Question: What lies at the heart of every single scene in a soap opera?
Answer: What are you Rachel, an idgit? Love!
But it isn’t exactly love, is it? It’s more like romance. There is a big difference between the two. Love is a concept: that timeless, eternal state of emotion you feel towards an individual that you will never be able to rid yourself of no matter how obnoxious, terrible, or infuriating the object of affection may be. Romance, on the other hand, is the trappings that surround a species biological imperative to reproduce.
And my friends and coworkers think I’m an odd duckling who doesn’t understand how fun and exciting life is. To them I say: Ha!
At the heart of today’s not-quite-Valentines-Day post, we have two major players: Aurora and Flax. Neither is in love. Both feel the need to follow wild horse societal norms and to make babies.
Aurora is the kind of mare that gives mares their bad reputation. She is a typical soap opera vixen: beautiful to be sure, but behind that beauty lies a manipulative she-wolf. Aurora knows what she wants and she gets it. And while that doesn’t put her in the territory of well-loved leading lady, you still respect how honest she is with herself and those around her.
See, Aurora uses a stallion like a sick person uses a box of Kleenex. The stallion serves a function, and that’s about it. Once the cold is gone, that box will be put away where it belongs. In 2012, Aurora reluctantly put up with Blitz, provided Blitz kept his distance and didn’t try any funny business with Aurora’s then two-year-old daughter, Belle.
Not only did Blitz try said funny business, but he also succeeded in knocking Belle up. Coincidentally, Blitz found himself a bachelor pretty quick the following Spring. Aurora moved on to the much more sensible stallion Pippen. I’m guessing it helped that Pippen was shorter and thus, easier for Aurora to reach when she wanted to give him a firm kick in the chest.
Belle, meanwhile, fell in with the wrong crowd – a pair of rough older stallions who had seen a lot of action in their time in every sense of the word. And while Aurora did not care one way or another for Pippen, I got the impression that she despised her daughter’s new “boyfriends”. Thus a cunning plan began to fall into place.
(That’s not me assigning human emotions to horses. Not exactly. Years ago, I didn’t believe mares were capable of cunning plans, but I have seen too many “coincidences” to believe that is the case anymore.)
Sometime between May and mid-July, Aurora lost her 2013 foal. With the foal dead, Aurora was in the unique position of not having any ties or responsibility. She was an only mare in a band with a newer stallion and a yearling colt that Pippen was bound to kick out sooner rather than later. So what’s a femme fatale to do?
Aurora used her feminine wiles to ensnare Flax, a hapless bachelor with a chip on his shoulder the size of Pilot Butte. Flax had shown interest in Aurora, but never committed to truly dogging the newly formed band.
In order to keep Aurora, Flax had to fight off hoards of bachelors all interested in “his” new mare (more on that story here). Why would Aurora put her flavor of the month through such paces? It was not out of any great love for Flax. It was for her daughter.
If movies have taught me anything, it is that human daughters choose their boyfriends with the sole purpose of pissing off their parents. The more likely mom and dad are to object, the more likely the daughter will be that much more “in love”. Horse society works a little differently. Don’t like your daughter’s choice in stallion? Drag her back to your band kicking and screaming. Or maybe stick around and act as a block anytime your daughter’s object of affection is feeling amorous.
Aurora found a stallion who went to ridiculous lengths to keep her. Fighting off nine other stallions? While she is also kicking you away? Really? Now if Flax was willing to do that for one mare, what might he be willing to do to have a second mare, one who will keep the lead mare happy?
A month and a half later, Belle and her little spitfire of a filly were with mom. Flax was still there too. I guess getting Belle back was enough for Aurora to allow Flax to stay. For now anyway, and only so long as he doesn’t try to graze too close to her or court her or anything.
Attitude aside, this really was a win-win-win Belle was only three years old when she foaled. For the non horse savvy among us, that is what is known as “babies having babies”. It is also extremely abnormal to see in the White Mountain herd. Belle was still growing when she gave birth, and the stress of feeding both herself and a newborn left her thin going into winter. Aurora’s wisdom and experience will help Belle make it through this nasty winter. She can also act as a good babysitter to allow Belle to focus more on keeping her weight up.
Flax now has the stability he was yearning for all summer. After gaining Elaine and losing her just as quickly in 2012, Flax spent 2013 lost. He wandered around alone, seemingly angry at the whole world and any horses in it. After having Aurora for even a short time, he was fatter and more content than I had seen him in ages.
As for Aurora, well, she wins because she is now in a position where she can call all the shots. Flax is not the type of stallion to push back if Aurora wants to do something.
But will it last? As with any good soap opera – and boy isn’t that an oxymoron – the hourglass is forever turning. Tomorrow the wind may blow another direction, creating and destroying alliances in a way the good Lord himself could not foresee. Stay tuned, reader.