My Dear Friend, Beula

A beautiful dapple grey mare named Beula


This is the story of my dear friend, Beula. She was a beautiful dapple grey mare who came to live with us two days after my tenth birthday. Beula was already mature in age when she arrived, so I knew our time together would be precious. But oh, how we filled those few short years with grand adventures and deep devotion.

As you read on, I hope you come to know sweet Beula too. Her gentle wisdom and lively spirit enriched my life in ways I'll forever cherish. Though our time was but a blink, Beula taught me the power of friendship. She showed me that the depth of a bond depends not on years but on moments shared heart-to-heart.

Meeting Beula

The ranch where I grew up

I woke earlier than usual, the predawn quiet settling over me like a cozy quilt. My heart already thrummed with delight. Today was the big day! Grandpa was bringing Beula home!

I slipped out of bed, the old floorboards creaking under my eager feet. I grabbed my boots and baseball cap and made my way into the hall. Quietly I tiptoed past my Grandparent's room. My Grandma was still asleep. I carefully slid open the front door just enough to wiggle outside into the chilly morning air.

As I hurried through the wet grass, the moon peeked over the distant ridges, casting a silver glow. I glanced down the dirt road, hoping to see Grandpa's truck rounding the corner with Beula in tow. A playful breeze danced across my cheeks, ruffling my messy hair as I put on my cap. I breathed in deep, taking in the comforting smells of sage, pine, and the Wyoming ranch I called home.

Reaching the paddock gate, I leaned against the weathered planks, clasping the cold metal latch. I had begged Grandpa for weeks, pleading for a horse to call my own.

"Peter," he'd say, "We have enough chores around here already."

But I was persistent, promising to care for her wholeheartedly. Finally, won over by my unwavering passion, he had conceded.

As I waited, my mind went to the day we had visited a nearby trail riding outfit that was retiring some older horses. I was instantly drawn to Beula, a dapple grey mare with a gentle, tranquil manner. As I approached her, she turned and nuzzled my shoulder softly. I whispered, "You're the one, girl."

The sound of my Grandma stirring inside the house brought me back to the present. Waiting expectantly, I pictured the adventures ahead with my new friend. But most of all, I dreamed of the bond we would form over long days caring for one another. Though I cherished all the horses on our ranch, Beula would be my first horse companion that I'd be responsible for.

Standing there as the dark sky brightened to purple and gold, I smiled, knowing this was the start of something special. I hoped Beula and I had bright days ahead, full of discovery. And in my heart, I knew she would be the kindred spirit I longed for.

I heard the rumble of Grandpa's truck coming down the road before I saw it. My heart leaped as I swung open the paddock gate. The old blue Chevy rounded the corner pulling a rusty stock trailer. I whooped and hollered, feet flying as I ran to meet it.

Old blue Chevy bring Beula home

The truck rolled to a stop, and Grandpa stepped out, his weathered face crinkling into a smile. "Morning Pete. Ready to meet your new friend?"

I couldn't contain my excitement as he lowered the trailer gate. A speckled grey nose poked out the side, sniffing the crisp morning air. Beula stepped back onto the ramp, her harness jingling. Once on the ground, my breath caught as I looked into her gentle brown eyes.

I extended my hand slowly, allowing her to catch my scent. She bobbed her head and nudged my palm. I stroked her velvety muzzle, whispering words of comfort. Her warm breath tickled my fingers. And once again, she turned and gently nuzzled my shoulder.

Grandpa chuckled, handing me the lead rope. "I'd say she likes you already. Why don't you take her on over to the barn so she can get settled in?"

I walked with her to the paddock, savoring the swish of her tail and the clomp of her hooves on the dirt path. At the barn, I gave Beula a flake of hay and filled her trough with fresh water. She slurped up some water, then turned and bobbed her head in thanks.

I lingered for a while, brushing the dust from her dappled coat and picking stones from her hooves. I spoke to her in a quiet voice about our home and the adventures we'd share. She would interrupt with a gentle whinny now and then as if chatting back.

When chores called me away, I gave her one last pat and whispered, "See you soon, girl." She bobbed her head as I stood, and I knew I had found a true friend.

We grew a bond

I was out helping mend fence posts one sunny morning when I heard the familiar clomp of hooves. Beula appeared, neighing for my attention. As I turned, she grabbed my hat, prancing away.

Sunrise over the mountains

"Hey now, bring that back!" I called after her. She tossed her head in a stubborn tilt, keeping just out of reach. She finally relinquished my dusty old hat when I produced a carrot chunk.

"You silly thing," I laughed, patting her neck. Though mischievous, I treasured the games she played.

A few days later, I was loading the hay elevator in the barn when Beula stuck her nose in the bales. She sneezed louder than the machinery, and I could hear her through my earplugs, shaking her mane and sending wisps of hay flying. I doubled over, laughing at her startled expression. She looked like a wet cat.

"Itchy, huh, girl?" I asked, brushing stray pieces from her forelock. She bobbed her head in reply, eliciting another chuckle from me. Her lighthearted antics brought me such joy.

One afternoon my friends Mike, Cynch, and Billy came over. We decided to play hide-and-seek in the pasture. As I crouched behind a big old dead hollow log, Beula appeared and began nudging me with her nose.

"Beula, stop!" I whispered. "You're going to give away my hiding spot."

But she persisted, whinnying and carrying on. My friends descended, having followed her right to me.

"Found you!" Cynch exclaimed, her bright laughter filling the field. "Good girl, Beula. She led us right to your hiding spot. She's the best seeker!"

"Some scout you turned out to be!" I teased, giving Beula a playful swat. But in my heart, her seeking me out touched me. I was thankful to have a friend who hated to be apart.

