R: Are we going to keep doing agility?
A: Why do you ask?
R: It isn’t as much fun as it used to be.
A: I agree. What’s the problem?
R: I don’t like backing over poles or hula hoops.
A: Why is that?
R: I cannot lift my rear legs.
A: And why can’t you lift them?
R: You tell me.
A: Are you in pain?
A: Well then, what’s the problem?
R: If I knew what the problem was, I’d tell you.
A: Well, I’m really sorry that I forced the issue yesterday with the backing.
R: Apology accepted.
A: I sensed that something wasn’t quite right. I saw a look of confusion in your eyes when after a bit, I again asked to you back. I’d never before seen that look. And I promise you, I will never see it again.
R: I’ll be just fine just so long as you don’t ask me to back over that damn hula hoop.
A: If I do, it will be on your terms.
R: Amen sister.
A: Raudi, which do you care more about, me or where your next meal is coming from?
R: It’s a toss-up.
A: I’ve always thought that you could take me or leave me – and it does not matter to you who your owner might be.
R: Why is that?
A: Because you’ve never displayed any affection towards me.
R: Not so! Not so! Those snorts, those times when I’ve come to you of my own volition, those whinnies when you take the other horses out – they all mean something.
A: And what do they mean?
R: They mean that I am acknowledging that you’re my human. You’re actually a very good human or at least better than most. All humans are flawed in one way or another. I have heard many, many stories about what humans have done to horses. Most don’t understand them, though they act like they do. You pretty much understand me.
A: Pretty much?
R: Yes, pretty much.
A: What don’t I understand?
R: Certain things – like horses, like people like to finish their meals in piece. I sometimes settle in for a good chew, and you whisk me off for a ride.
A: I try, dog knows I try to do good by you. Have you noticed how much my riding has improved since last fall?
A: Unbeknownst to you, I’ve been working at this.
R: Much appreciated.
A: So I take it that we’re the best of friends?
A: Forever friends, right?
R: (Letting out a snort). Yes, forever friends.
Next: 54. 2/25/16: The Fork in the Road