After dinner and kitchen clean-up, Hunter tucked an apple in his pocket and slipped out the back door of the lodge. The air had turned cool with the setting of the sun, and the first stars were starting to poke holes in the darkening sky. As he drew near the round pen and the little pens that surrounded it, he could hear the horses blowing and, occasionally, whinnying.
Hunter walked past several pens until he came to Sally’s. He stepped up on the bottom rail with both feet and leaned over the top rail. “Hey Sally, I’ve got something for you,” he whispered.
The mare lifted her head but didn’t move.
He reached into his pocket. “Sally girl, looky here. Don’t tell Mrs. Fowler, she might be mad, but I snuck a big juicy apple for ya.” He stretched his hand outward but the mare still didn’t move.
“Are you shy? Well, sure you are. I feel the same way. We’ve both been rounded up and put somewhere new and strange. Maybe we don’t even belong here. You should be running free across the prairie. I should be…” he paused. He didn’t quite know where he should be anymore. But he was reasonably sure it wasn’t here in this rough country covered with dust and rocks and an occasional yucca, cactus and pinon pine. The mare looked at him with those penetrating eyes that he had seen and felt the first time he saw her. But she didn’t make any attempt to move closer to him, even with the tempting apple being held out to her.
Hunter waited, not sure what to do at this point. “Well, I guess Smokey’s right. It takes time to build the trust,” Hunter finally said.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish