The pretty bay mare eyed me, as if deciding what to do.
"Easy," I whispered. "Please don't squish me."
Slowly I reached for the hanging girth, praying she would be good this time. Finally finger met leather and I carefully pulled the girth toward me.
The mare's decision was made. With a slight snort, her big Quarter Horse butt swung towards me and she lifted her right front hoof, preping herself for digging.
"No!" I snapped the lead line and popped her hind with my elbow.
Looking defiant, she moved over, then started digging.
"Hey, knock it off!" I gently smacked her raised hoof. She set it down, but God knewn it wouldn't stay there for long.
"Rainy being a cow?"
I turned with a smile, recognizing Michelle's voice. My best friend knew all of Rainy's little quirks that annoyed the crap out of me, if only because I complained about them so much.
"Zach said he was going for a trail ride. You doing show work?"
I gave her a sly smile.
Zach owned Dayzi, my horse's best friend-meaning Dayzi tolerated Rainy more than the other mares.
Michelle frowned. "It's not like you have to go with him. That's a little stalkerish, isn't it?"
I frowned right back. "What are you talking about?" I asked, sliding the saddle (which my dear dear mare had dislodged from it's proper place) back into the right spot.
"I haven't gone on a trail ride with Zach in forever," I reminded her, desperately trying to tighten the girth without upsetting Rainy.
"Okay, whatever." Michelle shrugged it off and walked towards her horse's stall. For some reason, though, it seemed like she was upset.
Why was Michelle acting all bent out of shape? She knew Zach was my crush, with his chocolate brown curls and sparkling green cat eyes. It couldn't be that she liked him too-Michy (her nickname) had always claimed she loved caramel headed guys, not chocolate.
Maybe she just felt left out. We (me and Michy, not me and Zach) hadn't gone for a ride together for a while either, so maybe she was jealous that she hadn't been invited along.
"Michy," I asked, waiting a second, "do you want to come with me and Zach?"
She turned, her eyes suddenly sparkling like the lake in summer time.
"You don't mind?" she asked, sounding much happier.
"Of couse not! We haven't ridden together in forever!"
Michy nodded. "Yeah. We should race to the lake!"
I smiled back. "Sounds great." Turning to Rainy, I patted her neck and said, "Hang tight, lil' sis."
Michy opened Calidar (or Cal)'s stall and grabbed his halter, steering him towards the crossties.
"I'll let Zach know you're coming, ok?" I half-yelled while walking away.
"Um, okay. I'll start tacking up." She bit her lip, looking at her majestic Arabian. I knew how she felt. Michy had just gotten Cal a month ago. Before that, I had been working with him, and I knew he was a handful.
At first, when tacking up and warming up, he would act all lazy and annoyed, trying to get out of work. Once he went so far to lie down, while I was on him. Then, after I lept off, he proceeded to roll on the saddle and pretty much destroy it.
But if he was bad during warmup, he was worse during the actual working part. Once fired up, Cal wouldn't stop. He was an out of control freight train, one that had a mind of its own. In my own opinion, Michy had no real reason to want him, other then the fact that he was absolutely adorable.
Without even thinking, I had somehow managed to find my way to the outdoor arena, where Zach was warming up.
"Hey," I called, loud enough for him to hear, but soft enough to not startle Dayzi. "Mind if Michy and I crash your trail ride?"
He slowed the gentle palomino to a walk, then halted by the gate, where I was.
"Sure, feel free." He smiled, patting Dayzi's neck.
"You up for a race to the lake? I think that's what Michy wants to do."
"Yeah, that sounds cool. Where is Michelle, by the way?" He shaded his eyes with his hand, the cutest gesture I'd seen.
"Oh, she's tacking up Cal. I'd already started, so I said I'd come over and ask you if, well, you know." I realized I was babbling, one of my not so great features that always emerged when I talked to cute guys.
"Cool. Well, Dayzi's pretty warmed up, so I'm ready to go." With that, he hopped down and slid the reins off the mare's head.
I opened the gate for him and he smiled his thanks.
"I'll wait you guys at the head of the trail, kay?"
"Sounds great." I turned to walk back, smiling at how great the day was going.
Sometimes, I thought, I just adore this barn.
So that's the first chapter, or what it is so far. The plot will emerge later, but this chapter is just backstory. =]