Once Ava returned for good from her six-year stint in Arizona and was about to open the finished clinic in Missouri, she and Lanie started to enjoy each other’s company as adults.
Lanie owned a four-year-old Appaloosa discovered to be, in her words, “a lazy horse.” Ava, not having ridden any horse for a rather long stretch of time, asked Lanie to go with her on a ride, telling her that she wanted to ride the Appaloosa.
“Ava, I just told you she’s lazy. I’m thinkin’ of just sellin’ her. You really want to ride her?”
“Well, sure, I do!”
Flabbergasted, Lanie handed over the reins and stood back, observing quietly as her older sibling mounted the slothful horse. Within minutes, Ava guided her chosen horse around effortlessly. Lanie had to admit to herself that somehow the two had connected; it sure seemed to her like they were communicating. She saw how the color-spattered Appaloosa took her rider’s directions and no longer acted lazy. Remarkably, Lanie also observed that for the first time ever she had known her, Ava was utterly relaxed on top of a horse.
The filly’s name, “Amiga” became a perfect fit in that magical moment. (“Girlfriend” in Spanish.) Without thinking about it, Lanie remembered that she had sensed agreement from the horse the first time she voiced the name to her. Apparently, Lanie possessed a bit of the same “touch” her sister had with animals.
Meanwhile, Ava took the Appaloosa’s cooperation in stride:
“Amiga got me started at 32 [years]. She was calm, patient, and forgiving, taking whatever was the strongest cue I gave her, assuming that was what I meant and going with it. Maybe that only was a part of her easy-out nature, but it definitely worked for the two of us in our time. I out-grew her, eventually, and she became the caretaker of a young girl, Lauren Proemsey, once I advanced to my next horse, whom I called ‘Poncey.’”
* * *
In the same year (1988), there came a time that Dr. Frick would not be able to ride a horse. Because of a painful incident away from the clinic, she would have to adjust her work schedule for a brief recovery time.
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