Horse Greeting

Follow Me! – Chapter 2, I LOVE HORSES

While she was still petting the horses at the fence, Hazel heard the crunch of footsteps on gravel. She looked over to see her Aunt Trudy walking up the lane. Aunt Trudy lived at the Ranch, cared for the animals and worked with the horses. She was lanky and wore her brown hair in a more or less tousled bob. Her face was weathered from days in the sun, but bore its usual smile.

“Mornin’, Hazel”, she said. Then she turned to the fence, and spoke to one of the horses in a slower, softer voice, “Hey there, Dancer”. Dancer stretched his dark velvety nose out toward her and she petted his neck. The other horses moved closer along the fence, though none of them crowded Dancer. They watched Aunt Trudy, their ears flicking occasionally sideways, and then back to attention. She petted each horse at the fence, keeping up a soothing one-sided conversation as she moved from horse to horse. Eventually she stepped back a few steps and one by one the horses wandered off to continue grazing in the early morning sunshine.

As they stood together watching horses drift over the grass, Hazel searched for a way to hear more about them:

“Aunt Trudy, What’s it like to have horses?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Wonderful, I guess. I love horses.”

“Me too! What’s your favorite part?”

“It’s probably not what you’d think.”

“No?”

“Well, what do you think is my favorite part?”

Hazel thought it over for a moment, and picked what she was sure was a great answer:

“Winning a blue ribbon at a horse show!”

“Getting a ribbon is awesome. It’s the reward for all of the hard work we put in; but no, it’s not my favorite moment, and it’s not why I love horses.”

Now Hazel was really curious: “What’s better than winning a blue ribbon?”

“Let me see… I watched them run through the fields the other day. They were like a wild river flowing up the hill, and their manes and tails waving…”

Aunt Trudy didn’t finish her thought, she just shook her head.

“Was that your favorite moment, ever?”

Aunt Trudy laughed a little, and said, “It was great. But I have others too. Knowing they walk out of their way to come over and greet me in the meadow can pretty much always make me smile. Petting one of them as they rest on the ground, knowing that they trust me enough – that touches me…”

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