Twelve year old Keighmee reached out into the pitch black half sleeping and tried to push the snooze button on her alarm. "where is it?" she thought as she reached out into the darkness again feeling for her phone that she often used as an alarm clock. Her fingers touched something cold. Her ears were starting to ache from the loud persistant ringing. Then she remembered she had gotten a new alarm clock the day before. She clicked on her lamp and and found the cold metal vintage alarm clock and quickly turned it off. She was grateful for the silence.
Keighmee laid her head back down on the pillow allowing her eyes to adjust to the light. The wispy grey sky was peaking through her window and she noticed raindrops splattered across the glass. "great" she though glumly. Although she loved the rain it made her job of mucking stalls twice as hard...and seemed to get her twice as dirty. Keighmee groaned and sat up pulling the covers back much to the dismay of her Yorkie mix, Pipsi. The small silky silver and tan dog looked up at her disdainfully. He stood and circled then scratched a bed back into the covers and curled back up. Keighmee wished she could do the same, but her chores werent going to do themselves. As her toes touched the cold wooden floor she shivered. She dressed quickly throwing on jeans and a t-shirt and hoodie and put her long brown hair in a pony tail. She put on warm wool socks and slipped her feet into her black rubber muck boots that her mom was constantly telling her to keep on the porch...not in her room!
She bounded down the stairs of her family's two story farmhouse. She didn't bother being quiet. Her parents would have already been at the barn for at least an hour. Her only sibling, an older brother, Derryck had been away at college the last year. Keighmee poured herself a steaming cup of hot coffee and gulped the hot liquid down. She enjoyed the warmth, but made a face at her father's special extra black morning coffee. She glanced at the clock above the stove. 5:00. She was late.
Keighmee's eyes scanned the large fence pastures and the huge imposing red barn with attached indoor riding ring. She trudged through the sloppy mud grateful for her rubber boots. She didnt want to work here. She didnt want to be around horses at all. She didnt want to have anything to do with them. She really just wanted to crawl back into her warm bed. But kKeighmee's parents Kurt and Amy Langely depended on her to help out. They had owned and managed their Lipizzan breeding farm for almost three years now. They had moved from Florida where her parent's stable owning dreams had withered in the heat and high expenses. Instead they had settled in rainy, but beautiful Oregon. They lived in a tiny town outside of the large city of Medford. It was only about an hour from the California border and situated in the gorgeous area known as the Rogue Valley. Keighmee certainly didnt miss Florida. She had hated the muggy heat and the nasty stable owners her parents had worked as managers for. Most of the people that had ridden there were snotty and rich. Keighmee knew her parents were well off now, but they didnt breed and show fir money or fame. They did it because it was their passion. Owning Lipizzans had always been their dream. The majestic grey horses were specially bred to compete in dressage. Her mother,Amy, taught Classical Dressage lessons to several students and her dad,Kurt, did most of the younger horses' training. And he competed on his prize Lipizzan stallion, Kyzer.
When Keighmee finally meandered into the barn she saw both of her parents through the glass windows of their barn office. Her father was standing talking to her mom who was sitting behind the desk on an office chair. Keighmee tapped on the glass and her mom looked up and waved then held up one finger so Keighmee knew she would be out in a minute.
A throaty whicker behind her caught her attention and she turned around. One of her parents Lipizzan mares,Dancer, had her head hanging out of her cedar wood stall door. Her large,black,sweet eyes watched Keighmee. She reached her nose in Keighmee's direction. Keighmee reached out and let Dancer sniff her hand then rubbed the whorl in the middle of the mare's forehead. She tickled the hairs growing under her chin. They were getting long, she would have to remember to clip them later. Dancerwas such a sweet mare. Still...Keighmee couldnt shake the sad feeling that overcame her everytime she entered this barn. Everytime she looked at a horse. Even everytime she mucked a stall.
It had hapoened not so very long ago....in this barn...just a few stalls down. Keighmee felt warm tears filling her eyes. She jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder and turned around. Keighmee saw her mom's worried face looking at her and then her mom gave her a hug. "I am really sorry Keighmee", her mom said as her sad eyes met Keighmee's. " I know how much this hurts you and how hard it is for you to be down here. I truly wish you didnt have to, but we really need the extra help right nkw.Keighmee nodded knowing it was true. Their friend and broodmare manager,Vincent, had recently passed away. He had been older,but had taken such excellent care of their horses. He had started working here as soon as they had bought the farm and it was going to be hard not seeing him around. Keighmee felt so bad for his family. She knew he had several kids. She felt their oain. She knew what it was like to loose someone you loved.
"Can you try to hang in there a little longer until we can find a new manager?" Keighmee heard her mom ask. Her throat was burning from holding back the tears that were threatening to spill over,but she managed a nod. Her mom apologized again and gave her ahug then gave her a list of the chores that she needed done. Once she was gone Keighmee wiped the tears kut of her eyes. Not too much longer...she thought hopefully. She didnt know how much longer she could stand it. How many more mornings was she going to have to come into this barn feeling like she was on the verge of tears?
Sorry for any typos...i am writing them a touchpad anc I often accidently hit a wrong letter. If I get any readers I will continue....i have the next couple of chapters written