/NMP/ A horse story

By Appreciationproject on 23rd October 2020 02:44:30 PM

  1. >Steely sky.
  2. >Soft dirt.
  3. >Manure mixed with a straw and a grass.
  4. >You walk through the row of corrals.
  5. >Battered wooden posts and beams., worn out by the teeth and worms.
  6. >Dull, indifferent eyes.
  7. >Sadness.
  8. >There's too late to do anything here.
  9. >Oh well...
  10. >And yet you need to choose.
  11. >Suddenly!
  12. >A twirl of chestnut! A sway of dark! A head held high!
  13. >And the eyes full of life, full of emotion.
  14. >Full of flaming hatred.
  15. >You stand there, leaning on the railing.
  16. > You let out a long whistle, admiring the beauty.
  17. "Is she new?"
  18. >"No, Anon. Don't even try! Absolutely not!"
  19. "Why  not, uncle Vova? Is she belongs to somebody else important?"
  20. >"You know that trainer from that other club? They took her to the ambulance with a broken leg and a few cracked ribs."
  21. "Ha! Stupid roastie's got what she deserved."
  22. >"Seriously, I don't know what to do with her. She's fucking untamable. And you are a proper guy Anon. I don't want any harm going your way."
  23. "I'll try."
  24. >The boarding stable owner huffs.
  25. >"You'll pay the doctors yourself. "
  26. "What's her name?"
  27. >"Roza."
  28. ***
  29. >She stands tied to a short rope going to her halter.
  30. >It took a bit to catch her. And even longer to make her take a bridle.
  31. >Stable owner did it himself, not letting you.
  32. >You put a blanket on her back.
  33. >She lashes you with her tail. It hurts, but whatever.
  34. >You put the saddle on and adjust the girth.
  35. >She inhales, preventing you from tighten it enough.
  36. "Roza, believe me I've read Dumas and even Gone with the Wind. This isn't as bad as good old corsets."
  37. >She pins her ears and tries to bite, the rope won't allow her.
  38. >But the effort makes her deflate and you tighten the girth.
  39. >As always you start to feel bad about yourself.
  40. >You slowly adjust the stirrups, thinking.
  41. >You don't want this beauty to do all this shit. In fact, you don't want any of them to. And yet you must.
  42. >Is it a love if it makes one to do the twisted things?
  43. >In one fluid motion you get into the saddle and take the reins.
  44. >The owner unhitches her.
  45. >You urge her forward, touching her sides with your calves.
  46. "Walk!"
  47. >She stands still, sensing your remorse.
  48. "Walk!!"
  49. >You urge harder. She breaks into trot.
  50. >Oh, well.
  51. >You adjust your movements with hers, trying to move in agreement. Especially your arms.
  52. >You are so careful to synchronize them with her head to not to irritate the mouth more than necessary, that you miss her tensing.
  53. >She bucks. Hard.
  54. >But you mange to catch on two handfuls of her mane and remain on her back, pulling her head up.
  55. >Good thing she didn't decide to stop on her tracks, though.
  56. >You drop the stirrups and hug her sides tightly. The momentum will turn the stirrups into a fucking trampoline.
  57. >She's trying to rear up. You abruptly transfer your weight forward making her front legs to fall back on the ground.
  58. "Easy, girl!"
  59. >She stands still, huffing. You gently urge her forward again.
  60. "Walk." This time you say it in a firm, yet calm and even somewhat respectful tone.
  61. >She obeys reluctantly.
  62. >You still paying a great attention to not to irritate her mouth.
  63. >Her ears go from pinned to confused. Then she rotates them back, in your direction.
  64. >It seems you've puzzled her.
  65. >You make a few circles around the arena, not changing the gait.
  66. >So far so good.
  67. >But you're starting to feel her tense once again.
  68. >You make another half-circle and then, seemingly out of the blue, ride to the starting point and dismount.
  69. >This is the thin edge. At this point it would allow to end the session saving both, yours and hers, dignity.
  70. >You pull a rusk of rye bread out of your pocket and hold out for her.
  71. >Her ears express surprise. She sniffs your open palm, than takes the bread.
