Cowboy

Follow Me! – Chapter 3, MY HORSE, MAGGIE STAR

Hazel waited near a small riding arena made up of wooden panels connected in a circle, known on the ranch as “the round pen”. She was brimming with anticipation. Soon Aunt Trudy would bring one of the horses in and it couldn’t be soon enough. Was it just yesterday when she had been told that she could ride a horse?

She looked out toward the meadow extending out beyond the round pen. In the distance she could see a horse and rider gathering a small group of cows. The pair were too far off for her to recognize, but she watched their movements. They moved together, as if each knew what the other would do in advance. She didn’t see any sudden, jerky movements. Neither the horse nor its rider seemed to resist any of the moves. It was like a silent dance. Maybe that cowboy had figured out how to connect to his horse like in her vision.

As she watched, a cow split from the herd and headed away to the left. Almost before it happened, the horse and rider swung in a smooth left arc to head it off. The cow sped up, but the horse was already flanking it. The cow shook its head with attitude, but it slowed down and turned back to the others.  The horse slowed to a swinging walk as it followed the cow back to the herd. Together again, the herd continued on their way, with the horse and rider calmly walking behind them. Just at that moment the cowboy bent forward.  He reached his arm out and slid it down the horse’s neck, from up near its head all the way down to the place where it met his saddle.

That, thought Hazel, is how I will ride; as if we are partners.  I wonder, who will my horse be?

The cows headed over a hill, with the horse and rider behind them.  She was a little sad to see them go.  She could  have happily watched them for a long, long time, imagining herself  in the saddle and the horse responding to every small cue she gave it.

Several minutes later Aunt Trudy came from the pasture leading a large white horse. Both woman and horse walked in a relaxed, unhurried manner. Perhaps because Hazel was still thinking of the cowboy she had just seen, the horse’s walk seemed to be filled with rhythm. Its body rolled from side to side with a slowly repeating dumm,… dumm,… dumm. Its head nodded left and right too, but not as much; it moved with more of a pamm,… pamm,… pamm. She could hear the horse’s walk too; clip, clop,… clip, clop,… the horse’s hooves rang softly on the pavement.

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