From Apache With Love

My name is Apache.
At least now it is. The humans that feed me call me that and I like the way it sounds when they say it.
They also say I’m ‘a paint’ and I suppose that means something, to them. To me, I’m just the color I’ve always been.
Let me just tell you about the year I’ve had though… I think it’s a year, it certainly felt like longer.
Colorado ~ Fabrizius ‘Kill Pen’ 
My  new life began in darkness. 
I had no idea why I was in this place….. but I certainly was not alone. Hundreds of others….. 
 It was crowded there…. too many milling around me . Old, young, sick, healthy…
Afraid. 
People came and looked us over, without much kindness at all. More like we were a terrible inconvenience. 
They tied me to a fence  and took photos. I guess to show people so maybe…just maybe… they would want to buy me and now , looking back, I am glad. 

This place…. was overwhelming. Too loud, too cold, too dark. They call it ‘the lot’. ‘The kill pen’. Such cold words to hear, really…
We may not be ‘killed’ here, in this place, but there is a stifling air of fear and death. 
So many of my brothers, sisters…other horses…. Terrified, and the stories from those
who had been through this before, what they had seen…well that was enough to make any of us feel hopeless.
We may not be ‘killed’ here, in this place, but there is a stifling air of fear and death. 
So many of my brothers, sisters…other horses…. Terrified, and the stories from those
who had been through this before, what they had seen…well that was enough to make any of us feel hopeless.
The only thing to really think about in a place like that, so full of fear and death is what used to be. ..
So I recalled lazing in the sun as a foal, watching my mother , so serene, through half closed eyelids. Warm, safe, comfortable.
The sound of her cropping the green grass while I napped, and how she would show me to do the same.
Her soft nicker each morning when I woke. Nuzzles were great , too, by the way, don’t let any horse tell you differently.

They say if you are lucky, a better human than the ones here, and before, would help you. I don’t know how they choose, for they do not know we are here, sometimes.
I don’t know what they look for. I hear things like ‘how tall is he?’
‘Does she have papers’? Can you ride him ? Her? ‘
How do we tell them? They are not allowed to come look at us in person. Maybe things would be different if they could.
So we stand here, hoping something better is waiting. We watch so many get on the big truck and disappear. . . 
We hope we aren’t next, but also …. I would have taken the place of the young ones who went. What a terribly short life to live….And why? 
I have heard what happens….the horrible trip in a loud vehicle, crammed full of scared, scarred, horses carrying them closer to a terrible death. . . 
Horses just like me.
I am what they call fortunate. I was seen, and helped. I guess she didn’t need to know my whole story to help me.
Days passed and I  was sorted off from the others who weren’t as lucky and I waited for what came next.
A nice lady came, and put a halter on me. Honestly, I didn’t really need one, I’d have followed that voice anywhere that day.
She loaded me in a big red trailer, with three others. Rambunctious little ones, at that, but they were amusing.
After some time, and many ‘Are we there yet’? from the youngsters, I felt a big jolt and sudden stop….
Apparently, from what I could hear, we’d been in a wreck. Not much I could do but sit here , really.
It did cross my mind maybe she wanted the hell out of that place as much as I did and got a bit of a lead foot. . . I can’t say I blame her but dang, lady! And to anyone bumper riding a trailer full of rescue horses…Excuse you!!! I could not make rude human hand gestures, but I was thinking it. 
So…instead of going to our new place, in Texas,we first went on yet another adventure.
This place was nice!!! The woman laughed when she saw me and said now how did YOU land yourself in a kill pen?
I didn’t really have an answer for that….
She had a vet come out and look me over, just to be safe. She fed me, pet me and told me soon I could go to Texas. I’ve heard about Texas…they say it’s different there. I hoped so. 
I was excited!( Fine, I was a little nervous, too. )
I enjoyed my time with her. They called her Bini. I just called her kind.
The same woman came back for me. I was ready!! This time I lucked out. . . I got to ride with three girls. I’ll say, they were all gorgeous.
They’d come from the same place I had! We had much to talk about on the long ride to the next place..
We arrived on a warm sunny day in this  ‘Texas’.
Still a little nervous, for who knew what lay ahead….I looked through the trailer window and saw …
GREEN! Green grass, as far as I could see. Horses standing at fences looking curiously at us. . .
But they seemed happy, and unbothered, and their air of just mild curiosity put me at ease. All of us, actually.
The big door opened, and we all hopped out. God it felt good to stretch out legs, feel the sun on our backs .
Yet another woman watched us hop out, and smiled. ‘They’re all okay’.
Yes, we were.
I stayed there, for a while, with her. She fed me, told me my mane was pretty ( do humans care about these things that much? Though, admittedly, she is right. Even I see it, compared to some hairdos I’ve seen on my fellow horses )
She fed me delicious stuff, though , I hadn’t really ever had this ‘grain’ stuff before….
I’ve grown to quite like it! And this delicious hay…. so sweet and warm, is my favorite.
Eventually yet one more human came, and I eyeballed the trailer they were backing up. This one was nice, too!
A young man, very soft spoken, but strong. He pet me, and asked me to hop in. I did.
So did three others.
The ride this time was not that long, and me, I can always find something to talk about so that helps.
Soon I heard other horses outside, and we rolled to a stop. They whinnied, so I figured I’d you know, announce myself, too. So I tore the air with a loud response…. and more of them whinnied back! They sounded happy…. it lifted all of our spirits. 

Oh MAN! This new place he took me ?NOW I was getting excited about this whole life thing.
Sure, I had many miles under these hooves at this point but one look at the girl who was waiting for us…
She made it ALL worth it. See, my mother used to tell me’ Most of them aren’t bad, but some …well. It’s those that these others make up for. I’ve asked God , the heavens, and the universe to protect you. You will be okay….always. Keep faith, even when those around you have lost it. ‘
She was right.
This girl…. so young, so incredibly patient and kind with me. . .
She was one of those my mother told me about.
I like to see her smile, so at times, I still spit my grain out when she brings it. Hah!
But the hay she keeps in front of us is wonderful. It is so peaceful here… and so full of hope. There are so many that went through what I did!
Mares, stallions, babies! I can tell them my story, too , and they relate.
They call us ‘rescues’…and I can see why….but they also see us individually, as lives. As horses.
As equals. 
Here, we are not only taken care of and allowed to be who we are…. it is encouraged.
She braids my mane, often. It feels nice to have her talk softly to me, and comb through it. If she tries to put bows in it I’ll  be terribly put off but for her , I’d allow it.
She brings me grain and treats…I don’t mind that at all. It makes her smile and that, I love.
She is so busy, they all are…but never so much that she doesn’t tell me I am handsome, and loved.
I believe her.
Maybe I’ll buck when she puts that saddle on me, I haven’t made up my mind. Seems almost a shame to do that to her…
Then again maybe she’ll laugh , and I do love to hear that.
We all do.  
I have no fear, anymore, though that took some time. I have no doubt now, that my mother was right…
I will be okay.
More than, actually.
My plea is this….
Take a chance on us. We may be rough, scared, ‘unreliable’ and unknown…
But… we want to try.

~ Apache

Written by ~ Randi L. Collier 
December 13th 2018

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