Becca and I bundled up again and went to the barn. We brought Zoom, Tug, and the black mare Seeker inside and it began to snow. We brushed Tug and Seeker, debating if we should ride. Zoom was a little cold so we decided against it. Becca help me file Seeker’s front feet and we turned Tug back out to eat hay. Seeker isn’t very tall but she is muscular with a thick mane and tail and a sweet face. In the winter, her coat looks like black velvet. She’s a little jumpy, but she comes from a great line of proven Quarter Horses. A girl about our age came around 3 to look her over.
She checked her feet, her teeth, her ears and her tail, looking her over. I saddled her up and we all went to the round pen. As soon as she sat on her, Seeker bolted, throwing the girl into the fence. She got up and brushed herself off, I lunged Seeker, keeping her at a trot to get the jitters out of her. The snow was falling fast and the ground was completely frozen.
After a little work, she got back in the saddle and rode Seeker like nothing had ever happened. She knew what she was doing, and I was glad I didn’t let the man from yesterday take her. Seeker turned, backed, walked and jogged fine. We went back to the barn and unsaddled, we shook on it and I gave her Seeker’s papers. Becca took a photo of me with the mare, all bundled up, and they loaded her in the trailer and drove off.
Once they cleared our line of sight, I threw my hat in the air. Becca and I jumped around and hugged and hollered. When I moved here after my Uncle died, we had 16 horses. We are now down to Tug, Tyla, Zoom, JJ and the Ginnie Donkey. We keep our neighbors stud horse and donkey, and we still have the colt, but 8 mouths are a lot easier to feed than 16.
Since we were absolutely frozen by then, we ran up the driveway and changed into dry clothes. After the snow stopped falling, Becca and I made a quick trip to Tractor Supply to get shavings for the chicken coop. We browsed the boots, horse tack, Rodeo Magazine’s and Carhartt jackets for a while, then loaded up and came back home. Aunt Melissa stopped by so we visited for a while before eating soup and cornbread.
Sadie got home and we stayed up until 11:30 talking. This morning we sat around the kitchen, watching the rain fall and turn the snow into slush. Becca and I made a last trip to the barn and they loaded up the van. After I scraped off their windshield, I hugged them tightly. Casey, Abbie and I stood in the road watching them go, I waited until the sound of the engine died away, standing in the silence with the dogs.
After a moment, we headed up the hill and I spread the shavings out in the chicken coop. They scratched and pecked happily, chirping to each other in the warm, dry barn. Life goes on, of course, they are oblivious to the one van driving down the road, a faded engine that sounds like all the others. They don’t know how much more that van means than all the others. That I will miss it the most, and will count the days until it returns.