Round Pen

Follow Me! – Chapter 4, THE ROUND PEN

Maggie Star’s eyes widened and she lifted her head into the air. Her near hind leg came up off the ground and stepped under her body…



“That’s it! Now go, girl!” Hazel raised her arms and circled them, ending in another dramatic point.

Maggie Star lifted her other hind leg and swung her hind end away, so that she fully faced the energized little girl. She gazed down her long nose at Hazel with wide eyes. She didn’t look as pretty with her ears turned back like that.

Hazel’s tongue appeared between her teeth and her eyes narrowed. She hopped toward Maggie, made an exaggerated swooshing motion with both arms and pointed yet again.

Maggie Star’s head went so high Hazel could see into her nostrils. Each front foot took one step backwards. They settled into their new spots, leaving a pair of oval hoof prints behind in the dirt.

Hazel glanced down at the hoof marks and at Maggie Star’s hooves. Her mind conjured a brief image of an anchor. Oh, no! This would not do. Maggie Star must get moving! Hazel stepped to the left and swirled her arms in the biggest circle she could make; swoosh, swoosh, swoosh! Then she zinged her arm out and pointed her finger down the fence.

Maggie Star’s head shot even higher into the air and her nostrils flared into big dark holes, but her legs did not move.

Hazel took another step with militant shoulders and stamping feet. She swooshed her arm and zinged her finger out again.

Maggie Star’s hooves remained planted in the dirt… like the narrow trunks of two knobby trees.

Hazel stamped again, and wheeled her arms in great swooshing arcs. Her finger lashed out in a driving point again and again. Each step and swing became more exaggerated as Hazel willed Maggie Star to pick up her hooves and MOVE. Suddenly, Hazel’s own legs were moving, carrying her in great skips around the middle of the round pen. She stopped at the far side of the ring, drawing in big gulps of air and looked back at the horse.

Maggie Star stood in the same place as before, her head slowly lowering and her ears once again pointed forward. Her big dark eyes watched Hazel. Only one other thing had changed. Her tail had ceased flicking.

Hazel dropped her arms and let her weight land once again on her heels. Her hands tightened into balls at her sides. Her eyebrows gathered into little storm clouds, and her teeth worked silently on the soft wet skin inside her cheek. She looked at the unmoving horse in front of her, and said, “Maggie Star, you are not listening”.

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