  72. >You gently caress her shoulder. Earlier, you saw how she recoils from a hand near her head.
  73. "Thank you for the ride, beautiful."
  74. >You lead her to the railing, hitch her up and unsaddle her.
  75. >"Well, that went much more smooth than that other time." The stable owner seems impressed.
  76. "As I said, stupid roastie's got what she's worked hard for."
  77. >"Are you sure you don't want to work for me on a regular basis?"
  78. "Sorry, I have the other job, you know."
  79. >Yeah, sure. You are just a coward who doesn't trust himself enough to not become a professional tormentor like many others.
  80. >"Ok, Anon. Train with her. Maybe something worthy would come out of it."
  81. >The stable owner smiles, flashing his set of golden teeth. That damned charming mobster.
  82. >The mare gives you a long gaze. No hatred now, just displeasure and some interest.
  83. >You make an effort not to look back. You are no God. You can do only so much and only for so few.
  84. ***
  85. >You open the gate leading into your yard.
  86. >Pet the guard dog. Check his bowl.
  87. >Enter the house. Kindle the flame in the furnace. Put the kettle up to boil. Turn on the router.
  88. >Make the tea in a 0,7L metal mug.
  89. >Sit in the armchair, have a cat immediately lay onto your lap.
  90. >Take your android-based tablet.
  91. >"I used to wonder what friendship could be.
  92. >"Until you all shared its magic with me."
  93. >You sip the tea, marveling at the purple unicorn and her treebrary.
  94. >You are Anon. Agricultural worker. Rider. A man that has dealings with the mobsters.
  95. >A man who loves My Little Pony.
  96. >Slavlands are full of splendor.
  97. >The tea and favourite show make you relaxed.
  98. >You begin to meditate, recollecting the events of the day.
  99. >And realize that you cannot think of anything other than the fiery eyes of the muscular chestnut beauty full of soul.
  100. ***
  101. >You are standing in the center of arena.
  102. >Long sturdy cord is in your left hand and a whip is in the right.
  103. "Good, keep going!"
  104. >Roza squints her eye to your side.
  105. >She is galloping around you, cord attached to the snaffle in her mouth.
  106. >She's saddled up, to learn how to properly breath under the strain, when the girth is fastened.
  107. >You are moving in the N-like pattern to avoid spinning in one place, following her motions with extended whip.
  108. "Good, now trot! Trot!" you are pulling cord slightly and lowering the whip.
  109. >Roza tries to walk instead but you swing the whip, cracking it against your own leather jacket-clad back.
  110. "Trot!"
  111. >She swings her head in irritation, but goes trotting.
  112. >You are watching her legs closely, to be sure that her gait is right.
  113. >Or at least you try to, as your eyes involuntary wanders along her lean but nevertheless curvaceous frame.
  114. >Her coat's glistening with sweat in a rays of morning sun. Her muscles flexing with each motion. Her hooves pound the ground with a trenchant and powerful strikes creating fierce fountains of dust.
  115. >You can't help but be enchanted by her.
  116. ’Would Applejack look like that if she was real?’ you wonder.
  117. >Phone vibrates in your chest pocket, indicating that another ten minutes have passed.
  118. "Walk." you ditch the whip altogether.
  119. >Roza trots for some time but eventually slows.
  120. >It is a necessary part of an exercise, to normalize her breathing, temperature and heartbeat.
  121. >You reel the cord, approaching her. Then unstrap it and throw near the whip. But instead of hopping into the saddle you take her carefully by the reins and begin to walk alongside her.
  122. >You should've been doing this part in the saddle but you decide to not to.
  123. >You prefer to stay on the ground along with her. It somehow makes you feel more equal to her. Closer.
  124. >She breathes heavily right next to your ear and give you looks. You too look into her eyes and smile.
  126. >After 6000 years of domestication horses understand human mimics perfectly. Despite what some (primarily Western) idiots say.
  127. >That's what your teacher, an old cavalryman, taught you. And his words haven't been proven wrong yet.
