©Painting By Carolynn Genevieve Shivell - Byrd
Story By Jo Ann J. Lovelace

There was nothing more beautiful than watching the horses on a cool spring evening. Although quite a few years have passed the memories are still quite fresh in my mind.It had been a long day for the horses and they were anxious to be fed. I remember removing the saddles and blankets as a crisp cool wind blew spreading the tantalizing scent of honeysuckle. Formations of radiant green leaves were beginning to appear on the elm trees that had stood tall and strong for many years. Soon the trees would be covered with refreshing leaves to provide the much needed shade when the heat from a hot summer day arrived.

Using a stiff brush I vigorously removed dust from the horse's coats. I checked their feet for small stones or any foreign objects that may have gotten lodged in the crevices of their frogs. The creation of a small whirlwind formed and swirled across the vibrant fescue grass that covered the field like a new layer of thick cushioned green carpet. Scattered here and there were a few lucid buttercups their blossoms barely starting to appear.

A honeybee buzzed by my head as his wings hummed a song of contentment. He went about collecting nectar from the new pink blooms of the dogwood trees. A ground hog's head emerged for a brief moment. He looked around observing expeditiously. Perceiving me a threat he didn't tarry but hurried back into his hole.

I led the horses to their stalls then went to the feed room. Opening the feed bin I caught a whiff of molasses. The aroma very much resembled hot oatmeal topped with brown sugar. I used the scoop to fill the feed bucket then took it with me to feed the horses. I carefully measured what I gave each horse. I used the term easy keeper and hard keeper. Easy keeper meaning the horse didn't require as much grain while a hard keeper needed more oats to retain his weight.

The horses were excited and neighed softly. I suppose that was their way of saying please hurry. A crunching munching sound filtered through the barn. The white leopard appaloosa mare chewed vigorously with contentment then searched frantically around her feed box in every nook and cranny. She made sure she hadn't dropped any oats for the annoying sharp vision gray field mice to find.

I opened the stall doors and the tall red roan quarter horse led the herd to the luscious green timothy pasture. The white specks being more pronounced in his sparkling red coat as the sun danced across his large frame. The sound of hoof beats echoing like thunder as their hooves hit the ground.

The white paint displaying one large brown spot on his left side galloped across the field. His mane flowed in the early spring breeze. His long full white tail with a touch of black running through was proudly held high. His huge brown eyes sparkled in anticipation as he loped across the meadow to find the grass of his choice. He stopped next to the rippling blue water of the creek to pick the timothy that had grown taller in that location.

I watched the little jet-black pony and the chestnut colored blanket appaloosa playfully nip each other on the legs. The appaloosa's blanket gave the appearance of a large white powder puff as he cantered out of sight.

I shivered from the cool breeze whipping against my arms and wished I had taken time to put on a sweater. I watched the sun as it commenced to set over the meadow. The red sunset crept behind the grazing horses. It was like observing an elegant painting in motion. I had never seen a sight quite so beautiful.

I started back toward the barn to turn out the lights but turned briefly to take in the radiant beauty of the sunset that still lingered behind the horses. Then hurried to finish my chores. Tomorrow would be another busy day on the farm.

Copyright © 1998 Jo Ann Lovelace. All Rights Reserved.