Trying Too Hard by Morgan Padgett

When I was nine, my parents leased a horse for me at a small country stable outside Corvallis, Oregon. Cashmere was her name. The freedom to walk to the stable and ride her whenever I pleased was a new luxury and became the focus of my summer.

She was a young Arabian with a beautiful dark-bay coat, and she welcomed the strokes of riders as they passed her stall. She was also unpredictable and had her own ideas about how to spend her time when she was loose.

Every day I marched confidently into the grazing field, Cashmere’s red halter in hand, and called for her. Every day it was a struggle to get her to come. I’d spend the better part of an hour walking in circles, whistling, clucking my tongue, offering carrots, and shouting her name as she avoided me, throwing her head back and prancing away.

One day, after circling the field in sweaty frustration, I collapsed onto the dry grass and threw Cashmere’s halter after her. Why should I try so hard to catch a horse that had no interest in being caught? I closed my eyes to block out the sun and wondered if I should just give up trying to ride her.

When I opened my eyes, Cashmere was standing calmly in front of me, staring squarely into my wet eyes. I feigned disinterest to protect my pride. Then I screamed at her to leave, calling her a “stupid horse.” Still she stayed. I threw a broken carrot at her nose and missed, but she didn’t leave.

After that, I stopped commanding Cashmere and began listening to her. Instead of circling the field in an impatient fit, I sat quietly on the fence and drew in my sketchbook, ready with her halter and a pocketful of carrots. Eventually she would come.

Read two more entries on this theme in the Readers Write section of The Sun …

Plus, see more Featured Stories here.

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