Round Pen

Follow Me! – Chapter 4, THE ROUND PEN

Now, I want you to… to

… run.

Maggie Star’s tail flicked. It could be a sign. Hazel grabbed a few more bits of mane and leaned her forehead onto sturdy white neck. Horse hair tickled her nose and she breathed in the warm wonderful slightly dusty smell of horse. When she breathed back out she left a moist spot on Maggie Star’s neck. Both forearms rested against the mare as well. “Go on,” she said. Her mind again thought, “Run”.

Hand on Nose

The mare swung her head around, lowering it at the same time, so that she could fully see the little girl clinging to her side like a soft warm burr. She watched as Hazel spoke quietly into her neck.

After a bit Hazel stood back upright, leaving just the hand holding a handful of mane. “Try it, Maggie Star… run… then come back to me.” Hazel swirled her free hand in a circle, ending with her arm raised straight out from her side, and a single finger pointing out past the horse’s head. She closed her eyes and thought with as much intent as she could muster, “Run”.

The mare’s large velvety nose reached out to the floating hand. It puffed in and out, and then traced the curve of arm, touching and puffing, up to the shoulder , where it gently rested.

Hazel felt a zing of anticipation flow through her with each tingly touch. This must be a sign. But the horse was not yet moving. Maybe Maggie Star needed a little more urging.

Hazel brought her free hand to Maggie Star’s cheek, stiffened her fingers and pushed the horse’s head away from her shoulder. She raised her voice to sound like her dad, when she smarted off about having to clear the table, “Go ahead”. Then she pointed again and said, “Go!”

Maggie Star returned her gaze forward. Each rounded hoof remained pressed into the soft dry dirt. Her tail flicked just enough to make the ends of her long tail hairs bounce.

A blue jay flew overhead, landing in a pine tree with a harsh caw. Her ears flicked toward the disturbance, then relaxed and her eyes took on a sleepy look.

“Maggie Star – are you even listening?”

Hazel stepped completely away from the horse, set her shoulders and energetically rolled her hands around each other, as if she were gathering in kite string. Taking a big sideways step in the direction she wanted Maggie Star to move, she twirled her hands into a rolling finish. When they stopped, her left arm was again extended out to the side, its index finger pointing arrow-like. “Run!” she yelled.

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