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By James McCormack
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 James McCormack
All rights reserved.
Barreen, County Kildare, Ireland - April 1918
The anticipation of watching the broodmare foal paled in Mickey's memory only to the day nearly a year before when his father bought him down to the barn to watch the incredible scene of the massive stallion, Bellweather, mating with the broodmare on a cool evening in early March. Bellweather, a four year old who'd performed well for the stable over the past two years, was a mix of Irish Draft horse and Thoroughbred, with the size of the former and the athleticism of the latter. Normally a well behaved horse, Mickey could hear him neighing and whinnying and stomping around in the stable at the far end of the barn and wondered what would make the horse so anxious. The mare, imperially named Queen of the Isle, also a four year old thoroughbred, stood in the first stable, her feet chained together and a very nervous look in her dark brown eyes. She stomped around pulling at the lead to which she was tethered, jerking Da's arm again and again. Frank Walsh gently caressed the mare's face, whispered kindly in her ear, settling her down a wee bit. He called his thirteen year old son over, handing him the rope.
"Okay, Mick, I need you to hold her firm now boy, understand? When I bring Bellweather in he's going to be ornery as all hell and she may get skittish, she's got a hankering about what she's about to get so make sure you hold on tight." Mickey wasn't quite sure exactly what Queen of the Isle was about to get but he took the rope from his father and began gently stroking the mare's head, whispering to her as he had seen his father do. Frank went out to get the stallion and Mickey felt a tinge of excitement as he had a feeling whatever was about to happen would not be soon forgotten. And he was right. Da led Bellweather into the stable and the massive horse arrived in nearly violent fashion, his head rearing up and down, snorting like a steam engine, and whinnying to wake the dead. Despite her chains, the mare began pulling away, jerking Mickey half way across the stable before he could settle her down. She stood nervously looking back towards the stallion, shifting around and searching for a place to bolt.
"Steady, girl," Mick whispered over and over. He held the rope tightly with both hands. What happened next amazed him. With Da's careful attention, Bellweather approached the mare from behind sticking his nose directly between her haunches and seeming to be breathing deeply from inside the horse's arse. He did this for a few minutes and as he did so Mickey watched in awe as the stallion's penis, normally the size of nice chunk of turf, began to grow to two or three times its size, swelling with a slick wet sheen and eventually achieving the size of Mickey's arm if not bigger. Mick knew that sometimes his own penis grew larger when he had those bad thoughts about some of the girls in his class and that made him blush a little but mostly he was just shocked by the massive size of the horse's tool. Now the mare shifted again but this time it seemed more to position herself for what happened next. Bellweather suddenly reared up on his hind legs and tried wrapping his front hooves around the mare's middle but he slipped off jerking about while Da held him tightly. He reared again but still did not gain the hold he needed but on his third try he mounted the mare and Mickey's eyes almost burst from their sockets as he watched in amazement as the horse's huge cock entered the rear of the mare, disappearing completely as the stallion pushed in closer. Then Bellweather rocked back and forth a number of times and with a sudden grunt pushed into the mare very deeply. Gaining some kind of relief from his efforts, he dropped his head onto the back of the broodmare, lessening his hold on her midsection. Then he slipped off completely and Mick saw the huge penis dripping with a whitish liquid, glistening in the last light of the day and now beginning to shrink back to its normal size. Bellweather appeared to lose interest in Queen of the Isle and Da led him away quickly, back down the barn to the stall at the very end. Mickey stroked the mare, looking into her mournful eyes.
"Did that hurt?" he asked her gently, "I hope not, girl, I hope you're feeling alright." She nodded her head as if to assure him she was fine and Mick went to fetch a feedbag to reward her for her efforts.
Later that evening, he worked up the courage to ask his Da about what he'd seen. They were sitting by the turf fire. His mother and his sisters, Maureen and Deidre, were working away in the kitchen. His father had a book in his hand but he did not appear to be reading it. He was staring into the fire mulling over something very important Mickey was sure.
"Da, can I ask you something?" he said softly. His father moved his eyes slowly from the flames and smiled kindly at his son. He nodded for the boy to continue. "It's about the horses and what Bellweather was doing to the mare," Mick said sheepishly. His father nodded again and Mick thought he saw the smile on his face lengthen. He searched carefully for the right words to say. "What was he doing to her? I mean why would we let him get on top of the mare like that? I was thinking that maybe he would hurt her, he seemed angry to me and his, his, well his cock got so huge and he was poking so hard and it all looked very scary to me." Mickey looked away in embarrassment as his father's smile broadened again. He reached across the fire and gently patted his son on the head. He slipped his rough, calloused hand under the boy's chin and made him look directly into his father's face.
