Branch Dancing

One Shot Deserves Another

By Carolyn White

Tree!” Tina hollered, grabbing a handful of low-hanging branches and letting them go.  

I ducked, burying my face against Bonnie’s mane as they whipped over my head. Straightening in the saddle, I scolded, “Quit it, you idiot! You tryin’ to put one of my eyes out?”

With one hand on the cantle, Tina turned sideways on my second horse, Dixie. “Almost got ‘cha that time!” she gloated.

Yanking a few stray leaves out of my braids, I scowled. She gave me an ornery grin before facing forward again.  

The two of us were exploring long-abandoned logging roads east of Donnelly. Cheat grass, gumweed, and Indian paintbrush had grown thick between wide, uneven truck tracks. Rainwater had been captured in ditches and deep ruts, giving us plenty of puddles to jump. Ponderosa pines, larch, and aspen grew so thick in some places they almost formed tunnels overhead.

It would have been a perfect place to ride, had Tina not started snatching at whatever she could get her hands on and letting it fly. She had a real knack when it came to timing, and my right cheek stung from a direct hit. I’d surged in front of her several times and tried to retaliate but she had the reflexes of a cat.

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