The Colt Racing With His Shade - Serdar Yıldırım

The city hippodrome where the horse races were made was too crowded. The grandstand was jammed with people. The races would be held in which the big prize would be given to the one coming first that Sunday as it was given every Sunday. The biggest candidate was a horse called Black Bomb. He was the only and the unique dominant of the races which had been held in that city for nearly two years. He was always the hugest of the horses with his jet-black colour, big eyes and with his height like a giant. It was guessed that he wouldn’t have the championship snatched for a long time.

The other racehorses were Storm, Goblin, Paw, Surprise, Strong, Rabbit and Yekta. Yekta was attending a race like that for the first time and he was quite excited. He had been trained well at the racehorse - farm though, but his being young and inexperienced made him feel frightened. What if he wouldn’t be able to come first..? He even wouldn’t like to think that. He would fall into a condition like an ordinary racehorse and then this condition might continue like that forever. Becoming the first in the races; where thousands of racing tricks were made, and where was full of ruse and intrigue, was not only being fast and strong. For instance, in some of the races Rabbit used to make rabbitness. As soon as the race started, he would come front and speed up, and would tire the horses and would give up the race. At the last plain, Black Bomb would become the first with a rashness he made. The racehorse called Paw was Black Bomb’s other helper. While the race was going on, he would take care of the horses with high performance, would hit them, would come in front of them and lessen their speed and would make Black Bomb come first in the race.

The horses lined up regularly at the starting point. As soon as the pistol’s sound was heard, eight strong horses ran forward. Rabbit, whose start was very fast, moved front immediately. Despite all his attempts, Yekta stayed at the second line. “Damn it, I have missed Rabbit..! Essentially nobody had been able to overtake Rabbit until the last flat place. I have to overtake him before coming to the middle of the race. Let’s faster, faster, Yekta…”

While the 1500 start was being passed, Rabbit was nearly 3 heights in front of Yekta, who was at the second line. “Where is Bomb, it is needed to turn back and look. Rabbit can’t finish the race with this speed. Oh, Bomb had been just behind me! What the hell is going on, what tricks are they playing? He had been hiding until the last flat place. They certainly got uneasy about me.”

The middle of the race: As the 1000 start was being passed, the racehorse called Rabbit came out of the running track and gave up the race. Yekta overtook him very fast and came to the first position. But there were 1000 meters to the end of the race and Black Bomb was coming gradually close to Yekta.

Yekta and Black Bomb entered the last flatness (the last 500 meters) with the ends only just meeting. After a breathtaking struggle, Yekta’s killing departs made him win the race with 2 heights of distance. Yekta was happy now because he was able to come first in the race although it was difficult. Yekta raced with Black Bomb and his group for many other times. He became the first at each race he participated. That city had started to become too small for him then. He had to go out, had to make his name heard in broad environments and had to win bigger races. When he won the region championship he participated, he increased the frequency of his trainings to take place in the country championship, which was going to be held one month later.

A lot of racehorses on the race - horse farm, where he was training, told Yekta about the races they had taken place at different times. Yekta listened to them very carefully. He increased his experience and his knowledge. According to Yekta there was no end of knowledge and learning. Each new knowledge would teach something new. What important was to obtain “original knowledge” by adding your own ideas to the ones you learnt. It was possible to think correctly only by knowing yourself very well. This would provide “auto control” namely the talent of controlling yourself, which was necessary for personal virtue. Auto control talent’s being regular would force the limits of perfection.

Days passed after each other. Each passing day was adding power to Yekta’s power. He had started to run faster and cross the distances in a shorter time. There had been 7 days left for the big race. In the afternoon they had made Yekta get on the lorry, which was specially prepared. The lorry set off after a short while to go to the biggest city of the country. Just as they had passed half of the way, the lorry rolled over a ditch at the edge of the way with a big noise. Then there was a deep silence. Nothing had happened to Yekta by chance. He waited his door’s being opened. There was nobody passing by. He succeeded in breaking the lock after struggling for a long time. He jumped out with fear. He went to the road. A few lights were able to be seen far away. The place where the race would be held should be there somewhere. It was also possible without the lorry. He thought to himself “I can reach there even I am on my own”. He started to run. He ran and ran…

More than an hour passed. It started to get dark and Yekta started to get surprised. What was happening? Why wasn’t it sunny all the time? Was there anything more meaningless than darkness? He had the right to be surprised. He used to train during the day and go inside before getting dark. The lights used to be on during the day and night. He had never stayed in darkness until that time. Yekta shuddered immediately after running slowly for kilometres under the moonlight. There was an indistinct figure on his left side and it was trying to overtake him. He turned his head quickly. A horse!