As the sun set that evening, I bid my friends goodbye, and Beula accompanied me on the long walk back to the house. With her gentle nicker and nudge, each step felt less lonely. Before I went in, I made sure my friend had everything she needed for the night. Just like many times before, she gently nuzzled my shoulder.

She watched over me

A lousy flu virus had me stuck in bed for days. Chills, body aches, and a spiking fever laid me low. My Grandma took care of me the whole time. She put pillows behind me and brought me bowls of hot chicken soup.

The high fever made my mind hazy and confused. One afternoon I remember Grandma opening the window near my bed to air out the room. A breeze drifted in, carrying the faint scents of pine. I hallucinated I was camping. I thought I heard Beula's soft nicker floating through the foggy air, but I didn't have the energy to call out to her. 

The next morning I woke up parched and shaky. Turning my head took great effort, but I had to look out that open window. There was Beula's sweet face, her dappled nose poking right in, her eyes round with concern. She whinnied with delight upon seeing me stir. 

Grandma entered, humming like she always did, carrying a tray with toast and tea. "She stayed with you all night," she smiled. "Your Grandpa only made her leave for a little while so she could eat. She's been very worried for you. We all have." 

I choked up at the thought that loyal Beula had kept watch over me through the long night. Reaching out a trembling hand, I stroked her velvety nose in gratitude and whispered, "Thank you, girl." My steadfast friend's comforting presence was the best medicine of all.

We had many adventures

A trail leading into the mountains

Beula and I rambled countless miles together, wandering through forests and mountains on frequent hikes and camping trips. She often carried our supplies in light saddlebags draped over her back. I never once rode upon her, though, not even bareback with a halter. Instead, we walked side by side. After a lifetime of carrying strangers as a trail horse, I figured she deserved to walk without anyone on her back from now on.

I let her choose our path, following where her curiosity led. She'd wander here and there, stopping to lip wildflowers or nibble grass shoots. She would wait upon the trail if I lagged behind, dark eyes watching until I caught up. Then together, we'd amble onward, never needing to rush our journey.

We'd camp at night, sharing a crackling fire beneath the glittering stars. I'd unfurl my sleeping bag on the hard ground while Beula bedded down in the soft grass nearby. As the fire faded to glowing embers, she'd often wander over and stand watch over me as I slept for a while. 

Sometimes I'd jump if I happened to open my eyes while I rolled over because a dark figure would be standing above me. But then I would realize it was Beula. I'd thank her and tell her she could go back to sleep now. She was my guardian angel on the trail. She had such a gentle, caring heart. Wherever we roamed in the coming years, we'd venture there together.

Cynch, Billy, Mike, and other friends often joined us on our camping adventures. With their trusty horses in tow, we'd set up camp near a mountain meadow or by a babbling creek. At night the horses would graze together as we laughed around the fire. 

Come morning, Beula was always first to rise, nudging everyone awake. We'd let the horses roam free as we cooked up a hearty breakfast over the flames. Beula would find her friends, and the four of them would kick up their heels. We'd watch them gallop together through wildflower patches, bucking and playing tag. Their joy brought smiles to our faces.

After we ate, Beula would join me by the stream to refill our water bags. The other horses trailed behind, jostling us playfully. With our supplies replenished, we'd venture out, a happy herd hiking up wooded trails. Our equine pals made every trip feel like a celebration. Their free-spirited nature reminded us to embrace each moment.

Beula began to slow down

Time hurried by too fast, and time leaves its mark, even on the strongest spirits. But Beula and I continued our adventures through the following days and months. I started noticing gentle signs that my dear friend was slowing her once lively gait. 

As we walked curvy mountain paths, she had to stop more often to rest. Where she used to have to stay and wait for me to catch up, now, I would wait for her. I began finding her dozing in the soft hay when I arrived each morning rather than waiting eagerly as she once did.

Though she still enjoyed our rambles, I could see her strength waning. When the other horses frolicked, she was now content to watch, resting in the soft, rippling grass.

At night by the fire, she began lying down earlier, no longer standing sentinel till dawn broke. Now it was me keeping watch as she slept. The role of guardian had quietly shifted from her to me.

These changes came gradually, but each one brought an ache to my heart. Our days together were growing shorter, though neither of us was ready for our adventures to end. I treasured every moment, tuning into each subtle nuance, committing her to memory. 

I would spend the evenings in the barn, sitting next to her and writing in one of my journals by lantern light. And she seemed to savor our quiet time together - two old friends, aware our trail together was nearing its end.

I'll always remember my dear friend, Beula

Beula passed away two weeks before my thirteenth birthday. We almost made it three years together. It was a fleeting friendship, but we packed so many wonderful adventures into those years, and she taught me so much. I had Beula cremated, and I spread her ashes in all the places she loved.

I went to the old place where I grew up today and walked some of the trails I did as a boy. And all these memories I've shared here rushed from my head and into my heart, and I was right back there again with Beula.  

I went into the old barn just to look around and sat down in the straw where Beula used to sleep, and I closed my eyes, remembering. My mind echoed with sounds that were now missing - her swishing tail, her hooves clomping, her gentle whinny when I approached. Now only the haunting moans of gentle breezes flowed through the rafters.

I stood up and dusted off my jeans. As I turned to leave, I swear I could feel her nuzzling my shoulder, just like she always did. I looked around one last time and thanked her for visiting me today. Then I left the barn and my childhood behind, but the memories came with me and will always live inside my heart. Treasured friends never really leave us. Their light lives on in places and moments only the heart can see.

Beautiful Beula the horse

© 2023 Peter Noah Thomas

Try These Related Posts


  1. Oh Peter... 😭😭😭I knew how I'd react to the story only after reading the first couple of sentences. .
    Thank you for sharing your precious memories ❤️


Please let me know what you think. =]:)