And Harley looked at them longing to fly too. Katie felt his power getting stronger; she knew he wanted to just go. But being her usual sensible self, Katie made him stay at a controlled pace.
Poppy grew tried, and slowed a little, so Harley was now in line. Katie smiled over at Hailey who was talking to her pony, and wasn’t pushing her anymore. Hailey caught Kate’s glanced and slowed Poppy down, with the slight squeeze of her hands, (she was quite the sensitive sort, with the slightest touch she was off, and with a tiny clutch of her reins, and she would stop dead, (well not quite). Katie let Harley gallop on a bit longer, just to prove who the fitter horse was. She knew that Harley automatically had longer legs, and was always going to be a bit fitter, because he was a high show jumper, and eventer. Poppy was only 14 hands, and was a little welsh. Harley was 16.2 hands, and a solid quarter horse. Kate fought against Harley until the end of the beach, using half halts, and sitting tall. He gets so strong and fired up, that it takes a while to slow down. Katie knew that she shouldn’t actually let Harley gallop on the beach. Just in case of an emergency, she could not stop him straight away, but come on, it was the last day of school, and she wanted to just feel free and have fun. Katie focused on a person with a dog at the end of the beach, not far away now. It was a bit blurry because of the salt water in her eyes. Harley finally went back from a rocking canter to a slow trot. He snorted a few times and Katie steered him into the clear shallow water. Looking behind her she could see Hailey and Poppy walking along in the water, Hailey leaning back enjoying the sunshine, while poppy had her head low plodding along in the cool water. Harley stopped and pawed at the sand, then jumped high into the air, as a small fish scooted off. Katie lost her balance, sliding off his wet back, and hit the water with a splash.
She sat up, wet and sandy, laughing at how stupid that felt. Splashing her face rid of sand; she looked up and saw a guy holding Harley’s reins, his young kelpie was wading towards her, with its ears standing up and tail wagging, offering a lick on the check with its big tongue. ‘Sam, I’m sure she’s already wet enough! Come here, boy.’ the guy said and Katie laughed. Sam the black and tan dog ran off to his boss and sat down. Katie was impressed it was very well trained. She looked up at the guy who was patting him, his hair was messy and a golden blonde colour, he was wearing light blue board shorts, and a white t-shirt. He looked familiar hence the salt water still in her eyes. Billy Harris. She has known him for years, they had gotten quite close, but his family moved away when she was 13. She hadn’t seen him in 3 years. Lost contact, and she didn’t get the chance to… ‘Kate? Katie Johnson? Oh my god’ He said looking her up and down. Katie blushed, getting up and walking towards the shore, which was at least a few meters away. ’Billy, Billy…haven’t seen you in a very long time!’ she replied. ‘At least I can see you still know how to ride well enough!’ he teased passing over the reins, and stroking Harley’s sweaty neck with his tanned farmer arms. Katie looked down at her wet green tank top, and denim shorts. Wishing that she hadn’t just fallen off. He used to attend pony club, with his fathers big hunter. But that was when they were 10. He had lost interest by the time he was 14. ‘Oh yes, Harley can be a bugger sometimes…’ she shrugged, looking up. ‘He’s a nice looking boy, built well.’ He replied scanning his eyes over the athletic horse. Katie grinned, and scratched Harley’s forehead. ‘Its been 3 years…Billy’ She said, looking at him with her bright blue eyes, noticing he still had the same olive skin as when she last saw him. ‘I know… I finally had time off from working on dad’s farm, up north, so I came back to visit here.’ He said, whistling to Sam, who had run off again, in the direction of Hailey and Poppy, who was trotting along the beach calmly towards them. Poppy looked at the pup but ignored it, she had seen plenty back on their own farm. ‘Ah okay, so you have been busy, then? I sent you emails, letters, tried to call you. For two weeks after you left.‘ she pushed Harley’s head away from rubbing against her arm. He turned and looked her in the eye. ‘I didn’t get any of them’ he shrugged, and Katie glanced up at Hailey who was now approaching. She looked at Billy like some sort of stranger, then he smiled, and she laughed, yelling ‘Billy Harris, you idiot!’ He turned to Katie, and winked. ‘Well, nice to see you again, Hails!’ she laughed. ‘So you saved my lil’ sister from drowning did ya?’ she winked at Katie. Billy laughed, ‘oh no, I was just in time to see her take a dip…’
Katie smiled, and tickled behind the little kelpie’s ears. ‘Oh really Katie!’ Hailey rolled her eyes. ‘Oh come on… its not like I went skinny dipping or anything…’ she frowned at both of them, looking like a little kid who was mad at its sibling. They laughed. The topic turned into farming, and they found out that Billy was staying at his mate’s farm, and it was a few paddocks away from theirs. The farm is owned by old Michael Down, and his 19 year old son Charlie, who was like a brother to Katie, well he was sort of, because her sister Hailey was his girlfriend. So the two girls agreed to come around on their quad bike.
Katie vaulted herself back onto Harley, and they said good bye to Billy and Sam the pup. As soon as Billy was out of ear shot, Hailey was the first to speak. ‘He looks sooo much cuter now, I mean he was, before he left…but now!’ she squealed flicking Katie’s arm. Katie looked over at Hailey grinning. ‘I can’t believe he’s back...’
(to be continued)