Dotty’s Story – Chapter Twelve
 By mosquito   •   7th Apr 2011   •   3,205 views   •   12 comments
Horse Short Story

The next morning, Dotty woke up to the sound of singing, grain being poured into tubs, and hay nets being filled. For a brief moment, Dottie thought she was back with Jimmy, but then she felt the itch of the rug, and winced at a sore spot on her nose under the halter, and remembered where she was. And she noticed one thing above all else – she was hungry. Dotty shuffled forward and poked her head over the stall door to see if breakfast was coming.

Just as she did, she bumped her head into someone walking down the alley. Dotty cringed. ‘Please don’t let it be Reggie!’ she thought as she ducked back, expecting a smack. When she opened her eyes and looked up, there was a tall girl standing at the door.

‘Chill out, Shorty!’ she said, curtly but with underlying tone that suggested she could be trusted. ‘I’m not gonna thump you!’ And with that the girl chuckled, opened the door, and walked up to Dotty. All Dotty could focus on was the feed tub in her hand.

The girl walked up and fiddled with the cheekpiece of Dotty’s halter. ‘Polka Dots.’ She read off the nameplate. ‘Hmph. You must be the new one Reggie brought in yesterday. Well don’t worry short stuff, Reggie’s fast asleep in the tack room, and probably will be for a while. I’ll get you some breakfast. Oh and look. Surprise, surprise. No water either. No wonder his horses never win.’

With that the girl left the stall, and Dotty walked up to peer over the door, stepping and tripping on the lead rope still hanging from her halter. ‘I win.’ Dotty thought, indignantly. ‘You’ll see.’

After what seemed like ages, the girl returned with a water bucket and a hay net, and Dotty relished the cool water, drinking deeply and sighing as it trickled down her chin. It tasted a little stale, not sweet like the water back at Maryanne’s farm, but it was welcome nonetheless. Dotty tore into the hay net as the girl removed her travel bandages and the blanket. ‘Let’s get you a proper breakfast and cleaned up a little, then we’ll see what you’re like.’

When the girl left, Dotty guessed from the yelling that Reggie had woken up. When the girl returned she was clearly angry, stomping into the stall and slamming the door behind her. ‘No breakfast?’ Dotty thought. ‘Everybody here forgets about me.’ But Dotty had the haynet, and that would do for now. The girl set about brushing Dotty, and although Dotty was itchy from the rug and welcomed a good grooming, the girl was rough and Dotty could feel her anger going right through to her with every stroke of the brush.

‘This one isn’t bad, Reggie!’ The girl snapped. Reggie was leaning on the stable door. He looked tired, his clothes crumpled, his face red, and his eyes hollow. And he didn’t smell very good either, Dotty thought, as she buried her nose into the hay net.

‘I checked. She’s been winning, and some good races too. I don’t know why they even sold her, unless it’s ‘cuz she’s small.’ Dottie bristled at that remark. What would she have to do before people stopped only noticing her size?

‘If you can find it in yourself to treat her right, you might just make a few bucks with this one. At least before…’ and the girl stopped short, her arm frozen halfway through a brush stroke. Dotty stiffened. She didn’t like where this was going. ‘Well anyway. Just make an effort, eh Reggie? We could really use some extra cash. Just for once, don’t ruin this one!’ And with that she turned, opened the stable door, and pushed past Reggie. He looked a little small, Dotty thought, and a little hurt. Dotty stopped munching and looked at him for a moment as he stared back at her. For just one second Dotty thought she saw his face soften.

‘Whatever.’ He said and turned around and walked away, leaving the stall door swinging open behind him.

Dotty did manage to get a couple meals in over the next few days; usually it was the girl that brought them. Sometimes someone would come to clean her stable, but they wouldn’t pet her or talk to her, and Dottie had to stay alert to avoid being jabbed by the pitchfork handle. After two days, Dotty longed to go out. She wanted to get on the track, to run, to try her best and show them what she could do. The day was crisp and cold, but dry. ‘Yep, today would be a good day for a gallop.’ Dotty thought. I could really do with stretching my legs.’

But it was hours before anyone came, and then it was Reggie. ‘Okay, mare. Let’s see what you can do.’

Dotty almost burst with excitement. She usually galloped in the morning, but at least now it was a little warmer. Dotty wondered who would ride her; she sure hoped it wasn’t Reggie. He was awfully rough tacking her up. She tried not to wince when he yanked on the overgirth, but she couldn’t help jerking her head when he put the bridle on and the bit slammed against her teeth. The next thing she felt was Reggie’s fist slamming into her neck. For the first time in her life, Dottie felt her ears go back and she bared her teeth.

‘I knew it.’ Reggie snarled, yanking the reins to stare Dotty in the face. ‘All mares are the same. All trouble.’ And with that he snatched up the reins and led Dotty out of the stall. ‘You started it.’ Dotty thought, surprised at her own attitude. She shook her head to try and toss the anger out. She tried to remember Sarah’s voice, her reassuring ‘just try your best’, but somehow she just couldn’t remember it quite right anymore.

Reggie led Dotty down a long tunnel to the track, and to her surprise they were straight into the race paddock, and a jockey looked her over as he spoke to a very fat man with a clipboard. He shook his head slowly, shrugged his shoulders, and walked towards her. His silks were a dull brown with a black stripe. They weren’t the bright red and green Christmas colors she wore for Maryanne. The jockey slapped his boot with his whip, then was lifted onto Dotty’s back. He picked the reins up sharply, and Dotty shook her head.

‘A race? Today?’ Dotty thought. ‘I raced three days ago. I’m not ready!’ Dotty stepped cautiously out onto the track. There were no encouraging words from her rider, not like Jack used to give her. The outrider came up and Dotty looked over at the old horse picking her up. He looked dull, tired, even bored.

‘What’s this track like?’ Dotty asked ‘This is my first race here.’ Dotty said to him, hopeful of some advice, or at least a little encouragement.

‘Your first race here?’ the old horse said, not even glancing in her direction. ‘And one day it will be your last.’ Dotty looked sideways at the old horse. What on earth did he mean?
Dixie Chick  
I love this series! I am more hooked on these articles than I am on any other book! Absolutely Wonderful!
  Apr 7, 2011  •  1,826 views
Stay Untamed  
Love this!I can't wait for the next part! You're a good writer!
  Apr 7, 2011  •  1,834 views
This is one of my favorite horse fictions, I always look forward to more! Great job on this chapter! :)
  Apr 8, 2011  •  1,800 views
Emma Watson  
I have always loved this can't wiat to see what happpens next :)
  Apr 8, 2011  •  1,832 views
Can't wait for more!!
  Apr 8, 2011  •  1,820 views
T W I  
Great writing. =]
Can't wait for more!
  Apr 8, 2011  •  1,861 views
I just started reading here, but I love it so far! Great voice with Dotty!
  Apr 8, 2011  •  1,819 views
Untamed Heart  
  Apr 8, 2011  •  1,817 views
CLIFFHANGER!!! Okay I love it!
  Apr 8, 2011  •  1,837 views
Seven Sins  
love it!!!
  Apr 10, 2011  •  1,808 views
No Walkin Farms9  
Another great chapter. Can't wait to see how Dotty does in the race.
  Apr 10, 2011  •  1,833 views
love these:)
  Jun 18, 2011  •  1,957 views
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