My lips smacked the water and I guzzled greedily, breath making ripples across the surface. When I finally leaned up and sniffed, the rope tugged, and the humans led me through a gap in the fencing and tied me to a post.
The gate slid shut and they latched it fast, then one of the humans who had dismounted his horse scattered hay on the ground. "Here ya' go." It said gently, patting my shoulder before walking off.
I leaned away from the trough and nibbled at the fresh, fragrant hay, teeth grinding. I was staring right ahead at the soft, lush grass, with the ripe, rich glow of green, when I saw something, that I'd never imagined.
A chestnut filly raised her head and blinked at me. She flared her nostrils a tiny bit and took a few steps towards me. I reversed, ears flat.
"Hi, there." She whinnied gently.
I frowned and scraped my hoof against the grass. What was she doing? I'd only just arrived. I couldn't trust her! "You arn't my herd!" I snickered.
She tossed her head with a twinkle in her eye and she skipped a few steps to the left. I looked away, rolling my eyes. What a show off. She pranced around me again and took a bite of my hay, looking up at me playfully. I stomped my back leg, blowing hard through my nose. I imagined my father, how he looked intimidating to other horses or the wild cats. I stood straighter and blew again, my ears pressed against my skull and my lips drawn back.
"Go away!" I charged at her with my neck low, and she jumped a few strides back, and I looked up with pride.
What is this? Shes laughing! The annoying little filly was pigrooting all over the paddock, letting out joyous bouts of neighing laughter. I wrinkled my nose and turned my back on her, sticking my face into the trough.
She thundered past me, her tail high and flicking like a flag. I glared out of the corner of my eye as she danced around like an idiot. I let out a low sigh. Things couldn't possibly get worse. But I was wrong to start thinking that. Because as soon as I lifted my head from the water, a human was leaning over the fence, grabbed a hunk of my mane, and was throwing another rope over my head.