The smell of alfafa, old leather, sweat and sage are my elixors. I head to the barn; I call for my horses. My burro is first looking for treats or to play a trick. Smoke my appaloosa stands in the shade of the sturdy mesquite. Pajon, my paso fino cannot stand to not get treats. He follows me to the hitching stand. His coat is brushed; his feet are picked. I remove my leather gloves, smearing the greasy Swat on my hands to cover his face. Endure is sprayed on his legs and the saddle is place. I grab my water bottles, stuff them into the saddlebags, and check the cinch and bridle buckles one last time; giving Pajon a last tasy apple oatmeal treat.
Alien my coyote'/golden retriever mix, and Dharma my Australian Shephard bark with ecstacy as I struggle nto the saddle. Almost any other horse would stamp and snort and heave as these crazy canines erupt, but Pajon somehow patiently waits as my arthritic joints find the stirrups
and settle in saddle.
We are off.
The western sky is blue. A red tail hawk leads the way. I ramble through the acacia brush, by the push up posing lizard, and watch the dogs chase the jackelope from their maze of holes. My horse and I climb the rocky path. I feel good. My head is clear. My happiness surrounds me. Below my husband is puttering patiently on fixing something that needs to be fixed. The dogs are back by my side, waiting to see what direction to turn.
But I am content and happy right where I am.