In the very back corner of the sale barn
Back where the horses that have no hope are tied
Waiting for their fates to be sealed.
With head hung low
And eyes squeezed tightly shut
Perhaps he was dreaming of happier days.
Flies danced on his drooping lower lip
When he twitched them off
A woman dealer snickered
Ribs sharp as razors, someone said
“Older than dirt”, noted another
“Walking meat” cackled the dealer woman.
I couldn’t leave him there.
An unshaven man smelling strongly of old sweat
Dragged the old gelding into the ring
Another whipped from behind
But the old campaigner only sighed
Keeping to his own slow pace.
No one showed any interest in this ancient shell of a horse
Except for one kill buyer
With my heart pounding
I bid once
Then a third time
The killer buyer shook his head in disgust
And turned away
For $200.00 the old horse was mine.
A small elderly man, standing along the rail called to me
Hunched over and very sickly
There were huge unshed tears in his eyes
“Thank you,” he said
You have eased an old man’s heart today.
“His name is Colonel,” he said in a weak voice
Then turned, blended into the crowd
And was gone.
Time to go now Colonel, I whispered
At the gentle mention of his name
The old gelding lifted his head and nickered softly
And trotted beside me to the trailer.
written by Jill Weimer