Horse Story: Annie

Hello! My name is Annie. It could be Betty. Actually, it could have been Siobhan for all I know. But here at Sunshine I am Annie. Annie Of The Floating Trot. Mother Annie. The Mirror of Magic.

I was offered for sale when I was living in Ireland. Fiona saw my advertisement on the internet and she sent it on to Kimberly. I was hiding a little surprise when that photo was taken. Yes, I am young at 6 years old, but I do have a big heart that was looking for a forever home where I would be loved and cared for as I always dreamed I would be.

After much fussing about, I arrived at Sunshine on December 2. It was a horrible night. I had spent the day locked in the blasted horse box with a few other horses. I didn’t have rug and I didn’t have much hay. I had been travelled from hither and yon and across the sea. It was dark and wet and I was exhausted. My arrival had caught Kimberly and the staff on the hop. She had expected me three days later on the 5th. She also didn’t expect me at 9 at night.

I must say that Kimberly didn’t sound too thrilled about me at first. She was quite cross that my passport said my name was Betty not Annie. The Irishman who brought me said that he expected being paid and that if she didn’t take me, then he was tying me to a fence and leaving me. I was so scared that she was going to be mean and just abandon me. But she said she wanted to see me and if I looked like Annie, then she would take me. The man had to unload two other horses, both bone tired, before he could get me. I came off as meek and mild as I could so she would take me and give me and my surprise a home.

Kimberly said she would have to walk me into the light as the road I was unloaded on was black as pitch. As she brought me on to the yard, I could hear him reloading the other horses. Now Kimberly has a man named Andrew. I could tell he knew naught about horses but he was on my side. He held my lead rope and kept telling his wife that I was good horse and keep me. I prayed while Kimberly checked me over as best she could in the scant light she had. She then turned to Driver Man and said she would accept me. I had never been so relieved in my life. She hadn’t seen my surprise.

Now I do suspect that seeing my surprise would have been a bit difficult. I was bedraggled as could be. I had been taken straight from field and loaded on that lorry. My feathers were loaded with mud and my mane hadn’t seen a brush in Lord knows how long. Yet, here she was taking my photo and telling the world that I had arrived. Now while I am being photographed like a fashion model, Kimberly’s boys, Beowulf (isn’t that a lovely name) and Huw (I wonder if that is short for Cúchulainn?), set about tearing a stable for me – emptying out jump wings, and tools, and wood. Kimberly was shouting at them to hurry as weather was going to give me a bath before morning if they didn’t hurry. It look less than a turn in the field and I had a warm, clean bed to call me own. I had a lovely pile of hay and peace and quiet.

The next morning I was greeted by the Yard Man, Simon. Kimberly had been speaking to him last night and I didn’t know what to think. She was sure he was going to be angry. I was worrying again. As it turned out, he is really a rather lovely chappie. He talked to me quietly and gave me some of best food I had had for a while. After breakfast I saw all the residents as they went out to the field. I really wanted to join them, but Simon said I had to stay in until Kimberly and the vet looked me over. I knew now that my surprise was going to be out.

Kimberly came down about an hour later. She spoke to me nicely, but I was so worried that I gave her my “mare face”. I didn’t want her to see my surprise, but she had noticed. She called the vet, Dr Laura, and told her a bit of my sad story. Dr. Laura was out about an hour later.

I was very unsettled when I saw Dr. Laura. I just couldn’t stand still and there was simply no way she was going to get near to nether regions. If I could keep her from looking there, then I knew that Kimberly would not turn me away because of my condition. Dr Laura, I must say, is a very persistent woman however. She did look me over everywhere and there was little I could do so I did throw a foot or two, but she was not to be deterred. Kimberly then asked the thing I dreaded, “Laura, is it possible that Annie is pregnant?”

I stood in shocked fear. She knew.

Dr Laura ran a hand down my side and my belly. She listened to my belly. She poked and prodded. Dr Laura then decided (God Bless Her!) that I had had a foal recently and only just stopped nursing. Now that was true. I had and my body told that story clear as glass. What she didn’t know was there had been lad afterwards. Kimberly accepted Dr Laura’s words and they decided that I was as big as I was because I was out of shape from being both pregnant and out of work. They decided I was to be exercised and some muscle built after I came out of quarantine.

Now I know that some humans like to lie in their bed all day. I know of some fine equines who can stand to be in their stall all day and night, only to come out to race or jump. I, personally, find that type of life to be wasted. I like my freedom – fresh air and green grass. I told Kimberly and Simon the only way I could. I broke out regularly. Now to be honest it was early in the morning when I did it. I did like to say hello to Andrew and he would say hello back. He would then tell Kimberly. Other days I would greet Simon as he came in. Simon would sigh and ask me what I thought I was doing. I thought it was obvious, but then I am Irish.

It was a week short of a month when I was allowed out to the field. It was heaven. I ran and trotted and loved the sun on my back. Then I put my head down and devoured that lovely sweet green grass. The thing that shocked me was when I came back in from the field, I was suddenly in a stable half the size I had previously. I was not impressed and I told them. Next morning I greeted Simon at the gate. He looked a wee bit peeved.

