Last evening, after my youngest son about took me over the deep end, I wondered out to the pasture for a little peace and quiet. The horses were eating along the edge of the pond, Blue on the other side crossed over and stopped beside me. I rubbed the flies off his back and scratched around his eyes where the flies had gathered and then turned to continue my walk.
It wasn't long before I heard their hoof beats behind me. Glancing over my shoulder, they had formed a line of such, following the same path as I just took; none of them in any more of a hurry than I was. When I reached the cottonwood grove, I sat down under one of the trees. The horses stopped and watched. I am sure confused as we usually continue this walk up to the barn.
Ginger was the first to approach me. She stood in front of me and brought her head to mine. She smelled my face, my hair and my neck. I reached up to touch her nose. Being around the horses every day, I sometime think we forget their softness.
Blue hung to the left of my shoulder, his eyes closed and bottom lip hanging low. I reached up and touched his nose, too; again taking in its velvet feel on my fingertips. Baby moved her big self between Ginger and Blue and put her head down by mine. Her huge feet scare me and I picked up a cottonwood twig so that I could move her away if she crowded me too much.
I felt her soft breath over my right shoulder before I saw her. Windy had made her away around the right side of the tree. Like her mama, she smelled my hair, my neck and put her nose to my lips like she often does and I rubbed my face next to hers. I scratched her chin, her neck and the inside of her ears. I reveled at how soft her neck is right now and how brilliant her color is with her winter coat coming in. A few times Baby tried to bully her away, but Windy held her ground.
It wasn't long before something else got their attention and they stopped fussing with me. I got up and went to Butter, who wouldn't approach with the alpha horses nearby. I scratched her neck and ran my fingers down her dorsal stripe, bolder right now with the thickness of her coat. We walked side by side until we reached the rest of the herd.
Moments like this are as important to me as the ride itself. This is why I have horses.