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Heartland #15: Love is a Gift

After a couple of days at her father's ranch, Amy managed to find time to send some e-mails home. She leaned back in her chair and read over the last few lines of her message to Soraya. I think that Spirit might end up being as difficult to reach as Mistral. I hope that I can make a difference before I have to head back.

Just as she was about to add another line, she heard her sister's bedroom door open. Amy left the computer and looked out into the hallway.

"Morning," Lou said.

"Hi," Amy replied. "I'm just finishing an e-mail and then, after breakfast, I'm going to work with Spirit and Mistral. Do you want to come down and meet them?"

"I'd love to," Lou agreed eagerly. Then she clapped her hand to her head. "Oh, I forgot! I'm really sorry, I've already arranged to go out hiking with Helena this morning. We're going to put Lily in her baby carrier and hike up to one of the local scenic views. Why don't you come with us?"

"I would," said Amy regretfully, "but I've planned to concentrate on Spirit and Mistral this morning. I really need to join up with Mistral. We didn't have a very successful session yesterday."

Lou looked sympathetic. "Can't it wait for this afternoon? We won't be out long." "I feel better doing it first thing. The yard gets busy later in the day. I'll put aside some time for Lily soon," Amy promised.

"I hope so. I was beginning to think she needed to grow a mane and tail to get your attention." Lou sighed.

Amy felt a little guilty. The she caught sight of the mischievous twinkle in her sister's eyes and they both burst into laughter.

"You could have made a bit more of an effort," Amy muttered as she led Spirit back into his stall. Once again he had behaved impeccably, but his performance lacked spark. He had no conviction. He had tipped the poles on most of the jumps, and his flatwork was just that, flat.

"You've got to try harder," she told him sternly. Amy knew trainer had techniques fro horses like Spirit, horses that were just going through the paces. Some trainers would rap horses' legs as they cleared a fence, frightening them into jumping cleaner, tighter. But Amy didn't endorse that practice, and she was certain Spirit was a special case. He had athletic ability to spare. It was an emotional investment that he lacked.

Spirit rubbed his head against her arm where he was itching under his bridle, drawing Amy from her contemplation.

"OK, OK," she signed. "I get the message."

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