Disclaimer: I don't own The Black Stallion. If I did, I wouldn't be broke. I do however own all original characters and ideas within this story. Real horses, such as Dawndee, Old Painter, Secretariat and others, are mentioned within this story. Like the The Black Stallion, I don't own them either. Again, it's the whole "no money" thing.
Author's Note: This is my first Black Stallion fic and the first thing I've slapped up here on in a long time. Constructive criticism is very much welcomed.
"Are you sure you want another horse?"
Dan couldn't have sounded more apprehensive if he tried. The middle aged man ran a calloused hand through his salt-and-peppered hair as he looked down at the papers in front of him. This behavior wasn't unusual in the seasoned trainer, but not common place either. After all, you had to be pretty confidant to become as highly acclaimed of a hunt seat trainer as he'd become here at Robin Glen. Okay, so maybe he wasn't really "highly acclaimed", but he was Dan Alverro- mentor to riders near and far and teacher to horses here and there, provided they were within driving distance of the moderately sized southern Colorado stable.
"Why do you think I brought this with me?" Eva said, pulling the checkbook out of the back pocket of her black Wranglers and slamming it down on the tack room table. "Now out with it. Did you find Rainy or didn't you?"
As he breathed in a deep sigh, Eva Kavanaugh feared the worst. She was dead wasn't she? Her poor old mare! Probably in the worst of ways too! Did she get shipped off to auction, then to a slaughter house from there? It was impossible; she was such a noble little mare. Although she was an Appaloosa, she had all the caliber, ability and heart of those fancy warmbloods. Sure, she wasn't as big or finely boned, being Foundation bred, and she could have a wicked stubborn streak to her, but she'd been an amazing jumper and later eventer in her day. What if it was worse? Maybe Dan had tracked her down, but her current owners refused to sell her! It might be more comforting to know that she was dead than to lay awake at night breaking her heart for something she could never have.
"I found her but-"
"But what! Oh, you're killing me!"
"Will you hush already? If you'd stop interrupting me…" he mumbled, dropping the almost anxious air he'd had before. "As I way saying, I found her, but I'm sad to say she died last year. Don't worry it wasn't anything horrible. She had a bad bout of colic and the vet put her down. I think I have some good news though."
"A year before she died, she'd had foal. A right pretty little filly by a Thoroughbred stallion over in Kentucky, colored almost like her momma too. She's for sale."
"Then what are we waiting for?" Eva exclaimed, snatching her checkbook and pulling her jacket off the hook on the wall. "Let's go get her! I may have had to give up Rainy, but I'm not going to let her baby pass me by!"
His breath caught and that anxious look crept into Dan's eye again. "Are you really sure about this, Eva? I mean, you have Cozzy and he's still got some good years left on him. Not to mention you're going to be in college this fall! How are you ever going to find the time, and money for that matter, to look after two horses?"
Rolling her eyes, Eva gave him a pointed look as she slipped into her denim jacket. "Give me a break, Dan. She can't be that bad."
Eva could barely contain herself as she stood at the pasture fence with Dan, waiting for Mr. Mitchell, the filly's current owner, to bring her up to meet them. Just from the brief tour she'd received upon her arrival, she had to admit that Robin Glen looked like a backyard operation in comparison to this place. Just to see Blue Mesa Farm, although it'd been quite a long drive, was a treat in itself. Back at home, Robin Glen's indoor arena was considered the talk of the block among the horse facilities in the area, but her home stable was easily put to shame by this farm. Not only did they have two indoor arenas, they also had several outdoor arenas, round pens, a complete cross country course and barns that made five star hotels look like Barbie doll houses. Not to mention the horses! They specialized in colored sport horses, hence why they'd purchased Rainy, and what fine examples they had! They even had an up-and-coming son of Wap Spotted, the popular Appaloosa sport horse siring stallion, out of a Trakehner mare with exquisite lines among their ranks. However, there was no doubt in Eva's mind that Rainy's filly would be better looking than him.
The sound of hooves pounding against the gravel driveway and Mr.Mitchell's shouts caused both Eva and Dan to turn around. Although she'd never admit it, Eva's face paled ever so slightly at the sight before her. Practically dragging the owner of Blue Mesa Farms was an intimidatingly large and wild eyed Appaloosa, bucking, rearing and shying away every other step. If Eva hadn't known better, she would've sworn that this yearling, as impressive in appearance as she may be, acted more like a terribly unruly studcolt. Was this really Rainy's filly? Her mare had had a stubborn streak to her, but never had the Appaloosa mare acted even remotely like this! The filly's actions were deceiving, but her looks definitely told of her relation to Rainy. Both were a black-blue color, although the filly was already showing signs of roaning out, with large white blankets extending to their withers and dotted with fist size, peacock spots. A thin white stripe had trailed down Rainy's nose, eventually tapering off into something looking like a rain drop. While the filly had no markings on her face, she did have three white socks like her dam.
So this was all that was wrong- for lack of a better word -with her? Eva'd worked difficult horses for Dan, Terry, the Western trainer at the stables and one of the owners, and Russ, Terry's husband, the other owner and general business manager of the stables. Surely this one would be no different, not by much at least. She did have a real temperamental side to her, but once they got that worked out Eva suspected that she'd be fine. With a reputation such as theirs, Blue Mesa surely didn't abuse their horses and Eva could see that Mr. Mitchell was trying to be very patient with the filly. Eva figured that she just needed someone to give her some undivided attention and she had the whole summer before she'd move the filly and Cozzy upstate for college. The Beatles had said it before and she'd say it again: All you need is love.
