By Hans Ebert
He wasn’t the slowest runner amongst the other horses so much as he did not understand the reason for all the running around. Was this what life was going to be all about?
Some of the older horses saw him as spoiled and arrogant while his younger friends thought that though a handsome young colt full of confidence, he was just not good enough. They were used to seeing him come in last during the trials that were used to get horses ready for the big races. And in the races where he would run, Stargazer seemed preoccupied.
He would miss the start, effortlessly get to the front, and then casually look around and decide if he would bother continuing to run. He never did. The fourth and last time he was in a race, he again slowly followed the rest of the horses, but this time when he moved to the lead, he suddenly dug his hooves in and refused to move.
The man on top of him called a jockey did everything possible to get him to get going. But Stargazer wasn’t budging. He didn’t understand why he had to do something he didn’t want to do. He never finished the race.
His best friend Ambora, who was the fastest of all the horses and a champion, would constantly warn him how if he didn’t run, he might be sent away to Shadora, the dreaded place run by tough handlers where there was only darkness.
Shadora was where “problem horses” were sent to mend their ways. But Stargazer wasn’t worried.
“They can send me anywhere they want, but unless someone explains to me why the only thing we do in our lives is to run just to see who’s the fastest, it’s not for me. I want to do bigger things. I want to be a special horse! I will let the light into Shadora!”
The older horses would smirk whenever they’d hear that. “That kid thinks he’s better than all of us,” they’d say. “He’s going to be in for a bad surprise. We’re horses! We were born to run.”
Stargazer knew what they were saying, but didn’t care. He would lie down in his stable and read as much as he could. He was also always composing melodies in his head and turning his thoughts into songs. Positive songs.
The gentleman to whom he was assigned- Tom- and known as a trainer saw something in Stargazer that others didn’t. “I wish I knew what Stargazer was thinking,” he would say to himself. “There’s something very special about this horse. I don’t think even he knows how special he is.”
Stargazer knew he was special. So did the group of children who would come every week from a school down the road for those with special needs to see him.
They were children from broken homes and troubled pasts. They wouldn’t let anyone know what they were thinking. Their minds were shut tight. Locked. But they let Stargazer into their lives.
They would pat his head, feed him carrots and talk to him. He nodded to show them that he knew what they were saying. And he did. He knew what he needed to do. He wanted to help unlock whatever was trapped inside and stopping them from enjoying life.
These children were also helping him to understand why he was here. He was here for them. To be their friend and help them anyway he could.
Stargazer wanted someone or something to show him the way to get to wherever or to whoever he was most needed. Either that or he was determined to create his own destiny and follow his dreams.
What were his dreams? It was actually one dream: To show everyone that there was nothing wrong in being different. How out of this difference, the world might be able to be a better and more positive place. That people had lost their individuality and ability to think differently and be and find themselves.
Stargazer was always asking himself, “Why not?” To him, everything was possible. As a horse, what could he do to offer hope?
Well, whereas humans had two legs, he had four. Horses had different eyes to humans. They could see in all directions. Horses could run faster. If they wanted to. Horses could sleep standing up.
Horses could help young children and adults with problems that even doctors could not solve. Horses had a mysterious healing power to give those lacking in it much needed confidence.
Horses had a very long history which many had forgotten about. This meant them becoming too dependent on humans when what was needed was teamwork.
He would often tell his friend Ambora about his father and mother who died in battle in the last war. How his ancestors were powerful steeds of some of the Knights of the Round Table with his great great great grandmother being Llamrei, the loyal horse of King Arthur and who was with him at his final battle.
Stargazer knew the role horses played in the short lived but important messaging service in America known as The Pony Express.
There was the role horses played in different wars. How they roamed the prairies as partners with cowboys and Native American Indians.
Looking at today, he knew the healing power of horses. He had seen it particularly in the eyes of a young girl named Faye who would visit him every week with her teacher.
Faye never spoke. She would just look at Stargazer and smile. She saw something in him that no one else could see. He knew what she was thinking. There were no need for words.
Her teachers, and Tom, the trainer of Stargazer would ask Faye what was making her smile, but she said nothing. She just kept looking at Stargazer and reaching out to pat and rub his nose.
What no one knew was that every time Faye rubbed his nose, Stargazer felt a very strange feeling running through him. It made him feel good and it also gave the little girl something to smile about. Something positive to hold onto. It was hope.
It was sunset and the day was coming to a close. Stargazer had earlier been taken out of his stable and given his usual time to stretch out his legs. Tom was on his back and they rode around the track a few times. Sometimes he just galloped by himself and was always deep in thought.
He met Ambora along the way who had won another big race the day before. “They’re moving me somewhere else tomorrow,” he told Stargazer. “I hear that the move will be good for me. But I will miss you. I hope we somehow meet again.”
Though sad to know he would be leaving his friend, Stargazer was surprisingly positive. He felt someone standing behind him. It was Faye. He was surprised as she was alone and it was quite late for her to be out. She patted his nose and embraced him. She was smiling.
Stargazer lowered himself to the ground and though she was on top of him for the first time, she certainly wasn’t scared. As he slowly pulled himself up off the ground, Faye held on. He cantered around the stable area with her on his back. He looked around to see if she was alright. She was more than alright. She gave him the sign that she wanted to go for a ride. And what a ride into the light it was…But first they had to go through the darkness of Shadora where the horses said to have problems stayed. Tom, the trainer, saw what was happening and smiled knowingly. He knew this was best for Stargazer and Faye.
Shadora was covered in darkness when Faye and Stargazer arrived. A deep purple sky hung over it. Below, the grass was wet and grey. Yes, grey grass. The horses roamed around looking lost while men sat around talking and looking over them.
There was no life to these horses. It was as if all hope was gone. That tomorrow was today and yesterday was today. The days all came together.
Stargazer and Faye confidently rode in. The other horses were surprised at this handsome and proud looking horse with a pretty young girl sitting on top of him.
Suddenly, Stargazer heard Faye speak for the first time: “Come with us!” she screamed to them. “We don’t know where we’re going but it’s somewhere better than this!”
Before the men in charge of Shadora could think, the tired looking horses seemed to grow wings on their feet and disappeared into a pink mist with their two guides- Stargazer and Faye.
Stargazer didn’t know where he was going. He just kept galloping. On and on and on. Faye held onto him and could not stop laughing from happiness. Suddenly she started singing while he ran. She was singing everything and more that Stargazer had been writing down. But how did she know? What was the connection?
As they continued galloping with the horses that had escaped with them from Shadora who right behind them, they realised that they had entered a magical forest- a magical forest which kept changing colours and where small “animen” and “aniwomen” darted from behind trees and where magical winged horses appeared.
It really was somewhere where nothing was real and there was nothing to get hung up about. There was a sense of complete freedom. That anything and everything was possible. That nothing is who and what it is, but how it’s a constant journey through different worlds before returning home.
Without them knowing, Stargazer and Faye had journeyed to another world. They had returned home.
Unlike you and me, Stargazer and Faye weren’t from here. Not from where we are.
Whoever was their travel guide needed them to see every possible world so that they could decide where they were happiest. Where they could do best for everyone. And how and where they could make a positive difference to those around them.
One adventure had ended and another was to take flight and begin.