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Collaborative Story

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    11-10-2013, 01:45 PM
I hope this is ok. I was trying to figure out a way to account for Jose's disappearance (prior I was operating on the "abandoned granchild" theory.)
After Eryss had said her goodnights, Grandpa turned a stern look toward his daughter. "So let me get this straight. You're proposing you jump in the saddle, train a greener than green horse how to jump and generally be sane while teaching your daughter to properly ride English and battling that knee of yours?"

Jose smiled. "Yes. That's the plan, my goals didn't change in the time between figuring out whether he was a Western pony or an English one." She earned a disappointed shake of her father's head. Her mother looked at Clark, obviously upset.

"Clark I know what you're thinking. Jose can do it, you know as well as I do she can."
"No honey, I don't know it. She keeps tellin' us that she's going to train this horse but she hasn't proven it to me yet. They've been here the better part'a five months. Her rear hasn't touched any one of my saddles yet. And who's been risking his old bones to train that ****ed horse for his granddaughter? Me. If she wanted a say in what I do with the horse I'm paying for, she should'a been gettin' her rear back on a horse, not spendin' every minute on that phone! And don't you tell me she didn't have the time, 'cause if she didn't have the time then, her first priority's getting back in the saddle at all. Not training Aspen. That's final."
"How is that fair?!" Her mother debated, "she had to be on the phone, to take care of her business in Chicago! She said she's done now! She can handle it honey."
"I know that she was taking care of business. I'm proud'a her for it. That don't change the fact that she ain't been in the saddle in 20 years and she ain't trained a horse in at least the same time. If not more. When she gets more familiarized with the saddle, we can talk."
"But Clark--"
"No buts. I'm sendin' that horse to Joe." With the last word, Clark kissed his wife on the lips, kissed his daughter on the cheek, and turned toward the bedroom.

Jose's heart sank as she listened to her dad speak. Reasonably, she knew that he was right. She had been keen on helping her Eryss train Aspen, but she had been so caught up in business back in Chicago that the months flew by. She was so preoccupied on the phone that she had all but disappeared from the ranch life that Eryss had been finding for herself and her parents had been helping Eryss understand. Unreasonably, she wanted to prove to her father that she wasn't a ranch invalid. She wanted to train that horse, darn it! Her heart beat heavily, almost deliberately slowing as anger rose in her. She wanted to storm off to her room. Slam a door. Stomp on the floor. Scream. Instead she sighed and looked at her mom.

"Thanks for trying." She said simply, walking forward to hug her. "But I think dad has a point this time..."
"Jose, honey, do you want that horse to go to Joe?"
"No, I don't. But I'm not a sixteen year old anymore. Dad's right, he paid for Aspen and I haven't really trained Aspen this far - I haven't even seen Eryss ride yet, I've been so busy on that stupid phone." She sighed again, fetching the wine. "Want a glass?"
"Absolutely!" Her mother called behind her, taking a seat by the television. "Jose if you want to train that horse, you need to tell me. I can talk to dad for you-"
"No, thank you. I don't want this to be like my gelding. I want dad to want me on his side, and I want to try and be more adult this time." Even as Jose spoke, her heart knocked hard against her chest. Sometimes being mature was hard.

Eryss awoke before her alarm even felt the need to alert her of the time. She stretched, opening her blinds to a welcoming morning sun. She smiled and glanced out the window toward the barn. "Good morning Aspen" she whispered, blowing a kiss in the direction of his stall. Turning away from the window, Eryss felt renewed. She had dreamt of the events that happened yesterday - the resolution to apologize to her mother for being bad, of her first pay check, of remembering that her mother had ridden too - she had dreamt of finally getting to ride Aspen, and of a feeling she had never felt before. Jumping. She couldn't wait to start jumping!

She got dressed, pulling on a bright green shirt and jeans. "I think I'll start with mom today." She told herself aloud, deciding to head downstairs and get some grub. She bumped into her mother at the foot of the stairs instead.

"Morning dear! Wow, you're up early. It's only 5:45! We're going to meet Joe this morning, at eight sharp. But mom and I prepared a huge breakfast, it's not entirely done yet, so you could go visit Aspen if you wanted!" Jose said, forcing a smile. She hoped it looked genuine, but when Eryss' face dropped she let her smile slip as well. "What's wrong?"

"Oh.. nothing... I just, I wanted to learn to ride with you mom." Eryss said shyly, looking down and kicking the floor.
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    11-10-2013, 06:17 PM
Josie looked down at her daughter and smiled "You heard what your grandpa said" she said.

"I know mum but Aspen isn't the only horse on the ranch, there's Captian and ruby who need to be ridden so while Aspen is away you could teach me to ride" Eryss pleaded looking her mum in the eyes.

Josie smiled her daughter reminded her of herself when she was her age.
"Okay Eyrss we'll Start in the afternoon at two how's that sound" ? She asked her.

