Sir Winter

~ X ~

Sir Winter hath his frigid tune declared

With blast of snow ‘pon wind that gusteth fierce.

But I, perchance, am not so unprepared

My body warm with blankets nought can pierce.

Though sleet and rain and pellets icy fall

Upon the ground and mire where’er I go,

My repast take I warmly in my stall ~

No need to be outside in ten below.

*

But all is not as bleak as it may seem

As longer grow the days t’ward Lady Spring,

And of the warmer hours do I dream ~

Imagination is a wondrous thing.

So, let Sir Winter wail his frigid song,

For as the days unfold he’ll thaw, e’er long.

~*~

This sonnet is not new. In fact, it is the tenth in a 25-sonnet collection entitled, Sonnets from Poet’s Paddock: A collection inspired by Shakespeare, a poet out standing in his field. One day I may publish it.

Trust

Shakespeare, my muse, died tragically of torsion colic on November 21, 2017. He was my heart horse; the one who saved me from myself. Through these sonnets and other writings, he helped me find, and have confidence in, my voice. He thawed my frigid, unhappy heart and then warmed it up and brought it to life again.

I honour his memory by living the lessons he taught and sharing the creativity inspired by him. All the sonnets in this collection are in his voice, except the epilogue written just days after he departed and the torch had been passed to me.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Daily Prompt: Frigid

The Dream Made Real

Daily Prompt: Do or Die

~*~

The Greeting

~*~

When my horse entered my life nearly nine years ago I was at a low point. The mare I’d been part-boarding for two years had died of cancer three months before; I’d lost my job 12 months earlier and I was floundering. Fortunately, my astute partner (now husband) suggested it was, perhaps, time I had my own horse; that my long-held dream come true.

I was speechless. I’d ridden most of my life and always dreamed of having a horse to call my own. And now it was coming true?

Once I’d been assured it was, we started horse shopping ~ a crap shoot if ever there was one. Still, to narrow the search I wrote down a list of what constituted my dream horse. By candidate #4 I’d found my match.

It was one of those moments out of the blue. A complete stranger told me of a Hanoverian horse breeder she knew who had, according to the criteria I’d shared, the perfect horse for me.

“Don’t make a decision until you’ve looked at this boy,” she told me.

An appointment was made and days later we drove the two hours to meet him. He was everything I wanted: four years old, dark bay, over 16 hands, schooled in dressage, and had a great temperament. I rode him. We clicked. We checked back a week later. Still a good match. A pre-purchase exam was arranged. He passed with flying colours.

The dream made real, this horse was mine. I had stewardship over the one thing I’d ever wanted ~ a horse to call my own.

The confirmation he was the one for me? His registered name: “Shakespeare.” I’m a writer. He is my muse and equine therapist.

He stays where he is!

(299 words)

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

 

 

 

In Hindsight …

Weekly Writing Challenge: Hindsight is 20/20

To me the word “hindsight” smacks of regret, and worry, and wasted energy, but for this exercise I’ll lay aside my misgivings and share a brief examination of some things I wish I’d done, in hindsight, in 2014.

This year has been a time of tremendous growth and recovery on so many levels. In particular, after three years of adrenal fatigue malaise I’m finally feeling more robust and vital.

Perhaps I have a trip to Italy in early June to thank for that.

(Hindsight: how much sooner would my energy have improved had I gone to Italy for two weeks in June each of the previous three years? Hmmmm … )

For two glorious weeks we indulged in la dolce vita. We delighted in the exquisite flavours of non-GMO foods; basked under the unrelenting Tuscan sun; devoured daily doses of delectable gelato and, of course, took in all the marvellous sights and sounds that define this ancient nation.

We landed in beautiful Florence for a few days; spent a tranquil week at a magnificent villa in Tuscany, and revelled in the unique experience that is Venice. It was the vacation of a life time and, I believe, an important milestone on my healing path.

(Hindsight: more gelato would have been good … )

The Villa
Villa in Tuscany

Then, in late June, I began a six-month course in Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning. By the end of it I was certified as a practitioner in this profound healing modality. A happy side effect was my own healing in ways I had not previously imagined.

This is another reason, I believe, the adrenal fatigue has become less chronic.

Free Spirit

(Hindsight: if only I’d known about it sooner, I probably would have signed myself up ages ago … (sigh) … )

But this is my point about hindsight … to me life unfolds as it should. The best we can hope is to be, and make the most of, every moment.

