The Life Of Sparta - Year Two
 By Thestral   •   5th Jan 2011   •   2,360 views   •   2 comments
The Life Of SpartaSparta stood head to tail with Cheeko, her pasture buddy in the light shower of late April. Sparta, now a yearling, was watching the other colts and fillies racing around their paddocks, and saw her mother caressing her new foal. It was bigger than Sparta, she had been a runt. The foal was a shiny bright bay colt with a broad blaze and sparkling hazel eyes. He lay in the pasture next to a palomino filly, whose mother grazed nearby. Now that Sparta and the others were yearlings, it was time to sort them. Which ones were worthwhile to keep in the limited amount of space offered by the stable, and which ones would be whisked off to a yearling sale? The answer came the very next day. All of the new yearlings except Raven, a highly exceptional black arabian filly, and another filly, though not as promising. Three of the colts were to stay also. The rest were to be sent to the yearling sale. But not Sparta.

Sparta was forgotten about by the stable managers. She was well hidden, being in the furthest corral from the barn and being runty and not as good in comparison as some of the others. But the liver chestnut had talent. She was a strong runner, out playing the old paint gelding that she had befriended. Only a week after the yearlings were sold off, Sparta's owners remembered her. Since they didn't really want her around, they figured they could let Seth train her until the filly was two years old, and get more money off her. It made no sense at all to bring her to an auction with no other reason to go. So save her until next year, then there wouldn't be a wasted trip. She would be worth more too. So Seth, an auburn haired young girl, took on the challenge of training the filly from the ground.

"Come on Sparta!" Seth said to her. "Maybe if you trotted when I ask you to, they'll decide to keep you."

Sparta just kept on walking, even though Seth was jogging alongside her and pulling her along, she would not gear up. After a few weeks of watching raven being praised for trotting on command while being lead, she was only too eager to try and prove that she was just as good as the arabian. The filly didn't have an elegant, springy trot, but a good working trot. Seth moved on to lunging three weeks after Raven had been started in the round pen. Sparta was in only a halter, and wasn't restricted by a long line. She responded to Seth's voice commands and the movements of her body. Sparta knew the command for walking, 'Walk on!' and the command for trotting, the clucking of a tongue against the roof of a mouth. What she didn't know was the loping command. So, Seth would cluck to her, moving the quarter horse yearling into a trot, then while making a smooching noise she would move slightly towards her, encouraging faster movement. Sparta hopped into a bouncing canter, then slowed down once the girl stepped a little farther away from the filly. After a few more times, Sparta was beginning to understand that smooching noises meant 'lope'.

By August, Sparta had passed Raven in the early training. While Raven stayed behind learning voice commands, Sparta was ponied by Seth and Cheeko, earning some trail experience. For the first week, they only walked, but by the second they were trotting without a problem, and Seth even risked a short, slow lope down the road. In September, Seth had to go back to school. This year she was in a high school, and her parents wanted her to gain an honors award. She was only allowed to visit the horses once a month, and on long weekends and holidays. Sparta's training was not continued, and in the next few weeks she forgot nearly all she had ever learned in the confusion. But Seth still visited her whenever she could, and refreshed her memory. All seemed good for the little horse, seeing that she was still ahead of Raven even though she only had sessions once a month, while Raven had them nearly every day.

The new year rolled in, the days began to lengthen and the temperatures began to rise after a long cold winter. Sparta had been kept outside with her pasture buddy all winter long, and was now very scruffy. Raven and the other yearlings were kept inside for almost the whole winter, and had sleek spring coats already. Sparta didn't mind staying outside, she was nice and warm under her shaggy fur. Raven and the others, when brought outside for a breath of fresh air, were to cold to run around, and were taken back inside within the hour. Spring arrived sooner than the year before. The melted snow left large puddles in the pastures and muddy training rings. Raven and two others were brought to the indoor arena ten kilometers away for their training, the others would stay.

As April rains took over the sky, the newest yearlings were sorted out. Three of the seven yearlings were loaded into a trailer for the yearling sale, Sparta, now a Two-year-old was going with them, but she would stay in the trailer for the sale, then would be dropped off at the auction house. And so it was. Sparta was taken to the small auction, put into a pen with some scruffy ponies, and waited to be pulled out into the ring. Seth showed up the day after she was sent to the auction, and realized what had happened to her. She wished that she could have at least said goodbye.
No Walkin Farms9  
Poor Sparta. I wonder where she's to end up?
  Feb 19, 2011  •  1,467 views
Little Bitty Farm  
Great article!
  31 days ago  •  1,490 views
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