Yekta thought to himself: “Who is this? Where has he suddenly come out from? It’s not my business who he is. What important is his being about to overtake me. I won’t surely let this..! Nobody has been able to make me swallow dust. Let’s see what’s he going to do after raising my speed?” Yekta’s effort to overtake his shade lasted all night long. At dawn, while darkness was leaving his place to daylight, Yekta’s shadow was wiped away. Yekta couldn’t see it at a moment when he turned his head left. He looked right, it wasn’t there again. He looked behind and looked far behind. He thought that his rival couldn’t keep in step with him and gave up the race. He lessened his speed gradually.

Yekta continued to run some more at a slow speed for about an hour. Now the first houses of the city, where the race would be held, had started to seem. Yekta asked a packhorse he came across on his way where the hippodrome of the racehorses was. He continued his way as it was explained. As he was crossing the main street swelled with pride and holding his head high, the cars had stopped and having seen this magnificent colt in the newspapers or magazines for many times before and about whom they had read the articles written, the people in the street were applauding crazily. Making use of the hippodrome’s open door, Yekta entered inside. He had come to the running track a few minutes later. The country championship, which was 6 days later, would be held there. Yekta, who was touring with slow steps on the running track, was thinking of becoming certainly the first in that race.

His owner, who heard that the lorry bringing Yekta turned upside down, had come to the place of incident. The driver and the stableman were taken to the hospital injured. Yekta’s owner started to look for Yekta in the morning and when he heard that he had gone to the hippodrome, he went there too. When Yekta’s owner entering the hippodrome saw Yekta running with slow steps on the running track, he shouted “Yekta… Yekta…” and ran to the running track. He ran quickly and reached Yekta and embraced him around his neck. Yekta realised the situation after a short while. His owner had looked for him in this strange city and had found him.

Yekta’s owner took him to one of his friend’s racehorse farm. Yekta, who was very tired, passed that day and the following day relaxing. Starting the running trainings later, Yekta became fitter than before. He was ready now and he saw himself the luckiest to become the first.

Yekta ran like a tornado in the race. He came front with the terrible attack he made just in the first meters. He was running crazily. Turkey’s best racehorses became desperate because of his speed. He became the first with a great difference and record degree. This championship had become by the help of his combining the theoretical and practical in the best way. As a result he had achieved the perfection and had got the reputation of “unovertakeable”.
When the country champion Yekta returned back to the racehorse farm where he was born and grew up, he was welcomed with great excitement. The racehorses on the farm had watched the race on the TV in the garden and had been very happy for Yekta’s championship. Yekta was taken to England by a private plane a few months later. There was Europe Championship soon and Yekta would represent Turkey in that race. Yekta was taken to a hard training programme. His each training was getting him to improve his degree gradually and to run faster. Before a few days to the championship, Yekta’s being close to the Europe Record had made his owner happy. However, there were some people who weren’t pleased with Yekta’s condition. A few people watching Yekta by gnashing their teeth from the grandstands were signing his death edict: “We said Yekta, Yekta and we ran into trouble. He is like a storm as if he wasn’t a racehorse. Look at the degree he has made. If he takes his last step a bit faster, it will be Europe record.”

“You are right. This race is only training. He is running alone. There is no rival to force him. If it were the real race, he would be impossible to be overtaken. Now the best racehorse in Europe is Yekta.”

A third person: “Our horse can’t overtake Yekta. It doesn’t matter whether you become the second or the last then. If Yekta doesn’t participate in the race, we will become the first. If we give him an injection tonight, he will pass away. We will get the championship award and spend it. It will also be our country’s advertisement. Advertisement will bring lots of foreign currency to the country.”

“Ok, tonight we shall go where Yekta stays. Each of us will have a poisonous injection. If Yekta runs away from one of us, he will be caught by the other one.”

