Molly McMule's Horse Tales -
1001 Stall Stories
"Shhhhh - let's not wake Pete yet. He must be having a great dream," said Beau. "Look at the way he's tossing his head."
"And it almost seems like he's smiling," snickered Deke. "Now he's twitching and - uh-oh - he's awake!"
"So what's everyone looking at me for?" Pete asked sleepily.
"Tell us about your dream - it seemed like it must have been fun," chorused his barn buddies.
"Yeah, it sure was. Wish I were still asleep. I dreamed I ran away and joined the circus," Pete replied. "I might have really been there a long time ago, because it sure seemed real..."
Molly said, "Don't stop now. Tell us about it."
"Well, I was standing out in the pasture and heard a different sound. It was a calliope, meaning the circus was coming to town and the big parade was going down Main Street. I wanted to see it so badly that I jumped the fence and trotted on into town. When I saw all those beautiful wagons, other animals and all those people, I knew I had to join in. So I picked a spot behind the other horses and just blended in with the group.
"They were so elegant with their big plumes on their heads, strutting along, heads held high, never looking back. I stretched my plume-like ears as high as I could. It made me feel very important. After we got to the 'lot', where the tents were put up, there was plenty of work to do. The elephants did the really heavy work putting up the big top, and inside there were three rings for all the acts that were to be put on.
"In the backyard, behind the big top there was so much excitement. The clowns, lion tamers, and acrobats were practicing. Along the entranceway, sideshows were being set up getting ready for the crowds. I watched the horses being put through their paces very carefully hoping I could do the same things. They had to be very calm and have an unbroken canter so that the pretty ladies that did the trick riding would be able to balance on their backs and to mount and dismount with ease. Sometimes two horses would ride side by side and a rider would have one foot on one horse and the other foot on the other. That really required good timing.
"The horses were all well fed and cared for and bedded down. The big opening show was the next day. I was really looking forward to being in the parade around the ring again.
"After all the people were seated in the huge tent, the ringmaster introduced the acts and the parade began with the band playing marches and the whole cast - clowns, animals and of course, the elegant horses - marching behind. It was then that someone noticed that I didn't have a real plume and I was pulled to the side. I'd been discovered."
"Too bad," said Deke, "but at least you got a little taste of show biz. I didn't know that the circus is filled with such hard working people and animals."
Molly says you can find more information on the circus and the horses on the internet at shepler/circus or smithsonianmag.si.edu//smithsonian/issues_98/aug98/circus.html. Your library also has a number of books including the Encyclopedia of Horses.