When I was younger, we lived in a small town that hosted the county fair. My parents would take my little sister and I to see the animals, ride the various amusements, and to see the homemade items that county fairs are famous for. We looked at all the huge vegetables, the quilts, canned foods and knick knacks but my favorites were the animals. We didn't have the room for any farm creatures where we lived, so the closest I could get was the fair.
I loved walking through the animal barns, the sheep, pigs, cows, rabbits, goats all were so cute and clean. I knew we could never get one but I dreamt about it anyway. My parents wanted us exposed to animals and to know where our food came from. I didn't want to believe that one of those little cuties could eventually be on our dinner table but, sadly it was a fact.
As I got older, the animal barns slowly lost their appeal, that is until the year I turned 18. Maggie, my younger sister had already turned 17 and was looking forward to moving into my old room because I was heading off to college in the Fall.
The fair was in June right after graduation; Maggie and I went one last time to please our parents. She had lost interest too. She was more concerned about her friends, cute guys and when I was going to get my stuff out of her new room. I was waiting for college to begin and in no big hurry to box up my things. I had broken up with my boyfriend after prom because he couldn't handle a long distance relationship.
We were walking around one of the show rings marveling at the Hereford bulls who looked like giant stuffed animals. We stood watching them being paraded around in front of the judges all dolled up, so clean and neat. I made a comment about kids not knowing anything about being a cowboy. Well, much to my embarrassment a woman leading a horse overheard me.
“Young lady, you have no idea what it takes to be a cowboy. Look at you, all nicely dressed, clean as can be. I bet you've never been within ten feet of a farm or ranch.”
I stood there dumbfounded. She was right. “Yes, ma'am you're right. I'm sorry. I apologize.”
A wry smile appeared as her tone lightened. “If you want to see a tiny bit of what it takes to get these animals ready you can follow me and I'll show you.” I looked at my parents and Maggie to see if they would help me out. They stood there enjoying my predicament.
She offered her hand, “My name is Jolene. I run the Circle J ranch about ten miles from town. This is Cinnamon, one of my quarter horses.”
I took it, her hand felt so nice in mine, looking her in the eyes, “My name is Christine. This is my sister Maggie. These are our parents, Bill and Cynthia. I'm pleased to meet you. I'd love to see your horses.”
She shook hands with everyone then led us through the show area to her stall. She put Cinnamon away then proceeded to show us all the equipment and supplies she used to get her horses ready. We were all amazed at what was involved.
“Would you like to brush Cinnamon?” she asked, knowing I'd accept the challenge.
“I'd love to, he's so pretty.”
“Can I too?” Maggie replied, with a bit more enthusiasm than me.
“Of course you both can. Cinnamon is a girl or mare.” She grinned.
“Oh, okay.” I blushed.
She handed me the brush. Taking my hand in hers, I felt that little tingle once again as she showed me how to groom. She spoke to Cinnamon the entire time, telling her how pretty she was. I almost had the feeling she was talking to me too. We brushed for a minute or two, then it was Maggie's turn.
Maggie was excited, she loved horses. Jolene picked up on that, spending more time with her. She introduced her other two horses and let us brush them down. She asked if our parents wanted to try but they declined. After about thirty minutes we had completed the brushing.
“So, now you know a tiny bit of what it takes. What do you think?” Jolene paused.
“You're right. I didn't have a clue. Thanks for showing us. I'll think a bit more about what I say before saying it.”
“I'm glad you learned something, Christine. If you and Maggie want to know more I could use a couple of part time groomers. I can't pay you but I'll trade you riding time for your efforts. That's if it's okay with your parents.” She smiled, looking at my parents for a sign of approval.
Maggie looked at me with the same thought in mind, heck yes! We just needed to get mom and dad to let us use the car since my old clunker was being repaired, again.
Dad responded, “Thank you for the offer, we'll think about it.”
“I understand, here's my business card. Feel free to drop by and look around. I will need you to sign a liability waiver.” Dad took the card, thanking Jolene for the offer. The rest of the day we kept bringing up how nice it would be to learn to ride. I think mom and dad agreed to let us try just to shut us up.