  128. >It's a spring, so the air is still fresh. And there is still rather few of the flying blood-drinking bastards who would turn any training into a fucking Starcraft warzone.
  129. >You basically bathe in the heat of her overworked body, in the spicy, but not unpleasant smell of her sweat.
  130. >The phone vibrates again, but you take a few minutes extra.
  131. >You feed her rusk of rye bread while caressing her shoulder, as you always do for a reward. Then lead her out of the arena, to the hitching spot.
  132. >You take off the saddle and blanket, take the bridle out of her mouth leaving her only in halter.
  133. >Collect the sweat from her coat with a piece of wood and take a piece of clean cloth from the pocket and begin to rub her all over.
  134. >Roza pins her ears but doesn't snap immediately.
  135. >She knows already that your hands are careful and gentle.
  136. "It's OK, my precious. It's needed for you to stay healthy and beautiful as you are."
  137. >You say it in a sweet tone one would've used when talking to one's girlfriend.
  138. >Her ears move from a frown to just listening.
  139. >You stop for a moment, then look around to make sure there's nobody in a vicinity.
  140. >And plant your face straight into her mane, taking a deep whiff.
  141. >It's a guilty pleasure that you have discovered during your first trainings with Roza.
  142. >She smells like hay, like a fresh straw, like a warm spring day. It's a spicy, alluring fragrance of life, of health, of power.
  143. >That's a splendor no amount of perfume could ever hope to imitate.
  144. >She rotates her ears and then bends her neck and carefully sniffs yours. You hug her slightly.
  145. >Look in her eyes become confused. Then, tentatively, she brushes your neck with her upper lip.
  148. >You're smiling like an idiot, hiding your face in her mane. Looks like you aren't an enemy anymore.
  149. ***
  150. >Roza stands in her stall, munching on hay you gave her. You look at the clock on your phone, to know when it will be alright to give her water as well.
  151. >You lean onto the gate, admiring her in a meantime.
  152. >After a training there should be at least an hour before she could drink safely. Then you'll give her water and go tend to the other daily business of yours.
  153. >But...
  154. >But you do not want to be the person who just rides her, makes her run and then fucks off.
  155. >Something makes you want to prove her that you are different. That you are dependable and capable...
  156. "Uncle Vova, can I come to take care of her stall and feed her on a regular basis?"
  157. >Uncle Vova, esteemed local mobster and the owner of this stable, sits on a porch, sharpening the blade of scythe.
  158. >He raises his head and looks at you with a small amount of surprise.
  159. "It will help me to develop better bond with her. To enhance the training."
  160. >He smiles at you, stretching the scar that runs across his rugged face.
  161. >"Alright, Anon. But I'm not gonna pay you for this."
  162. >You both laugh.
  164. ***
  165. >There is a beautiful spring morning.
  166. >The air is fresh and a bit chilly.
  167. >Your shoes are wet from the morning dew.
  168. >The golden disk of the sun is soaring in the sky just above the horizon.
  169. >If only it was the Princess who raised it!
  170. >Long time ago Slavs also worshiped the sun.
  171. >You wish you had a time machine, to go back to the past and introduce your ancestors to the idea of the immortal Sun Princess.
  172. >Might have changed a lot of things. Either for good or for worse.
  173. >You go past the guardhouse and a lifting barrier that marks the enter to the stables.
  174. >Guard, clad in camo suit, sits in front of the dirty computer screen.
  175. >He isn’t tall, but very stocky and powerfully built. Like some DnD dwarf.
  176. >This is Igor. One of Uncle Vova's men. He served in naval infantry.
  177. >People usually are afraid of him. And for a good reason.
  178. "Good morning." you say through the window.
  179. >He raises his piercing gray eyes from the screen and looks at you, without blinking. Then bows his head slightly.
  180. >"Good morning, Anon." he answers in calm, polite tone.
  181. >He knows you are on good terms with his boss.
  182. >But he also has a bit of a personal respect for you, for dealing with large and powerful animals.
  183. >"I opened the doors already."
  184. "Thank you, Igor!"
  185. >"No problem." he returns his attention to the screen.
  186. >You go further and enter one of the buildings.
