Riley muttered something apologetic, avoiding Dale's eye, and jogged down the steps towards the open barn doors. He had shifted half the machinery and equipment out of the barn into the yard, and was manhandling some other unidentifiable, yellow painted object when Dale caught up with him. He put the mug of tea and sandwich down on top of one of the items that looked as if it was designed to moor ships somewhere out at sea, and went to help, silently taking the other side and helping Riley haul it out into the yard. Riley glanced at him as they walked back inside, brushing his hands off.
"I knew what we were doing and how it was probably going to end." Dale picked up the tea, cupping his hands around it. "It's done now and over with, no sense in worrying about it."
Flynn didn't look at him, instead jerking his head at Dale.
"You more than deserve to," Flynn said shortly, "Dale, now."
Flynn cast a brief look across at him. "The pink quartz is local, yes."
"Tonight." Riley said at once. Paul looked at Flynn.
"And we all had disturbed nights." Flynn shook off the brushes in his hands. "At the weekend. The forecast for Saturday is hot."
"I'll ride up through the east pastures, look them over and meet you up on the tops." Jasper said, getting to his feet and taking the remainder of his toast with him. "Flynn, are you planning to bring in any of the two year olds to work?"
"And Pocket's colt." Riley added. "We were going to look at him as a riding horse for us, he had a lot of sense when we were halter training him last year."
"They've been hanging out around the pine groves the past few days," Riley said cheerfully, getting up to pull his riding boots on by the door. "Out where the bluebells and the spring flowers are. I saw several of them there gorging the other day, knee deep. Who am I getting out, Flynn?"
"Will do." Riley followed Jasper, whistling as he ran down the porch steps.
It was the first time Dale had ridden out with them as a full group. The dogs were left on the porch, depressed and sulky, but obedient.
"You don't run them?" Dale asked, having no idea what he was about to see. Riley shook his head.
"What do you do if you need to separate her out for anything?" Dale asked. Flynn gave a matter of fact sniff.
"I'm sorry for her when Bandit gets hold of her." Paul said dryly.
"Bandit actually knew what to do." Dale said, still shocked by this. "He works with you like a trained sheep dog would."
"He works smarter than any dog, and without commands." Flynn said quietly, watching the big stallion who was standing, watching the surrounding land while his mares grazed in the driveway. "He knows what should happen, he trusts us, and he wants the winter foals out. They're a distraction between him and his mares, especially with so many of them about to foal, and he won't have adolescent males in the herd. I don't want him putting any of his daughters into foal either, not unless it's a deliberate breeding choice. Bring Hammer over. We're going to walk the mares down to the cairn pastures, that's their summer ground. Good grass and within easy reach of us while they're foaling."
His gaze took in a vast distance of fence. A long, hard and expensive task.
"Play?" Dale asked, bemused at how one played with a horse. Flynn nodded.
"He's not, Ri. He's just got no idea what to do, or how to join in."