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Old story

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        10-01-2013, 07:15 PM
      #11
    Foal
    Thanks so much, Clydesdales! It really means a lot that people are enjoying my story This is the next chapter; the group will be attended the pre-qualifiers pretty soon, so keep reading!! Any comments are appreciated!


    CHAPTER 5
    I sighed as I waited for my dad to pick me up at 7 pm. During my lesson that afternoon, Lauren had practiced the dressage test with me for the last time before the qualifiers. She had helped me perfect it, and I’d hosed Lady’s legs for Kat while I was here.
    My dad pulled up in his car. “Hop in,” he said. I peered into the backseat window. Kat!
    “Hi!!” she said, patting the seat next to her. I sat down and told her that I had hosed Lady’s legs.
    “Thanks so much,” she replied, “I did it right before and after school, but my parents said that was enough.”
    “Did they say you could have dinner with us?” I questioned. She nodded and my dad spoke next.
    “So, I heard about the accident.” Kat’s smile faded.
    “Dad, please drop it. Not right now.” My dad glanced at me in the rearview mirror and I jerked my head towards my friend. He immediately understood and Kat took up the conversation.
    “Thank you for picking me up, Mr. McCarthy,” she said politely.
    “No problem,” he said, “so, you two, how was school?”
    Kat and I launched into a hysterical story about our English teacher’s fear of bugs and were laughing for the rest of the drive home.


    My father pulled into the driveway and Kat and I sprinted from the car into my house. I lived in a simple house in a friendly residential area. My dog, a female reddish-brown Husky named Sienna, greeted us enthusiastically as we walked up the stairs and into my room.
    When I turned ten years old, my dad let me redecorate my room. I had chosen a white carpet and soft blue walls. There were a couple of beanbag chairs in one corner, and a mini fridge filled with sodas, water bottles and apples in the other. My pretty white sleigh-bed was right against the window.
    I strode right up to the beanbag corner and plopped down into a chair. “Sit,” I ordered Kat. She took 2 Sprites from the fridge, handed me one, and sat down next to me.
    I got right down to business. “Tell me what happened on the cross-country course.”


    She took a sip of her soda and began, “Lady and I were doing perfect until the creek. When we went through it, there was a deep spot and Lady, well, she didn’t like that.”
    “Go on,” I encouraged.
    She resumed her story. “So, Lady got spooked, and then she took off-- I couldn’t stop her, and then at the triple combo, we took off way too early. She knocked it and it split in half, and then her hoof got stuck in the board. She got it free, but fell onto the next jump.”
    I cringed. “Ouch.”
    “Exactly. So she went down and I got thrown off. I couldn’t really get up for like 5 minutes but I couldn’t see Lady, and I was freaking out and I turned so I could see her and to tell you the truth, I wish I didn’t. She looked so… depressed and all.”
    I gave her a hug. “That must have been so scary, not knowing if I would come anytime soon and you probably thought Lady was dying or something.”
    Kat nodded and looked down. We chatted for a while until I jumped to my feet. “Come on, the spaghetti’s got to be almost finished.”



    “Girls, could you set the table?” My dad called as we descended down the stairs.
    “Sure,” I called back. We prepared the place-settings and Dad served the pasta. Within minutes, we were all seated around the table with steaming plates in front of us.
    “So, did you inform Kat of how you’ll be getting to the show?” Dad asked me. His light blue eyes were gently teasing, but I knew he was really sorry that the only option of transportation was driving with Enemies 1, 2, and 3.
    Kat looked interested. “What?”
    “Oh, I’m driving to the show in Valerie’s car with her, her mom, Carlie, and Tina.”
    Kat’s mouth fell open. “That’s going to be a disaster! Poor you!”
    “I know.”
    My dad took a deep breath. “Actually, honey, I have something to tell you….” He paused.
    “Shoot,” I told him, taking a bite of spaghetti.
    “Umm, well, it’s 3 day eventing. You’re going to have to stay in a hotel.”
    Confused, I looked at him.
    “Originally, when Kat was going to the show also,” (he shot her a sympathetic glance) “Lauren was booking the last 3 available rooms-- 1 for Valerie and Tina, one for you and Kat, and one for her and Carlie. Now, since Kat’s not getting to the show, Valerie’s mother asked Lauren if she could room with her. So… as it turns out, you’re going to have to share a room with Carlie.”
    “No!” I exclaimed, “Why?! I can survive driving with them for a few hours, but I can’t share a room with one of them for 3 days!”
    “What about Alex? Is she staying at that hotel?” Kat suggested.
    Dad shook his head. “I already spoke to her parents; they’re going to a family reunion that weekend, and they are staying at Alex’s aunt’s house. So she is going to stay there and commute a bit longer to the show.”
    Desperate, I gave it one more shot. “Can’t we just—“
    My dad shot me a We’ll talk about this later look, and I closed my mouth. The rest of the meal was calm on the surface, but with an easily felt undertow of irritation. As soon as Kat went home, I sighed and tramped up the stairs to bed.
         
