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My favorite things

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Some of my favorite moments have, of course, occurred at the barn. Today, while I rushed through my happy but busy day I stopped just for a second to see my horse, Alibi, because he got the bath of a lifetime yesterday, which he was ambivalent about but seemed to prefer to the oppressive heat. I left my car running and dashed towards the main barn while glancing around at the turnouts to see if he was outside already. He wasn’t (but Matese made a lovely face at me when I ignored him), so I flipped on the main barn lights and walked up to his stall (after I batted Triton’s attention-seeking nose out of my face). It looked empty, but his halter was there and the door was closed.

As I got closer to the stall, which first appeared empty, I noticed some movement. The tip of a velvet brown ear flicked around attentively. Alibi was sitting down, his legs neatly folded beneath him, his glistening white and brown coat resplendent, listening to what was going on because he couldn’t see over the stall door in that position. I leaned over so that he could see me and for a minute (for once) my horse looked up at me. I was overwhelmed with love for him, sitting down in my presence, in a prey animal’s most vulnerable state. He stayed put for just a few seconds before he heaved himself to his feet and searched my pockets for treats.

Alibi smelled of sweet hay and shampoo and his coat was clean and silky. I pressed my nose to his neck and I smelled horse beneath the fresh scent of Mane ‘N Tail. He sighed and dropped his head onto my shoulder and we stood together, enjoying the nice breeze of a beautiful summer morning. I didn’t want to leave-I couldn’t tear myself away until Alibi moved to double check that there were really no carrots in my pocket. But my running car and plans for the day called, and I knew I would be back tomorrow. I whispered goodbye and stole a kiss from Alibi, which I planted right on his velvety nose, which was a little more pink from a little sunburn, and backed away.

Tomorrow, you little stinker. I’ll remember your carrot tomorrow.

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