04-17-2012, 10:01 PM
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“I don’t normally help in the training barn. Are you sure that’s where he needed me? Did I do something wrong yesterday? I’m really sorry if I messed up.” She stopped herself from any more rambling by slapping her hand over her mouth. This job meant so much to her and she couldn’t, she wouldn’t let herself screw it up. Drusilla came around the desk quickly and gave her a small hug.
“I promise. You did not mess up. He said that he is short handed because one of his sons apparently wasn’t available today and they are preparing for a big futurity so he really wants to work all of the two year olds during the commotion of the show. He says it would be good for them.”
On the way to the barn, Lacey spied Mr. Cutter in the warm-up area riding a flashy filly with world class bloodlines; she was built for the English arena. Although the mare was trotting at an English pace and carried herself with a ground covering stride, the pair looked very out of place. Mr. Cutter wore a cowboy hat and western spurs while the filly was tacked in a western training saddle. The cowboy rode tall and proud while the hunter jumpers raced around the ring, bodies tilted forward as if they were about to take a high jump at any moment.
Inside the barn Hank was helping Jake to tack up a smaller gelding, one that was already showing a muscular frame. He was built low and compact, speed and precision would be his forte.
“Girl, it’s about time you rolled out of bed.” Hank winked at her as he climbed aboard the mahogany colored colt. With a wink and the tip of a hat he was headed off to the warm-up ring leaving Lacey standing face to face with the older Cutter boy.
“Hi Jake. I guess you’re stuck with me today.” She shrugged and stared up at him, waiting for direction. He wore his baseball cap down low so it was hard to tell what color his eyes were. She had never wondered before but today she was curious. Only curious. Nothing more. She had no interest in him whatsoever. So why did she find herself looking for that dimple that appeared on the rare occasion that he smiled?
“I’m glad to have the help.” He pointed at a list on the wall and explained how things would work. Basically, there job would be to tack and un-tack horses all day. Since Hank was the last man out, the next horse would be for his dad. Mr. Cutter preferred two people to be in the barn at all times when working with the younger horses for safety reasons, which was why they were running a team effort.
It seemed like a very easy task but turned out to be much more work than she had expected.
“This is Sin. He’s my least favorite of the bunch but dad says he has the most potential so he’s hoping to turn him into a world class Reiner.” Jake seemed to take extra precautions as he led the horse from its stall. He motioned for her to stay to the front of the animal. The black gelding snorted and flared his nostrils in her direction.
“Is he gelded?” Her pony tail flopped over her shoulder as she bent awkwardly to catch a glimpse of the underside of his belly.
“He is.” Jake told her. “We aren’t going to cross tie this one because he’s likely to cause a ruckus. Do you want to hold him or tack him?” She wasn’t sure if he was trying to scare her or if he was seriously concerned. She narrowed her eyes at him as she contemplated his motives. The horse stepped sideways and flung his head. “Look, if your too nervous I’ll tie him to a post…”
“No!” Lacey stepped forward and took the lead rope from his hands. “I’ll hold him. You tack.” She focused her attention on the spirited little horse. Hoping her response hadn’t sounded as high pitched as she though it had.
“Be careful with him. He bites.” Jason tossed a saddle pad on the geldings back none too gently. The horse threw his head high and pushed forward with his chest. Lacey snatched the lead rope down quickly and backed him out of her space.
“You are not going to intimidate me.” She glared at the little horse. She’d had enough intimidating from her father for a lifetime. No man, women, child, or horse was every going to push her around.
“Do you think you could be a little more gentle with that tack?” She mumbled.
“Nope.” I want this horse to be bomb proof. Treating him like a crystal figurine is just going to make a pansy out of him.” As if to make a point he tossed the saddle on his back, from the “wrong” side. The horse stepped sideways but Lacey held him. Sin tried to push her with his muzzle but she pushed back. Normally she was very gentle and kind to the horses she worked with but this animal had a take charge sort of attitude and she firmly believed he would never respect her if she gave him just an ounce of superiority so she stood her ground. He wasn’t an angry beast but he was definitely an alpha male. She reached up to pat him and he bared his teeth. She did back off then.
“Why is he so grumpy?” She asked no one in particular but since Jason Cutter was the only other person in the barn, he naturally assumed the question was aimed at him.
“We’re pushing him to hard. He’s a nasty little beast right now but if we’d back off and move at his pace, we’d have a right nice horse.” The horse pinned his ears as he tightened the girth. He tried to reach over and take a chunk out of….