Tonight, I paced myself through a full set of chores. After scrubbing several feed buckets, I carried water up to Dar and Scout in their grass paddock. I don't think I expected (or even thought about, for that matter) that my two horses would like each other, but they do. They have their own agendas, I think, Dar to be boss, Scout to glom on to someone, but they've arrived at a contentment with each other. Together, they trotted up from the far corner to watch me pour the water into their trough, then crowded up to the fence for scratches.
I'm happy to see them side by side, not one here and the other there. Because he's in training, Dar has been uppermost in my mind, while Scout settled into the background.
I picked out the paddocks, dropped flakes of hay in the stalls, and brought the horses in for what is predicted to be a stormy night. Everybody was quiet after food time, ready to doze. Scout whickered at me as I swept the aisle. It was a summons that I recognized. I carried my grooming supplies into her stall. Forty-five minutes passed while I skidded the shedding block over her, sweeping after with a soft body brush. She rested her head heavily on my shoulder when I curried the spot where her neck meets her chest, scabbed over now from the brief storm of black gnats that visited the farm last week. I picked her feet and trimmed her bridle path before smoothing her all over with a bar towel. It was a deep, thorough grooming, the kind that long ago became a language for me and Scout. She was soft eyed and still. I stood with my arms around her neck and inhaled the smell of her. In the distance, I heard the long whistle of a freight train, a summer sound I love like the ocean, so deeply does it resonate with me.
All this reminded me of how it was with me and Scout. I could feel her knowing me, sense her sleepy devotion. I think I saw, in recognizing that, that I have changed, gone on from who I was when I perceived Scout almost always through a scrim of fear. I'd like to believe I've grown. If I have, then getting back on Scout could be different. That's the next step for us. I just have to know if I can ride her.