It was an unobtrusive arrival. After a tough beginning to her life (the rest of her siblings were snapped-up and spirited away months ago) she finally found her home with me. Like leftovers and last-picks tend to be, she was hopeful when we met and quietly found her spot in the stable: glad to have a home but not sure she really had a place here.
I wasn't sure, either.
I was eager to get her out and about, but it took a couple rides to realize I was expecting her to be like Betty. I knew she had Betty’s strong lineage, but unlike Betty she wasn't in her element when I introduced her to the crowd. She was content to head down the road with everyone but she stuck to the periphery. Rather than wanting to dance around and play chase games, she seemed to have something else on her mind, but I wasn’t sure what it was. She was comfortable around the others in the barn, she even welcomed Red, but she always had that distracted look in her eye: is she running from something? looking for something? She was congenial enough, but was upfront: this is who I am...I'm not much into changing. Just can't.
I started thinking she just wouldn't be happy here -- maybe next spring we'd need to find a better home -- but then came my own distraction: work was starting up again.
I traipsed out to the barn last Monday morning to start the commuting routine. Betty was staying home this time, happy for the extra Zs. The newbie would be taking her place.
She wasn’t overly ancy when we took off, but right away I could feel a difference in her gait. It was a bit springier...somewhat more comfortable. The load felt lighter, the rutted road in the industrial park was smoother, and the washboard limestone trail was easier...the dust didn’t even bother her. She was matter-of-fact, even happy, about her work. Then, she had the chance to follow the uneven, narrow walking path through the grass on the freeway overpass where the sidewalk ended she could have some fun on this stuff....
Betty, always willing but definite in her preferences, would have done what needed to be done, but probably would have taken to the road, and once back home would have changed into her clean shoes. This one relished in the varied terrain and the splatters, and I could see her eyeing the park reserve we pass by on the way home...wonder if there’s a bit o' singletrack hiding in there? When we got back she pranced into the stable all happy-like and didn't even bother with clean-up. What a paradox: unassuming, practical, industrious and strong yet graceful...
- OB don’t ask how I come up with these names...nor whether this one will stick!