The Present
Chapter 7

Copyright© 2018 by UtIdArWa

Once we got back to Elk city, we turned Suzie’s horse out into the pasture. Jughead and Margarite were happy to see us. At least Margarite was. She was almost ecstatic about seeing me. She pranced and high stepped. Ran up to Me at the fence, then turned at the last second and bolted off the other way.

Finally, after about 10 minutes she, slowly sidled up to where I was and nuzzled me. Baby girl was glad daddy was home. She got a butterscotch and 30 minutes of loving for her efforts.

Jughead meanwhile was more than happy with the oat and parched corn mix that Suzy was feeding him. It wasn’t that he wasn’t happy to see me, it’s just that food held a higher priority with him and Suzy had the good stuff at that moment.

In the meantime, the new boy on the block had been checking out his environment. It hadn’t taken long to establish the size of this new land. It wasn’t very big but the grass wasn’t bad and there was sweet hay in the stable. But eventually he noticed Jughead and the attention that Suzy was paying him. This wasn’t right. Suzy belonged to him.

After loving on Margarite and saying hello to Jughead, Suzy and I headed to Mabel’s. We weren’t really hungry, just checking in. Inside was Harry Jones, the Forestry agent. Between him, Mable and the regulars, we were quickly filled in about the local doings. Mostly the foolishness of clueless vacationers.

We were interrupted when Joey Curtis, the delivery boy for the hardware store came bursting in. “Mr. Reynold’s, come quick, they’re fighting.”

“Who’s fighting Joey?”, “Your mule and a strange horse in the pasture.”

This kind of announcement was guaranteed to empty any establishment. Bar, restaurant, boy scout meeting, you name it. When I reached the fence line, it was obvious that something had happened. There was a cloud of dust in the air that was slowly settling. I could hear equine squeals, grunts and groans, but I couldn’t tell what was going on.

Just as I was going over the fence, the dust cleared enough to see the players in this drama. Margarite was far out of the combat zone. She was huddled over by the stables and didn’t look any to ready to leave. Meanwhile Jughead and Suzie’s horse were standing near the water trough. I couldn’t see any blood, but it did look like both animals had been fighting.

Jughead was the bigger of the 2, and a lot broader in the chest. He was standing to the side of Suzie’s horse with his head over the neck and his teeth next to its ear. As I watched, the horse twitched, which caused Jughead to grab that ear. He didn’t really bite, but the point was definatly made.

“SUZY, “ I called out, “You’re going to have to handle this one.”

I called Suzy over. “OK, what you’re going to have to do is get Jughead to back off. This is a dominance issue. You need to get where both of them can see you. You then need to move in. Get Jughead’s attention. He knows you and where you are in the pecking order. But put some bass in your voice and tell him to back off. It may take a couple of tries. But he’ll back off.”

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