Emma and her Forever Person
By Jane Gilgun
Emma wanted a forever person. Her owner Joan said nice things about her, but deep down Emma knew that Joan was not forever.
Joan used to say, "Emma, what a pretty horse you are. You are a rich chestnut color. You have kind eyes. I just love that snip of white at the end of your nose. You can jump better than any horse I know."
Whenever Emma heard these words, she arched her neck, lifted her tail, and pranced. I am a good horse, she said to herself. Someone will want me forever.
"I'm going to find you the best owner," Joan said, "someone who will love you and keep you forever."
Emma wanted Joan for her forever person. Joan groomed her and said nice things to her. She fed her sweet hay and crunchy oats. She let her eat grass in the big pasture in back of the barn. When Joan rode her, Emma could barely feel her on her back. Emma liked Joan. Emma knew that Joan liked her. Emma did not understand why Joan did not want to be her forever person.
One day, Jane walked into the barn with Joan. "This is Emma," said Joan. "You can ride her today."
"What a pretty horse," said Jane. "She's got the kindest eyes I've ever seen."
"Wait until you ride her," Joan said. "She's as smooth as whipped cream." Emma looked at Jane. Is this my forever person? she wondered. Will she feed me, groom me, and tell me what a good horse I am? Will I love her one day? Will she love me? Will we be together forever?
Saddled and trotting around the arena with Jane on her back, Emma thought, Jane's a little heavy in the seat but she's so nice to my mouth. She doesn't pull on the bit
She gets off my hind end when I jump. I like how she talks to me and pats me on the neck. I think I could get to like Jane. Maybe she will be my forever person.
Back in her stall after the ride, Emma overheard Jane and Joan talking.
"What did you think of Emma?" asked Joan. Oh, boy, here it comes, thought Emma. Jane's going to say she wants me for her forever horse.
"She's got those big floppy ears that wag when she moves," Jane said.
"Yes, she has big ears. Better to hear you with," Joan laughed."
"She listens, but she's kind of slow," said Jane. She's too quiet. I don't think she's for me."
I'm just a big-eared slow poke, Emma thought. Maybe that's why Joan doesn't want me for her forever horse. Now Jane doesn't want me, either. I wanted Jane to like me. She didn't. Will I ever get a forever person? Emma hung her head. Her ears flopped.
One day Kay walked into the barn and went right to Emma's stall. "So, you're Emma," said Kay. "Joan told me about you. Come see m, Emma." Emma didn't move. She pricked her ears forward and then let them drop back. She still wanted a forever person but didn't think anyone would want her because she's slow and has floppy ears.
"Look at those big, floppy ears," Kay said with a laugh. "I love them." Emma lifted her head. She thought, Better to hear you with, my dear. Emma arched her neck. Kay has kind eyes.
Kay was as light as a snowflake in the saddle. Her hands were easy on the reins. Emma flicked her ears back to see what Kay wanted. Kay pushed Emma gently forward with her seat as if Emma's back were a swing. Emma glided into a trot. Her head bobbed up and down. Her ears flopped in rhythm.
"Love those floppy ears," said Kay. "Better to hear me with, my dear." Kay laughed. Emma arched her neck and lifted her feet high.
"How about a canter, Emma?" Kay asked. Emma pushed gently against Emma's side. Emma stepped forward into the three-beat canter. "It's like a waltz," said Kay. "How smooth. What a horse."
Kay headed Emma toward a jump. Emma flew like a bird. Kay was light on Emma's back.
"I want you for my forever horse," said Kay. She patted Emma on the neck. "I love your floppy ears. You flick them back and forth to find out what I want. You really listen with those big ears." She patted Emma again.
"You fly over jumps like a bird," Kay said. "You're so calm and quiet."
Emma arched her neck, lifted her tail, and pranced. I am a good horse, she said to herself. Kay wants me forever. I am somebody's forever horse, floppy ears and all.
About the Author
Jane Gilgun writes children’s stories, articles, and books for Amazon Kindle, scribd.com/professorjane, and stores.lulu.com/jgilgun. She is a professor, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA.