So, it's not winter anymore.
I realize y'all probably know that, but somehow that reality has only struck me this week. We went from a cold, dreary, rainy May to 90 degrees on the first of June. Well, hello, Summer. It's nice to see you again.
Summer in our life means two things: county fair and rodeo.
After last summer, I swore I never wanted to see another horse or chicken as long as I lived. There would be no more hauling livestock all over the county every weekend because I was D-O-N-E. And then winter happened. We ate a lot, sat by the fire a lot, played games, rested. And now suddenly all that livestock hauling doesn't seem so bad. In fact, the idea is sort of appealing.
For the past three days, Littlest One has been working with her newest horse, Fanny. Fanny is 1200 pounds of energy, horse hair, and love. After a summer of searching we happened upon her, and she's a dream come true for Littlest One. And in four days, Fanny will make her debut as a rodeo horse.
When we got her, she didn't load in a trailer. She hadn't been in an arena and had never circled a barrel. Honestly, she didn't even neck rein (read: steer.) But she was one of those horses that you could just tell was good. She's sweet and patient and she wants to learn and please Cora.
In the very few months Cora's had to ride her, they've come such a long way. She walks right into the trailer usually.) She reins beautifully (most of the time.) She turns barrels and weaves poles and even carries a flag now (which is a pretty big deal - flags are scary to horses.) She's as close to ready as she'll ever be to start running races.
And ya know, she probably won't win. She's faster than Angel is, but she's not that fast. She reins, but not always perfectly, and her turns are way too wide. The thing is though, it just doesn't matter. I've gotten to watch my seven year old daughter take this horse from never-been-in-an-arena to barrel racing in six months. I've watched them form this bond that's just so precious. I've watched Cora get frustrated and angry, gather herself back together, and try again. Cora stands outside and calls her name, and Fanny comes walking up. She loves her girl - you can see it in her eyes. They trust each other. They thrive on working hard to figure things out. And it's beautiful. Not always perfect, but beautiful.
So four days from now, my rodeo-mama heart will jump into my throat as she leaves the gate for her first real barrel run. I'll cheer like a fool, jump up and down, and no matter what happens, I'll be proud of her. She's done this,. This is all hers.