It's dinner time.
Through the barn I enter the middle pasture loafing shed.
The feeder where I toss Bob's hay is empty.
The one acre pasture that serves this loafing shed is empty.
But three acres away, through the open gate into the summer pasture, I spot Bob.
He is at the very furthest corner of the summer pasture.
He doesn't sense my presence.
With ears pricked, he raises his head and turns to look in my direction.
I call out, "Bobbbb-Berttttt!"
In a quick spin he breaks into a full speed gallop towards me along the fence line.
Across the fence and neighbor's drive, the jet black Andalusian Stallion joins in the full speed race along the adjoining fence.
They are pals.
It's a beautiful blur of brown and black of Quarter Horse and Andalusian as they race side by side.
The Stallion reaches the end of his pasture rearing and bucking in frustration that he can't continue the race.
Bob hesitates briefly, breaking into a beautiful extended trot.
But with ears still pricked, he continues to make his way towards where I quietly stand.
As he approaches the gate between the two pastures he breaks into a jaw dropping slow lope.
And with his signature blubbering, slobbering snorts, he walks the last five feet to greet me.
I pour the grain I've been holding into his bucket.
He immediately starts eating, not minding the arthritis supplement that is interlaced in the grain.
Suddenly he pops straight up and runs full speed to the back of the middle one acre pasture.
Bucking and sunfishing as if he's in the rodeo.
His joy is my joy.
The show is soon over and oh so very stately, as if the rodeo never really happened, he returns peacefully to his bucket of feed.
As I refill his water tank and toss his evening hay I check out his front knees.
It seems I'm always looking at his front knees.
To see if they shake.
Because they have failed him in the past, causing him (and us) to fall.
But they are stable and quiet these days.
And I can't wait.