All great love affairs begin with a first meeting….
The steers were not far off, beyond the boundary line, yes, but not so far that Anna couldn’t get around them and turn them back toward the property if Tex would hurry up just a little.
“All you have to do is trot,” she said, nudging him with her lower leg. Tex took the movement to mean he should immediately bolt toward the fence. He did so at full speed, leaving her to cling more than ride as he cleared the fence in a single bound.
The cattle scattered as she and Tex raced toward their little group, splintering off into several different directions. Anna couldn’t care about that in the moment, she was far too focused on riding out Tex’s second bolt. There was no way the horse would have behaved this way when her father rode him. She remembered Tex as a yearling, all gawky legs and willing attitude. The beast beneath her seemed a far cry from that cheerful young horse. Perhaps he was grieving too.
“You’re not going to feel any better by killing me,” she shouted at him. “Now cut it out!”
Tex’s gallop changed to a more sedate canter, just in time for several steers to go over a ridge.
Though she was still moving at quite a clip, Anna managed to turn her head to look as a woman with long blonde hair came riding across the plane. She rode like she was wearing the horse, not like Anna, who bounced along as best she could and tried to keep her seat. For a second, Anna completely forgot about the cattle, entranced by the arrival of a stranger whose beauty seemed entirely out of place in the rough terrain. She was tall, with broad straight shoulders and a small, neat bosom which moved with the rest of her bounding body as she came closer. She was followed by a black and white sheepdog which loped along behind her with apparent ease.