Meagan ignored the speech around her as she moved through the audience. She could see the top of a clear plexiglass wall above the heads of the crowd, but it wasn’t until moving closer that she saw it encircled a platform of artificial turf—upon which stood a living horse.
“Look!” hooted a spectator. “How would you like to clean up after that, honey?”
“I want to pet it!”
“No dear. It’s cruel to them.”
The manure had not been cleaned from underneath the horse, and there were no water buckets or haynets visible. The animal’s smooth gray coat had lumps of scurf from poor grooming and his halter was fitted too tight. Meagan recognized the horse’s Arabian breed by the dished profile of his diamond head and the long tail which draped from his level croup. The animal’s muzzle narrowed to a mouth that could almost “fit in a teacup.” Dark, expressive eyes turned their faraway gaze to Meagan. The Great Horse, Rafi.
The gray stallion was held between handlers in upbeat yellow shirts, standing before a small crowd of helpers wearing matching green Animal Hero t-shirts. Meagan found herself growing angry; no one seemed to know how to care for the animal properly. She wanted to brush the horse’s unkempt coat, to oil his cracked hooves.
Her eyes fell to a plaque. It was a metal sign with raised letters, fixed to a podium before the plexiglass stage…