Today, I worked with Tuetano. He was curious, nervous, wary of being touched. Not long ago, Sandstorm was like that.
Today, I worked with Sandstorm. She enjoyed being scratched, but resisted the halter. Not long ago, Ripple was like that.
Today, I rode Ripple. Just a few, tentative steps in the round corral. Off balance on the corners. Unsure. Not long ago, Acey was like that.
Today, I rode Acey. We explored six miles along the irrigation canal. Tried the world on for size. Reckoned it fit. Not long ago, Consolation was like that.
Today, I rode Consolation. For miles we trotted, cantered, even galloped. All on the buckle, all trust, all together. I thought of the children’s rhyme, this is the house that Jack built.
This is the horse that I built.
One by one, my babies are growing up. What will I do when they’re all gentled, all trained?
Perhaps I’ll take in youngsters to start, or mustangs for gentling. Perhaps I’ll turn my energies to campaigning Consolation for War Mare, or taking on Tevis. Maybe someday, one of these horses and I will be nominated for the Pard’ners Award.
As far as I’m concerned, they’ve already won it. Real partnerships are forged where the wild things are. I’ll miss these shaping times, these early days. I’ll want my babies back.
At least I don’t have to send them off to college.