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Barbara and Pet

by: Barbara Hackett
Barbara Hackett with Chief Rogers

(Photo) Barbara Hackett with Chief Rogers

I would like to tell you a story. I know that most stories begin with “Once upon a time”, but I am not going to do that, because my name is Pet, and would you believe that I am a Horse! That is right, a horse. So let me begin.

I once lived with a doctor and his sister and they lived in a small town. Well, the Doctor thought that I needed to live in the country, where I could have more room to run and play. One day I met this young girl. Her name was Barbara and she lived on a farm in the country. I could tell she thought that I sure was big because I was so much taller than she was. She was only nine years old and not very tall and she was kind of afraid of me. Barbara’s mother took her hand and let me smell of her. Then I let her touch me and it felt real good to have this little girl rub my head. She thought my fur felt good, too. She said “Mama, she is so soft and she feels good, too.” Barbara’s Mama and Daddy talked to the Doctor and his sister let me go to Barbara’s home to live with her on the farm in the country.

Boy, let me tell you this farm where I went to live was so big, I could run and play all over this place. I couldn’t believe just how big that place was and it was now my home. A farm is a place where there is a house and barn and they raise crops and animals. In the pasture there was all kinds of grass for me to eat. Grass is what horses mostly eat, but sometimes horses eat hay or grain. I had fresh water to drink any time I wanted to get me a drink. On the farm there were cows, pigs, and chickens. These other animals looked funny to me at first, but I got to know them and soon we were friends too. You know, like when you meet someone who has a different color skin than you, you feel kind of funny about them, but once you get to know them and play with them, you can become friends, and that is a lot of fun to have friends a different color than you.

Barbara and I became friends, too. She would brush my coat (that is what you call fur on an animal) until it would shine. It felt real good when she brushed me. Her Mama helped Barbara learn to ride me. She would sit upon my back and it didn’t even hurt, because horses like to have people sit on them and ride them. It was not very long until she could ride real well. When Barbara came home from school, she would come out to the barn where I was and she would feed me and brush my coat. Then we would go for a ride,

She would ride me all over the place down in the pasture, where the cows were eating grass. In the afternoon we had to bring them up to the barn so they could be milked and they could let their babies nurse and get their milk, too. You know, that is what babies of all kind drink is milk. Barbara had a lot of chores to do and she had to get all of them done before we could play. When you live on a farm, there is a lot of work to do, like put hay out and feed the pigs and chickens, and gather the eggs. As you know, when you do your chores you get to do fun things, too like clean your room and take the trash out for your mom.

One day in the hot summer in Texas (that is where I live and it gets really hot there), Barbara was riding me and she thought we could go swimming in a pond where the cows drink water. I thought that the water looked good, so I got me a drink too. It felt good to be in the cool water on a hot day. When Barbara saw me, she laughed and came and got on my back, then we went swimming around the pond. Boy, this was fun! Then she grabbed on to my tail and I pulled her around in the water. We both sure had a good time. Would you like to know another thing? She would talk to me like a friend and I felt like I could understand her.

One time, I thought this was funny, a rabbit jumped out in front of me; of course it scared me, so I jumped too. My jump made Barbara fall off me and I stopped and looked at her to see if she was okay. She was fine. I thought to myself, “now why did you fall off, Barbara?”. Then I realized that I had jumped so fast that she lost her balance. She was okay and she just got back on and we rode some more. After that I tried not to jump so fast so she would not get hurt. The funny part was a little rabbit scaring a big horse like me.

Barbara’s girl friends would come over to play with me so she taught them how to ride me, too. They sure thought it was fun to learn to ride me. Sometimes I had two or three girls on my back at one time. We would ride down to a creek and the girls would play in the water and I would eat grass while they played. Then Barbara would get back on and help the other girls back on and they would laugh because they were having such a good time. I thought “now what are these girls laughing so much about?”. Being a horse, sometimes I didn’t understand. But it didn’t matter. They were having fun, so I did too.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. There was another horse on the farm. Her name was Vicky and she was a plow horse. That means she would pull a plow to turn the ground over so seeds could be planted. The seeds would then grow into food like corn, peas, beans, and potatoes. Vicky was a lot bigger than me, and Barbara didn’t like to ride her much because she was so big. I liked Vicky, too. We would stay out in the pasture together and eat grass. Sometimes Barbara’s girl friends would ride Vicky and we would have a good time that way, too.

Barbara and I became such good friends that she would come down in the pasture where I was and get on my back without a bridle or saddle. This way she didn’t have to carry anything with her. Like the bridle and saddle. She would guide me with her knees or pat me on the neck with her hand to make me turn the way she wanted to go. When you become such good friends you can trust each other. She could count on me not to hurt her and I could count on her to feed me and brush my coat. And I knew she would not hurt me either.

One time Barbara’s Mamma and Daddy went into town. It was a long way to go to town. They let Barbara and her sister go to the movies. The movie that was playing that day was a western; it was about cowboys and Indians. In the movie, when the Indians were riding their horses, they would stand up on top of their horses and they would go under the horse’s neck and hold on while they shot arrows at the cowboys (remember now, this was a movie). The next time that Barbara took me out for a ride, she had to try all of these things she saw the Indians do in the movie. She would stand up on my back and I would stand real still so she wouldn’t fall off. Boy, let me tell you that I can’t remember how many times that she fell off of me! But she would always try again until she got it right. You know that when you are learning something new, sometimes you can’t always get it right the first time, so you keep trying until you do get it right. I would look at her and think ’now, why did you do that?”. Of course, me being a horse, sometimes I was not sure what she was doing. I sure thought she was silly.

Sometimes she would whistle and call, “Pet, where are you?”. (The Doctor’s sister thought the name Pet was cute, so that is the name she gave me.) I would answer her with a whinny. That is the sound a horse makes. I would go to where she was but sometimes I would run from her and make it real hard for her to catch me. I thought this was fun, but she didn’t think it was so funny. Most of the time I would let her catch me real easy so we could play together. She would lie down on my back and act like she was sleeping, but I knew she was not because I could feel her move. Like I have said many times before, it is fun to have a good friend. You may not have a horse, but maybe you have a puppy or a kitty and they are your friends too. Don’t ever be mean to a friend and you take good care of them by making sure they have plenty of food and water. But most of all, they need a lot of love from you.

copyright 2012 Cherokee Nation of Sequoyah
     Must have permission to use or reprint by Charles Jahtlohi Rogers MD.

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