"Sounds wonderful " Eyrss almost yelled, giving her mum a hug she ran outside to say goodbye to Aspen even though he was only going down the road and she would be seeing him two or three times a week.

Running down toward Aspens stall Eyrss ran straight into who she thought was her grandpa, "Sorry grandpa" Eyrss said brushing her hair away from face.

" That's alright but I'm not your grandpa " a deep young voice said.
Looking up she at the man in front of her who had black hair and blue eyes
And the biggest smile she'd ever seen.

" Who are you"? She said confused.
" I mean I'm Eyrss" she corrected herself offering her hand.

" we'll I'm Peter pleased to meet you" he replied shaking her offered hands.

"Sorry but I don't seem to have seen you around since I've been here" Eyrss said.

" that would be because I've only arrived yesterday " answered.
" I'm working for Clark now, feeding the horses and stuff like fencing" he said putting Eyrss' mind to ease.
    11-13-2013, 01:01 AM
I quickly skimmed over the story and didn't see mention of any other horses than these three. If I missed one, sorry!

"Oh." Eryss said, letting out a sigh of relief, "Well uh... I'm Eryss, Clark's my grandpa, and I'm sorry but I've gotta go see my horse!" She called over her shoulder, barely making a clear path around the stranger as she continued her pursuit of Aspen.

"Well you already said your name!" The man called after her with a chuckle, turning toward the main house and strutting off. Eryss barely heard him as she finally reached the barn door. Eagerly she pulled both doors open, enjoying the rattle of the heavy wood sliding down the track. "Morning guys!" She called into the relatively empty barn. Even though there was a large number of stalls only three were used. Captain, Ruby and Aspen. In its day, according to grandpa anyway, a herd 20 strong filled these aisles. Mustangs filled Pasture C as grandpa and grandma worked with the BLM to train and rehome mustangs.

Eryss inhaled deeply, enjoying the smell of hay, dust and horse while she let her eyes sweep the barn. She could just envision each stall teeming with the life of a horse well broke by her family. She almost longed to time travel back in time so that she could see what life was like when the ranch was in its prime. Just as Eryss had resolved herself to starting the day with a long grooming session with Aspen, her progress was broken by an ear piercing whinny and loud bangs.

There wasn't a soul in the barn that didn't jump Eryss noticed as she quickly scanned the interior for the source of the noise. Heads peered out of stalls with ears perked as each horse joined Eryss in the search for a new comer. A second whinny, different from the first, came through as more bangs followed. She on her heels and ran toward the noise, where she was met with a huge horse trailer and four men standing alongside the trailer.


"Mine are the solid bay and the little black and white paint." That guy, what was his name? Shouted over the roar of the truck's engine, flipping through pieces of paper on a clipboard. He scribbled away, nodding as though someone had been speaking to him. One of the other guys scuttled off to unload the horses while two of the men stood by one another talking. As Eryss got closer she recognized her grandpa standing among them. She eagerly bounced up to him.

"Morning Grandpa! What's going on?"
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    11-15-2013, 06:32 PM
"Well honey I've hired a man Peter and he rebreaks horses so you could say where back in business" Clark explained to Eryss.

"Yes I just met Peter but he said nothing about rebreaking horses"? She replied.

"That's his choice " Clark said going back to work.

Eryss let her grandpas words sink in as she watched the two men take the horses to some empty stalls. Back in business she told herself over and over then a thought came into her mind If Peter rebreaks horses then he could break Aspen Eryss ran over to her grandpa, " Hey grandpa I've had a brain storm" she yelled.

" Eryss stop yelling around horses" he scolded her.
" Now what on earth are you yelling about"? He asked.

" Well you said Peter rebreaks horses... Well I thought that maybe he could break Aspen". Eryss told him.

Clark looked at Eryss then at Aspen " Eryss Peter rebreaks horses not breaking them in from a wild horse" he said.

" But grandpa he could try I mean then he would be able to stay here and mum could help" Eryss pleaded.

Clark rubbed his hands which he did when he was thinking, "Eryss ... I don't,... let me think on it and talk to Peter, he will at least be started by Joe Okay"? He told her.

Eryss gave her grandpa a hug, " Thankyou grandpa".
Eryss ran back to Aspen to say goodbye.
"Aspen your going to go to a man named Joe and he's going to start training you" Eryss told her horse.
Aspen didn't seem to take any notice he just made a face at her and chewed his hay.
    11-15-2013, 06:46 PM
Well, I'm going to defend Jose here - that woman is not to out in a corner and ignored......
    11-15-2013, 07:17 PM
Aspen pricked his ears, and a second late Eryss heard the familiar clip clip of hooves outside. She walked out, expecting to see Grandpa - or the newly appeared Peter.

