Miskeen was born in obscurity on a Russian farm, sold to a traveling circus, and earned a reputation performing in small towns in the 1980s. He was schooled first as a liberty (rider-less) horse and then as a “dancing” (dressage) performer. Dancing was what he did best, and he was often observed trotting on the spot whenever he heard music. He matured into a magnificent, highly trained and valuable animal.
But then tragedy struck. Confined in his stall after an exhausting day of performances in unbearable heat, Miskeen was spotted by a boy. The boy took up a training whip and beat the horse mercilessly until, in panic, Miskeen struck out. The boy was bitten severely, and, in retribution, Miskeen was ordered to have all his teeth pulled so that he could never “turn vicious” again. Suddenly, the magnificent animal was disabled, humiliated, unable to eat, and totally worthless to those who had prized him.
Miskeen would have died, had he not been rehabilitated by a young British woman named Vicky Malia. He recovered, eventually rewarding his new owner with private dance performances. It seemed he still had an ear for music and a memory of grander days. Miskeen is dancing still.
©2007 Judy Andrekson (P)2010 RMW Kids
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
A finely rendered story about a horse abused in the performance arena who, by no fault of his own, falls into even more dire straits--and is then rescued and rehabilitated by two good women who see horses as something more than means to an end... I am a horse owner and thus see the attitude far too many people have toward horses (Miskeen's tale, amazingly, takes place in 1993), and I am sad to say that this type of tale is not uncommon. Horses are trained without care, ridden and put up without praise, used until they no longer earn blue ribbons and trophies, and then are sold off, gotten rid of, many times ending up in slaughter as thanks for their many years of service. Like the old tale Black Beauty, the story of Miskeen reminds us once again that horses are living, feeling, sentient beings with more to give to us than we know--if only we will give first to them.
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