As I walk to the barn, a couple of cats and a dog following me, the horses call a morning greeting. Tom’s whinny is so shrill, he sounds like a colt. Not the macho guy he thinks he is. Damn Tom. Not a nice name but his just the same. It’s not his fault. I could never get the man who owned his dad to ever give me the paperwork to register him. His name was Tom.
All the horses stick their heads over the stall gate looking expectedly for my next move. Minnow steps up on the first rung of the steel pole gate. He almost demands I get him out first. He has gotten so bossy since he figured out he is number one in my book. God, thank you for that horse. Many times have I hugged that neck and wept. He is a good listener. Punkin, my rescue dog, runs down the line of gates, snapping at each of the horses as a reminder that she is here to keep them in line. Sandy’s head and neck strike at her like a snake and he snorts, then shakes his head.
As I reach for his halter, Minnow’s nose grazes my hand and I feel his warm breath. I reach for his nostrils and gently pull his nose toward me.“How are you, handsome “, I ask. I tease my husband and tell him Minnow is my boyfriend. He just rolls his eyes. “Whatever” is his only reply.
Leading Minnow out of the stall and down the shed row to the tack room I think of which route I’ll take today. It’s already 86 degrees and only getting hotter by the second. Swinging the saddle up and over I gently settle it into place making sure the pad is correctly positioned and the breast collar isn’t too loose or too tight. I hear the Mockingbird outside pretending to be a Red-Tailed Hawk. I think I’ll ride over to Big Lake and take Minnow into the water. A long trot should get us there in no time flat. Plenty of time to think about whether Dash is ready to go home. I have ridden him a month, showing him all the sights and sounds, working on him rating his speed and making smooth transitions from trotting to walking. He really pays attention to my cues and I’m looking forward to his owner taking him for a test drive. I think she will be pleased. Well, we will see on Tuesday. For now, let’s just go, Minnow.