Her jaw dropped and she gazed up dumbfounded at Captain, being led by her mother on Ruby. Jose looked down at her daughter and laughed "close your mouth, you'll catch flies. Put this on, and get up on to Captain - you and I are going to ride and talk."

'This' was a riding helmet - slightly old fashioned looking, and very very out of place on this ranch. "It was mine, it should fit you for now. We'll get one for you next time we go to the city. If you're going to learn to jump, you're going to learn in a proper hat so the sooner you get used to it the better. Come on, put it on, foot in stirrup and up you get."

Jose fumbled with the clasp on the chin strap, and pulled herself up onto Captain. Her hands were shaking but she didn't know whether that was from excitement or confusion - or both.

Jose checked that her daughter looked secure, and then put her horse into walk. They headed away from the house up towards the hills.

"When I was 15 Eryss, I had an accident, I almost died. Your grandparents thought I was never going to recover. No - don't interrupt - questions can come later. I was competing at the annual State Cross Country competitions and my horse misjudged one of the jumps. It was a freak accident, it couldn't have been avoided. My horse died and I was put into a coma. It was one week in hospital before I woke up. "

Jose glanced at her daughter to see how she was taking this. Eryss was gazing wide eyed ahead of her up the trail, listening intently. She flicked a glance at her mother and Jose carried on.

"I recovered, but your grandfather never really did. He blamed the horse, he blamed my friends, he blamed the jumping. He needed to lay blame everywhere because he couldn't just accept that accidents happen - to his daughter. Mother took it differently, I think it broke her heart waiting by my bedside but she wasn't angry, she was just so so sad for me. She'd been living my dream with me you see - my dream to ride and compete. I had been offered a chance to go to Germany to apprentice there when I was 16. Mother knew and we were going to broach it with your Grandfather ... but then the accident happened. Don't hold your reins so tightly honey, I don't think Captain appreciates that"

Jose was startled to discover that as she'd been listening to her mother, envisaging this accident, she'd been gripping on to Captain's reins tighter and tighter as she imagined this young girl in hospital. She loosened her grip and loosened her tongue and started to ask her mother questions.

The two women walked their horses and talked for an hour. Eryss learnt so much more than she'd ever dreamed could be possible about her own mother. As they got back to the barn Jose slid down from Ruby and turned to her daughter "you get off and take these two back and unpack them. I'm going inside and I'm going to clear some things up with your grandfather. Take your time honey, I think this might be a long conversation" Jose smiled a big smile at her daughter and strode towards the house. Eryss looked after her and realised that she had never seen her mother looking so ... so confident, so happy, and so in control.
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    11-17-2013, 03:27 AM
"Are you tired Ruby " Eryss asked as she rubbed the horse gently between her ears.
Ruby gently rubbed her, " Now that's enough of that girl, you have your space and I have mine" Eryss laughed pushing the mares head away.
Eryss left the mare eating her oats and automatically filled up Aspens feed bucket and took it to his stall, " Aspen...Aspe... " Eryss stop yelling and stood looking in an empty stall, Eryss started panicking'Where the heck has he gone this time then she remembered that her grandpa said that Joe was starting him off Eryss found herself trying to swallow the lump that had risen in her throat " get a hold of yourself" she scolded herself out loud.

"You okay"? A familia voice said from behind her.

Eryss spun around to see Peter leaning on a pitchfork behind her, " I'm fine just talking to myself" she said shoving Aspens behind the stall door, but it was too late Peter had seen it.

"Then what are you doing with a bucket of food in your horses empty stall". He asked pointing to the half hidden bucket.

Eryss turned and looked at the bucket then back at Peter, " Oh that... Well I... I just forgot that Aspen was gone" she stuttered trying not to cry.

Peter walked over and picked up the bucket, " Come on better not waste this. I'll introduce you to 'Regret' my paint colt. He said not waiting for an answer
    11-17-2013, 03:55 PM
Eryss followed him to one of the loose boxes she looked inside and saw a huge paint horse, his body was mainly black with a white stripe that started at his wither all the way under his belly and his legs almost entirely white.
"He beautiful, isn't he" Peter said.
" Yes he's beautiful, beautiful doesn't describe him, he's what you call magnificent" Eryss replied reaching her hand out so Regret could sniff it,"Where did he get his name"? Eryss asked.

"Well I'm not entirely sure but the man I brought him from said it was his grandmothers name " Peter said as he unlached the stall door, Peter put the feed bucket beside Regret and left the stall, "Do you want to help me clean my tack"? He asked as he started to walk toward the tack room which was now also a storage room.

"Okay but I don't know how to" Eryss said her face going red.

