Best Friends (Our True Story) - Chapter 5: My Protector
by Leah F.
Chapter 5 - My Protector
I will say one thing about Raphael that, for being such a sweetie, was almost an odd characteristic about him...
He did not like to share.
From just a handful of grass, to spending time with me and being brushed, he wanted it all, and he would get upset when I gave another horse a bite of one of his apples, or brushed another horse with his brush that I bought.
At the time, his mane and tail was not a solid brown color, it had brown, white, gray, and black mixed in, and I found a brush at my local store that matched his hair exactly, so that's why it was "his."
But even through he disliked sharing, he was never mean about it. Instead, he would almost pout about it. And every time he did, I would repeat over and over how much I still loved him even though I gave the other horses attention.
Even if he couldn't understand the exact words, my talking seemed to let him understand the point, and he eventually learned to be patient while I would give an extra treat to another horse, and sometimes he would find an extra apple or carrot waiting for him after, which he absolutely loved.
He was also very protective of me, but not possessive. He literally kept me safe in all possibly dangerous situations, even putting himself in harm's way a few times to make sure I didn't get hurt.
On one of these occasions, a young colt, born on July 4th (I nicknamed him Firecracker) and no older than 2, had a feisty attitude most of the time, and would bite if he didn't get his way. Firecracker was being greedy for some of the baby carrots I had been feeding Raphael one Winter day, and I wouldn't give him any because I had already given some to the other horses when he wasn't around, and Raphael got the rest.
Firecracker pinned his ears against his head, and in what seemed like slow-motion, I saw him bare his teeth, open his mouth and lunge at my shoulder. It happened so fast, I had no time to react.
But just in time, I saw Raphael bare his teeth right back, charging right toward Firecracker's throat latch. Firecracker never reached my arm, and Raphael closed his teeth on Firecracker's neck, and I saw a flash of pain cross Firecracker's face, and Raphael soon let go, but then he chased him off down the slight slope in the direction of the pond.
Raphael didn't chase him very far, just enough for Firecracker not to want to return anytime soon. Everything happened so quickly, but I remember every detail, and how slow time seemed to pass.
Raphael walked back to the fence line where I was standing, with me in awe at the fact that he just saved me from getting a possible serious injury, but also endangering himself to do it. I hugged him, kissed his nose and checked him over for injuries, just in case. I thanked him again and again, thinking about how much he meant to me, and what a special horse he was.
That wasn't the only time something like that happened through the years, I will probably only mention a few more times he protected me, but it is the one that has stood out to me the most.