I do my best not to hold grudges; not to make comebacks. Most people can’t help who they are ~ not that this gives them an excuse to be belligerent or rude or ignorant or insensitive ~ but to engage in their negative energy is, for me at least, a waste of my own valuable resources. As well, if I were to beat myself up for every little thing I wish I’d done but hadn’t had the presence of mind to do, there wouldn’t be much of me left. Quite frankly, I’ve spent far too much of my life doing that anyway.

If the adrenal fatigue has taught me anything it’s to release the need to stress unnecessarily and to save my energy for the things that make me feel good about myself and my contribution to the world.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that my life really started to change for the positive at the beginning of the year when I moved my horse, Shakespeare (Bear), to a new barn and began to work with a new coach. Notwithstanding the fact that I wear the badge of a woman-of-a-certain-age I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to learn and grow in my equestrian sport of choice ~ dressage.

There’s a long road ahead, but at least now I know that Bear and I are on a good one.

Bear
Shakespeare

And so now, I thrive!

(Hindsight: it would have been a good idea to move my horse earlier, but I’ve already beaten myself up enough about that one. Where we are now is where we’re meant to be and the timing of December 31, 2013 was right. Prior to that I was too debilitated with adrenal fatigue symptoms to make such a decision or move. So, it’s all good … )

Now, foresight … it’s going to be a great 2015!

Season’s Greetings and Merry Christmas …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

 

 

Lost and Found

gypsy

Prompt: Late summer. You’re wandering, lost in the woods. You come across a gypsy wagon, and you call out…”hello?”

~*~

“Hello! Is anyone there?”

The Gypsy Vanner stands quietly beside me. Such a docile giant I’ve just found wandering lost in the woods. I give him a gentle pat on his strong yet soft piebald neck, his thick mane tickling my fingers. He followed me willing, as if grateful for the company. Surely his people must miss him.

I call out again.

“Hello! Hello! Hello!”

The handsome horse tosses his flowing mane and let’s out a powerful whinny.

Then, a woman’s voice.

“Chiron?”

Finally, from between the curtains of the brightly coloured wagon she appears. Middle-aged and quite beautiful, her dark hair knotted in a nest on top of her head with tendrils of its brunette silk dusting the sides of rosy cheeks. Dark brown eyes dart while acclimating to the daylight. She sees me holding onto my belt which is loosely tied around the horse’s massive neck. It was how I was able to lead him here. The gypsy’s eyes widen in horror.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing with my Chiron?”

She jumps down from the wagon, skirts flying, and rushes over to where we’re standing some 20 feet away. Immediately she grabs the belt from my hand and releases it from around her horse’s neck, throwing it then to the ground where it withers into the grass like a dead snake.

“Answer me,” she yells to my face, “what are you doing with my Chiron?”

For a moment I am taken aback. I watch as she runs her practiced hands over her horse to make sure he’s okay. She plants a gentle kiss on the end of his muzzle and turns to me again, her expression not so tender.

“So?”

I don’t feel like defending myself. It was she who allowed her horse to wander and I who found him and brought him back.

“Next time I find your horse wandering in the woods,” I answer in a tone every bit as strident as the gypsy’s, “I’m taking him home with me. He’s too beautiful to be left to the wolves.”

I lean down to retrieve my leather belt from the grass and turn to walk away. To hell with her.

“Stop!”

And I do because I’m unhappy with the way this has resolved. I turn back. There’s a tear in the woman’s repentant eyes, her arms are wrapped around Chiron’s massive neck. I walk closer.

“I’m sorry,” she says haltingly in a thick Hungarian accent I didn’t recognize before. “It was unfair of me to take my anger out on you. Chiron means the world to me and I am angry at myself for not securing him properly so he wouldn’t wander off. Thank you for bringing him home.” She brushes the tears from her cheek and stands once again upright. “I am Erzebet. Except for my cat and my horse I travel alone. I am a fortune teller. Please, let me speak yours in gratitude for the return of Chiron.”

Now I’m uncomfortable in a whole other way.

“Really, it’s fine,” I say. “I’m just happy to have been able to restore him to you. The woods are a lonely place for the lost ones.”

Erzebet’s eyes seem to deepen in colour; almost mesmerizing. She turns to Chiron.

“What do you think, my beauty?”

Chiron puts his muzzle against Erzebet’s chest and sighs.

“Come … what is your name?” she asks me.

