Lockslee Farm: Forget About It - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-26-2014, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Gainesville Florida
Posts: 361
• Horses: 2
Lockslee Farm: Forget About It

I was in a writing mood, so I decided to write a horse story. I would really appreciate any comments and critiques. I'm always looking to improve.

Quick overview: Riley is a 15 year old girl living in Florida. Her parents own a large competition/sales barn. She loves all the horses, but she knows they will not end up keeping them forever, so she asks her parents for her very own horse, and she gets her wish. Her new horses ends up being quite the rascal and she struggles to achieve a peaceful partnership with the horse, while also trying to make sense of the mysterious happenings around the barn and dealing with a snobby boarder her age.

Chapter 1

I don't know what I was thinking. At the moment he just seemed like the perfect horse! I guess I was just blindsided by his beauty and forgot about all the other aspects. My fascination with off the track Thoroughbreds had led me to make the decision to buy Back In A Flash, or just Flash for short. It had taken days to convince my parents I could handle the hot horse displayed in the sales ad, but they had finally agreed to it, with the warning that he would be given back to his old owner if I couldn't handle him. I sighed. Flash trotted around the round pen, head high and nostrils flared. After a failed attempt at lunging I kind of just gave up and let the 4 year old tire himself out, although it didn't look like that was going to happen anytime soon. The bay continued to trot around and whinny after his pasture mate, Happy, and small, buckskin mare with a swayback. I had first learned to ride when I was 5 years old, and Happy was the first horse to teach me everything I knew. Now she was retired at 25 years old.
Eventually I got tired of watching Flash, and put his halter on and began leading him back to the pasture, first making sure my parents weren't around. The last time I had led Flash into the pasture he had taken off and left me doing an elegant face plant on the ground. I held tightly onto the lead rope and strained my muscles as I tried to keep him from prancing about. Luckily, I managed to get him into the pasture and close the gate after him. He dashed off to meet Happy and together the pair resumed eating grass while I went off to do stable work.
The first face I saw when I walked into the stable was Kendall's. My day officially couldn't get any worse! Kendall was the same age as me, and she was a boarder at my parent's competition/sales barn. She was a total snob, and she thought that she and her horse Lyric were the greatest eventers in the whole area. Boy was she wrong. I changed my facial expression to a glare, and I was surprised when she didn't return it. Instead she grabbed a hold of my arm and started pulling me away from the barn. "Hey! What are you doing?"
"Just follow me," she snapped. Normally I would've snatched my hand away and ignored her, but her face...it was so pale. I had never seen her look so vulnerable. She led me all the way to Lyric's pasture, and started unlatching the gate.
"Um, if you're here to brag about your horse I'm not interes..." and then I saw it. It was Rick, our stable hand. He was lying down in the grass by the back fence, with a wheelbarrow and a manure fork beside him. Looks like he had started cleaning out Lyric's pasture. But why was he lying down? It wasn't like him to nap on the job. No, it wasn't Rick. It couldn't be. I had seen him today and he was wearing a grey shirt. Why did it look so red? A thousand thoughts swirled in my head, and then I knew what is was. Blood. Blood everywhere. Splattered across his face, staining his shirt. That was when the world wemt black, and the last thing I remember was the color red.


Red and blue lights flashed outside my bedroom window. My mother sat beside me as I slowly regained conciousness. "Wha...?" Was the best thing I could come up with. My mothers smiled slightly.
"The cops are here; Rick is...is dead, as you already know since you saw the body. The cops are here investigating what happened, and they might want to question you. I'll tell them to come back another time if you want to rest. You must still be in shock. I know...you and Rick weren't close, but he has been a friend to us for a couple years now, and loosing him is hard on all of us. So tell me the truth, how are you?"
"As fine as I can be. Just...all the blood," I shuddered. "It made me want to throw up. I hate blood."
"I know you do, but I'm not talking about the fainting. I'm talking emotionally. Do you need to see a therapist?"
"No, Mom, no. I'm fine. In shock, of course, but I'll get over it. My brain just hasn't registered all of it yet...it's so confusing. What happened?"
"He was stabbed. They don't know by who. The forest near Lyric's pasture belongs to the neighboring barn, owned my Mr. Hadway. He's most likely their first suspect, although I don't believe he did a thing. He may be an old, grumpy man, but I don't think he's capable of murder, not for a second. It is possible he might not be aware of everything that goes on on his property. After all, it's hard to manage 500 acres."
I groaned. "But why? What has Rick ever done to anyone?"
My mother sighed. "I can't answer all your questions. We'll leave this to the police and see what they come up with. The body has been removed from the premises, and now all we can do is wait. It's not even noon yet. They say this must have happened around 7:30, right after Rick gives the horses their morning feed. He must have gone to clean Lyric's pasture and then somebody jumped the fence and..." She paused. "Well, that's all I know. Kendall's pretty shocked too. Maybe you should go cheer her up. She's your friend, right?" I grimaced, but my mom didn't notice. She turned around and walked out of the room while I slid out of bed to go call Holly, my best friend. I knew she would come over in a hurry so we could talk.
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-26-2014, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Gainesville Florida
Posts: 361
• Horses: 2
Chapter 2

