Today seemed more humid than ever to me, maybe because the flood of rain we had the night before, but like any other month we loaded up our green broke horses into the rusty two-horse trailer. We blared country tunes as we sang to the top of our lungs the whole way to the state park, Mother seeing the worry on my face turned the stereo off. The trucks bench seat creaked underneath us in the silence, she finally broke out with, “Aw don‘t be getting all nervous on me now,” then she paused and gave me that suck it up look “you‘ll do fine practice makes perfect.” Beads of sweat left a cool trail behind as I sat there, my face two- inches from the A/C vent. I imagined myself playing in the snow, making a snow angel instead of being out in the dead heat at a horse show in the middle of July. Reality sank in when I pried the old truck’s door open and stepped out into the sauna, the same familiar trucks and horse trailers lined the park arena.
Quickly we unloaded our horses, far from what one calls a fine steed, my horse was just as unique as I. As I looped a couple secure knots, I pulled my chestnut Arabian close to the trailer as I ran over his sleek coat with a brush. Mother had already started on the to do list, registering for classes and saddling up. I always knew she wasn’t far because like any southern woman you would hear a distinct , “Hey Ya‘ll!” as she greeted fellow riders. I put the finishing touches on Diesel’s mane, something about him having a mohawk seemed to give him that racing edge. He gave a slight twitch as a horsefly landed on his rear, after a last minute check we were both ready for the spotlight. Immediately I mounted and realized how odd we must look, me being shy of six-foot and my horse only fourteen hands high which was counted as a pony. There was no time for dwelling on the simple things, my name sounded so professional as the announcer with the over-sized cowboy hat bellowed, “Cherie Wyant is up next!!!.”
What was no more than five minutes seemed to pass by as a hour. By now my horse was dripping with sweat, it was so quiet for a split second that I heard a single drop hit the sand. Mother patted me on the leg as I made my way to the alley gate, “That’s my girl!” she shouted. My heart would have jumped out of my chest if the spirited gelding wouldn’t have launched off his hind end at the gate, but ready or not we were off. The cadence of the horse sounded like music to my ears, like Indians were sitting in a circle beating away at their drums. The wind swirled around us as we were one, running toward the first barrel I thought to myself sit deep and don’t let up. I leaned forward giving Diesel his head and he slid around the tin can perfect, leaving a faint cloud behind us as we dashed to the second barrel. We had problems with the second barrel during practice, he had clipped the same barrel with his shoulder