"How about I take her to the round pen?" Mr. Mitchell huffed as the filly danced circles around him, now seeming tired of tug o' war games. Despite her first impressions, the filly did have a very feminine, almost dainty look to her as she moved nimbly around her handler. While her Appaloosa, specifically Foundation, breeding was obvious, she wasn't as compactly built as an Appaloosa, with more Thoroughbred type, long legs, a leaner neck and her head, while still possessing a relatively straight Appaloosa type profile, didn't seem as large or heavy as her dam's had. Her high tail carriage and now arched neck almost gave the filly the appearance of an Arabian horse. Just barely though. Rainy'd had some Arabian blood in her through Dawndee, a famous race mare back in her pedigree, whose grandsire was Old Painter, a Foundation stallion by the Arabian, Ferras. Although it was quite possible that Rainy had possessed more Arabian blood in her pedigree, Eva thought it was too little and too far back to have much of an effect on any of her foals.
Heaving a sigh of relief, Mr. Mitchell handed the filly off to a boy, probably a groom or rider, and led his guests to one of the round pens. Despite the fact that the boy, almost in his late teens judging by appearance, looked to be a good few inches shorter than Eva's height of five-foot-six and lithely built, he handled the filly well. Of course, this fact could be attributed to the fact that she'd already worked up a light sweat with Mr. Mitchell, but she didn't seem at all tired. Her neck gleamed slightly more than the rest of her with dampness, but that was the only sign of even a slight fatigue. With a spirited air, she continued to dance around her handler, ducking her head and snorting every so often. She was just hardly older than a baby, but her already well toned muscles rippled beneath her black and white coat. While other yearlings seemed to only be coming into their own and still possessed a sort of juvenile awkwardness, this filly moved like a horse much older than one year. Impressive was only one word to describe her.
Needless to say, Eva was equally impressed by her performance in the round pen. As soon as her handler picked up the lounge whip, she was off. This filly didn't seem to need any motivation to move, which perked Eva's interest. Maybe in a couple years she could make a good eventer? It might be difficult for her to acquire the patience for the dressage portion of the event, but with her speed and agility she could easily fly through cross country courses and save her a few seconds in the show jumping arena. It wasn't necessarily her prowess that caught Eva's attention, but rather her unique way of moving. Instead of moving her feet diagonally at a trot, she opted to move at a lateral pace, the Indian Shuffle, which her dam had possessed herself. It was likely that Rainy, being a Foundation bred, would have this gait that had been treasured by the Nez Percé and cowboys alike, but the odds were against her crossbred filly possessing the rare gait. Her fiery temperament, coltish antics, and willful attitude didn't matter at all the Eva- she knew right now that she had to have Rainy's filly.
"I can't believe you'd waste money on a horse like that," Dan grumbled as he guided the Ford pickup down dirt road leading from the farm.
Wistfully, Eva looked out the back window of the truck, resenting the fact that they hadn't brought the horse trailer. She probably wouldn't have been able to take the filly home with her today anyways, but it would've been a nice idea to entertain. Pulling a stray lock of auburn hair back into her ponytail, she gave Dan a look bordering on the lines of irritation. "Dan, you've been like a second father to me and the other girls since we started riding at Robin Glen. I think you'd learn to respect my decision," she replied, looking through the handful of papers Mr. Mitchell had given her. Among them, he's given her Rainy's papers, keeping a photocopy for his records, and a copy of the filly's sire's papers.
"I know that you adored Rainy, but her filly is nothing like her. She's wild eyed and rebellious."
"But she was a steal at three hundred! Imagine what some of their other yearlings go for!"
"The only reason her price was that low is because she's not good for anything but trouble."
Eva rolled her blue eyes and flipped through the papers, pulling out the copy of the filly's sire's papers. The filly wasn't registered with the Appaloosa Horse Club yet and, although it might cost her an arm and a leg to register her this late, Eva had her heart set on giving the filly a proper name. She knew Rainy's papers by heart and still recalled the mare's registered name, Apache Rainy Dawn. With that in mind, she wanted to combine both of the filly's parent's pedigrees, as was traditional in the naming of horses. Just glancing at the Thoroughbred stallion's pedigree, Eva could see that Blue Mesa Farm must have paid a fortune for the stud fee, only making the filly's cheap price even more of a bargain. His name was Clearly Dark and he was a grandson of Cryptoclearance on his dam's side. Also through his dam, he was related to such greats as Personal Ensign and Secretariat. His top side wasn't any less magnificent.
"Hey Dan, get this! The filly's related to The Black!"
The screeching sound of the brakes filled the cab of the truck and both passengers were jolted to a stop. Behind them, a car narrowly missed colliding with them and, a few shouted obscenities later, swerved around the still vehicle. Dan was oblivious to this, however, judging by the utterly shocked look on his face.
"You're kidding me, right? Please Ev, say you're kidding me. I don't need a heart attack."
Shoving the paper in front of his nose, Eva tapped a finger to The Black's name, boldly printed on Clearly Dark's papers. "Nope, see for yourself."
Dark brown eyes sparkling with wonder, Dan gingerly took the paper from her as if it were delicate and invaluable, surely to shatter at any given moment. Surely enough, the famed stallion was printed as Clearly Dark's grandsire, making him the great grand sire of Eva's new filly. The middle aged trainer could hardly believe it. That horse was the stuff only dreams were made of and people paid a lot to own a piece of that dream. As race horses, his descendants sold for thousands, if not millions, of dollars. He'd only heard of a few of his progeny that had careers off the track, namely the geldings, and they still went for an awfully pretty penny. It wasn't just the bragging rights that you owned a horse related to the great Black that provided motive for people to spend countless amounts of money on a single horse. These horses were almost always blessed with their famous ancestor's heart and even the less handsome of his progeny found a career, mostly on the track.
"Well, Ev, I hate to admit it but I've been defeated. You might just have a good horse on your hands."