“Hey!” Galen appears outside the stall where I’m tacking up Roh. I jump and the ants start running like crazy. “I’ve got forty minutes, tops. You going to stand there all day or are you going to get on that horse?” He taps his shiny diamond watch. “I’ll be back in five minutes. Have her ready.”
I have to snap out of it—this spacing out. I lift the bridle to slide it over Roh’s ears and she twists away, ears back. Strange. I step closer, and her head snakes toward me, ears flattened.
One shout, and she flies to the corner of the stall, head against the wall. The reins have slipped off her neck, and the bridle is a hopeless tangle in the bedding. I bend to get it when the door slides open.
“Get out.” Galen pushes me out the door. “This mare has to be taught some manners.” He shakes out the bridle, flings the reins over her head, and drags her from the stall. He’s got a short jumping bat in his hand. Like swatting a fly, it whistles through the air and smacks Roh on the side of her mouth. She lurches backward, head turned away and eye rolling, but Galen has her by the reins and steps forward. He raises the bat near her eye and waves it. “You want to bite, do you? I’ll show you what happens to horses that bite.”
My feet are glued to the floor. I want to push him away, to take Roh and tell her it’s okay, but my mouth won’t open. He slips the bit in her mouth. She drops her head as he glides the headstall over her ears. Thank God.
“Come.” He looks at me. “Now I only have thirty minutes.”
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