It was a magical time. Early mornings the weather was beautiful. Grace spent nearly every bit of daylight getting to know the horses of Redbird Ranch. She had a particular affinity for Spanish horses. One of the first she came across was La Barilla, a deep golden palomino horse thought to be a direct descendant of a Spanish herd (probably Lusitano) of buckskin and palomino horses that roamed free in the central valley of California until the early 1900s.
There were new arrivals too, and she worked with all of them. Some had well documented training. Others not so much. She was a fair judge of a horse's mind and could pretty quickly figure out who was going to make a great riding partner.
She was also making an important shift for the Ranch itself. The horses represented the owner's lifelong obsession with equines, but not much of a business plan. Grace was there to make some sense of it. Some of these horses had performance competition potential. Some of them were languishing and there were probably better homes for them elsewhere, where they would get more attention. Grace envisioned a stud farm - because indeed, there were some fine stallions in the mix - and to gradually move toward a breeding operation with a competitive performance division.
There was just one problem. There may have been large number of horses, but there was exactly one western saddle rig. It did not fit everybody. And while Grace could ride pretty much whatever you put in front of her, she preferred a western saddle over bareback riding.
It wasn't too long before a couple packages arrived. Maddie Kelley Miller sent some barn essentials. Rachel Mitchell of Trail's End Studio sent everything but a new saddle.
Skye was still a bit shy, following Grace about at a respectful distance. That Grace, she was busy, kind but a little preoccupied with the huge responsibility she had taken on. Skye did note that the ranch dogs were taking a liking to her, so Grace must be a good human.