When I pulled up to the gate for yesterday’s noontime feeding, I did a quick scan of the pasture for my two sweet old things. I always hope they’re close by, which makes it a much easier process on me. Some days I just don’t have the time to go traipsing out to the hinterlands to call Bud and Pepper to come in for lunch. Of course, I do it anyway.

Nine times out of ten they’re right by the gate waiting for me, and their food.  Or maybe they’re waiting for their food first, and then me.

Whatever.

Bud is easy to locate because of those gorgeous spots on his hindquarters. He was with his small herd and on first glance the usual suspects were all there – Macie, Amigo, Baby, and Hanger.

Wait a minute!

Where was Pepper?

And where was the mustang?

Bud was ready to eat, NOW. He’s like that. No nonsense or fiddling around when it comes to food. I figured I’d get him fed and then go look for Pepper and her boyfriend. I had a pretty good idea they were in the shed.

Bud was about three quarters of the way finished with his grain when I saw Red poke his head around the corner of the shed. He saw me and began a slow saunter toward the gate.

Now if horses wore clothing, Red would be dressed in Wranglers, maybe torn at the knee, a black leather biker jacket, and scuffed shitkicker boots. He’d have black Ray-Ban sunglasses, a five o’clock shadow and a scar or two on his face. If you were to lift up his shirt, you’d see more scars and a lot of muscle. He definitely has that bad boy “don’t mess with me” look going. In his youth he must have really been something. These days, he reminds me a little of Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart.

He took his place in the lineup at the fence, waiting not so patiently for me to notice him and bring him treats. Red is missing the gene for patience.

I still saw no sign of Miss Pepper. Hmm?

I forgot to mention that Red has a pretty good set of dreadlocks going in his mane. And on this afternoon, there were bits of leaves and stalks of weeds stuck in his hair. He looked like he’d just gotten up.

Now I don’t want to jump to any wrong conclusions here, but you tell me. Doesn’t this seem a bit suspicious?

Miss Pepper making her way to the gate. Please notice her blanket.

A good ten minutes later, I saw a familiar brown face emerge from the shed. I breathed a little sigh of relief.

And slowly, very slowly, Pepper began to walk toward me.

As she got closer, I noticed that her purple stretchy blanket was undone in the front and hanging open.

Still not jumping to conclusions, but I’m getting very close.

What were those two doing in the shed?

When Pepper got to the gate, I could see the same bits of leaves and weeds in her mane as Red had. Okay, now I know there was some hanky panky going on.

She came through the gate and ate her lunch without much dawdling this time. I brushed the debris from her mane and tried to get her to tell me what was going on.

But she wasn’t talking. Occasionally she’d glance at Red, who remained at the fence line demanding treats, and I swear I saw her smile at him.

These days she only has eyes for Red. He’s her main man and she can’t wait to get back to him. She finished eating and I let her into the pasture. She stood beside her mustang and they touched noses in greeting. It was such a tender gesture.

I guess even bad boys have a soft side when it comes to their girls.