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        10-02-2013, 06:44 PM
      #12
    Foal
    This is soooo good!!......
    Clydesdales likes this.
         
        10-05-2013, 09:09 PM
      #13
    Foal
    Thanks, Clevelandbays64, I really appreciated your comment
    Chapter 6

    “Wake up, Maddie,” a soft voice spoke in my ear Thursday morning.
    “Wha?” I mumbled. I blinked open my eyes and focused on the blurry person at the end of my bed.
    “Dad, why are you up so early?” I asked.
    My father smiled. “I felt bad that I’ve never seen you ride lately, and barely seen Pride, so I asked my boss if I could take today and tomorrow off to come to the stable with you. He felt bad about making me go to that meeting, so he let me.”
    It was official; I had the best dad in the universe.
    “You’re amazing!” I told him, hugging him around the neck. “I’ve got to get dressed; I’ll be down in a couple minutes.”
    6 minutes later, we were walking out the door. My dad insisted on driving me (“We might as well!”) ‘because he could’, but we both knew he just didn’t want to jog the three fourths of a mile to the barn. We arrived quickly and ran to the stable.
    “Pride! Come wake up and say hello!” Pride, with his coat covered in straw, stuck his head out his stall window and whinnied delightedly.
    My dad shuffled his feet. “Umm, what should I help you with?” My dad was so not a horse person.
    “You remember last time I taught you how to groom, right?” He nodded. “Okay, let me get him onto some cross-ties, and then you can help me with that.”
    We groomed together and I really enjoyed having him there with me. I hadn’t seen much of Dad lately because I was always either at the stable or at school, and it was nice to show him around ‘my world’.
    “Yo, Maddie!” Kat burst through the stable doors and jumped onto me in a hug. “Oh, hi, Mr. McCarthy.”
    “Hello, Kat,” Dad responded, “Maddie’s teaching me her morning routine.”
    “Nice!” Kat cried. “Got to go--I’ve got to take care of Lady. ‘Bye!” She ran off and Dad laughed.

    “Always full of energy, huh?”
    “You have no idea.”
    Minutes later, I had tacked up and Dad followed me to the ring. Lauren was there, and she warmly greeted my father.
    “I’m afraid that you won’t directly be able to see Maddie ride today, Paul. We’re doing cross-country. I take the golf cart and keep an eye on them as they move through the course, if you’d like to come along.”
    “I’d love to,” Dad responded cordially.
    Soon, everyone was gathered in the arena. Lauren informed us that we’d be having a competition to see who could ride the course fastest with no penalties. I looked at Valerie. I so wanted to beat her. Apparently she felt the same way; as soon as our trainer announced the competition, she snarled at me and turned her back. Prince stomped his hoof.


    Lauren led us out to the cross-country course. The sun shone bright and the cloudless sky was beautiful, but I couldn’t focus on it. The last time I was here on this course, Kat had been injured. I was nervous that the same thing would happen to someone else. Lauren and my dad got a head start in the golf cart, moving ahead on the trail. When we rode, each of us would start our watches as we took off, and then stop them as we crossed the finish line. This would determine who rode fastest.


    Tina’s gaze focused on Carlie, who we’d elected to begin. “And, go!” Kandiebar took off at a swift canter and they hopped the first log with ease. After 2 minutes, she gave the signal for Alex to leave, then Tina herself left after her. I was next.
    Valerie motioned me forward to begin. I shortened my reins and tried to calm Pride down so he wouldn’t burst off the starting line like a racehorse. “Go!”


    Pride started at a smooth canter, and we propelled over the log with feet to spare. We entered the dark, shadowy woods at a steady pace and didn’t slow up the hill. Pride sped up and pulled his head forward as we approached the creek, but I ignored his loss of focus and kept a watch for deep spots in the clear water. We didn’t come across any. We cleared the triple combination that had given Kat some… problems and galloped to the finish.
    “Nice job,” Lauren said as she drove past, “fastest time so far, I believe.”
    I nodded my thanks and walked Pride in circles to cool him down. I joined Alex by a huge oak tree and Valerie galloped over the finish line minutes later. Right after she finished, the golf cart came into view.

