Last night, my dreams came true.

Well, those specifically having to do with grooming a horse.

If you’re like me, and grew up on a healthy diet of Black Beauty, The Black Stallion, Steinbeck’s The Red Pony, and yes, a stable-full of small plastic horses with purple tails and rainbow tattoos, you get it. Because I read Black Beauty into virtual dust, I considered myself an expert equestrienne.

Like, when face-to-face with a horse, it would sense my keen empathy, nicker gently, and become my instant BFF. I would gaze, soundlessly, into one of its giant eyeballs, and we would meld, psychically, into a new understanding.

She has a gift, they would say. They being the witnesses to this miracle, obviously.

So when my brilliant friend S brilliantly suggested we take an Intro to Horses class, it would not be inaccurate to describe my response as a lot of jumping up and down and clapping.

I figured it would involve a tour, maybe watching someone muck out (see the knowledge?) a stall, viewing from afar some cantering, a brief lecture.

HOWEVER.

After donning liability helmets, we met our lovely teacher, and promptly found ourselves on the business end of two gently old and totally filthy horses. The teacher gave us a brief introduction to the metal curry comb, the curry brush, and the brush for the mane and tail. She handed each of us a curry comb and told us to go to town.

I had to literally clamp my mouth shut to avoid wailing in ecstasy.

Offended that I was being exploited for free labor? Are you KIDDING ME???? Exploit away! For the next hour or so, S and I happily and carefully groomed away mud, dust, various goo. How long does it usually take you to do this? I asked our teacher. A few minutes, she said, kindly.

Ha! I said, currying. Ha! Sucker. I’m going to make this last for as long as humanly possible.

When I started brushing Tahoe’s tail, I nearly wept with happiness. For someone who, as a kid, loathed playing Barbies and the boredom of “styling,” I realized this was really just a giant, four-legged doll, whose equally giant asshole I was studiously avoiding.

And the mane. Brushing the mane. Excuse me a moment.

So after you’re finished grooming, the horses will probably go roll in the dirt. They prefer being dirty, said the teacher.

I got close to Tahoe’s eyeball and had a special moment with her. Don’t you freaking dare, I said to her mind. You look so amazing.

That we then got to ride two other horses, and that mine casually ignored every pull of the reins and kick to its sides, and only grudgingly broke into a much-yearned for trot for about three seconds, is really immaterial.

The real issue here is that I still haven’t showered.

This is Tahoe.

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