Maizie had a wide-eyed and enthusiastic approach to life; and strangely she never seemed to grasp that life could be awkward and downright difficult at times. At sixteen, she had a coltish look about her with long, gangling legs and freckles across her face. Yet, her clear blue eyes and long russet hair that stretched down to her waist defined her as pretty in most people’s eyes. And people generally attributed Maizie’s zest for life to her dear departed mother, Megs, who had died of cancer the year before and had been the very epitome of good nature and gracious behavior to all who knew her. Maizie’s Pa, Bill had taken his wife’s death very hard and had taken to the bottle for a while for solace, and Maizie had dragged his sorry ass back from the town bar, JoJo’s, on more than one occasion. But he now seemed “right as rain,” thanks to his daughter’s loving kindness and steady encouragement.
Bill had left at first light, to go and get Maizie a horse for her birthday. His little girl had experienced a very hard year, he had reasoned to himself and he was determined to do something special for her. But the problem was, he really didn’t have the money to get the kind of horse Maizie deserved. So, Bill had settled on a mustang for Maizie and was hoping for the best. In truth, the Nevada state parks department was giving away the scrawny animals for free; because they did not even have enough flesh on their bones to go to the dog food factory, having been nearly starved half to death on the harsh desert lands of northern Nevada, where the park rangers had saved the creatures from poachers.
But if Bill knew anything about his daughter she could spot potential a mile away and he was determined to provide as good a horse as he could get for his little trooper, “come hell or high water.” When Bill arrived to the parkland enclosure he saw several men standing around the wire mesh fence and after getting out of his pick-up truck he asked the nearest one: “Where do I find the man in charge; cos’ I would like to take one of these here mustangs off your hands?” The men looked askance at Bill and then one man in blue jeans and a checkered shirt named, Jed, stepped forward and tipped back his cowboy hat and said incredulously: “Mister, you want one of these critters?” and he gestured at the bony, little mustangs through the fence. “Why they ain’t much to look at and these ponies have been starved for so long, I reckon they wouldn’t have much strength or endurance to carry a rider.” Bill stared into the dark brown eyes of the other man and said determinedly; “Well, be that as it may, my daughter just lost her mother last year and she needs something to focus all of her love and attention on and one of these sorry little ponies will fit the bill.” “I am Bill Thomas and you are?” “Jed Smith is my name and I reckon if you are set on taking one of these little reprobates; then the little golden mustang we dubbed “Manny,” is probably the best of the lot. Bill gazed at the spindly legged, little Palomino mustang with the long white blaze marking on his face and when he looked into the little stallion’s spirited brown eyes, he knew he was exactly right for Maizie. For Bill could tell that he had not given up and neither had Maizie, in spite of the horrible challenges life had dealt them both. Jed cautioned, “Now look Mr. Thomas, this little horse has never been around humans much and is wild as a march hare.” “That’s fine,” Bill replied, “I will just back my trailer up and if you men can herd old Manny into my trailer, I can turn him out into the pasture when I get home and let Maizie work her magic on him.” The men did as Bill asked and after an hour of shouting and brute strength the skinny, little mustang was loaded into the large metallic trailer and Bill drove off with a big grin on his face.
Manny stomped and snorted in the strange trailer all the way back to Bill and Maizie’s place and when finally, he arrived after 80 miles of solid travelling, and Bill was much relieved. Maizie was already out of the house and rushed towards the red metallic trailer and said: “Daddy, I am glad you are here; because I didn’t want to spend my birthday all alone.” She gave him a big hug and then looking at the snorting, little mustang, Maizie’s eyes grew wide and she squealed, and asked: “Is that little guy something to do with me?” “Maizie, this is Manny and he is now your horse and I chose him for you because I believe you two share a family trait called “Intrepidness,” Bill answered. Maizie looked quizzically at her father and repeated; “Intrepidness.” “What does that mean Daddy and why is it a family trait?” Bill gave his daughter an amused look and replied: “Well, it means to be resolutely fearless no matter what comes your way, my girl; and this little guy has had hard times and has nearly starved to death in the Nevada desert and you have suffered a lot too, with losing your Ma this last year, and I reckon since both of you have shown Intrepidness during your ordeals that this means you are made for each other.” Maizie carefully reached her fingers through the slats of the metallic trailer and touched the warm nose of the snorting pony and her heart went out to him as she saw his rib bones sticking out on either side and she smiled and whispered in his ear: “That is fine Manny we will be Intrepid together.”