I sense her hesitation as she gingerly reaches her hand out and brushes her fingers against me. I lean into each stroke and gradually she calms. Her uncertainty seeps away into the steady, rhythmic motion of her hand and matches my steady, rhythmic inhale and exhale. I forget myself. This is my purpose, my job. The girl doesn’t realize it, but I absorb her emotions. My hooves tingle with the regret, the fear, the disappointment, the anxiety – until I can barely stand still. If I gallop, maybe I can whisk them far away from here. Instead, I nuzzle her arm and she giggles.
This time she leans in, gazes into my eyes, and whispers –