We were in a corral, a small area with high fences and an area that we could go under. I didn’t trust the thing. My herd mate liked it. The three mares had a few shelters they could go in. Everything about this place was wrong. Too much water. I could smell water everywhere. I could see a large body of water in the distance. The area we had was muddy and it seemed like this place always rained. I watched the humans and waited for them to do something. At first they were all cautious but then the one that was around when the sun rose and the sun set seemed to understand us. It was strange watching this human study us.
There were other horses around but these horses were not like anything I’d ever seen before. They interacted with and seemed to be part of the human herd, or maybe the humans were part of their herd? The horses smelled of humans and these other horses were bigger and more finely boned than those of my herd. I doubted the horses that were here would survive in the wild. They depended on the humans too much. They seemed to prefer human company to running wild and free.
The nice thing about this place was that we had fresh hay and water. The humans hung up weird things that floated along the fences. They put something in the odd shaped things and shook it like we would want to get closer. My herd mate and I watched the humans and when the humans left we watched the birds eat the stuff that was in the buckets. The humans tried the same thing with the three mares but the mares were just as uncertain as we were. We knew that hay was safe. We knew that water was safe but we did not know about the other stuff.
I began to recognize a word the humans used whenever they were near me. It was Hank. What is a Hank I wondered? My herd mate noticed they always said Ruger around him and the mares each noticed a word as well. Lark, Snow and Magpie. I started to think that maybe I was a Hank. It’s funny I never thought of myself as anything other than me but Hank seemed like it was their word for me. I started listening for the word Hank and then the word Hankee spoken most often by the human that seemed to watch us the most. She came and fed us morning and night. She would often sit near the panels are sometimes she would come into our area. The other humans always watched her and how we responded to her.
The human would almost sing the word Hank and her tone of voice was soothing. I hid behind my herd mate, Ruger, and let him check to see if whatever the human was doing was safe. After about two weeks the human brought the things they called buckets down to us. I smelled something familiar in the buckets. It was like the stuff we had back at the old place the place we left that was far away. In they also had flat dishes that they dumped the sweet smelling food into. Ruger went for it immediately. I waited until the humans were far away and then I push Ruger away to see what it tasted like. It was delicious. There was the familiar taste of the far away place plus something sweet. The type of food was something I’d never had before. It was small and crunchy. I liked the sweet taste of the crunchy food but the mushy hay was even better. It reminded me that there were still things that were familiar in this very strange world.
The mares were more hesitant about the food. They picked at it and the humans seemed concerned. I watched how the humans interacted. I watched how they moved their bodies and I was able to learn more about them. Each human moved in a particular way. I was leery of all of them but the one they called Felicia seemed to be the herd leader. At least she moved and acted as though she should be followed. Sometimes after all was quiet and the large yellow orb disappeared from the sky she would come and chase us around the pen it was a weird thing, it was like she wanted us to stand still but she was a predator, why would I stand still and let her get close enough to catch and eat me.