Foal…

Since moving to Rigsby Lane I’ve rubber-necked it past the horse stables every time I go on my walk.  Which is almost every day.

I glance over to catch them watching me from the darkness of their stables.

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I always forget carrots and when one wanders over to the fence

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I pat my pockets and decide milk-bones won’t do for these majestic creatures, worth, I’m told, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I talk to the owner, as she busies herself around the barnyard, about electric fencing between the paddocks,

“It’s to stop them from nipping each other.  They’re like Kindergarteners at a lunch table, push and shove, nip and pinch!”

I day dream about mucking out stables, scratching the mares between their ears, leading them into the pasture, handing out treats to the mule.

“Come meet the staff anytime…you’re always welcome,” she says and hurries off to complete her chores before her business day begins.

I wonder how much energy it takes to work as a stable-hand two or three mornings a week?

I watch her young helper using the forklift to move feed and shiver in the cold morning air as I imagine my frozen fingers hefting hay-bales.  In the heat of July I inhale the rich aroma of manure, sweat mingling with tears on my face as my eyes water from the sharp smell of the mucked out stalls.

In the sultriness the hoofed residents wear face masks to keep the dust out of their eyes,

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the owner and I joke about posting signs reading,

“Drive slowly:  Be neigh-borly!”

But the dust still rises off the dirt road in the slight summer breeze.

I wish I could ride dressage, or trot in the huge screened pavilion where the horses are exercised and trained.

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I want to feel as comfortable around these gentle giants as I do with the big dogs that roam the lane.

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Naturally I jump at the opportunity to meet a seven week old filly…

“She’s so friendly, she’ll knock you off your feet!” Patti says.

Daughts and I meet at the gate after she’s finished teaching classes.  It’s been raining and we wear our wellies to slosh around in the muddy yard on our way to the back paddocks stopping to say hello to the Calico shaking water off her paws.

And suddenly she’s there.  The young foal waiting for an opportunity to sneak through the gate,

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eager to be petted and loved.

“She can roll herself under the fencing!” Patti says with a laugh, “but not for much longer.”

She rushes over to me, all long legs and young and nudges me for a scratch.  She has a second coat of mud from romping in the puddles.

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“I always say, ‘God gave us fingernails so that horses crave human company,’” Patti says as the baby almost pushes me over with her velvety muzzle.  We all laugh,

“She weighs about 450 lbs,” she tells us, “and Mum is around 1200.”

I instinctively look down at my rubber clad feet to make sure they’re out of hooves’ way.

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She’s absolutely adorable.

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