She walks away from me this evening in her ropers toting the lead to her horse, and the moment took me to a wonderful place. I wrote a while ago how being away from her makes me appreciate her even more and noticing the subtle changes where I would’ve overlooked them on a daily basis. I didn’t know then that the older she got the more dramatic those changes would be, and at ten years old the days are flying by my little girl.
Her horse used to be in control, but now it’s her, all her. She did what horse people do to retire their mount for the night, brushing her down and covering her eyes with a mask to keep the flies away. She handled every step in control and confidence, not the same uncertain girl I saw before.
I saw before… what? She’d been bucked off a number of times from this beast, once into an empty water trough and the rest onto the turned earth of the arena. Before that and the time her mount tried to scrape her off her back by taking her into the fence. Before she ever got back on.
She told me tonight that she’s to a point of not shying away, where she’s stern in her commands and gentle in her praise. And I was amazed as Mini, her horse, fell into step right behind her without a hint of resistance. The name’s a misnomer by the way, this is no small horse.
In the corral she unbridles Mini and fetches a half a bale of alfalfa and throws it into the corral likes she’s been doing it every day. I realize she has been doing it every day, I was just there to see it today, tonight, this evening when I about burst with pride and was overwhelmed with gratitude for the woman she’s becoming.
And as she walks back from the corral on the hill with that sweet smile of satisfaction on her lips I ask myself, “What is it that I have to be so sad about?” Or maybe it was her brother asking me instead. Either way, it is a wonderful place to be.