  187. >Horses here know you and many are nickering softly, acknowledging your presence.
  188. "Hello, comrades!" you greet them.
  189. >After changing into the work clothes you approach Roza's stall.
  190. >She looks surprised and reaches with her nose to sniff you.
  191. >Instead of petting her head you stick out yours and make it look like you also want to sniff her.
  192. >She carefully brings her snout to your face.
  193. >Your noses are touching.
  196. >Her breath is hot, humid with a slight hay undertones.
  197. >You both stand for a bit, exchanging breath.
  198. >Of course, she can tell much more about you by inhaling your breath than you can ever hope to learn yourself by inhaling hers.
  199. >But although you are merely imitating the social gesture, the very feeling of this is somehow quite pleasing.
  200. >She learns what she needs and withdraws her head.
  201. "Good morning, beautiful." you say to her, opening the stall.
  202. >She moves away a bit, observing you with curiosity.
  203. >You take the 20 L plastic bucket from the floor and go to the faucet.
  204. >Wash it till it becomes pristine clean and fill it to the brim.
  205. >Go back and present it to her on extended arms instead just putting it on the floor.
  206. >She sniffs the water, then strikes it with her muzzle bathing you in the splashes and only after that begins to drink.
  207. >She drains the whole 20 L in one go.
  208. >Then you get her a few pitchforks of hay and throughly clean her stall while she has her breakfast.
  209. >At first you are a bit tense.
  210. >Although she trains with you every day and got accustomed to you pretty well, it's still a risk and, honestly, prohibited by the safety regulations.
  211. >But in the Motherland no one gives a shit about regulations since the times immemorial anyway.
  212. >And besides, you want to know.
  213. >She lets you clean and change the bedding without bating an eye. And apparently she isn't protective of her food in your presence.
  214. >It's somewhat heartwarming. You two are in the same room, doing your business and being absolutely relaxed with each other.
  215. >You finish cleaning rather quick, but just stand here and wait patiently till she finishes eating.
  216. >You take her grooming utensils and put them in your pockets.
  217. >Then you take her halter from the hook.
  218. >It's a first time you would do this. To try and put it on when she's unhitched and completely free.
  219. >Other times she was already geared up, when you was taking her for training.
  221. "Hey, beautiful! Let's have you wear this."
  222. >She looks at you. Ears aren't pinned yet.
  223. >You stay at her left side and slowly raise your hand to hug her head.
  224. >And again you feel warm feeling when she doesn't recoil.
  225. >After attaching the lead you open the stall and go out. She walks after you staying at your side, never  straining the lead.
  226. >Other horses give two of you looks. Some begin to bash the door of their stall.
  227. >You curse yourself internally for arriving to early, before the other stable hands.
  228. >You wanted to have some uninterrupted interaction with Roza. But other horses don't understand why somebody's come and haven't done anything for them as well.
  229. >You frown.
  230. >Favoritism, a selfish affection in your heart won over the altruistic one, directed at all the equines.
  231. >Such is life. Such is human nature.
  232. >Or is it?
  233. >Can the kindness, can the love really be shared among many? Could it be truly in the essence of the first to be very narrowly directed and the second to be always egocentric?
  234. >You walk slowly as your face becomes grim.
  235. >Roza's ears show sudden attention, rotating to you. She sniffs your face. You answer wordlessly by nuzzling her.
  236. 'You are a grown up man, Anon. You shouldn't be like an excitable idiot school kid.'
  237. >You think for yourself, and decide to be much more punctual from now on.
  238. >Least you can do is to not needlessly irritate those, who you don't have time to take care of.
  239. >Heading to a paddock, a fresh spring grass that sprouts among the cracked concrete path catches your eye.
  240. >It makes you remember something. Why the fuck is Roza always in the paddock, when other horses from time to time get to graze on a meadow while hitched to a long rope?
  241. >You let her in a paddock and hitch to the railing's pillar.
  242. >Take out the hoofpick and press your side to hers, slowly caressing her foreleg.
  245. "OK, my little sun. Gimme the leg!"
  246. >She bents her knee and puts her large hoof in your palm.