Later that morning I had a real surprise. Kimberly fit me with a saddle and a bridle. I hadn’t worn tack for the better part of 2 years. Oddly, it felt quite lovely. I was taken into the menage where Simon gentle patted me and then slowly mounted. I was calm about this because he had not raged at me for breaking my door that morning. We had a nice walk around the arena and I enjoyed it. I did wonder, however, how long this was going to last as my surprise would be growing every day.

Kimberly, Simon, Beowulf, Huw and lots of the other staff, Miss Fiona included, rode me and exercised me. I could tell I was getting stronger. My back felt good and my legs felt powerful. It had been about 2 months since I last saw Dr Laura when she came back to see me. She was here to give me my second injection for flu. I was pleased to have it because I knew my surprise would benefit from it. Then Kimberly had to ask again. “Laura, we keep working her and she looks like she’s getting fit, but she still getting fat. Are you sure she’s not pregnant?” Again, Dr Laura looked me over and said it was just the process of getting fit from having a foal. Don’t worry and keep working for a top line. I’d been second time lucky.

So I spent the spring getting strong – even had a canter or two, which was actually difficult as my surprise was definitely making things hard. Simon was being lovely but he was bloody insistent about picking my feet. I’d let him do the fronts but there was no way I was letting anyone near the rear. I had too much to protect. The farrier came and I properly scared him off. He said he was not going near me until I had been taught some proper manners.

It was June 9. I knew it was coming. I was very unsettled and walking my box trying to find a way to deal with the pain. I would stop every time someone came close, but Emily caught me a couple of times. I wondered if she’d say anything to Kimberly, but she didn’t. I was led out to my lesson and I really wanted to do it, but half way through I knew I couldn’t. I gently laid down with plenty of time for the rider (such a lovely lad he is too!) could pop off. I rolled over to ease the discomfort and saw Kimberly’s eyes the size of saucers. Apparently I had squired her with milk. Her first words were to call Simon.

They got me up and took my tack off. Kimberly assured the parents watching that I wasn’t pregnant and that she would call the vet. I could tell she wasn’t feeling like she was telling the truth. After the lesson Kimberly came and looked me over. She asked me if I was hiding something, but I couldn’t tell her I had been lying the last 6 months. Kimberly wanted to call the vet out but Simon appealed to her financial reasoning. Kimberly said she would have Dr Laura out first thing in the morning. I’ve never heard her sound so worried and concerned.

It was long hard night. I kept walking and I couldn’t really settle. Kimberly did come down around 9 to have a look at me, but I stood quiet for her. She did promise me a Dr Laura visit in the morning. I did try to wait but at dawn it was just too much. I laid down and gave my secret life. I must confess that I gave birth to biggest baby every.

I will never forget Simon’s face when he came to give me breakfast. He stood there looking for a good minute before he got out his phone. I knew he was calling Kimberly. I was a praying that she would happy for me. Simon slipped in and cleared up my mess and talked nicely to me. Kimberly arrived about 5 minutes later. I tried to hide my girl but I knew I had to show her my secret. Kimberly was shocked at first and then she fell in love. Once I knew she didn’t hate me or blame me for being a bad girl, I let the little one suckle. Kimberly looked so happy and relieved. She then started making some phone calls and taking pictures.

It was like was six month earlier. Beowulf and Huw arrived and were clearing the big stable. Jump wings and poles were used to make a chute to the new stable. The baby began to shiver and Simon put a rug over her. Miss Fiona arrived and so did Dr. Laura, so they decided it was time to move my baby and me to the Big Stable. I was so worried about what they were doing with my child that I could barely walk a line. I had to keep turning to make sure they were doing it right and the child was safe. Would you then believe that they were expecting me to walk into the Big Stable with my baby still behind? Simon gave me a God-Almighty-Pull while telling me to get out of the way for the foal. I walked through the door and my child followed. We were safe in the Big Stable.

Dr Laura looked my child over and said she was fine lass. I was asked by Kimberly if it was agreeable that we name her June Storm. I thought it was grand name since it was June and rain seems to be present at every big change in my life. As the day progressed, lots of members of staff came and told me what a clever girl I was and how beautiful my child was. I felt a bit silly for worrying so much that they would reject me because of my baby.

It has now been 7 months, soon on to 8. June will be is a big as her Pa. She is a lively girl and I do have to say that I am now very happy that she is weaned and living in her own stable next to me. As our doors are next to each other, I can stick my head over and see her when she needs me. We do cuddle when we can in the field and it does make me proud to see her trotting and cantering like a champion. I have heard Beowulf say that he is going to train her to be a champion eventer to which Kimberly says that no weight will be on her until she 4. They care about her as much as I do.

I am just back to work now. Kimberly talks to me and makes sure that I know how much Kimberly values me as a person. I know that I am in my forever home and it makes me happy. June is my last baby ever. I have a future in front of me that many of equine friends would envy. My days and nights, no matter what the weather, are longer stormy, but very safe and secure.