I pull back the warm covers, hand sewn by Helen. They make me think of all the times that Helen would seat me on a blanket by the persimmon tree while she hung our clothes on the line.
The smell of bacon is what usually wakes me up, but it's too early in the morning for Helen to be cooking breakfast.
Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes I pull myself out of my cosy cocoon and stretch. I get up and turn the brass handle on the door and it makes a creak, a creak that seems to jar the whole house.
The bathroom is my first stop, a soapy clean smell greeting me. The door echos as I close it and sends my heart racing, wondering if Helen heard.
The window overlooking the small pond only allows me to see a sliver of the west pasture, but it's early enough in the morning that I can see the the cows. They were the pride and joy of my Grandpa, but when he died early last spring Helen decided to sell most of them. The ones that are left are too old to sell.
I'm not up this early to look at the cows, though. I'm up to work with Captain, my horse.
Cap was wild when he turned up in our round pen. Helen assumes that someone expected her to cure him, many people expect her to cure animals.
Helen just has that natural gift, she can get the most unresponsive dogs to do exactly as she says and the laziest horses to trot for hours.
Although Helen was totally against the idea, I persuaded her to let me work with him. "Eden" she used to say "I can't stand how persuasive you are! You should be a politician or something." I'd always shake my head, I wouldn't be able to live without horses.
It took him a long time to transition, but Cap's doing great now. He channels his very abundant energy into showmanship.
Cap is becoming a wonderful competitor though, and wins a ribbon nearly every time we compete.
After getting dressed I slip down the stairs silently, boots in hand. I exit out the door that connects to the garage, afraid that if I use the front door Helen will be able to see me from her bedroom.
Helen had a ramp installed leading from the garage to the house so that she doesn't have to climb stairs when she has groceries to bring inside. The ramp is also very helpful for sneaking out.
I snake my way around the van, past the fridge, and out through the side door. I pull my boots on my feet before they have a chance to reach the dewy grass, and suddenly remember I forgot a jacket.
I shiver, but the cold isn't biting like it is during the winter. The wind does whips my crazy brown tangles around, and I absentmindedly smooth them down.
Thinking better of going back into the house, I jog to the barn to get my blood moving. I'll probably warm up while I'm working with Captain anyway.
I slow down when I reach the door. I bump around outside for a minute so that I don't startle the horses. They've never been afraid of loud noises, but now is not the time to take chances.
When I slide open the door all of the horses look up, surprised. Willow is closest to the door, so she sends out a whinny, a whinny that kind of reassures the other horses.
"It's okay guys, it's just the nice girl who feeds us!"
I hurry to the feed room. I can't waste too much time feeding them, or else Helen will wake up and notice I'm gone.
I scoop their food into the buckets and cover the bins back up. Helen has me put old feed bags on top of the bins to keep the mice out, but despite what she thinks, it doesn't help.
I give Willow her food first. Then Fawn, and then Cap. When Cap has finished I lead him out of his stall and clip him into the cross ties. I brush Cap and then lead him to the round pen. When I come back to ge the lunge line I notice that Fawn and Willow look a little anxious.
I lead Fawn and Willow to the narrow strip of grass in front of the round pen. I use the area to practice showmanship because it's so flat and straight. I can keep an eye on the two if they're in there and them eating down the grass will save me a lot of time.
I lunge Captain to get hisblood moving. He's never been a huge fan of lunging so he kicks out a few times. "Cap, I get that going around in a circle 15 times just for the sake of warming up isn't fun, but you're gonna need to handle it."
After he nearly steps on the lunge line and pulls his head off I decide to stop. There's no need for an emergency vet visit today.
I am just clipping the lead rope on so that I can start practicing showmanship, what I actually pulled my lazy self out of bed for, when I see Helen starting to make her way down the gravel path leading to the barn.
My first instinct is to run, Helen is terrifying when she's mad. Unfortunatley there is no where to go, so I continue to clip the lead rope on Cap and trot around the ring. I then proceed to fall. Right on my face. In front of Helen.
She is completely shocked, but not as shocked as she is when a car starts to roll up the drive. A man gets out of the car. I don't know anything about cars, but it looks quite fancy.
And then I hear "Excuse me, what are you doing with my horse?"