Hoof Beats Across My Heart

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It was a warm spring afternoon, the birds were crying out for someone to love, almost the same with me. The ring of the phone woke me from my day dream, I decided to leave It, whoever It was could leave a message. It was my trainer Alexis, She called to let me know that she knew a woman that had an Arabian quarter horse that she had up for lease. The woman's name was Diane and her horse was Dusty, she said I could come and give her a test ride tonight.

A couple hours later I threw on my jodhpurs, which are almost like leggings but a little heavier, then put on my half chaps, which protect your lower leg, then some riding boots and got in the car to go to Diane's house and try out Dusty. As we pulled into her driveway I looked up at her beautiful house, It had two glass doors, A big garden, lots of green grassy pastures, a nicely sized barn, and a beautiful horse grazing in the pasture. The mare was a beautiful buckskin Arabian mix of some sort, It seems as if the sun was shining right onto her golden coat. The mare looked up with her glistening eyes almost as if to say “welcome.” I walked behind Diane's house only to uncover a very cozy looking wood barn. “Over here!” a shout came from behind me, “Welcome to my home.” There was a blond haired woman in a round pen with a dark brownish, black horse. “I’m Diane,and this is my horse Kenya, you must be Erika I have been told many great things about you,”she said. “ It’s nice to meet you too Diane.” She told me what to use when riding dusty and where everything is. I went a head and tacked her up, Put my helmet on and lead Dusty outside to the mounting block. I swung my leg over the saddle and put both feet in the stirrups. I went a head and walked her a lap both ways around the arena before picking up the trot. She had a very smooth trot, but it was still a little hard to keep her on the rail. We also did a little cantering and that was like a ballerina gracefully dancing across the floor. After my ride I knew she was the one that I wanted to ride.

A couple weeks later I was at the barn getting Dusty ready for a lesson, I have been working on ground poles, but today I would be doing cavaletti’s (small jumps). As soon as I got into the arena Dusty saw the jumps and immediately picked up the trot,”No dusty we have to warm up at the walk first,”I said softly to calm her down. After warming up I heard Alexis say ”Go ahead and do the one on the far side, but put her head down before you jump.” I approached the jump with caution not knowing what Dusty would do, looked up got into my 2-point, and jumped like that was a silly pole on the ground. Alexis smiled, “That was great! We just need to work on your 2-point and you will be showing at forever sky ranch in no time!”

I guess I took what she said as a promise because as soon as I was doing better at my 2-point, and not letting Dusty run out, I was signed up for the Forever Sky Ranch schooling show. By then Alexis already had her plane tickets to go to Japan, to move in with her husband. When Alexis leaves I would start training with Diane, but I was not worried to much. I passed the dressage class with a first place, blue ribbon. The jumping did not go as well as dressage, we had a couple run outs, but at least I placed...with a fourth place white ribbon. I was proud of what I earned, I was not angry with the fourth place ribbon, for it was my first show with Dusty. “The color of the ribbon does not matter, as long as we tried our best, and reached our goal of working together” I whispered softly in her ear.

Months later Alexis was in Japan, and I was being taught by Diane and was having the best lessons with Dusty. It was Dusty that seemed to like having a friend like me around her the most. I would go to the barn groom, clean, and even braid her mane and tail. I loved that mare, and Diane of course, I probably would have an incomplete life without them. Then came the day, at dinner, “I have an announcement to make” my dad said,”We are moving to Colorado!!!!! I was offered a job were I can still fly planes.” I was shocked, moving away from my friends, my house, the beach. Then it struck me...I would be leaving Dusty and Diane. Dead. That is how I felt. I was dead to a world, without people who have taught me so much, in my heart and my head I would be lost. Lost is sometimes when you cant be found, and I will never be found without Dusty. Some people say that it’s not the destination, but the journey, and with out Dusty and Diane this would be an Incomplete journey I have embarked on. It would now be my Quest to spend the last days in Florida with them. And so I did.

I had one more month to spend with Diane and Dusty, defiantly not my favorite month. Diane took me every where, we went to the Blue Angel Dressage show and watched riders preform an incredible dance with the horses, we got cold stone Ice-cream, which gave me a brain freeze at first bite, we even got to see Diane's old mare, CC, who even had a little foal following her around and trying to stay up on his flimsy legs...I could of watched him for days. I spent all the time I could with Dusty, from time to time when I walked in the barn she would give me a soft nicker. I would feel her warm breath on the palm of my hand, her black silky mane would shimmer if the sun would shine on it, her upper lip would quiver if you scratched her in the right spot, and she would be there for you when you needed her. My last ride couldn't of been any better, Dusty was a gem. At the end I could not keep myself from tearing up,”Dusty I love you and I never want to leave you, but you will always be in my heart.” I choked out through tears, “Good-bye...My friend.”

The car ride was long, and my mind was constantly on Dusty. I could hear the old silvery car brimming with joy, another journey. I look out the windows, nothing. We were smack dead In the middle of Nebraska, the only thing out there was old rundown dairy farms, and shrubbery. My oldest brother opened the window, the breeze sweeped through the car blowing my hair back to flow in the wind. That brought me to tears, I remember riding Dusty, cantering through the pasture her hoof beats matching my heart beats, us together. One. The wind whispering in my ears, the ground was a blur, the sky was clear, and a ray of sunlight shot down on us to guide us through the storm coming our way. We could of been together, forever, in my heart...Hoof beats on my heart.





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