It was early, just 7am, but the summer sun was already making its climb towards the heavens. Lee had been awake for some time, thinking and working. He had finally decided to go onto the yard at 5am, after laying awake for a few hours, listening to Amber's breathing. He still couldn't believe she was still with him. She had even had a fight with Aisha in the stallion barn, leading to a nasty sprain for Parry and a smarting bite wound for Bow. Luckily Lee had managed to patch them up, but the relationship would take more than bandages to be fixed. The man had already done the morning feeds and skipped out the stallion barn as he headed towards the mare barn. He had purposefully skipped Fru's morning feed, having bigger plans for her at the minute. He headed to her stable and looked over the door to see her snoozing at the back of her stall, head drooping lazily. “Fru,” he said softly, watching her ears flicker around as she lifted her head to look at him. He grinned and took her head collar from the hook, moving into the stable with her. “Hey there, sleepy head,” he muttered as he ran a hand down her muscular neck. They had been working her on the flat, trying to get her fit again, and it was starting to show. She was looking healthy once more, her body lithe and well toned as it once had been. She had put weight back on, not much, but enough to show. “Come on, we're gonna do some work.” Lee slipped the head collar over her head gently and fastened it into place, taking a soft grip on the lead rope as he led her from the stall. Her hooves clapped loudly against the concrete as they walked towards the tying area outside the tack room, the mare's head low and her gait smooth and swinging.
The vet tied up Fru and went to fetch her tack, the assortment of various leather parts and her brushing boots. She was waiting for him as he rounded the corner from the tack room door, her ears perked forwards but her stance relaxed. He laughed and rested the saddle on the rack near her, arranging the martingale and bridle carefully. “You look eager,” he murmured, preparing the tack so it was ready to just slip on. “Maybe you won't be so ready when we get in the ring.” She seemed to roll her eyes slightly at him and his words, letting out a deep sigh as he approached her with the bridle. Still, she put up no fuss, allowing him to slip the bit into her mouth and arrange her bridle and martingale. “I'm gonna try something different with you today. I'm hoping you'll like it,” he said casually. Talking to the horses was not the strangest thing they did at Firelight. He placed the saddle on her back and fastened her girth before stretching out her legs gently. He picked up her boots and then gathered her reins, turning her towards the door. “We'll put these on outside, hmm?” The mare bobbed her head slightly as she strolled alongside him, enjoying stretching her legs on the walk to the school.
Fru stood patiently as the man fastened her boots into place gently, smoothing them down over the hair on her legs and ensuring they were strapped firmly, but not too tight. She lowered her head to see what he was doing for a moment before lifting it again to look around, ears perked and alert. “There,” he said as he straightened up to be greeted by her vivid blue eyes watching him closely. “Now, I think I'll need a helmet,” he chuckled, walking to the fence to pick up the hat that was hooked over one of the posts. He heard the soft footfalls of the mare behind him as she followed, and he glanced back to see her watching him curiously, reins hanging loose around her neck. “You know, you could have stayed there,” he chuckled. He picked up the hat and placed it on his head, glancing towards the drive as a small horse box pulled down and into the carpark. He wondered briefly who it was, but a lot of people arrived randomly at Firelight these days. Still, he hoped it was another staff member, as they were sorely in need of the extra help. After pulling his stirrups down, Lee hopped up easily onto Fru's back. Even after the flat work they had been doing, there was still something thrilling about being on her once again, especially with what was coming up. He started to walk her around the school, and that was when she caught sight of the small arrangement of jumps at one end of the school. She snorted and lifted her head, ears straight forwards. “I know, girl, but not yet,” he said softly, squeezing the reins gently to calm her. “Patience, dear.”