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She rose early, while it was still dark. In the stables, Brandy was already waiting for her. She smiled as the horse asked with a nudge for the bit of apple in her pocket.

“You’re getting spoilt, you are,” she whispered.

She hung her electric lantern from a hook and set about grooming the horse. She was quick but careful, making sure there was nothing on Brandy’s skin that would rub under the saddle or harness. Once done, she saddled her up, switched the lantern off and led her out of the stable.

“C’mon then,” she said as she swung up onto the saddle, “Let’s go for a ride.”

She rode out quietly at a walk, past the houses of the village and out to the track that led up through the woods to the top of the hill. Brandy knew the way well- they took the same route every morning. Once they had passed the last house, she picked up her gait, speeding up to a trot and then a canter.

They stopped at the top of the hill and waited. The view from here was spectacular, green and yellow fields rolling away into the distance like waves, interspersed with darker patches of woodland. Here and there, she could see small patches of houses with grey stone walls and dull red roofs.

A river ran through it all, sparkling in the early morning light as it twisted its way through the landscape. They both looked out to the east, woman and horse, as the dawn ripened, casting a warm glow across the world.

She sighed. This ritual of summer, this witnessing of the world’s rebirth each morning, was drawing to an end. Soon she would be far away from this, in the city where the sunrise would meet only metal, glass and brick, where the only horses she would see would be statues and pictures. Brandy would stay here with her aunt and go back to her usual routine, the first choice for teaching children to ride.

She watched the sun rise, then galloped through the fields, taking the long way home.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note- Another Three Word Wednesday piece. This week’s words are gait, nudge and ripen, which to me had to be a bit horsey.)

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