Sergent major Merlin. B company.

Sergeant Major Merlin, B Company, at your service. Horse of distinction. Ex - Army horse. He was a well built Horse, tough as old boots. Stuffy under the collar, with muscles in all the right places, and even now liked to keep himself trim. Although he found it harder with each day to keep up his strict exercise regime.

His bones sometimes aching, but he would never show it.

Old Sergeant Merlin had his pride, as any horse of his calibre would have. He always held his head high in the presence of others. Never letting his guard down.

In his young days as a foal, he was full of life, wild and free.

Feisty and playful, he chased all the old mares around the stud farm, playfully teasing the younger foals into games of chase. But he was fast, along with bright. His quick thinking and nimble hooves meant they just couldn’t keep up with him. He didn’t like rules, and wouldn’t let anyone ride him, preferring to let them chase him round the field. And when they did catch him, he would buck and leap, he wasn’t going to be held back, restrained with a saddle, harness or reins.

He knew his life was meant to be more than the usual trotting and show’s around the farm. He didn’t want to serve his life taking children for country trots.

His father had been a general in the Army so the breading was in him already, although his father thought he was too wild to listen to orders. This foal he though, ‘just wouldn’t make the grain‘. But how wrong could he be?

 

Merlin was taken along to the Market to be sold. He stood along side old shire’s, worn out and tired. Hard working till the end, but now being put out to rest.

‘You’re a bit too flighty to be with us old boys’, one weighty shire had laughed at him. Making him worry, when he said. ‘ Dog food in can’s, you’ll be if your not careful’.

The words stuck in his head as he watched the Dressage Show of Stallions and fine Mares, being groomed and preened. Their heads held high as they cantered around the show ring. The audience’s applause sounding higher and louder with each jump they made. Eyes blinkered as they led their masters, who rode high and straight, flags and plumes flowing behind. Graceful with power, well spoken and mannered.

The old shires laughed even more as they watched him watch them with a slight bit of jealousy and envy in his eyes.

He wanted to be one of them, someone who his father could be finally proud of. He wanted to be the top horse at the show. Groomed to perfection. His mane all plaited, and his tail brushed till it shone.

 

But he got lucky that day, the ropes he was tied with were as old as the clumsy sleepy shires, and he broke himself free with little ease. And while all eyes were watching the Military Horses, he wandered freely over to the other side.

‘Hey boy’. A voice came from nowhere as a hand patted his mane. Holding onto his frayed rope around his neck as he fed him a apple. Green, crisp and firm as he liked best.

This friendly voice belonged to a young soldier who took him away with him, to the barracks stables that night. And the following day his new life started.

Gruelling regimes, training him hard, breaking him in. but no problem this young man had of saddling him up. He with kind blue eyes, he whispered words of reassurance as he led the young colt around the field. Exploring together on foot at first, and then finally the colt led the young soldier, his turn. Breaking into a gallop with the solider riding his back holding the reins. Harness work and drills, which took hours and hours building the confidence and friendship up between the pair.

But they had a lot of fun, getting to know each other.

Merlin’s good behaviour paid off and the young soldiers hard work led them to years of companionship, a friendship like no other. This solider was good, he had a understanding of animals and he changed Merlin’s ways.

 

They completed their tours, both growing and changing into the very best the military had to offer. Moving up in Ranking with the years.

His soldier named Darren never left his side. Preferring Merlin’s confidence and wisdom to do battle with, than the new young recruits, boisterous just like Merlin once was.

They fought day and night along the best, Merlin keeping watch over his men. He was promoted to Sergeant Major and of this he was so proud. Ordering his troops leading them out, into the fields, with the military and convoys of troops all marching behind.

Then one day they got caught in the cross fire out on the range, Darren, breaking his ankle in the fall as Merlin fell as the bullet hit his chest, the shot leaving him slightly deaf. So they were retire from the cavalierly and put out to attend shows.

That was before they got moved across the pond. Here they were both to attend shows and put on their best dressage and dance around the ring. Showing off to the crowds. Merlin did this well, showing off his huge scar, with pride to all the young colts. He ordered them around.

‘Be the best’ he would tell them. As he towered above them.

But then his master had to go back to return in a week or so. He made promises to Merlin, and as the months flew by still no word form his master came. Merlin grew anxious, not knowing what had become of his Darren, and refused to be groomed or ridden by anyone. Until eventually they put him out to pasture, to retire him for good in this new foreign land. Civie street for him till the end of his days. that’s when the nightmares started, as he dreamed of days gone by.

Running across the fields, playing chase with the young foals. His time served in the military and his master he so missed, with his treats of fresh green apples.

The thunder and lightening would sometimes start it all off, with his eyes wide open he would feel himself being transported back to the battles, with the heavy artillery blasting off. But this time he would bolt for cover, and hang his head down. Hiding under the largest branch he could find. The pain he felt in his wound alive with his grief, for his master and keeper who he so greatly missed.

 

His new keepers sold him on to the Market one day, intended for dog food, but he was rescued by a young maiden who though he would make a great friend for a young unfortunate female, with a life long condition meant she couldn’t walk unaided. She thought he was the best gift ever, and she loved Merlin with all the love her heart could give. He liked to hear her laughter, as it brightened his day.

Darren came back, he had tracked old Merlin down. He found him out trotting with the young missy laughing on his back. And as the pals eyes met they knew it was goodbye. For Merlin’s place was now here, making the young maiden happy, and his old master knew he was best left. But a sack of firm green apples he left.

And that’s how Merlin, the Sergeant Major from B company came to be here, old English gentry ending his days, quietly trotting and munching on his hay.

The End

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