A bronze BMW SUV was pulled over in the private drive that is at the base of the pathway up to the campo barn. It looked familiar and then became recognizable as Shana stepped out, getting ready to head up the hill. “Shana! What are you doing?!” “Oh, Deborah. Didn’t you get my text?” No, I hadn’t. I don’t check the phone while driving or biking and this morning I was doing the latter. I looked at my phone and there was the text, having been sent ten minutes ago. We always start Saturday mornings at Quail. Finding her heading to campo was disorienting.
“Shana, I’m OK with you being solo at Campo. It’s just that I need to know ahead of time, an hour or two preferably, but half an hour at the minimum.” That particular morning I knew for a fact that Sara was eager to see Shana and was waiting at Quail for her. Shana agreed to give me proper advance notice in the future.
Last night I got a text saying she wanted to spend time with Velvet this morning and would I mind if she went to campo instead of Quail. Sara and Sophie met me at Quail. We cleaned the paddock and groomed and tacked CG, then headed over to Campo. Shana had Jackson and Chavali out and tied and was trying to make a dent in the many layers of caked on mud in Chavali’s coat. Savannah H had just arrived. As the girls got busy grooming, I started to tackle the stalls, but didn’t get very far before Shana, in a slightly operatic voice, called, “Oh Deborah! I think you didn’t look very closely at the door to the bar-arn!” Tucked into the vertical, metal joint of two door panels was a blue and white checked envelope with a card inside that said, “WHAT? Did you find a clue? I bet you’re wondering where it leads to. This is White. And where you write. Ba-dapa-badapa-doo!” Sophie, Sara and Savannah had all dropped what they were doing and joined me at the white board searching for the next clue, which Shana had secured behind it.
“This is circular. And the color of Stoney. It’s where the horses. Eat their baloney. In ONE of the homes. That has a roof which they roam.” This, of course, wasn’t too difficult and all three stalls are outfitted with grey, metal feed tubs.
“Down the hill and through the woods. Where they eat their hay. These mats,oh, very could. Make them feel so gay.” Shana had to slog through about about one hundred feet of six inch deep mud to reach the feed mats, which are not presently in use as most of the paddock is about in inch of rain away from becoming a swamp. Sophie, who does not like mud, stayed up at the barn. Fortunately Sara doesn’t mind the mud at all and happily stomped through the mud to retrieve clue #4.
“Near the three tall trees. Is something you don’t want to see. It’s the companion to pee. And … you’re going to have to DIG for ME.” When the paddock is dry, which it is most of the time, the flat area right below the three redwood trees is where we dump barrow full of manure from cleaning the paddock. The stack right now is about three feet high. If Shana had wanted to be exceptionally “lavoratory”, she could have stuck the clue under a fresh pile. Digging through the fairly well composted pile really wasn’t all that bad.
“Step away from the poo. And into the barn if you may. This is your final clue. Look all over that hay (and say neigh neigh).” On top of the eight foot high stack of hay bales sat eight, red velvet stockings, each stuffed with a peppermint swirl lollipop and an ornament. This is exactly what she did last Christmas, but not with the treasure hunt.
“Deborah, did I surprise you?!” She totally did. I did not expect it at all. Not even in the littlest bit.