the horsefly


The horsefly arrives for dinner uninvited, unbidden and unseen. Its DNA tells it not to make itself known too soon or else the menu will be withdrawn with a swish of a tail.

The wise mare observes with respect and compassion. Her young one needs to learn.

The young horse is oblivious to all around him and continues to graze. A hoverfly buzzes harmlessly in front of his face. His tail swishes lazily, aimlessly.

The horsefly holds fast and pierces the taut, youthful skin, probing for a blood feast. It gets straight to the point and gorges. The insect fills with its vital reward.

Another aimless swish. And another – the body already fighting what the mind must be made to know.

And suddenly the young horse does know. He feels the point of pain where he is being blood-sucked down to his nerve. He kicks out, twisting trying to see what, where is it, how do I escape it?

Round and round the field he gallops. He kicks and kicks and kicks, and whinnies. His tail lashes out of control, whipping innocent air. Round and round he gallops.

The patient mare treads carefully to intercept her young tearaway. “Steady now,” she snorts softly and slows him down to a parallel trot.

The horsefly can see the eye of the strong mare looming. With a decisive look she commands the insect not to die, but to be gone. And so it leaves to digest its fresh hot meal untroubled, a compassionless blood-thief for sure but one whose fierce dedication to survival necessitates respect.

The mother mare nuzzles her growing son. Gaze to gaze closely she comforts him and he, step-by-step, accepts her calm. She knows that he is learning and one day soon will respect the things he cannot control or understand.

The loving mare licks and soothes the young horse’s tiny wound without him realising.

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