When we got home, dad called Jolene to set a day and time to look around. About a week later, we drove out to Jolene's place. Mom and dad wanted to see what her place looked like and what we were going to do. Jolene had them sign the waivers. Dad was a bit reluctant but mom made sure he signed. Since school was out, we started the next day. My car had been repaired and I drove us out early so Jolene could instruct us, then get on with her business.
June went quickly; the weather warmed making the days out in the country very pleasant. We seemed to be going out to Jolene's more frequently than we had planned. We bought ourselves cowboy boots after mom complained about horse poop on our tennis shoes. Jolene took us to a store that specialized in western wear owned by a woman she knew so we would get a good price. She showed us the various styles, some for show and some for actual work. She watched as we both tried various boots on giggling when we walked in them for the first time.
We got some jeans that fit really snug. Jolene had us try on quite a few pair, commenting again how nice we looked while we modeled. They told us they needed to be snug but not too tight. We seemed to try on more pairs than we really needed to. I felt like some should have been painted on since I had to hold my breath to get the zipper to go up. The store owner threw in a blouse for each of us, which of course we modeled with our selected pants.
When they were finally satisfied with our new “cowgirl” look we headed back to Jolene's to get everything dirty. Mom was glad we had those clothes; she washed them separately at the laundromat so they wouldn't foul up her washer. We ended up going back and getting three sets to ease mom's trips washing them.
I guess it was July when Jolene started to get a bit “friendlier”. She'd hang out in the morning a bit longer, watching us work with the horses, commenting on how we were doing. She'd bring us snacks, pausing to talk with us while we ate. Every once in a while she'd tell us not to bring a lunch because she'd made something for her dinner and she'd made too much. We'd go to the the “bunk house” where she'd bring in a Dutch oven or some other pot that always had something delicious in it. We'd eat, talk, and giggle as we ate, taking way more time than we normally did. She seemed to enjoy being around us as much as we enjoyed her cooking and being around her.
She hadn't given us any riding lessons to this point. We were both starting to grumble a bit during those lunches. Prior to us leaving one day, she suggested we start riding. That made our day. I got that heart racing rush that comes over you when you wake up Christmas morning to open your presents. We both hardly slept that night anxious to reap the rewards of our hard work.
The next morning we did our chores anxiously awaiting for Jolene to keep her promise. She came out with a big grin on her face, dressed in tight jeans and boots, her long hair tied back. She looked every bit the rodeo princess. We walked over to the stalls with our anxiousness in full view. Patiently, she explained the finer points of saddling up her babies. We went into the barn and grabbed the tack as she monitored us. We led the horses out into the corral to prepare them for riding. We did as instructed one at a time, Jolene's hands guiding us as we synched, tightened, loosened then did it all again.
When I'd first met Jolene I noticed how rough her hands seemed to be. When she was helping us her hands actually felt very soft but strong. I know it's a strange feeling but I enjoyed her guidance. She was very patient with us both, gently correcting us when we'd miss something or put something on wrong. She took turns with Maggie and I so she could focus on what we were doing. We both kidded each other about our mistakes. Jolene reminded us we were learning. "It's okay to make a mistake when you haven't done something before."
At last when she was satisfied we had it right we led the two out. Jolene helped boost each of us into the saddle, her firm hand on my tush pushing me up felt odd but nice at the same time. Our first time all we did was trot around the corral. We learned how to sit, turn and get them to start and stop. It wasn't a lot of fun but we were on horses and that's why we were there. I got to ride Cinnamon.
Jolene watched from the ground as we took turns showing her we had mastered the commands. She offered pointers, smiling with the rapid progress two “city girls” made with her beloved mares. The whole episode took a couple of hours, it didn't seem that long. When we were done we put everything away and brushed our mounts with a new respect and admiration.
Jolene commended us on being quick studies. She told us she'd taught a few girls in the past with more knowledge than we had but, they hadn't advanced to riding around like we did. With the horses and tack were put away, Jolene hugged us good bye, congratulating us on our accomplishments. We beamed as we thanked her for letting us ride. She promised she'd let us ride more frequently. She commented that she should have done that some time ago if she'd known we'd be so good at it. We told her it was because we had a good teacher. Her face lit up with pride.
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<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/lesbian/my-last-summer-before-college-part-1-1.aspx">My Last Summer Before College: Part 1</a>