Hook - Boy is dreading another boring trip to the farmer's market.
The Miller family, his owners, is introduced.
While trotting along to the market, Boy reflects on the boring trip on the road and all of the things he dislikes about making this weekly trip.
He thinks back to other trips and remembers the cruelty of the people in cars making fun of him, his load and the family he is transporting
While heading to the market, his considers what conversations with fellow horses will turn up.
Boy thinks about the "dark barn" the other horses mention and wonders what that place holds for the horses sent there.
His trip back to the barn is tiring, boring and uneventful giving him plenty of time to reflect on what he has seen and heard.
Back Story - Boy is listening to gossip from the other horses he lives with causing him great fear and anxiety.
Mare is introduced as the barn's prima donna.
Mare starts up a conversation with Boy, wanting to know all of the gossip from his trip to town.
She strives to steal all attention and praises from the Millers and flaunts this to Boy.
Mare constantly criticizes Boy, reminding him of all of his flaws.
She brings up the subject of the "dark barn" sale and hints to Boy that he could be next.
Boy evaluates his flaws and feels rejection from Mare's comments.
Boy wishes he could do better but struggles with how.
Crisis - His fear grows as he listens to the stories of the "dark barn', watches others being favored over himself and feels a lack of self confidence, anticipating he will be the next horse to be shipped off.
Ben is introduced.
Ben, Boy's best friend senses his demeanor and questions him.
Boy reveals to Ben that he has been hearing about the upcoming sale and tries to find out more details about the "dark barn".
Ben, being the true friend, gives Boy some encouragement and advice.