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That was the word that came to my mind as I watched them. They were so beautiful. So majestic. They were completely unaware of my presence, and yet I was enjoying theirs so much.

They were wild horses. They walked and breathed as if they were a part of the earth. Drops of sunlight made their coats glimmer and shine. They moved with elegant grace and power.

I rested my chin on my hands and sighed. I could have sat there, behind my special rock, forever. But the sun was slowly disappearing behind the emerald trees. I knew that I should saddle up and go home. I felt a warm breath on my cheek and looked up to see my horse, Aspen, standing beside me. I smiled and leaned my cheek against hers.

“They’re beautiful, huh girl?” I said. My golden-and-white paint horse lifted her head and whinnied to the wild horses. They raised their heads in surprise. Some nickered in return.

It was a beautiful sight, one that I wished would never end. Pink, orange, and blue clouds highlighted the purplish sky as the sun hid beneath the horizon. Foals and yearlings frolicked and played, and the lead horses kept an eye out for danger.

I sighed. It was too bad I could not go any closer. I would be considered a danger if I approached them further.

But it was no matter. For now, I was content just watching them.

I always marveled at wild horses—their strength, their will. They suffered through many trials and losses, and still they went on gracefully.

Silent Friends horses in the woods
It was a beautiful sight, one that I wished would never end

Slowly, I moved to sit on top of my rock. The lead stallion saw me and watched me with a scrutinizing eye. When he saw I meant no harm, he walked away. Still, I could tell he was carefully aware of me.

This herd was special to me. I could not explain why—perhaps it was just because I was a horse-lover at heart. But they were my friends. They did not know that, of course—they were my silent friends. A friend that is not necessarily friends with you, but you are undoubtedly friends with them. I smiled. I liked that idea.

A name, I thought suddenly. Each horse needed a name. After all, if I was going to be friends with them—silent friends, of course—I needed to know what to call them, individually.

Silent Friends a horse

First I thought of a name for the lead stallion, a muscular, fiery bay with a blaze on his face… Blaze. That was perfect—not only because of his markings but because I could tell the word matched his temperament, his personality.

Next I named the cute little gray foal that always stood out to me. That was Twister—not only was he a stormy color but he seemed to like jumping and twirling like a tornado.

I gave a name to each and every member of the herd. Sunflower, Star, Bunny—I mentally marked them all with a special name that I saw fit.

But I could not always call the herd by all their names, or even simply “the herd.” That was not special enough. As night fell and I readied Aspen for the ride home, I smiled. It was simple. They were my Silent Friends.

Silent Friends Emily Grant
Emily Grant, 13
Potosi, Missouri

Silent Friends Libby Marrs
Libby Marrs, 13
Albuquerque, New Mexico