Applejack bucked the tree, and the apples fell into her bucket. “Well that’s the last of ‘em for today. You done over there, Big Macintosh?”
Big Macintosh had two large buckets filled to the brim with apples on his back. “Eyup!”
Applejack tossed her own bucket onto her back. “Well alrighty then! Let’s head back to the house and see what Granny’s got cookin’ for dinner.”
Applejack and Big Macintosh walked side by side down a dirt road towards the farmhouse. Today they were apple-bucking trees on a remote part of the farm, so they had a fairly long walk back ahead of them. They hadn’t trotted twenty hoof-lengths when Applejack noticed something amiss.
“Big Mac? You ain’t supposed to be buckin’ these apple trees yet!” Applejack pointed her hoof at a group of trees with most of the apples gone. “These apples ain’t ripe yet, ya know better than to be doing that!.”
Big Macintosh gave Applejack an angry look. He did not appreciate being so blatantly accused of something. Applejack gulped before asking, “y’all did buck those trees, right?”
Knowing Big Macintosh would never tell a lie, Applejack dropped the subject. “Heh heh, sorry big brother, I reckon it was Applebloom and her friends. They were probably tryin’ to get their cutie marks zip linin’ again er somethin’.”
Though she believed the Cutie Mark Crusaders were the likely culprits, it still struck Applejack as odd. If they had fallen through the trees, wouldn’t there be apples all over ground? Maybe they picked them up, but what would three little fillies want with a bunch of unripe fruit? It all seemed very strange.
Applejack’s tummy rumbled, and all those thoughts jumped to the back of her mind. “Well I don’t know about y’all, but I’m starvin’!” The two continued down the dirt road towards home.
Early the next morning, Applejack awoke to a loud “WOOF” coming from downstairs. It didn’t take her long to figure out Winona was barking at something.
“Now what in the hay has gotten into that girl?” said Applejack whilst walking down the stairs and into the kitchen. Winona, who usually was a quiet dog at night, stood by the front door and continued to howl at some unknown entity outside. Though fairly unusual, it was not unheard of for Winona to bark at the occasional rabbit or raccoon from time to time. Normally, Applejack would let her out to chase whatever it was off their property. Thus, she wasn’t overly concerned.
“What’s wrong? Ya need t’ go outside girl?” asked Applejack as she opened the door for her. She had only opened it a tiny crack when Winona suddenly stopped barking and ran under the kitchen table, whimpering.
Applejack gasped. This was extremely unusual. Winona wasn’t afraid of anything, and always chased after any small critter on their property, night or day.
By now, Big Macintosh and Applebloom had also awoken and joined Applejack in the kitchen.
“What’s goin’ on here?” inquired Big Macintosh.
“And why is Winona under the table?” inquired Applebloom.
Applejack looked up at Big Macintosh. “She was jus’ barking at the front door like she sometimes does, but when I opened it for her, she ran and cowered under the table like a chicken would if a wolf came by. I ain’t ever seen her act like this before.”
After raising an eyebrow, Big Macintosh went over to the front door, pushed it open, and trotted outside.
Applejack turned to her sister. “Big Mac and I are gonna take a look outside, ya go upstairs and back to bed now, ya hear?”
“But I wanna see what it is too!”
“No, Applebloom, ya ain’t old enough yet. Now you turn your flank around this instant and march up those stairs to bed!”
Without any more altercation, Applebloom turned around and made her way up the stairs. Applejack thought she heard her sister mutter “I am a big pony” under her breath, but Applebloom wasn’t her primary concern right now.
Applejack grabbed her rope and trotted out the front door to join her brother in the front yard. The first light of dawn had begun to creep over the mountains in the east, so the two siblings could see the orchard in front of them some.
They began to walk slowly through the apple trees, and it didn’t take long for them to notice something bizarre. Many of the unripe apples on trees they had passed the evening before were now missing, exactly like the group of trees Applejack had also pointed out the evening before. She knew the crusaders couldn’t be responsible now.
Applejack asked Big Macintosh, “What do ya reckon is eating our apples, ya think we got a bear on our hooves?”
“And why not? It’s the only big thing around these parts that can possibly reach these high branches!”
“Because a’ that,” Big Macintosh motioned his head down towards the ground.
Applejack nearly jumped back a step when she saw the huge print in the dirt directly in front of her. It looked exactly like a pony hoofprint, but about three times larger than a normal one. It was even considerably larger than Big Macintosh’s hoofprints, and he possessed the largest hooves in Ponyville. It was obvious that something very large had created the print.
“D...do ya know what creature coulda made somethin’ like this?” asked Applejack, who for the first time felt afraid.
“Enope,” answered Big Macintosh. Applejack could sense the fear in his response, which only concerned her more. Big Macintosh was hardly afraid of anything.
They continued deeper into the orchard, following more of the massive hoofprints. The prints led to a small clearing, and whilst walking through it Applejack happened to peer to her left, and she saw it.
“WHOA NELLY!" screeched Applejack at the top of her lungs. "WHAT IN THE NAME OF CELESTIA IS THAT?” There, in the dim light about twenty hooflengths away next to an apple tree, stood a massive creature. This “thing” looked similar to a pony, but clearly wasn’t. It stood on all four hooves like a pony, but was nearly twice the size of Big Macintosh. Its snout was much larger and more elongated than a pony’s, and its mane and tail were both jet black. Its coat was mostly white, but had black spots all over.
