Silver was a grey mare. She was fairly well put together, even if slightly toed in on her front legs. “Be easy with that one,” Stu said as I led her out of the trailer, “she’s a bit spooky until she settles in.”
Tying her to the post, I patted her shoulder, leaving her next to Sugar, another mare who could be her twin.
With all the horses unloaded and tied, I wrote Stu’s notes in my book while my wranglers unloaded saddles, blankets, pads, and bridles onto the tack room porch. We soon had the summer’s supply of oats, in fifty-pound bags, stacked in the tack room.
Brushes and curry combs in hand, hoof picks tucked into a back pocket of our jeans, we began the summer routine well-known by our hands. Soft voices murmuring to warm dusty horse hides, we made our way around the stalls, grooming so we could fit saddles and bridles. Many of the horses had been with us in previous summer camp seasons, but Silver and Sugar were new.
As I approached Silver, I began quietly singing, “I love the mountains. I love the rolling hills…” Her ears pricked toward my voice, and I moved into her shoulder, stroking her neck, and slowly moving my hand to scratch behind her ear. She didn’t bend into me, but neither did she move away.
Untying the quick release knot and leaving the lead rope looped simply around the post, in case she decided to pull back, I bent and blew gently into her nostril. And we stood for some moments just sharing breath.