It was getting late in the morning and I still hadn’t started saddling the horses. I knew they were finished with the morning’s ration because I could hear the black horse pawing the pipe fence, finished with hay and now bored out of his skull.
Walking out the back door, the screen door slammed behind me. Otis fell in beside and we made our way to the barn. Otis has started reaching up and grabbing the edge of my sleeve while we walk. He holds it gently in his mouth as we walk together, like two lovers holding hands. My new boyfriend, what will he grab when it’s too hot to wear a jacket?
Riding Minnow out into the green across the road, his ears perked, his head went up and I felt his back hollow as he started jumping like a pogo stick, jarring my lower back. I sat down hard and grabbed his mouth with the reins asking him to lower his head, bend at the poll and soften up. Hey Mister, I told him. I go to physical therapy because of moves like that. Ease up.
We started a long trot to get the kinks out and as he warmed up, everything began to fall into place. His back rounded, he came back to me with his face and I sat and moved him to the left and right with my calves. We float along the side of the road and when I asked him to stop, he melted into my hands and stood silently waiting for my next request.