“Grace.”

“Come Grace … let Chiron, my wounded healer, be your guide.”

As the two of them walk away, bidding me follow, I feel their heart connection.

Erzebet calls back to me …

“You think you found Chiron in the woods today,” she stops, turns and smiles knowingly, “when, in fact, it is he that found you.”

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nMy response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

After It Rains

 

Piazza San Marco, Venizia

~*~

“Mummy … what’s that smell, you know, after it rains?”

Cindy looks at me with her big, brown eyes full of wonder, just a hint of a pucker on her lips to show me she’s not really sure what she’s smelling.

“Feet, darling.”

“Feet!”

Now her look is one of abject horror. I’ve thrown her for a loop.

“Not literally, sweetie.”

She cocks her head in confusion.

“I don’t know, Cindy. They call it petrichor, that smell, and I suppose it smells of whatever you want it to smell and changes depending on where you are. For instance,” I point to the vast expanse of a wet Piazza San Marco where we’re standing, the illumination of which puts a sparkle in my daughter’s eyes, “can you imagine how many millions of feet have walked here?” She shakes her head. “Exactly! Neither can I, but that after-rain odour puts my imagination to work. Wondering. Creating pictures in my mind of how things might have been in days gone by. The dust of the ages so ingrained into these ancient stone slabs it comes to life in my mind, somehow, after it rains.”

I can see I’ve lost her. I redirect.

“What do you think of when you smell petrichor?”

My eight-year old thinks for a moment.

“Are you saying that petrichor can smell of whatever you want it to smell?”

“I suppose so. Of course, how it smells will depend entirely on where you are.” I don’t go into detail. She doesn’t need to know about sewers and such, yet. So I ask her a question, “When we’re at the barn what do you smell after it rains?”

The wheels turn in that pretty little head and her eyes brighten even more. I think she’s got it.

“Hay and wet dog and damp dirt and fresh mown grass and oh! … Charlie’s wet mane!!!” Cindy’s smile is as wide as this wet, ancient piazza. A recent memory of that old codger of a pony coming in soaking wet from the paddock has taught her about petrichor.

“So, when you stand here and see the beautiful lights and colours of this square and inhale Venice’s post-rain fragrance, what does it bring to mind?”

Without missing a beat she pipes, “Charlie!”

I give her a hug.

Time for gelato.

~*~

Written in response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday challenge:

screenshot_2014-06-11-12-25-232

 

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, All Rights Reserved 2014

 

A Poet Out Standing In His Field

Bear relaxesToday I have the distinct pleasure of interviewing one Shakespeare “The Equine,” a poet out standing in his field and, reportedly, a legend in his own mind.

The Daily Haymaker: Good day, Mr. Shakespeare.

Poet: Hay! And please, call me Mr. Bear.

The Daily Haymaker: Right then, Mr. Bear. Lovely of you to join us from Poet’s Paddock today. How are things in pastures green?

Poet: Well, Mr. Haymaker, we’re pretty laid back out there these days. The cruel winter is behind us, but we’re still waiting for the grass to be greener on our side of the fence. Everything is very late.

The Daily Haymaker: Are you the only poet in your paddock?

Poet: Yes, yes I am.

The Daily Haymaker: Would you please tell our readers at The Daily Haymaker

Poet: Great name, by the way …

The Daily Haymaker: Well, thank you …. Now if you could explain to our readers just when you came upon your poetic prowess.

Poet: Well, it all started with the Scribe, of course.

The Daily Haymaker: Scribe?

Poet: Yes. As you might imagine, having hooves puts me at quite a disadvantage when it comes to recording my musings.

The Daily Haymaker: Indeed!

Poet: So, naturally when I was looking for a sucker, I mean horse mom to call my own I scanned the radar for someone who could write reasonably intelligibly.

The Daily Haymaker: And you believe you found him? Her?

Poet: Her, actually. Yes, I did, though I let said Scribe and horse mom believe that she found me. It’s easier that way.

The Daily Haymaker: Of course. So, how long did it take for you to plant the idea in your horse mom’s head that you had creative notions you wanted to get off your mind?

Poet: Not long, actually. She’s a sensitive soul and I could tell she was looking for an outlet. You know these artistic types, and if they’ve been in any kind of creative drought well, as you might imagine, they’re an easy target.

The Daily Haymaker: So, how does the creative process work for both of you?