  247. >You pick it, keeping attention for any rocks, broken glass, metal things and whatnot that can injure the hoof.
  248. >Hind hooves are a bit trickier, because you put her thigh onto yours. If you'll take to much time, she'll become tired to stand on three legs.
  249. >And will put her weight on you.
  250. >Having finished with hooves you take the currycomb and begin to groom her.
  251. >She seems to like it. You know that the other guys complained about constant bites.
  252. >When you clean her withers and shoulder, she slowly bends her neck. And then you feel her teeth softly scratching your shoulder through the leather jacket.
  253. >You smile.
  254. >You should've stopped her but you don't want to.
  255. >After the comb comes the brush. You gently clean the warm velvet of her coat, humming a tune. One of the songs by Kino band.
  256. >She grunts softly, when you hit an especially scratchy spot.
  257. >You also comb her mane and tail, carefully parting the entangled strands.
  258. >You know the first thing she'll do when you'll set her free, but you love to groom horses anyway so you don't usually care.
  259. >And yet, you feel some strange, ephemeral desire for her to always stay perfect and spotless.
  260. >But you stomp it. She should be herself. Be a horse and not some mannequin in a showcase.
  262. >You finish the grooming session and unhitch her.
  263. >Roza strolls past you looking right and left and then instead of rolling begins to prance and run around the paddock.
  264. >You lean against the railing, admiring her.
  265. >How she throws her head, making her mane lash around.
  266. >Flexing of her muscles.
  267. >Raised dark tail, that flies like a banner.
  268. >Her exuberance, that raw and uninhibited show of emotions.
  269. >Suddenly she stops, turns to you, stomps the ground with her foreleg and lets out a whinny.
  270. >You raise your eyebrow.
  271. >Her ears and eyes are focused on you. She calls again.
  272. "What is it, kitty?"
  273. >Your mother tongue is ripe with a lots of endearing terms to call a female. And you always make an extensive use of them when talking with mares.
  274. >It feels natural. Just like calling stallions buddy, lad, dude and talking to them in a generally manly manner.
  275. >She trots to you than stops half way, makes a sharp pivot and runs back.
  276. >Stops again and looks at you expectantly.
  277. 'Could it be...?'
  278. >You let go of railing and begin to jog towards her.
  279. >She grunts approvingly and bolts ahead. Then she begins to run around the paddock in circles.
  280. >You follow, taking the narrower inner radius so you can keep up with her and have a plenty of distance from her hind legs.
  281. >Excited horse may buck out of sheer merriment.
  282. >You run, going faster and faster but not feeling the strain, invigorated by the irrational joy.
  283. >She wanted to do something together with you! By her own will, unprompted!
  284. >Pillars of sunlight shine through the cloud of dust, raised by both of you.
  286. ***
  287. >You are squatting near the pile of firewood and making a pyramid out of it, between two large bricks.
  288. >The match lits up with a soft rustle after a single strike.
  289. >Moment, and fire starts to devour crumpled cardboard, raising higher and higher, licking firewood.
  290. >You take a large bunch of walnut leaves and put them into an old and grimy cooking pot. Then uncork two 1,5 L bottles of vinegar and pour there as well.
  291. >The pot goes onto the fire. You stir firewood with a stick, while the hellish mix starting to simmer.
  292. >It's an early summer.
  293. >Which mean swarms of zerg and tyranids flying around.
  294. >Making both training and leisure for horses very problematic.
  295. >But repellents are causing allergy and are a shitty Western scam anyway.
  296. >Therefore you are cooking walnut leaves in the vinegar.
  297. >It's a known remedy, described by prince Urusov in the Book of Horse 130 years ago.
  298. >You make it simmer for a half an hour till the mix becomes dark brown and leave it to cool off.
  299. >Then you  pour it off into the glass jar, take a clean rug and head off to the paddock.
  300. >Roza distracts herself from trimming the poor ash tree and turns her head at your direction.
  301. >She neighs, acknowledging your presence.
  302. >After almost two months of constant communication it seems you've been promoted from an ordinary "leather bastard" to a someone who can be a pleasant company.
