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The Horse Watching Day
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.55

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    blue-black, burning, oneness, intelligent, sagebrush, scrubby, relationship, whinny, personality, sacred, heartily, horseman, glorious, settled, picky, overly
     content words:    Sky Eagle, Running Pony, Great Spirit, Nameless One, Earth Eagle
The Horse Watching Day

By Colleen Messina
1     Sky Eagle breathed deeply. The tangy smell of sagebrush filled him with happiness. He looked at the soaring pale sky above him with awe. In the early morning light, the golden fingers of the sun tickled the clouds and turned them pink. Sky Eagle thought of the day ahead. What a glorious day to spend with his horse!
 
2     Sky Eagle approached his mare slowly and felt proud that she belonged to him. His feet padded gently across the soft earth and made no sound. The only noise was the whispering breath of the wind, pushing the smells of early morning over the plains. Sky Eagle silently studied his horse, reading her body language.
 
3     The black and white pinto mare turned her gentle brown eyes toward the boy. She had learned to trust him. The horses of the tribe grazed in the meadow near the teepee where the boy's family lived. Today, Sky Eagle had a special goal. He was going to spend the whole day observing the mare. His grandfather told him it would be a good idea.
 
4     Sky Eagle's grandfather, Running Pony, was a wise man of the tribe. He was a fine horseman and had suggested this horse watching day to his grandson. He had explained to his grandson that observation was the most important tool a young man could use in order to understand nature, life, and his own relationship to the Great Spirit. He also told his grandson that in order to achieve oneness with his horse, he had to observe her before he ever rode her. He explained that the close relationship between a horse and his rider was a sacred trust.
 
5     Sky Eagle settled into a comfortable spot on a blanket and looked at the beautiful horse. The mare nibbled the scrubby grass carefully. She was a picky and careful eater. Other horses ate heartily and made a wide sweep as they ate, but not the mare. The boy noted this. He thought this might mean that she had a cautious personality.

Paragraphs 6 to 11:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable





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