I was alone in the barn. Or so I thought. It was late at night; the other boarders had long since left and the staff had fed hours ago.
I had had a beautiful ride on the Rombout Hunt trails with Tucker, my stunning former racehorse. The sun had been setting as we returned home, casting an incredible pink glow across the landscape. Sunsets in that area were some of the most beautiful I had ever witnessed.
I had put Tucker’s tack away and I was grooming him in his stall. His coat shimmered, dappled dark bay with chocolate and cinnamon highlights. And he was gorgeous. With the exquisite classic Thoroughbred head, long neck and perfectly angled shoulder, deep well sprung ribcage and strong rump, he looked every bit the racehorse he had once been.
However, his career now was as a show hunter and trail horse. He was amazing as a hunter, with a graceful, elegant stride and lightness that made him a joy both to watch and to ride. He jumped so easily and lightly that it all seemed effortless.
As a trail horse, well, he had his moments. Sometimes he was great, at other times he found mountain lions in every bush and rock.
As I brushed him, admiring his coat and build, and enjoying the nuzzles from his incredibly soft muzzle, I thought of how much I adored this horse. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true.
I’m not a singer. In fact, dogs howl and cats run under beds when I attempt a song. But hey, I was alone and overcome with emotion for my beautiful horse. I couldn’t help it. “Wise men say,” I began, “only fools rush in.” I started low and tentative, but as Tucker looked at me quizzically my love for him overpowered my better judgment and I got louder and more passionate. Soon I was sure that I was Elvis reincarnated, belting out “I can’t help falling in love with you.”
I was almost through the song when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. I shut my mouth immediately and felt the burn moving up through my neck, spreading across my face until I was far brighter than the sunset I had just witnessed. It was Jose, coming out of a stall two doors down. The jar of poultice and Saran Wrap he carried let me know what he had been doing.
He looked at me but didn’t say a word. He simply smiled and continued on his way.
I only sing in the shower now.