Peter saw her face and walked over to her " Don't be embarrassed about that, there's a first for everything, and I like teaching people how to do things" he told her.
Eryss smiled "Thankyou for understanding...not many people do" she regretted the words as soon as they left her mouth.
Peter didn't seem to notice he just kept walking to the tack room.
    11-20-2013, 12:58 AM
"Eryss you'll never guess" Josie said jumping up and down.
"You get to break Aspen" she said excitedly.
Josie smiled " Well it took some convincing and Joe keeps him for a month to get started, then Peter and I are going to break him and train him" she said giving her daughter a hug.
Eryss hugged her mum back and started jumping up and down " Mum I can't wait" she squealed.
Eryss jumped onto her bed and grabbed a [I]Horse Wise[I] magazine and flipped through until she got to How to correctly saddle your horse article slowly she drifted to sleep thinking about the day she would ride Aspen.

Eryss sat up her magazine was on the floor and the house was quiet what woke me she said to herself, then she heard the sound of a horse on gravel getting off her bed she tiptoed to the window and peered through the curtains, when her eyes adjusted she saw someone leading a horse toward the large arena, closing the curtain Eryss got her jumper and crept outside.
Crunch Eryss cringed when she stepped onto the gravel she almost stopped breathing, she decided to go the long way so she didn't have to walk across the noisy gravel.
Eryss crouched down beside a barrel and looked into the arena just in time to see someone on a horse that she'd never seen at the ranch before, jumping over some shabby old jumps that were propped up on some barrels.
Eryss gasped when she recognized the riders face mum? she whispered.

Eryss watched for awhile then she couldn't contain her silence any longer and she stood up and walked over to the arena gate, the rider saw her and rode over.
"How long have you been there"? Josie asked dismounting.

Eryss climbed through the rails "Since you started" she answered.
"Mum why don't you jump in daylight" Eryss asked watching her mums face.

"Because... Because your grandpa doesn't like me jumping... Not after the acceident " Josie said as she shortened the stirrups she looked at Eryss and saw she was going to ask another question, but it wasn't the right time to explain everything to her what she already knew was enough " Don't ask another question, just get on the horse" Josie said handing Eryss the reins.

Eryss reluctantly took the reins and mounted the horse it felt different in the English saddle " What's his name" she asked scratching the horses neck.

"He is a she and her name is Crystal Chandeliers Crystal for short and while Aspen is away you can ride her, now take around the arena and go through all three paces" Josie told climbing onto the rails.
    11-20-2013, 03:39 AM
Eryss stared after her mom, struggling to remember what grandpa had been teaching her - inner thigh makes the horse move into the rail right? Or was it to use her outer leg and keep the horse off the rail? With some difficulty, she managed to steer Crystal over to her mom. "I haven't really.. mastered anything faster than a walk."

"Oh." Jose said, a small blush brightening her cheeks, "Sorry Eryss, I didn't realize you were such a.. beginner still. I guess there's a lot I have to learn right?" Jose nervously rubbed the nape of her neck; she was confident and she had managed to convince Clark that she could train Aspen (provided she prove to her father various things of course) but how had she missed Eryss' progress? She cursed the home phone and loose ends in Chicago. Over the bay's ears she registered Eryss' hesitant nod.

"Well no matter. Take that mare a few laps, show me what you can do. We'll call this your evaluation ride. I've never seen you ride before--" Jose paused, realizing just how bad it sounded to admit to her own child that she had been absent for several months, "so I'll have an unbiased opinion of your seat, your posture, and how you handle this horse. Oh but honey, Crystal works on a direct rein, not a neck rein. And you can borrow my helmet too." Jose said, correcting Eryss' hold on the leather straps and giving her the head gear.

Feeling much more capable, Eryss smiled at her mom and sent the mare off along the rail, working to remember what her grandfather had taught her: keep loose reins, back straight, look up. A few walking laps later, she felt good enough to pick up a trot. She lightly closed her heels on the horse's side, clucking quietly, the mare responded beautifully, lurching forward into a trot that made Eryss feel more secure than she ever had before on either Captain or Ruby. She felt herself grinning ear to ear, she barely heard her mother calling instructions from the other side of the arena.

"Eryss! I said to shorten those reins!" Jose called again, frustratedly popping her knuckles. The first few times Eryss failed to respond to instruction, Jose had been too busy enjoying the sight of her daughter on Peter's horse that she had let it slip. Now it was just annoying her; the girl needed to be able to listen while she rode, and she needed to be able to listen well. She sighed, hopping down from her perch on the fence and working to the middle of the arena so she could watch Eryss ride from a different point of view.

Eryss finally heard her mother's seemingly distant call and immediately started fumbling with the reins to get them shortened. She inadvertently popped the horse in the mouth, making Crystal rock back and come to an abrupt stop. Eryss fell forward and immediately started blushing, quickly scanning to make sure her mother hadn't seen. But of course Jose had, she was already closing the distance between them. Her face was a strange mixture of pride, happiness, and strictness.
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