"They was mating, Mick," Da said softly. "Do you know what mating means, boy?" He waited for his son to shake his head from side to side and then he pulled him closer, speaking in a quiet and dignified tone. "We mate the horses so they can foal, you know, have a wee colt or a little filly." Mickey's eyes brightened slowly as what his father said began to take hold in his head. "Bellweather mounted the mare so he could make her pregnant, understand?" The look on his son's face told Frank Walsh that the boy had an inkling of understanding but much clarification was required. "Do you want to know exactly how it works?" he asked the boy. Mickey nodded slowly, unsure if he really did want to know. And then with something of a clinical detachment, Da explained very slowly the entire process from when the mare would be ready to get pregnant which seemed some magical time of the year to Mickey, to the stallion's desire to mount the mare and the way his penis would swell with anticipation to the actual act of mating and how the male would shoot some powerful liquid into the mare's rear and that would cause her egg to develop into a baby horse growing in the broodmare's belly. Mick recalled the site of Bellweather's huge tool glistening with wetness after the act had been concluded and how the horse appeared to relax after he had finished with the mare.
"Do you understand, son?" the father asked softly. Mickey nodded. "Do you have any questions about it?" Mick thought carefully for a few minutes. He looked into the kitchen and saw his mother working at the sink, her belly swollen to many times its normal size. The father followed the boy's gaze and let out a gentle laugh. "Yes, my son," he said with an embarrassing smile, "it works pretty much the same way with us humans too!" Mickey had trouble going to sleep that night. He could barely contain his excitement at the prospect of a new horse being born on the farm. And this would not be just any new horse. It was going to be his horse, that was one thing he was certain and he could not wait for the day to arrive.
And a year later, it was here. Da told him to keep an eye on Queen of the Isle and let him know when she lay in the straw and her belly began heaving. He'd come down in the afternoon, after school and noticed the mare seemed a little agitated. She moved around a great deal, lying down momentarily and then getting up to turn in circles. She was sweating a lot and her belly hung down and Mick thought he saw it swelling in and out. He gave her some water and rubbed her gently and she nestled her nose closely into his shoulder in thanks and he could feel her shuddering as she did so. Within the hour she lay down into the pile of straw they'd set aside for her and Mickey watched in wonder as her belly bucked and rolled like a skiff on a stormy lake. He pulled himself away from the amazing sight, racing up to the house to fetch his father.
As they moved back towards the barn, Da gave him instructions to fetch a blanket and a good number of burlap tarps, a clean supply of water and a sharp knife. Mick raced through the barn, knowing intimately where to find each item although he was uncertain of their intended use. But he never questioned his father's orders in any respect and certainly not when it had anything to do with horses. Frank Walsh knew more about horses, breeding them, raising them, training them, racing them and retiring them than any man in Kildare if not in all of Ireland and surely his young son would do nothing but obey. Still, he was curious. He placed all the items in the stable where the broodmare lie convulsing and breathing heavily. Mickey wondered if it had been so difficult on his Ma when the wee baby arrived six months earlier. He slipped beside the nervous horse, gently smoothing her withers and rubbing her haunches, whispering encouragement all along. The mare's brown eyes swept dolefully towards him but she looked anything but soothed by his touch.
Da put on his elbow length rubber gloves and stuck his hand in the rear of Queen of the Isle and felt around carefully. "It won't be long now, Mick, this evening at the latest," Da said confidently,
"How will we know?" the boy asked innocently, moving to a spot along the wall where he could sit and keep watch.
"Oh, we'll know," his father replied with a smile. "Just you wait and see."
About two hours later, after an interminable amount of shuddering and whinnying and heaving and trying to stand only to lie back into the bed of straw, the broodmare gave a final shudder and suddenly a burst of fluid coursed slowly from her rear washing indiscreetly across the straw bed and the dirt below. It was a mixture of fluids, some clear and watery, some red and bloody, some laced with mucus and other greenish and white matter. Mickey inhaled quickly, unsure if maybe the horse had just died, given birth or shat itself in some pathetic way.
Frank Walsh went right to work. Putting his gloves on again, he spread the blanket out a few feet away from where the mare laid thrashing about and piled the burlap sacks alongside the blanket. He gently approached the animal and felt around the midsection and inspected her rear. Nodding his head slowly, he pointed to a small mass beginning to protrude from the mare's rear section. It was slightly pointed and again covered with some kind of odd film.