Poet: Actually, Mr. Haymaker, I stand out in my field and eat, and she shows up at the barn one day and tells me we’ve written a poem.

The Daily Haymaker: Really, it’s that simple?

Poet: Absolutely!

The Daily Haymaker: How many poems have you written together? Any chance of a recitation? A couple of lines, perhaps?

Poet: Well, we have self-published three short chapbooks so far, and we’re working on a collection of sonnets. As for a recitation ~ from my Sonnet XIV, second stanza:

While beauty lies within the eyes that see

And no two eyes shall ever see the same

Believe, I must, her eyes were meant for me,

While others’ eyes their own beauty proclaim.

For handsome though I be to all who care

It matters most to she who calls me Bear.

The Daily Haymaker: Yes, a sonnet ~ like your namesake William Shakespeare?

Poet: Who?

The Daily Haymaker: William Shakespeare? The Elizabethan poet? You must have heard of him.

Poet: Neigh. The only other Shakespeare of which I am aware is my father, Shakespeare in Love.

The Daily Haymaker: Really?

Poet: Yes. And, just as a side, his father was Sherlock Holmes.

The Daily Haymaker: Indeed! An illustrious background to be sure. Where were you born?

Poet: Well, Germany. I’m Hanoverian. Some call me the Happy Hanoverian because I’m so, well, happy. Still, I don’t suffer fools.

The Daily Haymaker: And your relationship with your father?

Poet: I’ve never met him, but the Scribe has shown me a photograph. A handsome stud, to be sure. But then …

The Daily Haymaker: Of course, I can tell as you yourself are quite debonair.

Poet: Well, thank you, thank you very much. My mother, as I recall, was quite beautiful also. I have her even temperament.

The Daily Haymaker: And what do you do for exercise ~ you know, to keep the creative juices flowing?

Poet: Well, I’m trained in classical dressage, actually. One of my present challenges is to get back into shape since the Scribe has been unwell and I’ve had to back off my training. Things are picking up again, however, and this pleases me.

The Daily Haymaker: Any chance you’ll show?

Poet: I can’t answer that. It’s up to the Scribe. I’d be happy to but then, she must be comfortable.

The Daily Haymaker: That’s awfully generous of you.

Poet: Naturlïch.

The Daily Haymaker: And now, Mr. Shakespeare, I mean Mr. Bear, where might one read your poetic renderings? Actually first of all, please explain your nickname.

Poet: Actually, it’s not a nickname, it’s a barn name. It’s something the horse moms do to make life easier for themselves. Some equines, like myself, have rather sophisticated names noted in the breed registry which are quite cumbersome to use on a daily basis. Creating a barn name makes sense. In fact, I don’t mind the name Bear. I’m told it was given to me because I’m like a big, cuddly teddy bear, whatever that is. I try to maintain my dignity by not thinking about it too much. Still, I get the sense it suits me.

The Daily Haymaker: I’m sure it does. Do you get called “Bear the Bard?”

Poet: No.

The Daily Haymaker: Now, where can one find your poetry?

Poet: I have my own website, Poet’s Paddock. It’s currently being redesigned, but I believe it’s still up for grazing.

The Daily Haymaker: Marvellous! Well, thank you so much for stopping by The Daily Haymaker today. It’s been a pleasure to speak with you.

Poet: Pleasure’s all mine. Say, do you have some spare hay for a starving artist?

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nMy response to Free Write Friday with Kellie Elmore.

Here is the prompt:

per·son·i·fi·ca·tion
pərˌsänəfiˈkāSHən/
noun
1.
the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.
Select something nonhuman and write about it as though it were human. It is up to you whether or not you reveal what it is, but I have found it a lot of fun to leave it a mystery and allow others to guess at what you were writing about.

~*~

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Trust

Trust

~*~

A precious, fragile gift

To you, from me.

Unseen to the eye,

Yet ever present in the heart.

Handle with care.

If you break it,

Don’t come back for more.

~*~

My response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday challenge for this week.

trust4

Yes, I know it’s Sunday. 😉

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_n

#FWF … The Heart is More Than Words

Connection

The heart is more than words as passions run

And spirits soar to lift above the cloud.

For one thing only moves beneath the sun

And trumpet calls my name so true and loud.

With joy my heart doth leap in sheer delight

As beauty bourn o’er all doth jump and play.

A dream; a dance; a marvel to my sight,

And to my soul it speaks in every way.

