Fast Times at Springwater Station

Wednesday, May 25

One week ago today, we had our own rodeo, right here at Springwater Station. Nobody planned it except the horses, and no tickets were sold. We humans didn’t get a choice about participating, either.
Here’s what happened.
I had been at the last class of my Citizen’s Academy course, at Scottsdale P.D. (This is a wonderful experience, and I would advise anybody to check their own police department’s website for an opportunity to take part.) I was tired to the bone, and still getting over the bronchitis and almost-pneumonia that sidetracked me for weeks. Well, we–Mary Ann, my first cousin, housekeeper and general trail boss, Jenni, my niece and assistant, and I–pulled up in front of the barn, ready for that day to be OVER. (Mary Ann and her family live in an apartment above the stable. She likes to tell people I make her live in the barn, but actually, it’s a pretty nice place.) Banjo, the colt, is raising hell, but we figure he’s just wanting more hay.
Not so. The other three horses, it turns out, are on the loose!
Have you ever hunted horses in the dark?
Well, I plain didn’t have an option here, did I? I had to handle it, because Mary Ann’s husband, Larry, also known as the Canadian Wrangler, was off in Sedona playing golf with the Harlequin people.
I resorted, like any good cowgirl, to bribery. While Mary Ann was putting the gate back on one of the stalls–Skye had kicked it down during the Great Escape–I got a bucket and some feed and went down the driveway, shaking that bucket.
Well, here came the horses–right toward me. I saw Skye first–she’s an Appaloosa, and shot out of the darkness like a gray ghost. Buck and Coco were right on her heels, and they were feeling frisky. I think Buck thought he was a Ponderosa horse, at large, and he was enjoying it.
Coco was kicking up her hind legs in every direction. I stood my ground, because horses won’t deliberately step on anything, not because they’re charitable, but because they’re BIG, and falling is not something they want to risk. Still, it was unnerving, seeing them come at me like that.
They were ready to come in, have some feed, and settle down for the night. Like naughty kids, called in from a game of hide and seek. Buck and Skye followed me, wanting the feed in that bucket. Coco headed for the breezeway, which is the aisle between the stalls, and I yelled to Mary Ann, “Look out! Here comes Coco!”
Everybody equine ended up safely back in their stalls. Nobody human got trampled.
The lesson of this story?
Things happen. You deal with it in the moment and wonder whether or not you were up to it later!

About Linda

The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is a #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 100 historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the West.

Raised in Northport, Washington, Linda pursued her wanderlust, living in London and Arizona and traveling the world before returning to the state of her birth to settle down on a horse property outside Spokane.

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