anyone that would take the time to glance in his direction. One could hardly tell what a ham he was when the colt stumbled and almost fell over a small pebble lying on the hardened earth. His ears suddenly perked forward. This informed every living being that the stone had upset his fine gait.
I found this amusing, but he recovered quickly from the mishap. Every young child endures something embarrassing before a crowd of onlookers, and he would not be the last to pull the short straw. I roamed around him and ran my palm over his smooth, sleek coat. It felt like short angora fur, but without the allergies.
“What do you think?” my mother questioned.
I nodded and said, “I love him.” I could not help but smile in his presence. I sensed many outings with this fellow.