We pulled up and Cherry, my red roan Quarter Horse mare, raised her head up out of the long grass. Still chomping on the grass she had in her mouth, she nickered and came cantering up to the barn. JoBey and Billy, my sister’s and my mom’s horses, were in their own pasture and came running in behind Cherry.
“Where do you want to ride today?” my mom asked, as we got out of the car and went into the barn.
“I was thinking we could ride down to the far end of the pasture,“ I said, grabbing a halter as I opened her door and put it on her. Tying her to a post in her stall, I gave her a kiss on the nose. “Are you going to be good today, Cherry?” I grabbed a brush from my grooming box and worked from her head to tail, brushing with the flow of her hair, working out the knots in her mane and tail, humming as I went.
As I turned around, my mom was getting Billy’s saddle and bridle of the rack and was carrying it over to his stall, which was right next to Cherry’s. I took my western saddle and bridle off of their racks, took them over to the stall and put them on Cherry, smoothing out the wrinkles in the saddle pad. Then settled the saddle on her back, tightened her girth and slipped her bridle on over her head. “Ready?” I called over to my mom as I unclipped her lead rope and let it fall to the chip-covered floor.
“Coming. Can you open Cherry’s stall gate for me? I’m gonna ride Bill over there.” I heard her mount Bill as he shuffled around, impatient to get going.
I opened Cherry’s gate and hopped on her, turning her around. I had to duck in order not to hit my head on the ceiling. We rode out of the paddock and into the bright green pasture. I nudged Cherry into a trot and started weaving around the barrels that I had set up for barrel race...