"It's coming, Mickey, the babe is coming." For the next few minutes the boy looked on in wonder as the mass slid slowly out of the mare's body inch by inch. "Pay attention now, son," Frank instructed. He reached into the slimy mass with his burly hands and another small sack seemed to give way with more fluids spilling about the ground. Then he grabbed onto two small objects and it took a few moments for Mickey to realize they were the foal's legs. Da began pulling the foal out of the mare, no small task the boy observed. Frank grunted and tugged and twisted around for a number of minutes and then with a fearsome yank the young horse slid completely out of his mother and Mick looked on in complete astonishment as the shape and form of a young colt was revealed before him. It was covered in slime and blood and mucus but the new born horse raised his head, twisting from side to side. The boy saw the beautiful brown eyes, the pointed ears, the flaring nostrils and a dark mane of hair along his neck, almost black, against the chestnut coloring of his body. And down the center of his head, running between his glassy eyes and above the wet and shining nose was a white strip with a small white circle below it, a very distinctive marking to Mick's young eyes. His Da cleared the foal's nostrils of any mucus so he could breathe and then began the task of wiping the foal down with the burlap sacks, taking wet and sticky swabs of gunk and mucus from the animal's shiny fur. He told Mick to put down some clean straw and sliding the colt onto the blanket gently, he positioned it in such away that when the feeding would begin, the exhausted mare would not need to move very much. He dipped his hand in the bucket of water and gently cleared the slimy fluid from the colt's eyes and looked him over carefully, examining the head and ears and gums to make sure all was as it should be. He tossed one of the burlap sacks to his son and the boy was overjoyed to join in the wiping down of the new born and he smiled widely while rubbing vigorously, feeling the warmth and softness of the young horse beneath his hands. Mickey could only imagine the months and years ahead. As he cleaned the colt with loving care, he dreamed of working with his Da training the beautiful horse, grooming him, feeding him, learning to ride the animal and to teach him how to run and jump, watching him grow into the champion he was meant to be. Mick did not know at what point his father had left him alone with the horse or when it had grown so dark. But he watched for a long while as the colt fed hungrily from his mother's tit while Queen of the Isle cleaned her colt with gentle licks and by rubbing her big head against him. Later, Mick curled up within arm's reach of the animal, borrowing a corner of the blanket, and fell into a deep slumber full of wonderful dreams.
The next morning the chatter around the breakfast table was mostly about the new horse. Naming the colt was a very important and honored family tradition. Mammy was at the stove working up a massive breakfast of eggs, bacon, blood pudding, brown bread and potatoes. The small cottage smelled delightful. Mickey's eldest sister, Maureen, was pouring steaming hot tea for everyone while Deidre minded the wee child named Patricia. Da was looking over the morning racing form, not interested in the wagering but curious where two horses he had trained and were running that afternoon in Dublin would be stacked.
"They got River Run going off at twelve to one," he said with a chuckle. "That should be a money maker right there. Not saying the horse will win but I am as sure as my name is Frankie Walsh that he'll be in the money. Why he should be ..."
"Whish't Daddy," Maureen said as she filled his cup with steaming brew. "We are a lot more interested in the new colt in the barn than we are with old River Run."
Da began to protest but this time Deidre cut him short. "Whish't, Daddy, Maureen is right. River Run was nothing more than a disappointment and we all are hoping that the new boy is going to be a fair amount better coming down the stretch."
But Da was not one to give up easily. "River Run is a damn fine horse, young lady," he protested. "He's just been on a run of bad luck of late. Why just the other day he was making the turn and...."
"Whish't, Daddy," Maureen admonished him again. She was seventeen years of age and as lovely as a spring morning. It was generally felt throughout the family that she was Daddy's favorite. She giggled at her father's astonished face and her laugh sounded like a bird's song. "Bellweather's little boy is going to be a champion racer!" she exclaimed with pride. She looked fondly towards her younger brother sitting at the kitchen table. "That's what Mickey said, didn't you Mick?" Mickey was shaking his head vigorously and trying to get a word in edgewise but Da could not resist a spirited reply.
"Oh, my lovely lass, you are quite right. All the horses trained by Frank Walsh are champions in one way or another and I am certain this fellow will be no different. If you go back as far as when I was your brother's age you'll find champions all along the way. Take the first one ..." but before he could offer up the ancient horse's name it was Mammy that cut him short.
Excerpted from Whish't Daddy by James McCormack. Copyright © 2016 James McCormack. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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