Deuce ran quasi-wild on the 6666 Ranch in Texas for the first three years of his life. Now he’s in training with James, learning a whole new way of being. When he arrived at Flintrock, he was wary of human touch. These days he crosses his paddock to nuzzle hello and accept a rub behind the ears.
Deuce’s pasture buddy is my horse, Mystic, whose ambassadorial powers are legendary. Kate swears that Mystic gets along with all horses—not by being a pushover, but by having a quiet strength that other horses respect. When I hear how affable Mystic is, I feel unaccountably proud, like the mother of a piano prodigy or an Olympic decathlete. I can’t take any credit for it, but I still puff up inside.
Deuce joined the Mystic Fan Club from the get-go, following him around like a pesky little brother. Mystic, however, has not always lived up to his Mr. Congeniality title. A couple of weeks ago he got miffed at being left behind with Deuce while his usual herd of geldings frolicked in the big pasture. Because he was in a temper, Mystic nipped Deuce.
“He was just being a horse,” Kate told me. “I don’t blame him in the least.”
Still, I felt as though my child had fumbled the final notes of Fantasia in C Minor and then whacked the piano teacher.
Fortunately, Deuce forgave Mystic right away, because Deuce is a sweet fellow. And Mystic is mighty good-natured too when he is getting his way—perhaps a little less so when he’s not. (Which may be something he and I have in common.)
I like to think that Mystic is bringing some gravitas to Deuce’s life, while Deuce keeps Mystic from getting too grandfatherly. A little coltishness, a little wisdom—put them together and it’s magic.