Things are different now.
After the last horse show, MomToo and Auntie Niki acted a lot different. They tried not to worry me about it, but I knew. The last horse show was my last horse show. MomToo kept crying and trying to hide it from me. I could tell, though, when she rode me, how sad she was.
It was okay, really. I like the shows, but I'm tired. My legs are always kind of achy, and I can't stand up as straight and round as I used to. I feel kind of...old.
I heard MomToo and Auntie Niki talk about moving me to a place. At first, I thought they were talking about the Clover Fields, and I didn't think I was ready to die. Then I figured out they were talking about places that have pastures for me to hang out in all day. That sounded good, but I was worried I'd never see them again.
A friend of MomToo's came to visit me. She was a very nice lady, very quiet, and just listened while I talked. I told her to tell MomToo that it was okay to give up showing. It was fun and I know we won some things, but I was too tired to keep doing it. I also told her how much I missed Bubba. He died last year, and he was my only friend.
I asked her, if I went to another place, would I ever see MomToo again, and she said, "Oh, yes, she says she will visit you at least once a week." I felt a lot better.
(Now I have to remember how many times the sun comes up in order to make a human week. I don't count that well.)
After that, I made certain to tell the lady how much I love MomToo and how grateful I am for everything she did for me, from helping me be born to making sure I had good doctors when I broke my leg, to never giving up on me. The lady started crying when she gave MomToo my message.
I didn't mean to do that.
One morning, Auntie Niki and MomToo showed up and put me in the moving box. I didn't have a bath, so I knew I wasn't going to a show. I was in the box for a long time, bouncing along. At last, we stopped, and when I got out, I saw great big pens with horses in them. A lady was there. She showed Auntie Niki where to lead me.
Auntie Niki put me in a pen by myself. It was huge! I walked around, sniffing it, until I found a horse in the pen next to me. He put his head over the fence--I hadn't put my head over a fence since I was a baby. We started to play, running up and down, chasing each other, striking and kicking.
All of a sudden, the lady chased my friend into his barn, and Auntie Niki took me out of that pen. Darn! She put me in the pen with two horses, Joey and Seven. Seven is really old and grumpy. When I tried to touch him with my teeth, he kicked me. Joey kept trying to bite my shoulder, so I bit his leg. I thought that we were playing.
I guess it's been a long time since I played with another horse. Johnny and Tucker and Uncle Snowy weren't that playful when I was a baby. They just wanted me to behave.
Auntie Niki took me out of that pen and put me in with two other horses, Freeze and Briley. I liked these guys. Freeze made me walk to each corner of the pen, while Briley watched. Nobody tried to kick or bite me. At last, we all just stood in the sunshine and rested.
"Relax," Freeze told me. "We live here all the time. We've got forever to be friends."
It was then, standing with my head down and my leg cocked, that I felt like I was home. I wasn't nervous about anything. I still needed to get to know my new friends, but I hadn't had a friend for a long time.
MomToo was nervous. She and Auntie Niki kept looking at me as they walked to the truck. Even as they drove away, I knew they were looking at the pen. I didn't look at them. I was too busy introducing myself to everyone, even the lady. Her name is Miss Linda, and I like her.
So far, MomToo has been visiting me a lot. She brings me treats, and shares them with the others. Freeze and Briley and I have figured out who is in charge, and I can now eat at the feeder with them. I'm still learning my manners--I had forgotten much of what Uncle Snowy taught me.
MomToo says I can live here forever, which is good. She says she'll visit as often as she can, and that I'll always be close in her heart, which is better.
It's still a wonderful life.