Working with horses made me feel calm, in a way that seeing a therapist wouldn't. I had avoided the 'talks' my mom and dad wanted to have with me, and instead I had started seriously working with Flash, to improve our relationship. Trying not to think about the image of the body just lying there was a lot easier to do when working with a horse as difficult as Flash. I decided to go back to the basics and just work on leading Flash around. He had gotten significantly better, and this tiny victory made me feel a lot better, but my work was not over yet.
Holly had come over a lot in the past couple of days. We didn't talk about what happened all that much, but she gave me comfort. In fact, I was expecting her to come over later that day. Kendall hadn't showed up since we found the body. We both had to go be questioned by the police tomorrow, and I wasn't looking forward to seeing her snotty face. The days without her had been peaceful.
I led Flash into the round pen and walked him around, then let him loose. Since he had tons of energy, I knew that no lunge whip was needed. I used my body to steer him the way I wanted him to go, and my arms and voice to manage the speed. First, my goal was to just have him walk on a circle around me. It seemed like a simple demand, but turns out that Flash had other ideas. He decided to switch directions and gallop around, joyfully bucking, while I tried slow him down with a non-effective 'whoa'."Maybe this would be easier with a lunge line," I mumbled to myself.
"Ya think?"
I whirled around to see my best friend leaning against the fence, with a goofy grin on her face. Her wavy, red hair was put up in a pony tail so you could see all her freckles. Her green eyes had a playful look about them. I had always envied her striking good looks. I was bland in comparison, with straight, dark brown hair and brown eyes. "Holly! Would you mind handing me that lunge line?"
"Sure," she said. Even with the lunge line Flash still wanted to change directions constantly, so I used the lunge whip as an extension of my arm and shooed him back into the direction I wanted him to go. It was so easy lunging a horse like, say, Happy. I could just stand still and slowly go around in a circle. But with Flash I had to practically chase after to keep him going consistently in one direction without stopping and spinning around on his haunches. After a lot of hard work, and a lot of sweat soaking up my face, I finally got Flash to move consistently in both directions, if only for a little while. We were both breathing hard, so I decided to call it quits. Holly helped me lead him to the wash rack.
"I have great news!" Holly gasped, as if she'd been holding her while waiting to say it.
"Hmm?" I couldn't imagine there being 'great news' after seeing a dead body only a couple days before, but I decided to hear her out.
"Ok, so, there's a guy." I raised my eyebrow. "Oh, stop it. You know I hate it when you raise your eyebrow like that, I've always wanted to be able to do that. But his name Nick, he's super cute, he's 16, he competes in show jumping, and the best part...He's moving his horse to Lockslee Farm!"
I raised my eyebrow again. "And?"
"And? AND? Don't you see? You can just charm your way into Nick's arms, and then you, Nick, Chase and I can all go on a double date!" I should have known, Holly had always had fantasies of going on a double date, but I haven't exactly been successful in the boy area.
"I'm pretty sure a boyfriend is the last thing I need right now," I replied.
"Oh, you'll come around. You'll change your mind as soon as you catch a glimpse of him."
I rolled my eyes, but secretly felt butterflies fluttering in my stomach. Gossiping about cute boys was part of a normal teenage life. That's exactly what I needed after Rick's death.
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-27-2014, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Gainesville Florida
Posts: 361
• Horses: 2
Chapter 3

Chapter 3

"Riiiileeyyy!" I heard Holly's call from the barn aisle. Stepping out of the tack room I noticed a dark truck and horse trailer pulling up into our driveway. I sprinted over to Holly's side and watched as the trailer parked, and a horse whinnied loudly from inside. My mom dashed out of the door of our house and joined us in the yard. A man in his forties stepped out of the drivers seat, and a boy who's definition was tall, dark and handsome, stepped out of the passenger seat.
"Oh." Was all I could get out of my mind. "Oh, oh, uh-oh," I muttered as I turned around and made a beeline for the stable bathroom.
"Hey, you can't go anywhere!" Holly exclaimed.
"I need to check my hair!" My hair was in a high ponytail. After pulling out a few strands of hay from it and smoothing it out, I looked presentable. Boy was I glad to me wearing my black v neck instead of a lighter colored garment, because then I would've been so dirty. I had on my brown breeches and tall green socks, with black sneakers.
"I think you look fine," Holly sighed, exasperated. "Now come on!" She dragged me by the arm back outside, where the guy (Nick, right?) was unloading his horse. The horse was a beautiful dapple grey, with a shiny, clipped coat and polished hooves. He had a long, silvery mane that flowed down to his shoulder. Nick walked him into the barn and turned to my mom. "Hi, Mrs. Fletcher. Nice to meet you, I'm Nick."
"Nice to meet you too Nick, we're glad to have you."
"Where should I put Figaro?"
"In any of the available stalls. Riley will show you the choices, you may choose. And for turn out he can go into the two acre pasture. Riley will show you that as well. How silly of me to forget...Riley is my daughter. Riley, Nick, Nick, Riley. Now off you go. Riley will answer any questions you have and of there are any major concerns come talk to me."
I smiled awkwardly at Nick. "Hey. This is my friend Holly. Come on I'll show you the stalls." Our barn had a total of 18 stalls, 10 on one side and 8 on the other with a tack room, bathroom and wash rack. I walked all the way to the end of the barn where there were three empty 14 x 14 stalls. Nick decided to put Figaro in the corner stall. "So, his name is Figaro right?"
"That's his barn name, yeah. His show name is Defying Gravity."
"Wow, and you show jump?" Holly joined the conversation.
"Yup. Now how about we have a look at that pasture." I led Holly and Nick outside and over to the 2 acre pasture, and he had a good look at it before finally nodding. "Looking good. You guys mind helping me move my stuff into the tack room?"
"Sure!" Holly and I said in sync. The rest of the day flew by as we came to know Nick.
"I'll let Figaro settle in today," Nick said as he was leaving. "Tomorrow you two will get to see me ride," he added with a wink.
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post #4 of 4 Old 07-10-2014, 07:49 AM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: A small town in NY
Posts: 798
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I really enjoyed reading this! You write very well. The plot is interesting, the different characters and elements of the story blend well, and the storyline moves along quickly enough that I don't lose interest. I can't wait for more!

A horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you may not like what you see. - Buck Brannaman
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