AT LAST - DINKY: THE NURSE MARE'S MOM TELLS HER STORY OF LOVE, LOSS, AND HOPE IN THE NURSE MARE'S TALE BY MARTA MORAN BISHOP
“Why do you call her the Ghost?” Tom asked Sam, as they sat in the cab of the truck.
“She is white now and has been extraordinarily meek and mild-mannered since her second foal. You hardly remember she is there most of the time.” He replied.
There was a sly lazy air about Tom. A bit slovenly, his long hair hanging greasy, on his shoulders, with a few strands combed across his prematurely balding head. Sam could hardly bear the smell of him, a combination of greasy hair and a pungent smell of stale beer clinging to him. “Will you open the window a bit, Tom?” Sam asked. He wore his blue jeans in what humans commonly referred to as a plumber’s crack; I don’t see how he can walk properly, I will have to get the boss to discuss his clothes it won’t do working with horses.
The red truck backed up to the gate of Sadie’s paddock, “Tom would you please go open the gate for me?” Sam asked.
“I’ll take a look-see, Sadie; be right back,” Nellie said as she walked back out to her paddock. Poking her head back in Nellie said, “One of them is old Samuel, but the shorter man looks like a real greenhorn Sadie I never saw him before.” He is a little man, a bit sly looking, with a mean look in his eye and the smell of cruelty.” Both mares’ ears perked up to hear the two men outside the small barn.
“Tom here’s the rope, go get the Ghost. You can bring her out through the paddock. I’ll be waiting at the trailer for you. She will be a bit cranky, but education is what you are here for. Besides I am here to show, not do the work.”
“Sam, which one of them is the Ghost, and if she is cranky, what’s the best way to get the rope around her?” Tom asked cunningly.
“As I already said, she is the white one. How long have you been around horses Tom? Surely long enough to know what a freaking halter is. Just go up to her, talk soothingly, and put the lead rope on the ring. It is the ring on the chin strap, at the base of the halter.” Sam shook his head in disgust. What the hell did the boss think when he sent this useless piece of shit to him for training? I bet this jerk can’t even tell the difference between a forelock and a frog. Maybe the guy was just lazy, though he might be like some people who acted stupid so they can get out of doing chores. Sam thought.
“I hear Nurse Mares have become a big business?” Tom said, to delay going into the barn. His voice full of bravado, but the mares could smell his nerves even with the barn doors closed. Sadie, could hear it in his voice. It worried her.
The Nurse Mare's Tale is in a way the prequel to Dinky:The Nurse Mare's Foal, as it tells the story of Dinky's mother. This lovely story is told from the viewpoint of two aging nurse mares about to give birth, and the trials they go through. It tells us of Sadie and her friend Nellie and is accompanied with charming dialogue (both speaking and thinking). The plight of these animals is described in empathetic detail.
After enduring years of breeding and loss, the older nurse mares must face the auction with the promise of being slaughtered, as they have become too old for breeding and thus unable to be rented out as nurse mares to feed the foals of the high-dollar mares.
Do they accept their fate, or will there be another ending for the nurse mares that have given everything and received little in return?
The ending may surprise you. It is a poignant story that will rip your heart out and put you back together again.
This story about the past and present treatment of horses will appeal to all animal lovers and especially to horse aficionados. The tale is told from the point of view of an aging mare, whose main function appears to be breeding foals and then feeding them milk until they are big enough to take them away – or to use her milk to feed other, more marketable, foals. From the viewpoint of two horses, Sadie and her friend Nellie, with accompanying charming dialogue (both speaking and thinking), the plight of these animals is described in empathetic detail. This lovely story portrays two aging mares about to give birth, and the trials they go through to give birth and protect their newborn babies. The reader is drawn into the story, culminating in the wonderful escape coup the mares plan, and are able to carry out, to gain their freedom and find a new life.
The symbolism of the conclusion, where Sadie is renamed Angel and given responsibility for becoming a nurse mare for her new owner’s motherless foal, brings the circle around as the new owner proclaims, “We all need jobs. It makes us feel important.” (The story is also somewhat of a subtle allegory of today’s world, where many females are considered no more than breeders, and have to live in a male-dominated world. Although in this world, at least the fillies are considered worthy, unfortunately mainly for their ability to provide milk to newborns. On the other hand, in this world of selective breeding, newborn colts are often considered “junk foals” and left to die. So the story also questions the reasoning behind why some horses are considered to be more valuable than others.)
Those of you who have previously read and enjoyed the author’s "Dinky, The Nurse Mare’s Foal", will love and appreciate this prequel.