At the following times of the night Yekta was distressed and troubled. Because he was troubled, he couldn’t get to sleep. He heard foot steps coming from deep. The grooms wouldn’t enter the stable at that time. Or else were the ones coming strangers? What could their aims be? Yekta didn’t think badly though and waited. He shuddered when he saw three men with clubs and injections. He was afraid. The cruel men attacked suddenly and started to hit Yekta, whose only offence was being a good racehorse, with the clubs without pitying. Being hurt, Yekta took a few steps backwards and his back leant to the wall. The men faced a harsh reaction when they attacked Yekta. Rearing up, Yekta hit one of the men over his head with his feet. The men fell down like an empty sack. Turning back, Yekta tried to hit with his back feet. The blow couldn’t hit the mark but two men decided to take and shoulder their friend lying on the floor and then they disappeared.

Then picking up the injections and the clubs on the floor and putting them into a bag, Yekta threw them into dustbin. He didn’t want the event to be known by anyone. Evil shouldn’t be spread. There was more evil than the goodness in the world. It was easy to do harm, what difficult was to do kindness. Yekta had succeeded in doing kindness that time. The men had escaped. They might not hurt anyone again. Was the man kicked still alive? He wouldn’t be able to know that. People would put him under detention for a short while even the man was alive. Not training for a few days meant for Yekta to lose the Europe Championship. This situation made Yekta psychologically destroyed. There was a huge country waiting for his championship. Millions of people would be disappointed. There were his close friends, who would support him with their ideas, on the racehorse - farm. He would give the prize of Country Championship to them. The beautiful golden cups would be doubled.

As a matter of tactics, Yekta ran the first 300 meters in the middle lines. Gaining speed gradually, Yekta was running nearly in the first line. Four horses entered the last 500 meters with the ends only just meeting. Although he regressed to the fourth level just for a while, he tried his hardest while attacking with rancour as if he was treating himself cruelly when there was 50 meters to finish the race and then he won it. Yekta had become the Europe Champion. Yekta was welcomed enthusiastically in his country. There was just Yekta’s news on TV and radio and in the newspaper. The broadcast establishments in Europe were broadcasting about Yekta. We saw Yekta after months – It was him – He was brought for the World Championship that was going to be held in New York. Yekta who was considered to be the champion certainly by the authorities, unfortunately was overtaken by the Australian champion and became the second. Yekta was happy at the reward ceremony while the silver medal was hung. It wasn’t easy; he had won a lot of races, had always become the first and had never been overtaken. Becoming the second fastest racehorse of the world wasn’t even the other racehorses’ dream. In fact, it wasn’t impossible to become the second of the world championship but it was too difficult. Yekta had succeeded in doing this difficulty.

After a few days Yekta started to get bored. The passing days were getting him to consider being the second as his own and this was increasing the sorrow of not becoming the first. Yekta couldn’t stand the sorrow anymore so he ran away from the racehorse farm and went to the Appalaş Mountains. He saw wild horses grazing in the meadow further while he was wandering in the Appalaş Mountains. They were Mustang horses. He went near them and asked: “Hello, would you mind my joining you? “ Gera, who was the head of the Mustangs, said ” Of course, come and join us buddy “Yekta joined the Mustangs and started to graze with them. It was good and nice there; he got closer with the Mustangs immediately. More than an hour had passed. Gera the head said he would go to the piny wood that was 10 kilometres away, he said “Let’s” and started to run. The horse herd, whose number increased to 20 with Yekta’s joining, was running fast. The one who was the strongest and who ran the fastest among the Mustang horses would become the head of the herd. It was impossible to become the head by running in the middle lines. Whenever the head was overtaken, he would lose being the head. Gera was running forward. The other horses were striving to reach him.

However, Yekta always ran at the back. When they arrived at the piny wood, he had overtaken only two horses, namely he had become the 18. Yekta didn’t want to accept that. He was a racehorse, so he was used to run on the grassy or sand track. Gera the head had said that they would go to the piny wood and he had run forward quickly and the other horses had followed him. The one who started running the last was Yekta; who even couldn’t understand what was going on, what was happening, what the piny wood was. In fact they had run on the grass but they had run on a stony place later and next they had had to run among thicket and woods. The Mustangs had already known that place very well since they had passed there a lot of times before. They knew where to step while running on the stony place, and they knew which the shortest way was while passing through the thicket and woods. Because of that Yekta thought that if he would move backward one step each kilometre, he would move backward ten steps each ten kilometres. The distance between Gera and him was already that much. Yekta never returned to the racetracks. He always stayed in the mountains among the Mustangs. The passing time gained power to Yekta’s and Gera was overtaken by him one day. Becoming the head of the Mustangs, Yekta stayed the head for many years.


Written by: Serdar Yıldırım