The day dawned unusually warm with temps above freezing and by noon the thermometer read a balmy fifty-degrees. According to locals, this happens quite a lot in Southeast Missouri and, after a week of temperatures ranging from fifteen-degrees to highs of thirty degrees, it felt like Springtime to me and Mel.
After lunch I could stand it no more. “You thinking what I’m thinking”? I asked Mel.
She smiled and kissed my cheek. “I sure am.”
So off we headed to the barn, hand in hand. Once there we called Shadow Dancer and Scarlett into their stalls and began the preparations. Putting on halters, tying them to posts, then breaking out the brushes and thoroughly brushing each horse until their coats shown and glistened.
There is something so comforting about using a curry comb and brush on a horse. You become lost in the gentle strokes in an almost Zen-like state and the horses are effected the same way. Both girls stood with heads lowered, eyes half closed as the brushes did their work.
We worked mostly in silence. What conversation that did take place was to our respective mount as we whispered softly to them as we brushed, inquiring as to how their night went, how they were feeling, or just cooing in their ears quietly to calm them.
Prep work done, we quickly saddled and bridled each horse and led them out of the barn and into the back pasture where we mounted up.
We rode at a sedate walk until we reached the border of our property, letting the horses grow accustomed to our weight and to the fact that today was not going to be a day of leisure for them. Once past our land we picked up the pace to a trot, enjoying the cool breeze, laughing, talking, and pointing to the deer and other critters that scattered at our approach.
Then, without warning, the forest thinned and we found ourselves moving over a broad open field. I looked over at Mel and grinned. “I’ll race ya!”
Instead of answering, Mel laughed and put her heels to Scarlett’s sides. They exploded away from us at full speed. “CHEATER!” I yelled at her as she pulled far ahead.
I leaned forward, gave the reins slack and barely touched Shadow Dancer’s ribs and she launched into full speed. Halfway across the field we pulled even with Mel and Scarlett. I slowed just enough to keep abreast of even with my sweetheart. “You KNOW you two are no match for Shadow and me.” I called to her with a smile. She stuck her tongue out at me.
Then we slowed to a ground-eating lope, side by side, our hands intertwined as we crossed the remaining open ground.
At the other end of the field the ground slopped upward to a ridge and we continued up that ridge until we got to the top. Once there we were amazed at the wondrous and beautiful sight that greeted us on the other side. It was…….
Then I woke up.
Seven in the morning and twelve degrees out with a blowing snow.
Old men dream dreams and young men do deeds. So it goes here on Almosta Ranch.
Originally posted 1-16-13 on OurSalon