The sky had settled into a lazy orange glow, and the clouds of dust shimmered gold in the wind as they billowed up behind Fritz's hooves while he and Katie cantered across the arena.
Dressed in crisp breeches and tidy braids for her final portrait outfit, Katie just had to hop on for a quick ride and spend just a little more time with her favorite teammate before the sun finished setting. She didn't ride to reach a goal, or to master a skill or prepare for a show, though. She rode for the sake of riding--for the joy of partnership, and that special brand of freedom reserve for those whose hearts beat loudest to the three-beat rhythm of cantering hooves.
Nights like these are the kind memories are made of.
Katie, it was so wonderful to spend and evening with you and Fritz! Your sweet personality and laugh are infectious, and your determination to master new skills is inspiring (I'm sure you have that new mounting trick perfected by now!). I love your love for riding, and I hope it never fades--never lose your amazing passion for the sport or that big, beautiful smile. Give mister Fritz a big hug for me!