George was sitting in Harbledore Grand Cafe and sipping his americano. His eyes were fixed on a fragile figure cantering on a mighty black stallion. George had always been fascinated how Margaret worked with horses, even though he was far from the art of equestrian sports. There was something magical in how she tamed the mischievous youngsters or kept experienced horses engaged. But of course the most hypnotising was her duet with Casanova. Margaret kept saying that she cared about all her horses equally, but there was no doubt that Casanova was her favourite. And now, watching how the pair effortlessly jumped one oxer after another, George suddenly remembered the day he saw Margaret for the first time.
flashback, summer 2012
George was humming a cheerful tune as approached Chestermill Stables. It was a bright summer day, and the lawyer was more than eager to leave the stuffy office for the peaceful countryside. He got out of the car and looked around: somewhere here should be the owner of the facility. Maybe that lady with a black horse?
When he came closer, the horse got frightened of something and jumped, probably trying to get rid of his human. George stopped dead and was nervously thinking how to behave. He wasn’t born a cowboy but that woman needed help…or did she? In the blink of an eye, she had regained the full control of the horse. It seemed impossible that such a delicate lady could oppose a wild animal without twitching. A second ago the horse was ready to crash everything near himself but now was already walking near his trainer. He made another attempt to buck but was immediately stopped by the threatening voice of the woman. George was so taken aback that didn’t notice her speaking to him.
“Sir, do you hear me? Can I help you?”
The man coughed and tried to pull himself together: “Errrr, hi, I am looking for Mrs. von Rooy, the owner. I have an appointment.”
“You’re the lawyer, aren’t you? Assisting with the sale of the property and horses? I’ll show you the way.”
As they were walking, George stretched his arm to pat the horse’s nose. However, the horse didn’t look very happy and responded with an attempt to bite back.
“Cas, I warn you, behave yourself for God’s sake, — threatened the woman, — And you, Sir, could’ve at least asked unless you wanted to become fingerless’.
‘Sorry, looks like I’m not the best horse whisperer. Maybe it will teach me not to put the hands where they don’t belong.” — George laughed.
“Something tells me it won’t, — murmured she under her breath and then continued casually, — Casanova is still a baby, just five years old. I teach him good manners. I have high hopes for him. His father is an eventing legend, and mother did great in show jumping. In a few years, he will be just as good as his parents.
“Casanova… wait, he is one of those horses to be sold to my client, Harbledore Acres. Will you miss him? I bet you’ve already grown attached to him.”
The woman smiled back: “I work for Harbledore. As soon as we found out about the sale of Chestermill, we booked the best horses. And since I have been working with Cas since his birth, I am allowed not to stop the training for the time of the sale. Here we are, by the way. The office of Mrs. von Rooy. Sorry, I need to go now. Good luck!”. On saying this the mysterious lady left puzzled George in front of the door and disappeared somewhere in the barn.
In a few hours, when all the matters were solved and the documents signed, George was walking towards his car. On the way, his saw the same black horse, who was now enjoying the sunshine in the pasture.
“Hey, Casanova, right? Wow, you’re so huge. How can she handle you? What do you think, can we try once again?” — said George and touched the horse’s neck.
“There you go again! Putting your hand where it doesn’t belong.” — somebody laughed behind his back. It was her. She already had another horse with her, fully tacked up for a ride.
“You know, it was a risky move. Not to introduce yourself before you leave.” — George suddenly said and hold his breath waiting.
“Well, I’m a dare-devil”.
“And I’m George. Pleasure to meet you…”
“Margaret.” — the woman replied and mounted the horse.
“Like a daisy?’
“Says who?” — she asked with a smirk.
“Probably some linguists or botanists…”
‘But you’re not sure.” — Margaret interrupted.
“Actually, I am, I just don’t want to sound like a know-it-all.”
“Too bad, — said the woman and turned the horse towards the fields, — I adore know-it-alls.”
“Please, wait. how do we get in touch?” — George couldn’t believe that she was abruptly leaving him once again.
“Goodbye, George.” — threw Margaret over the shoulder and trotted away. George could swear that she was hiding a smile.