  303. >After getting through the fence you approach her. She reaches with her nose and bumps you in the shoulder.
  304. >You grab her by the halter but she likes it better near the tree and doesn't budge.
  305. "Come on, sweetie. It's gonna be something good, I promise."
  308. >Roza hesitates for a moment but complies. She knows based on her experience that you can provide many pleasant things.
  309. >You hitch her to the fence, dip the rug into the jar and start to gently smear her coat in walnut broth.
  310. >At first she recoils from a vinegar aroma. She snorts and stomps her front hoof.
  311. "It's OK, gorgeous. Look."
  312. >You take the rug and rub your face with it.
  313. "See? Nothing bad."
  314. >She grumbles, but accepts your ministrations.
  315. >You rub her all over, applying extra amount of the mixture to her teats and tender skin of the inner thighs.
  316. >When you touch the teats she reminds you to be careful by grabbing your shoulder, firmly enough to get the point through, but not actually hurting you.
  317. "Here here, kitty. I'll be gentle."
  318. >After draining half the jar and covering her in the broth from dock to the ears you close the jar and hide it in a tree.
  319. "You know what, kitty? I have an idea."
  320. >Roza looks at you with interest.
  321. >You climb out of the paddock and go to the owner.
  322. >Uncle Vova stands leaning on a crude wooden table and drinks a strong tea from a usual metal mug.
  323. "Uncle Vova! Good day!"
  324. >"Hello, Anon!" the rugged mobster hails you as well and firmly shakes  your hand.
  325. >"Good job, by the way. She's still insufferable with most of my men, but looks like a real sweetheart when she's with you."
  326. "Just doing what I can." you answer modestly.
  327. "By the way, wanted to ask: why is she never grazing with others?"
  328. >"She gets tangled in a rope all the time. The previous owner never taught her how to do it."
  329. >"Nobody wants to untangle her every ten minutes and get their shit fucked up. And I won't do it myself, I have other business to attend to."
  330. "Would you mind if I take her for a walk?"
  331. >Uncle Vova shrugs.
  332. >"Be my guest. Just don't go to the other side of the pond, where the reed grows. There are trillions of mosquitoes there. And fucking gypsies from the nearby village."
  334. ***
  335. >Roza walks through the tall grass with her head down, nibbling on whatever she deems tasty enough.
  336. >Her tail makes lazy swishes from time to time.
  337. >Large horsefly tries to land on her flank. But as soon as it approaches the mare, it's greeted with a strong walnut presence.
  338. >One just can see how nauseous it makes the horsefly.
  339. >It buzzes angrily and flies away, dodging your fist.
  340. >Sadly, mosquitoes are much more resistant to the walnut. But you chase them off, swiping Roza's coat with your hand from time to time.
  341. >And besides that she sometimes rubs her head against your side to dislodge them.
  342. >When you came to the pasture, at first you were trying to lead the way.
  343. >But she made it clear that she knows better where you both need to go.
  344. >It's kinda fascinating, how her behavior immediately changed when out of bounds of a human made environment.
  345. >Through the look in her eyes, the way she sniffed air, attentive ears, relaxed and confident stride, her unbroken free spirit sang aloud for all to admire.
  346. >"It's my world, you furless freak. The world I was born for. The world I was robbed of by your kind. So shut up, and pay attention. I know better what to do here."
  347. >You are still holding the rope, but it looks it's now mostly attached to you, rather than to her. She is taking the lead, tugging you when you linger too long in one place.
  348. >You decided to let her do for a time being. She has proven that she yields to you in the arena and does so out of respect. Appreciating that you respect her as well.
  349. >So you just give her that. If a need would arise, you'll manage to make your word count.
  350. >Walking through the pasture is a tranquil experience.
  351. >The Sun (not Celestia's one, alas) shines brightly in the bleached blue sky.
  352. >You happily inhale the fragrance of a field grass mixed with the spicy scent of Roza's coat.
  353. >You gently stroke her withers, admiring how content and calm she looks.
  354. >And wonder, what a deranged piece of fuck one needs to be to not love the horse.

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