Taking Her Herd
By Luna Loupe
Book 1 of Jenny's Herd
Copyright 2012 Luna Loupe
To most people the word "prairie" brought to mind visions of rolling, endless grasslands, tall grasses swaying in the breeze, and an open blue sky reaching out forever above it all. For Jenny the associations were very different: she thought of conservation and soil quality, of maintaining biodiversity, of the incredible wealth of life you could find in a cubic foot of the prairie.
In short, she thought of the place on a much smaller scale.
So when she got up from her hands and knees in the grass, carefully holding a sealed soil sample, it was a shock to discover the herd of wild horses that were grazing not twenty feet away. She stopped, staying very still in a half-crouch, just looking at them. The area wasn't completely devoid of cover - there was a stand of trees about a mile away - but it was still strange to have so many large, beautiful creatures appear as if from nowhere. She hadn't even heard them before now, but she had been very focused on her work.
Jenny stashed the sample in her shoulder bag and straightened, slowly and carefully, eyes still on the herd. They looked healthy to her, but something about them was a little off. She couldn't place it, but something itched at the back of her brain, waiting to be noticed. Horses… she had thought they were pretty enough as a girl, but her younger sister had been obsessed with them for most of her teen years, and Jenny had absorbed some of the enthusiastically-recited facts. There were eight horses that she could see, and of them most were chestnut brown and black - bay, she was fairly sure. One was a sandy blonde palomino with a white blaze, and another - staring right at her, she realized - was a color she didn't know the name for, white with sandy brown patches and a pale blonde mane and tail.