*

In form as mighty as in spirit dwells,

This catalyst for centuries of change

Pure power harnessed in such beauty spells

A bond that now most people find too strange.

Life would not be the same for me, of course,

If not for love profound of noble horse.

~*~

Poetry, beauty, romance, love.

O me! … Oh life without the spirit equine would be for me less than divine.

I will say I was a little disappointed that the horse was in no way represented in that Apple ad.

How soon we forget our partner, the horse. A noble animal who, for thousands of years, has graced the Earth with its beauty, majesty, spirit and romance. No other animal, not even the dog, has had so profound an affect on humankind’s evolution as we’ve leapt the boundaries of knowledge and change that have brought us to this point in our story.

The beauty and power of the horse have inspired hearts to art, music, writing, poetry, invention, exploration. The horse has engaged with us in battle; industry; recreation; sport.

Wherever man has left his footprint in the long ascent from barbarism to civilization we will find the hoof print of the horse beside it.~John Moore

In return all for which he asks is the regard of a kind heart, and to be fed, sheltered and loved.

Can you imagine a world … our lives … without the poetry, beauty, romance and love of the horse?

Perish the thought.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” — John Keating (Robin Williams) Dead Poets Society

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nHerewith my response to this week’s free write prompt from Kellie Elmore. Written in sonnet form as this appears to be my preferred form of poetic expression at the moment.

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Wit’s End

Weekly Writing Challenge: Cliffhanger!

~*~

This is an excerpt from a novel I started writing many years ago. It’s been parked in a file folder on my computer for a while and when this challenge came up I thought I’d take another look at this scene and give it a re-write … without the ending, of course. it’s virtually a new piece. It could still use some work, but if I don’t post it now I’ll miss the challenge deadline … and perhaps never post it.

Enjoy!

~*~

It’s the late afternoon of a mid-August day. A storm has broken inside of me I cannot quell. I am as a demon possessed, galloping my poor horse, Pandora, at breakneck speed up the country lane to our doom. Riding her too hard and too fast for the extraordinarily hot and humid conditions. Yet, I am unaware; irrational; lost to some evil spell.

When we reach Iron Will Hill I yank Pandora to a stop. The mare steps nervously as I raise a shaking hand and brush the sweat from my brow. It’s only then I am reminded of the throbbing ache in my sprained left ankle, an injury sustained much earlier in the day.

I shouldn’t be riding. Shouldn’t be out in this heat. Shouldn’t be pressing my mare beyond her endurance. But I can’t help myself. I’m at wit’s end.

Ignoring my ankle, I shelter my eyes from the sun disappearing in a blaze of glory behind thickening summer storm clouds. I survey the field. It takes an iron will to negotiate most of these jumps, but today I’m not even thinking about that. All I feel is this overwhelming impulse to over-correct.

I’ve had enough. Enough of coach’s lack of confidence in me; enough of the constant berating and verbal abuse; enough of the punishing hours of training in the mid-summer heat for a championship for which, frankly, I simply no longer give a damn. The joy of competition has been beaten out of me ~ mind, body and spirit.

The trouble is I can’t seem to let it go. My coach, Joanne, is the only person who doesn’t get me. Even though we’ve worked together for several years she still insists on treating me as a commodity in her perpetual narcissistic drama. There’s no warmth. No humanity.

This is something I’ve only recently realized, and with this the realization that I have to leave. And, I am going to get out of here. I am. Now that I understand what’s going on here, I have to. Still, I feel so betrayed.

I’ve given so much of my own time to her cause. The accolades were never about me, only about building her training profile and business. And I’m tired of it. I’m done. I can feel myself toppling over the edge of a precarious emotional cliff. A cliff upon which I’ve been teetering for some time.

I’m in free-fall.

And as I fall I am, for some inexplicable reason, even more determined to prove myself to that evil woman.

“I’ll bloody show you, Joanne Milthorpe, even if it kills me …” I yell to the winds as I see, in the distance, Joanne’s pick-up truck roaring toward us up the dusty lane. “Too little, too late, you bitch!!”

I force Pandora into a trot, on the look out for our first fence. There’s a thunderstorm rolling in from the southwest. It’ll be here soon, but we’ll be done before then. I’m no fool.

This cross-country course is a favourite spot to ride in the summer months. We do a lot of hill work up here. It’s so beautiful with its long views over rolling countryside.

