| Fall arrived. The dry, brittle, grass had long since lost its nutritional value. Mom reluctantly adjusted to the idea that she must start graining the horses. |
Nose pressed to the windowpane, I watched the familiar scene unfold. With bucket in hand, Mom ducked under the fence to feed the horses. She spread the pans to cut down on the kicking and biting that occurred during feed time. Black Hawk, the unpredictable gelding, was herd boss and wanted to make certain Mom and the other horses knew it.
Taking apple flavored treats did not appease him. The moment Mom crossed from one side of the fence to the other, he charged. Sheer terror in her voice, she let out a blood-curdling scream, "Get Baaaack!!!" Feed bucket flying in air, she raced for the nearest tree... Black Hawk in hot pursuit. The two of them circled the tree until he finally tired of the game. Nickering, he trotted off towards the scattered feed.
Taking advantage of the moment, Mom rushed to the fence, diving under the bottom rail. She then got up and brushed herself off. As if she somehow knew I was watching, she looked up toward my bedroom window. I knew I shouldn’t laugh. In haste, I backed out of view knowing full well I had been caught. Unable to control myself any longer, I laughed … tears streaming down my cheeks.
Mom slipped quietly into my room, ” Since you seem to find all of this so funny, ( I jumped at the sudden sound of her voice,) perhaps you would like to do the feeding,” she said. Turning her back to me, she walked out of the room leaving me with my mouth agape and speechless.
I longed to gain Black Hawk’s trust. We seemed to make a connection from the first day I fed. Mom watched from the doorway fidgeting nervously, but sensed there was something different about his body language as I neared the pasture.
Nostrils flared with anticipation, he nickered. I returned a response by shaking the bucket. Cautiously, I reached out to stroke his long sleek neck. After allowing him a few moments to adjust to my scent and touch, I climbed under the fence. Grabbing the bucket, I walked cautiously to the feed pans. Once filled, I moved to the infamous tree, sitting quietly as he ate. A deep bond was growing between the two of us.
I spent many hours grooming, feeding and pasture riding my horse. He had such a big heart and will to please, doing anything I asked of him. Dad often said that the horse just happened to be a one person horse. I think he sensed Mom's fear of him and simply took advantage of her. I don't believe he ever would have hurt her. It was simply a game of chase!
Winter soon ushered in spring. I found myself falling in love with this wonderfully spirited black gelding named, Black Hawk. I learned the meaning of loving and caring through this exquisite animal. Black Hawk taught me much about unconditional love… a love that began with simple trust, grew into a passionate love between horse and rider.
I’ve had many loves in my life. Perhaps it was the challenge, or just a young girl’s desire to feel needed. Other than the love for my Heavenly Father, I guess Black Hawk will always be remembered as my first love.
© 2006 Marie Williams