Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Resolutions (12/29/03)
TITLE: Leading A Horse From Water
By Corinne Smelker
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“I know,” she replied softly. “But at least look like you’re paying attention.”
I flung myself back in the chair, and gazed out the window at the stunning landscape. The Jukskei River tossed and churned its way past the classroom. It was pretty, but dangerous, with sharp rocks hidden in the agitated water. There had even been croc sightings!
My glance moved along to the stables that adjoined the college. One advantage to living in the South African countryside is the wildlife that surrounded me. OK, I was an hour from the closest store, or mall, but I could ride to my heart’s content.
I half-heard the teacher droning on about a socio-political event that somehow affected me, although how, it was hard to tell. My pen thrummed against my teeth, a habit I couldn’t break. Then, my eye caught sight of something. I sat upright and stared.
A huge chestnut stallion had just leapt over the wall separating the stables from the college! He was bucking, kicking and whinnying hysterically! Worst of all, he was headed for the river.
Quick as a flash I dove towards the door. I ignored the teacher’s indignant cries for me to return immediately. I ran to my dorm room, which was only a few paces away. I grabbed my halter, and raced out again. Groups of people, including my classmates had clustered, and were pointing and talking excitedly.
A couple of male college students thundered towards the stallion, waving their arms, trying to keep him away from the river.
“Smart move,” I said under my breath.
The stallion reeled back towards the stables, saw the gaggle of students, wheeled around again, and hurtled in the direction of the two men.
“Let me handle him.” I said.
“Yeah right, that thing could trample you in a heartbeat!” exclaimed one.
“Hey, I know how to manage him! And I have a halter, what do you have?”
“She’s right,” said the second.
The scared, and furious stallion was trapped. He reared up and pawed at the air, as a display of his strength, and in an attempt to intimidate us. But I could see the look of sheer terror in his eyes.
I slowed my ragged breathing, and moved unhurriedly forward. The stallion took no notice of me, but reared again. I stood my ground.
“It’s all right, boy. I’m not going to hurt you,” I said repeatedly.
Each time he reared, I moved a step or two closer. The rearing became less frequent, and his eyes stopped rolling as he took in my presence. Slowly, he came to the realization that I was not foe, but friend, and more than anything he needed a friend.
He pawed the ground, bobbing his head up and down. This was my chance! I moved in and slid the halter over his lovely, chestnut head. He leaned his head against my shoulder and snorted gently in my ear.
A cheer went up from the crowd that had formed. Even the rector of the college was there! He approached us just a little timidly, because, when all is said and done, 17 hands of stallion is a lot of muscle.
“Miss Lennon, that was an extremely resourceful thing to do. You showed incredible resolve.”
I smiled my thanks but said, “I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t know how. I only showed resolve because I know what to do.”
I led the stallion back to the stables. As I strode next to him, I thought about Professor Yule’s words. He was right; I had shown resolve. What a pity I showed no resolve in things that didn’t interest me! I made the resolution then and there that I would pay better attention in my socio-political class, after all, I knew I could!