The course was designed by an Olympic event rider Joanne spared no expense to employ. Each meticulously landscaped natural jump offers two degrees of difficulty, and every week, during the eventing season, landscapers come to mow grass, trim shrubs and plant flowers. It’s another one of Joanne’s expensive obsessions. Another reason she depends on me to drum up business by winning in the show ring.

Against the backdrop of a darkening sky, the field takes on an ethereal quality. My heart thumps loudly in my chest. A tympanic crash of distant thunder underscores the adrenalin pulsing wildly through my veins. Pandora prances restlessly beneath me. I can feel the swell of her body rise and fall in rhythm with her laboured breath; feel the heat from her sweaty steel grey body.

And then she screams. A piercing, penetrating scream that slices through the thick, pre-storm silence. A plea for the safety of the herd. And even though we are a good distance  from the stable yard Jezebel, Pandora’s anxious paddock mate, trumpets a frantic response. Pandora rears.

“Stop it, you cow!” I wail, and dig my spurs into her quivering sides.

As we canter down the hill, I hear the storm rumbling ominously, getting closer. A crack of lightning flashes across the sickly green sky, punctuated by the desperate siren call of the approaching pick-up’s horn. But I’m in the zone. Nothing can change my mind or distract me from our run to the Log Jam.

“Three-two-one ~ jump!”

I always count the last three strides. Force of habit, I suppose. As I give Pandora a dig with my heels she thrusts herself into the air, tucking those well-practiced front legs under her chin in a leap that might have cleared a fence twice the size.

“Wh … hoo!”

Oh, god, that feels good.

We round a turn to the left and head toward  a big, boxy, jump Joanne calls the Chicken Coop. Pandora stumbles. I set her right; we rebalance and keep going.

I’m already beginning to feel better. There’s nothing like a natural high to chase the blues away.

As we approach the Coop I yell in Pandora’s ear. She twitches it, confused.

“C’mon, girl, let’s get this thing. … Three-two-one ~ jump!”

Again, Pandora’s powerful hind legs push the ground away, easily clearing the coop. The warm breath of the breeze against my face is such a thrill. Finally, I can breathe again.

We could stop now, but the momentum has grabbed me and I want just one more jump.

As we canter further down the slope to Basil’s Brush, Pandora stumbles hard enough to give me a bit of whip lash. It’s a wake-up call. I realize we must stop, but no matter how hard I pull on the reins there’s no response. She has the bit between her teeth and now all I can do is go with it.

So I do.

“C’mon, mare, we’re almost there. … Three-two-one …!”

I feel push, but no propulsion. Pandora has given it all she’s got but it’s not enough. I can feel her stagger in the air, her front feet dropping. I hear the gut wrenching sound of a front hoof knocking the solid rail hidden just below the top of the brush. It’s not a hard knock, but it proves unbalancing for my already exhausted horse.

Instinctively I grab for Pandora’s mane to rebalance. But, it’s no use. My normally sure-footed, beautiful mare, with barely enough strength to right herself let alone compensate for my shifting load on her back, wavers and mis-steps as she touches down.

To be continued …

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

~*~

More Cliffhangers!

Weekly Writing Challenge ‘Cliffhanger’: Young Silence | Thoughts of an INFP
Showdown – Part Two | Perceptive Pot Clueless Kettle
Pale Blue Warning – Short Story Part One | FortyOneTeen
In The Middle of The Night (Part 1) | Ornella’s Two Cents
Weekly Writing Challenge: Cliffhanger | thejimmieG
Weekly Writing Challenge: Cliffhanger Part 2 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)
Walking Home In The Dark | Polymathically
Hidden Word poem ANSWER | writemybrainsout
Orion 83 – Part 4 – The Light | L5GN
You can’t make this stuff up! – Part 1 | Magnet for Foolishness®
The Colours of a Day | A Room of One’s Own
Perspective from the 33rd Floor: Part One | Don’t Jerk Off To This!
The One with the Goddess Pele, Part 2 | Jackie Cangro
Mother, part 2 | Who Would Have Guessed
Mother, part 1 | Who Would Have Guessed
her call | Little Cubicle
Weekly Writing Challenge: Cliffhanger! (part 2) | In my world
12 1/2 Clichés I Want My Kids to Live By | The Human Rights Warrior
The Job Interview at a Starbucks | The Libra Chronicles
Close Encounters: Part 2 | MightWar
A Visit to the Doctor’s Office (Part 2) | Just Life