He lifts his chin, and I narrow my eyes. He steps forward and swishes his tail.

I laugh and move forward until we’re nose-to-nose.

“You won’t win,” I promise.

I capture his head within the rope halter and he sighs. He shakes his head but can’t escape the training device.

He backs away, but it’s too late.

He’s under my control.

I lift the rope, pulling him forward. He complies.

Cappy’s muscles surge forward, rippling beneath his skin. He shivers as a fly lands on his ear, and I shoo it away. Glossy chesnut mingles with white spots across his neck and shoulders. These gradually merge into a snowcap on his back and rump. I stroke his neck fondly.

We walk into the arena and begin our daily routine. Groom, bridle, fasten a bareback pad across his back. Walk, stop. Walk, trot, stop. Up on the pedestal with his front feet. Down from the pedestal. Remove equipment and put away.

He stares through the bars of the stall as I latch the door. His liquid eyes beg me to stay.

He nickers, and my heart melts.

Soon, too soon, he’ll be saddle-trained and back with his owner.  Until then, he’s mine.

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