Josie and Clyde's story was our featured Horse of the Month for February, but was so popular, we thought to make it available for new site visitors who might also enjoy a touching tale ...
Once upon a time, there were 2 horses named Josie and Clyde. They were very different horses … in almost every way. They were different breeds - he a big Tennessee Walker, she a Quarter horse. Clyde was a dark bay with many signs of age in his body and graying face; Josie was jet black and rather flashy. Clyde had worked hard all of his life, most recently at a hack stable, and not been treated kindly; Josie had belonged to someone and showed no signs of having been mistreated in any way. He tended to be a bit grumpy; she was gentle and grateful.
The one thing they did have in common was that no one wanted either one of them anymore. Clyde was in the kill pen facing a trip to slaughter, and Josie was abandoned at the farm where her owner had boarded her, and faced going to auction.
Clyde was rescued, and when he arrived at Mylestone, the telltale kill pen sticker was still affixed to his rump. He was unused to being outside on his own and enjoying open space. He hung back, lonely and afraid, preferring the safety of his shed. When turned out, he ran the fence line.
And then came Josie. Like an angel on a mission of love, she reached out to Clyde. When first turned out with Josie, Clyde decided to simply ignore her, like a child putting his fingers in his ears - lalalalala, I can’t hear you!
But that was not acceptable to the patient Josie. She stood next to him and nudged him, as if responding to a pain he felt but couldn’t express. It was as if Josie knew. She stood close to him, insisting he let her be his friend. And little by little, he did. Soon, he settled down. The fence running became pacing, the pacing became walking, and the walking became standing still … next to Josie. Soon they were grazing right there -- right smack in the middle of the once-feared paddock -- together.
Josie and Clyde soon became best friends. Each eagerly awaited their being taken to the field to while away the days together, their friendship a balm to the scars of difficult days in their pasts. All was well.
Then one day, Susankelly and a volunteer went out to take some pictures of the two lovebirds for the Valentine Gift Sponsorships.* Susankelly shook a treat jar, and that’s when the fighting began.
“Me first!” insisted Clyde.
“Why not me?” demanded Josie.
“Get out of my way,” said Clyde, as he lightly body slammed her.
“Hey!” said Josie, “stop being so pushy!”
Their ears lay flat, and there was huffing and puffing and much snorting, and many disparaging remarks bandied about. (We won’t repeat the nature of these comments; they were just terribly rude and hurtful. And terribly unlike the accepting and sharing relationship Josie and Clyde had developed.) What just happened?
At Susankelly’s insistence, Josie and Clyde finally settled down for a nice photo or two. They were too embarrassed by their own behavior to not look nice for their Valentine’s picture, especially because you would be able to give that photo as a gift to someone special! Soon the two women were gone, and so was the jar of treats. The jar of treats that started the fight.
Josie and Clyde walked back to the center of the paddock together, side-by-side, happily bumping against one another, and nuzzling each other’s faces.
“What just happened back there?” asked Josie.
“I don’t know,” said Clyde. “Do you think we have food issues?”
“I didn’t think we did,” she said. “Maybe we should just stick to grazing and our hay and grain.”
“Good idea” said Clyde, and they wandered off as happy as they once had been, secretly hoping their photos came out so wonderful that you would just have to send one as a Valentine Gift Sponsorship* to someone you love.
Because chocolate … might just start a fight.
by Jeanne Balsam