The woodworking tools were easy to find; Uncle Kevins store had just the right ones.
Hans chose a set that was entirely handmade and did not require electricity, following the Amishs religious requirements.
"We still need a young horselets go check out a ranch."
Although Texan cowboys may have been well-known throughout the world, in reality, the Americans believed that cowboy culture had originated from Arizona, with Tucson city as the origin.
Flagstaff had its own cowboy culture as well; there were quite a large number of ranches and pastures there.
Hans made a call to a friend, and a few minutes later a huge, red Ford pickup was seen heading in their direction.
The pickup drove straight toward them, and the driver stepped on the brakes at the last minute.
The driver was a bearded man who popped his head out of the window and exclaimed, "Hey Big Fox! You b*stardfinally contacted me after all this time?"
Li Du was a bit pale as the pickup sped toward them and stopped at the last minute. There was hardly any time to react; he had almost used the little bugs "time deceleration" ability.
Hans walked up to the driver and gave him a hug, laughing loudly, "Nicholas, you jerk! Youre still the same. Just shave off your beardit makes you look like a fifty-year-old when youre only thirty-something!"
The beardy Nicholas laughed and defended himself. "I look mature, not old. Beautiful girls nowadays prefer mature men. I need to keep my beard."
The duo hopped into Nicholass pickup. While on the road, the bearded driver, Nicholas Jones, loudly talked and joked around with Hans.
The pickup was moving erratically, almost as if Nick were a drunk driver crookedly maneuvering along the road throughout the journey. When they arrived at the ranch, Lis clothes were wet from the cold sweat.
Both Hans and Jones had been classmates in middle school and high school. Ever since Hans had left for Phoenix and Hollywood two years ago, they had hardly contacted each other. They had been best buddies for a long time.
"I need to get a young horse"
"Thats easy. Quarter, Mongolian, Arabian, or the Hanoverian horseswhich breed you want?"
"Quarter," Hans replied. "I need one for working on a farm, plowing fields. As for the Arabian and the Hanoverian horses, you have them in your ranch? I havent seen you in two years, and you are into racing breeds now?"
Jones laughed cheekily, "Well, I dont have them, but I know which ranch does. So if you want a Quarter, I have lots of them at home."
The American Quarter horse was an American breed; it was the largest breed registry in the world as well as the most popular breed in the United States. It was used widely for a variety of jobs: farming, plowing, cattle driving, horseback riding, and more.
When the pickup pulled into a ranch, Li Du saw fenced areas containing cattle and sheep. A herd of horses was galloping in a wide meadow next to it.
Jones blew a whistle after alighting from the pickup.
Moments later, they heard sounds of a horse running in a distance. A tall, red horse came galloping towards them, its long, wavy mane flowing in the wind.
Jones waved heartily to the strong-looking horse as it ran toward him.
"This is Mrs. Jones?" Hans looked at the horse and asked.
Jones grinned from ear to ear. "Yeah, thats Mrs. Jones. Shes changed a lot, hasnt she?"
Hans marveled at the sight of Mrs. Jones. "Oh my god, shes all grown up now. The last time I saw her, she had just been weaned, right?"
"That was years ago," Jones chuckled.
Jones hugged the big, red horse and kissed her face with a loud smack. Mrs. Jones licked his face and he laughed, enjoying the interaction with the horse.
It was evident Jones loved the horse a lot; even the name he had given the horse indicated so.
Jones asked Li Du, "Pal, do you know how to horseback ride?"
Li got embarrassed and joked, "Well, do you mean the horse carries me on its back or I carry the horse on my back?"
Jones guffawed at Li Dus remark. "Seems like Ill be your instructor for today. Come on pal, follow me."
The three of them went to the stables. There were many clean and groomed horses there, but none quite as impressive as Mrs. Jones. Nevertheless, they were still good, healthy horses.
Once they entered the stables, Hans placed both of his arms behind him and began to look at every horse meticulously.
Jones remarked, "Big Fox, this is not a bar where you get to pick a woman. Just pick any one of themtheyre good horses."
As he said that, he chose a horse for Li Du. "This is Austin. He shall be your companion for today."
Austin was fully-coated in black hair except for his four white hooves. Li Du liked the horse the moment he saw it. He led it out of the stable.
Li remembered his middle school days when he used to read Chinese martial arts novels. The male protagonists in those novels also had beautiful, dark steeds like Austin as their companion.
The names given to these horses were cool and poetic. For instance, names like "Dark hooves on snow,""Snowy Flight,""Cloud Wanderer," and so forth.
Austin was a good-natured horse. Although Li was a stranger to him, he followed behind him quietly without resistance. When Li stopped, Austin stopped too.
Hans chose a brown steed, and mounted it the moment he came out of the stable. He gently squeezed the steed with his legs, pulled the reins, and the horse started trotting forward.
Li Du took some selfies with Austin, then consulted his riding instructor: "Jones, what do I do?"
Jones laughed and said, "No rushyoure not ready to mount the horse yet. Is this your first time coming in contact with a horse?"
Jones nodded, and handed Li Du a soft hairbrush. "You need to brush your horse first. This will be a bonding lesson."
Jones took another soft brush and gave a demonstration by brushing Mrs. Jones.
"This is a body brush: you can see it is made of soft bristles for brushing the horse. This is the final brush used in the process of grooming the horse. My dad gave them a good wash this morning with the dandy brush, which is good for brushing off the dirt and mud.
"The horse neck is an important and sensitive partbe careful. Lets start from the face...
"Look the horse sincerely at the eyelet him feel your kindness and your leadership..."
Li Du diligently followed Joness instructions and carried them out cautiously. As he brushed, Austin let out a few snorts, his eyes exuding a cheerful glow as his hooves hit the ground gently, his tail swinging from left to right.
Unconsciously, Li went ahead to hug Austins head, and gently brushed his mane.
Jones was delighted and gave his praise. "Youre good at this, Li. You know how to handle horses well. If Big Fox hadnt told me you were a treasure tycoon, I would recommend that you be a cowboy."
"Give him one million dollars a year," Hans said, "and maybe hell be willing to work as a cowboy. Gallop!"
Hans galloped off with the brown steed.
Li Du said, "Dont listen to himthat man acts crazy from time to time."
"Youre right," Jones agreed, "he really is crazy." He got some carrots for Li Du to feed Austin.
After Austin finished the carrots, Jones said, "Its time to prepare to mount the horse now."