Shirley sat up tall and straight on Holland, the 16.4 hh bay. She grabbed a handful of mane as Eph, the owner of the pretty mare, patted her neck and walked away, quietly whistling Mission Impossible. Shirley reached down and patted Holland's shoulder. She had never thought that a horse could be so comfortable bareback. "Mr Willis?" she heard a girl's voice ask. Shirley turned, trying to keep her balance. The voice came from a tall girl with curly black hair tied into a ponytail. Her clear blue eyes were focused on what a man was doing on the other side of the horse. All Shirley could see was 5 legs, two belonging to a man, and three to the handsome burnt-buckskin, who was having his face strokes by the girl. "Can I -I mean MAY I- please ride Liam?" Shirley watched as a man's face appeared from behind the horse. "if it's okay with Roy," he answered. "I asked dad already. He said it was fine, if it's okay with you," "then I'll saddle him up for you, Phylly." "thanks," the girl named Phylly replied. Shirley watched as Mr Willis saddled the gelding. Phylly swung easily into the saddle. "ummm...." she hesitated as the horse moved under her, "Mr. Willis, could you hold him while I shorten the stirrups?" Mr. Willis laughed. "you don't want him bolting if you accidentally kick him, and you go sailing through the roof of one of the caravans?" he was dead serious. Phylly looked shocked. Shirley laughed inwardly. 'Phylly lives here, and is still not used to Mr. Willis?' she thought 'I've only been here for a couple of weeks, and I am starting to get used to the Wills' un-seriousness!' "ready now?" she heard mr. Willis ask. "as ready as I'll ever be!" Phylly adjusted her riding helmet. "be careful. He's lively when he gets into the swing of things!" "I will," Phylly promised. She urged Liam on. Shirley watched as Phylly rose and fell with the movement of the trot. She sighed, wishing the Willis' would trust with even Hannah, the old, lazy mare on her own. She jumped as Eph ran his hand down Holland's front left leg. Holland obediently picked it up. "Uh... Do you want me to get off while you do that?" "Nope," Eph grinned up at her. "It's good for her to have someone sitting on her-" he broke off as the heard a slight shriek as Liam reared at the very end of the green they were everyone was riding on. Phylly quieted Liam, and started trotting back to the end where the horse trucks were parked. Liam started into a slow canter. Then faster.... And finally, as they neared Eph and Shirley, a gallop. "she's not going to be able to stop before the fence," Eph muttered Shirley looked behind her, a tall, chain-link fence was standing taller than Eph and Ben stacked on each other. But Liam finally listened to Phylly, and put on his face. He stunned to a stop. Phylly leaned sideways, and purposefully fell off Liam. As she lay face down in the grass, he reached up her hand in thr thumbs-up position. "I'm okay!" she yelled into the ground, getting grass and dew in her mouth at the same time. "Ptui!" she sat up spit it out. "Phylly," someone yelled, "you aren't a horse quite yet!" "Thanks Dad," Phylly yelled back. Eph looked up at Shirley and winked. "you should be glad you weren't on Liam!" "I wish I was!" she said. Eph raised an eyebrow. Phylly walked over to Hannah, whispering in her ear. "Uh... Um.... You looked great on Liam, Phylly," Shirley mumbled nervously. "Thanks. You're Shirley, right? Ben's wife's little sister?" "yeah. But please don't call mr that! It's either Shirl, or Lee!" "Ah," Shirley's older sister came up to them. "so you have finally met! I was wondering when Shirl was going to come out of her shy-shell," Eph laughed. "Eph," Shirley said in a dangerous tone. "Well girls, wanna do some sidesaddle now?" Shirley's sister asked. "Yes please!"both girls said "And maybe on Hannah this time, hey? No sidesaddle rearing for us!"
your indebted late blogger,