Karen’s intuition turns out to be right. She and Mama find the perfect home for Pegasus and begin the process of moving him to it.
Scene 17: Sierra Nevada Stables
The pavement ended just before a towering post and lintel gate bearing the name Sierra Nevada Stables. Mama stopped the car, and they craned their necks to look up at the sign on the gate. It was twenty feet tall. To their right, a smaller sign made of wooden planks stood at eye level. It read Welcome to Sierra Nevada Stables.
Karen looked at Mama. In spite of her insistence on not making hasty decisions, Mama was smiling as she eased the Chevy onto the gravel lane. White wooden horse fences paralleled their path on both sides, separating them from the beautiful horses they saw grazing in green meadows.
After a short but bumpy ride, they parked in front of a spacious ranch house. Karen immediately pulled on her door handle, but Mama stopped her.
“Let’s wait for the dust to settle, before we get out.”
Karen realized that their car was sitting in a brown cloud that the tires had stirred up. She settled back and admired the ranch house. It was painted light blue with white trim around the windows. A tall man stood up from a rocking chair on the full-length front porch and walked toward them. He did not seem to mind the dust.
“Howdy!” he said, as they got out of the car.
His deep voice burst up from his broad chest. Under his big western straw hat, his face was tanned and hard from many years spent caring for horses. The crow’s feet crinkled as he smiled. Kitten recognized the Texas accent.
“Y’all must be the folks who called in earlier, today.”
“That’s right. I’m Katie Hearshstein, and this is my daughter, Karen. Pleased to meet you.”
“Same here, ma’am. You can call me Tex, ‘n’ it’s a pleasure to meet you and the young lady. I understand you have an Arabian that’s finer’n frog’s hair, as we used to say back home, and you’re lookin’ for a home for him.”
“Yes. My daughter has an Arabian stallion we would like to stable, and the woman I talked to told me that you had room. Is that so?”
“That’s right as rain, ma’am,” Tex said. “You talked to my wife, Babbs. She works in our front office. She told me you called and were on your way over here.”
Tex laughed and added, “If you have an Arabian, I’m sure you must have called a lot of stables.”
“Yes. I called every stable listed in the Yellow Pages, and then we visited most of them, one after the other. We haven’t been happy with what we’ve seen. We want a home for Pegasus. We’re not looking for a horse prison.”
Kitten piped up, “We’d very much like to see your facilities, if we may.”
“We’ve got the best stables around, little lady.”
“Please, may we see them now?” Kitten insisted. “Pegasus is home in our garage, waiting for a proper home. We need to find something for him, soon.”
Mama put her hand on Karen’s shoulder and said, “Sweetheart, slow down. We aren’t making any snap decisions. Let the nice man show us around. You can ask your questions, and then we can decide.”
Tex laughed and said to Karen, “Why don’t we mosey over to the house, and we’ll start there, darlin?”
Hmmmm. Joshua called me that, too, with the same tone of voice. Is this day somehow mystically connected to my friend at the carousel?
Tex gave them a tour, beginning with the ranch house that contained the business office, so they got to meet Babbs, who explained costs and levels of care. She added that some of the horses were owned by movie stars who wanted them close-by for their own exercise and horseback practice, but were often away because of their work. Those horses often felt neglected. The happiest horses were owned by children who visited them frequently. Karen beamed.
In the barn, they saw the stalls where the horses stayed at night and in bad weather. A young man was cleaning them.
“He doesn’t look much older than me,” Karen said. “Is he one of your ranch hands?
“No,” said Tex. “That’s my son, Rocky. He’s in high school and he’s affixing’ ta make a career with horses, for when he grows up. You can count on him to take good care of your Pegasus.”
The young man smiled and waved. Kitten instantly took a liking to him. She already liked Tex and Babs. Even though Mama cautioned her to be careful, her intuition told her that these people would become like family for her.
Behind the barn, Tex pointed out some of the pastures, the grazing land and a few of the most popular riding trails. The ranch had the prettiest fall foliage Karen and her mother had ever seen, as well as flower and vegetable gardens.
As the tour ended, Tex asked if they had any final questions.
Karen replied, “How often are the horse groomed, and what are they fed? How often are they exercised?”
He answered, and then added that all purebred Arabians got the first three months rent for free.
Mama’s eyebrows went up, when he said that. She told Tex that they needed a few minutes to talk alone.
“I’ll be over there, if you need me,” was his cheerful reply, as he walked back to the porch and relaxed in the rocking chair.
When he was out of earshot, Mama asked, “Well, Kitten, what do you think?”
“Mama, I adore everything about this place. It’s a real ranch with real pastures and everything a horse needs. It’s even better than what I pictured in my mind. I don’t want to look any further, Mama.”
“That’s good, sweetheart, because this is the last place on my list. If this one didn’t work out, we’d be up a creek without a paddle. Those other places were all hat and no cattle!”
“Mama! You’re talking Texan!”
“Yupp!” Mama laughed.
Tex stood to meet them as they approached the porch.
“We’re ready,” Mama said. “We’re ready to bring our horse to stay with you.”
“All right, then,” Tex said. “What time can we expect our new guest to arrive?”
“Would sometime later this afternoon be all right?” Mama asked.
“Yes. You can fill out the paperwork, now, and we’ll be expecting you. When you arrive, I’ll introduce you to our ranch hands.”
“Could you send a truck to pick him up?” Mama asked.
Karen saw Tex hide his surprise. She knew that most horse owners had trucks and trailers, but they had not ridden their horses home from a carousel.
“Of course we can. I’ll drive over with our horse trailer. After you, ladies!”
With a flourish of his hat, Tex opened the door to the ranch house office. Karen proudly followed Mama in.
©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.