Midland, Texas

Lucinda started riding horses when she was six, in Blue Grass country, where I worked at the University of Kentucky Hospital, and a year later, when I took a job at the Allison Cancer Center in Midland, Texas, she continued on, happily spending each day at the barn, mucking stalls and grooming any horse she could find. In the fourth grade, a neighbor’s son told his mother, “That Lucinda Snyder’s a nice girl, but she always smells like horse.” Lucinda laughed. “I like him too,” she said proudly; smelling like a horse was the best compliment anyone could give.

Of the string of horses she had growing up, Tuff Toasties, a black Welsh pony, was the best. From the time Lucinda was ten until she was fourteen and suddenly too big for Tough Toasties, the two of them won hunter-jumper and dressage classes throughout Texas and southeast New Mexico. Then something changed, and her mother told me quietly, “She’s ready to quit.”

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