Acknowledging the loud noises Applejack had made, the thing turned its head to look at the pair, before returning to the tree it was next to. It took a bite of an entire unripe apple, swallowing it whole.
“H...have ya ever seen anythin’ like that before... big brother?” asked Applejack. Big Macintosh was in too much shock to even answer.
“Maybe it speaks, NOW WHY ARE YOU ON OUR PROPERTY STEALIN’ OUR...” Big Macintosh placed his hoof over Applejack’s mouth. This was not the time for something rash.
Once again the thing turned to look at them, before returning to the tree for another apple.
When her brother released her mouth, Applejack asserted, “We gotta catch it, it’s eating all our produce! At this rate, all our apples will be gone in a week!”
Big Macintosh nodded. “Eeyup!”
Applejack grabbed her rope and lassoed it around the creature’s neck. Immediately it lifted up its two front legs, and made a NEIGHHHH sound similar to a pony’s, but much louder. It jolted backwards, pulling Applejack’s rope right out of her teeth. Obviously angered, the thing snorted loudly and began walking slowly towards them.
In desperation, Big Macintosh grabbed his own rope and lassoed it around the creature’s neck. It pulled back, but Big Macintosh was able to stall it in one place with his raw strength. He, however, could not pull it in any direction.
“I’ll run and grab another rope!” yelled Applejack as she galloped towards the house. In two minutes she returned with another length of rope in her mouth. For the second time, she lassoed the rope around the thing’s neck. It yanked powerfully, but the combined force of the two work-ponies proved to be enough. They were able to slowly pull it in whichever direction they pleased.
“I only know... one pony... who might know what this is... and what to do with it,” muffled Applejack with the rope in her mouth. They slowly dragged, whatever it was, down the dirt road towards Ponyville.
“I can’t find anything on this animal anywhere!” said Twilight, who was looking at every book in the library on Equestrian Fauna. “This... THING doesn’t exist!”
Applejack and Big Macintosh managed to drag the creature to Twilight Sparkle’s library. The sun had risen by the time they arrived, but it was still very early and nopony was out in the street yet. Luckily for them, Twilight had stayed up all night reading books on the history of Canterlot. Thus she answered the door immediately when Applejack pounded on it with her hind leg. The siblings somehow managed to drag it through the door, and now stood on opposite ends of the room keeping it steady. Applejack had tried to explain everything to Twilight.
“I’ve never even seen anything like this! It looks like a pony, but isn’t. There’s nothing written about it, but here it is in my library! How is this possible?” pondered Twilight.
Spike, who had awoken from all the noise, walked downstairs to see what he commotion was about. When he saw the creature, he gasped. “Twilight! What is that THING?” Spike ran down the stairs and over to Twilight's side.
“I don’t know, Spike, but there’s only one pony in Equestria who might.” said Twilight as she shuffled through her last book. “Spike, take a letter.”
Dear Princess Celestia,
I apologize for the unexpected nature of this message, but it is extremely imperative that you receive it. Currently there is a very large and possibly hostile unknown creature in my library, and I have to no other choice but to request your presence here immediately. I have no other choice.
Your Faithful Student,
After completion, Spike immediately sent the letter to the princess.
About a minute after the letter was sent, a bright flash filled the room. Princess Celestia had appeared next to Twilight.
The Princess gazed at the massive pony-like creature, and her eyes grew wide. She pointed her horn at it, and in another bright flash the thing that was as large as her disappeared. Applejack and Big Macintosh fell backwards onto their hind legs, both exhausted from the ordeal.
After a couple of moments of silence, Twilight was the first to speak, “Princess... what was that animal? I couldn’t find any information on it anywhere!”
“I believed I would never see one again. My royal subjects, that creature you just witnessed was a Horse.”
“A Horse?” said everypony at once.
“Yes. An ancient creature similar to ponies, it was believed they had died out nearly a thousand years ago. I do not know how one has survived all this time, but this is a truly remarkable discovery.”
“But Princess, why didn’t it appear in any of my ancient Equestrian fauna books? All ancient creatures are in there,” inquired Twilight.
It took a few seconds for the Princess to come up with her answer. “My most faithful student... Horses were extremely elusive creatures. At the time, nopony could ever get close enough to study one. Thus, nothing was ever written about them. They are truly a race lost to time.”
Though perplexed by the Princess’s odd explanation, she could not question her mentor and was forced to accept it. “Princess, where did you send the ‘Horse’? Could I study it? It would be an honor to study a species lost to time!”
The Princess smiled, “I sent the Horse to the Canterlot University. It will be studied on by many scientists, and perhaps one day you can study it too. For now, I want you to remain in Ponyville and continue learning about the magic of friendship. I need to get back to Canterlot, royal duty calls! Goodbye my subjects.” and with another bright flash, Princess Celestia was gone.
“Wow, Spike, a Horse! I can’t wait for the Princess to let me study it!” said Twilight ecstatically.
Princess Celestia returned to her study in the castle. She glanced over to one end of the room, where the Horse stood glaring back at her. It lifted its two front legs, and with a loud NEIGH began charging at the princess.
“I don't know how you escaped like my sister, but you are going to join the rest of your stupid friends on the moon for all of eternity!” Princess Celestia pointed her horn at the fast approaching creature, and with a poof of smoke the last Horse entity in Equestria disappeared forever.