Dotty’s Story – Chapter Thirteen
 By mosquito   •   1st May 2011   •   4,859 views   •   14 comments
Horse Short Story

Every step Dotty took stung her shins, and she felt a burning pain in the back of her pasterns. For some reason, the dirt of the track seemed both hard and deep at the same time. Each step seemed to echo up her legs, but she struggled to lift her feet out of the sand. Her shoulders ached a little, and Dotty just didn't fell like her body was working quite right. In the stalls, she normally felt her heart pounding, the excitement of the race to come welling up inside her. Today, though, she just stood. Dotty sighed deeply, and thought ‘Just try your best.’ Well today, her best was going to be awfully hard to find.

The gates opened, and Dotty lurched out onto the track. The other horses jostled as always, but instead of lowering her head and driving forward, Dotty just slowed and let them go. Her caution and her hesitation were rewarded with a sharp sting on her quarters, and her rider yelled in her ear, but Dotty couldn't understand what he said. This time, Dotty wasn’t upset about getting snacked. After all, this time she really wasn't trying.

The other horses weren’t very fast, and Dotty rolled along easily behind them. ‘This would do,’ Dotty thought. ‘Can’t I just stay back here?’ For once, even the sand being kicked up into her eyes didn’t bother her.

They turned around for the homestretch and Dotty shook her head. Her rider was driving her along, yelling, desperate for any response from her. Another smack, and another. Dotty wanted to pull up, to stop, to hang her head in shame and just let the fatigue take over. She threw her head, trying to unbalance her rider so she could pull up, and then it came to her. Sarah’s voice, in her head, clear as if she was standing right there. ‘Try your best!’ Sarah’s voice echoed in Dotty’s ears, ‘They can’t ask any more of you than that.’

Dotty thought of the children, of Maryanne, of Jimmy, of everyone who had faith in her. She dug her heels in, she imagined all her strength pouring into her quarters and her shoulders, and she started to power away. Her rider went quiet, dropping close to her neck. She felt him try to pull her to the outside to go around the other horses, but Dotty leaned against the bit and made up her own mind. She always took the rail, and she knew she could do it. She was little; she’d slip right through as the bigger horses drifted to the outside. She saw the gap open up like it always did, and she went for it. Through the space, sliding along the rail, past one horse, and then another, and then it was Dotty, alone across the wire.

Dotty pulled up quickly. The race was won, it was over, and the pain started to shoot up her legs again. The old horse loped up beside her, just as tired and dull as he was before. Dotty didn’t say anything. All she could think about was her legs. Surely now they’d know what she could do. Surely now Reggie would care for her. And maybe now she’d get a break.

Back at the stable, it was the girl who took Dotty’s reins, as Reggie disappeared. ‘I’ll go get the check, Katie. I’ll be right back; then we can go out and celebrate.’

The girl opened her mouth to shout back to him, then changed her mind. She stood and looked at Dotty. ‘He won’t be back, Shorty,’ she said quietly, gently tugging Dotty’s ear. ‘Some people don’t know a good thing when they’ve got it. Or at least they don’t care.’ Dotty looked at her, expecting to see tears. Instead, there was a cold, tired expression on her face; one that showed she’d been left behind many times before. Dotty knew exactly how she felt, and as Katie hosed her down, and settled her in her stable for the night, Dotty wished she could make her know she understood.

Katie pulled Dotty’s sheet up over her withers. ‘It’s going to be chilly tonight, Shorty,’ she said. ‘Snuggle up.’ She bent down to check the surcingle, and stopped, looking at Dotty’s foreleg. ‘Hmmm,’ she said, and ran her hand down Dotty’s leg. As her hand smoothed over Dotty’s shin, the pain shot up her leg and Dotty flinched. She pulled her leg up sharply, and turned her head around, ready to snap at the girl. Dotty felt instantly ashamed. ‘Where is this attitude coming from?’ Dotty thought. ‘I’ve never felt so angry before.’

‘Easy Shorty!’ Katie said. ‘I’ll go and get some wraps for you. You’re a nice little filly. We don’t want you to end up like the rest.’ Dotty watched her walk away, wondering if they might be just exactly what each other needed.

Dotty grew to rely on the Katie. Sometimes Reggie would yell at her, telling her to stay away from Dotty, that Dotty was his horse. Then he’d disappear, and Katie would come and take care of Dotty. Reggie would turn up at odd times, usually looking tired and never smelling very good. Sometimes Katie would come and work around Dotty, pretending to put bandages on, or raking through clean straw that she’s mucked out just a hour before. Sometimes she’d cry, and bury her face in Dotty’s neck the way Constance used to do, and Dotty would turn her head and give her a nudge. Sometimes she’d be angry, and come into the stable muttering complaints about Reggie. Dotty had to stay alert these times, moving swiftly to avoid getting knocked by a bucked, or bracing herself against rough brush strokes. She didn't mind her moodiness; Dotty felt pretty moody herself these days, and after all, it was always Katie who took Dotty out for some grass and made sure she got her meals.

It wasn’t long, maybe a week, when Dotty woke from an afternoon nap to the sound of yelling in the stable. This time it wasn’t the usual yelling. This time Katie was screaming, throwing buckets, and Reggie was yelling back. Katie stormed past Dotty’s stable, and stopped at the door. She looked in, and Dotty had never seen such rage. She froze. She wanted to cower in fear at the back of the stall, but at the same time she wanted to lean her head out and try to reassure her. Katie looked at Dotty for a minute, shook her head, and Dotty saw tears roll down her face as Katie turned and stomped away.

Reggie was right behind her, his face red with anger and frustration. He had Dotty’s racing tack in a heap in his arms. ‘Good grief’ Dotty thought. ‘Not again! It’s been a week at most. What do they want from me?’
Poor Dotty! Amazing writing, as always!
  27 days ago  •  3,362 views
No Walkin Farms9  
Awwww. Poor Dotty. Love the writing as usual. Can't wait to see what happens next.
  27 days ago  •  3,396 views
Stay Untamed  
Such a good story!Can't wait to read more!
  27 days ago  •  3,396 views
AHHH!!! Cliff hanger :(
  27 days ago  •  3,390 views
Beautiful writing =)
  27 days ago  •  3,568 views
Dixie Chick  
AWW! :'( Makes me want to cry!
  27 days ago  •  3,388 views
Emma Watson  
Yeah i agree with weezapony i wanna now w happens 2 her
  27 days ago  •  3,399 views
Poor Dotty :(
  26 days ago  •  3,360 views
Pink Pony  
great writing can't wait for the next chapter :)
  26 days ago  •  3,389 views
Soul Horse  
More more nice cliff hanger!
  26 days ago  •  3,396 views
T W I  
*Shakes head*
You and your clif hanger endings. Great writing, as always!
  25 days ago  •  3,409 views
Amazing Story I just can't wait for more!!
  21 days ago  •  3,542 views
good story cant wait for more!
  10 days ago  •  3,591 views
love these:)
  Jun 18, 2011  •  3,519 views
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