“Sugarbit, slow down!” My white and chestnut-spotted mare had been spooked, undoubtedly by some hideous varmint.
“Whoah, whoah,” came my father’s deep voice as he rushed up behind us. “Sugarbit, halt!” With an abrupt jolt, my horse came to a stop.
I pushed my blonde, tangled hair up and out of my face, “Thanks, Da! I dunno what got into ‘er. Musta been a fox on th’ moors.”
“Well, it seems some rough weather’s rollin’ in, anyway. Best we been gettin’ back to yer Ma.”
I looked up to the clouded sky, disappointed. He was right. White, smoky plumes were slowly beginning to cover the once pristinely blue sky. Riding with my father was a rare occasion, and I wasn’t ready for it to end. The unspoken truth hung thick between us – this would be our last opportunity to ride together… I was to be wed within the week.
With a cheeky, sideways grin, he looked back to me and winked, “Catch me if you can!” Spurring his horse, he shouted, “Yah! Yah!” as they took off at a gallop.
I lost no time. “Come on, Sugarbit!” I cried, “Let’s show ‘im how it’s done!” Sugarbit’s graceful, lithe canter easily overtook my father’s brawny stallion. He gave a hoot, and the race began in earnest.
We flew across the rocky marsh, splashing through puddles and charging through thickets of wavy-hair grass. When we finally slowed, no winner was declared. There never was. Our breath, like the horse’s, came in ragged puffs. Finally, we looked at each other and began to laugh. So much was said in that one laugh than I ever thought possible. I knew our bond was unbreakable. And, no matter what life may bring, we would always cherish these memories of racing through the moorlands.