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Copyright 2009 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

My Heart

By Elly Hogue, Philipsburg , MT

 

December 2009 Issue

 

     It’s finally the weekend! The loudspeakers are blaring and the sun is shining. I tug on my boots and spurs and take one last look in the mirror. I put on my cowboy hat, tuck in my shirt, and buckle my belt up tight.

     I open the door while Mom is speaking to me. I’m not listening; I know what I need to do. I’m ready.

     Stepping outside, the air is refreshing compared to the trailer’s warm, muggy living quarters.

    

     Grabbing a halter, I make my way to the stalls where my first heartthrob rests. She sees me coming and perks her ears as her eyes light up. When I reach her, she sets her head in my lap, happy to see me.

     We trust one another. She is faithfully there when I need a release from reality. She is a friend I can tell anything. She’s always ready for a hug, and will never break my heart. She will forever love me.

     In return, I ride, feed, groom, and baby her. I pay attention to her. Love on her. And best of all, rub her face. She is my number one love. Yes, though some find it hard to believe, she tops my list over any boy.

     She puts her nose up to my face as I blow in her nostril, telling me she is glad I have come to let her out of this small box stall. While looking her up and down for anything out of the ordinary, I run my hand over her slick muscular body and down her powerful, elegant legs. They are a little puffy, but it’s nothing that a little moving around can’t fix.

     I notice that she still has water, but that her hay is gone. I lead her out of the stall, watching her as she moves. She walks out good, staying beside me, not in front of or behind me. We walk together to the horse trailer where I brush her off, comb the shavings out of her tail, and put her mane in braids. I throw on the saddle and buckle everything up.

     When I step on to ride, I’m finally doing what I love. We move forward as one, getting the stiffness out and the blood pumping. My heart is no longer in my chest, but instead between my knees. The air is crisp, but starting to warm.

     We find an open arena where we are able to prepare ourselves — warming up, our muscles loosening, our minds focused. We are getting in sync with one another. We have refined our ways of communicating silently, talking to each other through touch and feel, understanding each other through feelings and emotions.

     We have formed a partnership, a special bond, a connection with each other that no one else can match. We are a team, a duo, my horse and I.

     The rodeo has started and there are only a few more rakes until my turn, so I head back to the trailer to boot up, make last-minute adjustments, and hop back on.

     Stopping and going, slowing down and speeding up, working on perfecting my signals to her, she does whatever I ask of her and responds with fluency and ease. We have practiced together for many months — in fact, years — for what we are about to do. We are staying loose, relaxed and focused. Nothing else is running through our minds but that three-leaf clover pattern. We have blocked our all our worries and all our problems have been blocked out, I have forgotten that cute roper sitting over by the chutes.

     I hear the tractor fire up. I’m up in the next rake. I pay close attention to her every move, making sure her steps are even and she feels healthy. She will tell me if something is wrong, but I always have to be listening.

     My partner will try with all her heart even if she is not feeling just right. I head down near the entrance of the arena where most of the other girls are waiting.

     The loudspeakers come on. “Kelsey Martin is up, Lauren Rogers on deck and Elly Hogue in the hole. Shelby Wayne, please be ready.”

     We’re up in two. I put on my rubber bands. “Elly Hogue on deck…”

     I push my hat down snug and gather my reins. My heart starts to beat. I feel the powerful heartbeat of the animal between my legs. My horse and I are ready to go! We are ready to win!

 

     The author is a senior at Granite High School in Philipsburg , MT. She competes in high school rodeo, and in 2009, was a qualifier for the National High School Rodeo Finals. She is the daughter of Bob and Cary Hogue, who own and operate Big M Outfitters.

Copyright 2009 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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