All the Pretty Horses

We arrived early. I used to work with horses and at a stable, and I had a feeling that if we arrived early they just might put us to work, and we just might be really really happy about that. So we did, and they did, and Apple-Apple got her first opportunity to groom a pony. He was a big pony, sleepy and old, and muddy. The smell of horse hair and dust, the sounds of the horses, the sawdusty sight of an indoor arena ... this was supposed to be a birthday gift for Apple-Apple, but honestly, I'm not sure which of us took more delight from it.
Apple-Apple was a natural. No fear. Her pony liked to eat grass, and it took a lot of muscle and determination to wrestle his head up, but she did it, and repeatedly. She said afterward that she only wished she hadn't gotten such a slow pony. In fact, my only concern was her lack of worry, and the way she danced around the horses, forgetting these were animals with hooves and teeth.
As for me, it was like walking back into a familiar landscape, and feeling so very at home. I'd forgotten how that connection to an animal (and for me, especially, to a horse) is unlike any other relationship. You find a different way to communicate. It's elemental. I returned from the adventure utterly rejuvenated. Apple-Apple was elated, filled with confidence and excitement. She cannot wait to do this again.
Um. Me neither.

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