I felt myself drawn to the unbroken colt, but didn’t know why.
- Posted on Jun 12, 2012
My husband, Jason, and I stood outside the corral, watching horses; some broken for riding, some of them wild, racing in front of us in crazy circles. All my life I’d wanted a horse of my own, and earlier that week Jason had said to me, “Let’s go buy you one.”
It was his way to cheer me up. My Grandpa Pete—that’s what his friends called him—had died a few months earlier, and I still hadn’t gotten over the loss. Grandpa had a way about him that made you feel special. Whenever we visited, he’d pull me aside, present me with candies and tell me I was his favorite grandchild. Of course, he said the same to all his grandchildren, but he was so warm and loving and playful that none of us cared. Most of all, I remember his hugs. He always hugged me when he said goodbye. They lasted so long, it seemed he’d never let go.
After he died, I tried to hold on to the warmth of Grandpa’s hugs in my memory. But over time, the feeling faded. I knew I wouldn’t feel anything like them again.
The horse trader interrupted my thoughts. “Take a look at this one,” he said. He pointed to a black-and-white paint mare circling the corral. He told us she was an excellent choice, good for riding.
“Sounds great,” Jason said.
Another, white paint colt crossed the corral. Clearly, he was spooked that people were watching him. He took off again, a wild look in his eyes. “What about that one?” I asked.
“Oh, you don’t want that one,” the man said. “That colt has never been touched. He’s as wild as they come.”
He’s the one, I thought. There was just something about him. He seemed frisky and fun and full of surprises. Even so, could I train him?
“Tell you what,” the horse trader said. “Buy the black-and-white, and I’ll give you the white one for free.” It was a deal we couldn’t refuse, but I could tell Jason was perplexed. Why did I want the wild one so much? I wasn’t sure myself.
We returned with a horse trailer, ready to take them home. “What are their names?” I asked, after we’d loaded them both.
“Well, the mare’s name is Blackberry, and the wild one? We call him Pete.”
Pete. He proved to be as gentle and fun-loving as Grandpa was. I barely had to train him. He seemed already trained, in some ways. Like the goodbye he gives whenever I corral him for the evening. He stretches his long neck and wraps his head around me—a big, warm, horse hug. It lasts so long, it seems like he’ll never let go.