Chapter 7: Ginger
One day when Ginger and I were standing alone in the shade,
we had a great deal of talk; she wanted to know all about my bringing up
and breaking in, and I told her.
"Well," said she, "if I had had your bringing up I might have had
as good a temper as you, but now I don't believe I ever shall."
"Why not?" I said.
"Because it has been all so different with me," she replied.
"I never had any one, horse or man, that was kind to me,
or that I cared to please, for in the first place I was taken from my mother
as soon as I was weaned, and put with a lot of other young colts;
none of them cared for me, and I cared for none of them.
There was no kind master like yours to look after me, and talk to me,
and bring me nice things to eat. The man that had the care of us
never gave me a kind word in my life. I do not mean that he ill-used me,
but he did not care for us one bit further than to see that we had
plenty to eat, and shelter in the winter. A footpath ran through our field,
and very often the great boys passing through would fling stones
to make us gallop. I was never hit, but one fine young colt
was badly cut in the face, and I should think it would be a scar for life.
We did not care for them, but of course it made us more wild,
and we settled it in our minds that boys were our enemies.
We had very good fun in the free meadows, galloping up and down
and chasing each other round and round the field; then standing still
under the shade of the trees. But when it came to breaking in,
that was a bad time for me; several men came to catch me,
and when at last they closed me in at one corner of the field,
one caught me by the forelock, another caught me by the nose
and held it so tight I could hardly draw my breath;
then another took my under jaw in his hard hand and wrenched my mouth open,
and so by force they got on the halter and the bar into my mouth;
then one dragged me along by the halter, another flogging behind,
and this was the first experience I had of men's kindness; it was all force.
They did not give me a chance to know what they wanted.
I was high bred and had a great deal of spirit, and was very wild, no doubt,
and gave them, I dare say, plenty of trouble, but then it was dreadful
to be shut up in a stall day after day instead of having my liberty,
and I fretted and pined and wanted to get loose. You know yourself
it's bad enough when you have a kind master and plenty of coaxing,
but there was nothing of that sort for me.