The horses hooves thundering underneath its soft warm belly,

The leathery smell of the saddle mixing with the crunching of the tall grasses
helps untense my sore back,

The horses mane tossling when his massive hooves pound onto the
ground, making me smile,

SWISH! He swings his long beatiful tail to bat at the flies on his
hocks and back legs,

The black birds cawing over head as they swoop into the tall Elms
branches, makes his ears prick up into attention,

A lite tap of my heel connecting with his side,brings him into his
smooth yet excited trot,

"Whooa boy, Whooa." I pull slighty at the reins. He comes down from
his trot into his lazy walk,

The last storm brought down a large tree, its trunk about a foot or so
thick.,

The trunk is covering the trail that me ans my horse were enjoying
ever so much,

I push Merle, my horse, forward so I might see over to the other side
of the trunk,

It's a clear path, the tree trunk has no small branches that might
interfer,

I turn Merle around, begin to trot to at least a twenty foot distance
away from the trunk,

'I simply can't believe I'm going to do this!' I tell myself as I
dismount slowly to the ground,

YANK! I pull at the girths knot so it tightens a little more. I pat
Merles thick and beautifully thick neck,

I put my left foot into the stirrup, and hoast myself back into the
comfy saddle,

My heart is pounding in my throat, my stomach has become a butterfly
santuary with out my concent and my head is now a baloon barely tied
to my shoulders,

I take a deep breath,

INHALE, EXHALE,

I ready myself, gather my reins which slipped out once or twice for my
hands were sweating so bad,

Another deep breath was in order,

INHALE, EXHALE,

I then abruptly gave Merle a hard kick, he immedatly picked up his
jumpy canter.

I check his shoulders for the right lead, DARN! Wrong lead!

Before we get close to the jump I turn Merle to the left, in a circle
to start over again.

"Whoooa Merle, Whooaooa" he slows to his smooth trot. I circle him
once again, then finally gave him another nudge,

I check down at his shoulders and, YES right lead this time. I pat him
on the withers lovingly,

I direct him staright towards the tree trunk, I grab a lock of his
thick mane,

Gave him one last nudge before I leaned forward,

He jumped over the tree trunk leaving a foot or so between his four
feet and the trunk.

He then landed perfectly on his front feet, then contiued with a
graceful landing onto his back feet, just as smooth as silk!

I gathered my reins and slowed him down to a walk,

I leaned down to his mane and kissed him about a hundred times,"I love
you Merle" I whispered to him,

I turned him around so I could face the tree trunk,

That tree trunk was the first jump I ever made it over, and I did it
all by myself!

" Merle, my good ole' boy," I said as I patted him on the neck and his
hind quarters," get a whole apple and two carrots first thing when we
get back to the barn!"