    Everyone dismounted and formed a circle around Lauren.
    “Okay, let’s discuss our rides. Carlie?”
    Carlie stared at her blankly.
    “Any problems on the course?” Lauren prompted. “Any questions?”
    “There were no refusals and we didn’t clip anything, but I noticed that I had to really slow Kandiebar up the hill. In a competition, that could add a lot of time to my final score.”
    Lauren nodded. “Endurance is highly important to any horse’s career, and that could definitely be a deciding factor in placing. Keep working with her on that, and when you ride the course at the show, be sure to keep her going fast up the hills, then let her recover once you get onto flat land. That way, she‘ll get her breath back faster.”
    Carlie agreed and Lauren shifted her gaze to Alex.
    “When we did the log combination, Phantom refused the second element. I knew that he usually tries to do that on a cross country course, but I let up the pressure after the first element and we didn’t recover in time.”
    “It’s good that you realized what you did wrong, and I know that you will never make that mistake again.” Lauren replied. Alex nodded vigorously and Tina spoke next.
    “We handled everything very well,” Tina started. “there were no problems-”
    Lauren cut in. “You may have had no refusals or technical problems, but your time was very slow. You must speed up Dynasty—you have a tendency to over-ride, which is unnecessary, and yet you let him go at whichever speed he chooses. That will cost you in a competition.”
    I winced. Lauren had been unusually tough, and I was up next for critiquing.
    “So, issues?” Lauren asked me. I thought about my ride and thought of a problem I had.
    “When Pride and I were about to cross the creek, he started speeding up and lost his focus. If we were near a fence and he I allowed him to get distracted, we could have had a refusal.”
    Lauren looked at me thoughtfully. “That is a dangerous situation. If he lost his focus and you were going over a fence, there could be an accident. If you need to keep his attention on a course, do a half-halt or something-- anything-- to keep his attention on you.” I thanked her and listened to Valerie.
    “My ride was fantastic. Prince and I completed the course in good time, we had no penalties, and his focus didn’t drift once. We are completely ready for the show, and there is nothing we need to fix on this course.”
    Lauren was frowning. “No rider should ever, ever say that a ride was perfect. There is always room for improvement. Your course may have been well ridden, but I noticed that Prince began slowing up as you neared the finish line, like he knew the course was over. Those seconds that you allowed him to slow made Maddie’s time 2 seconds faster than yours. An area of improvement for you would be to speed him up over the finish line, instead of slowing down. I noticed that one rider trained her horse to run full out over the finish line, without special directions. That was a great idea.” She nodded at me. I turned bright red and looked down at Pride’s mane.
    “Alright, you can all go back to the stable. Please walk all of your horses back along the trail to allow them to cool off properly. All of you worked extremely hard today, and I am confident that you all will perform well at the qualifiers. We will not be having morning lessons for a while, even after the show is finished, but each of you will still have a final show prep with me in the afternoon at your usual lesson time. On Saturday, your first class, dressage, begins at five o’ clock pm. I suggest that you come to the barn by 5 am, we’ll get the horses finished loading by 5:45, and you’ll all be on the road by 6. It takes about 8 hours to get from here to Virginia, so you should get to the show grounds by 2 pm. That should give you plenty of time to get settled and warmed up before your class.”
    She left and I grabbed Pride’s reins. Dad walked up to me and we conversed easily as I led Pride back to his stall and left for the bus stop. Tomorrow was our last chance to prepare for the show, but I felt ready.
    Clydesdales likes this.
         
        10-08-2013, 01:54 AM
      #14
    Foal
    Can't wait to read what happens next :) .
         
        10-12-2013, 11:01 PM
      #15
    Weanling
    Love it
         
        10-14-2013, 11:20 AM
      #16
    Foal
    Thanks everyone for your kind words, I've been trying to upload the next chapter but my laptop has been freezing every time I open the Internet, and that's the only place I have the story saved. I have to look into getting it fixed 😔
    Posted via Mobile Device
         
        10-14-2013, 07:57 PM
      #17
    Weanling
    Can't wait till its uploaded
         
        10-15-2013, 07:02 AM
      #18
    Foal
    I only just found this thread and read the whole lot in one go. Loving the story so far. Can't wait to read more :)
         
        10-16-2013, 05:10 PM
      #19
    Foal
    Thanks so much everyone! It's really amazing to know that people are enjoying my story
    more will be up later today or tomorrow, I was able to fix my computer so it's being less temperamental!

    Friday. The day before the qualifiers. Even though I didn’t have a morning lesson, I found myself awake at five AM anyway out of habit. I walked across my room to my closet and searched for the perfect clothes to bring to Virginia. I pulled out my black dressage coat and white breeches, tall black boots, and the rest of the formal dressage attire that all riders were required to wear. Then I chose my hunter green cross country clothing and black body protector, and took my navy show jumping coat from its hanger. I packed some sweatpants for grooming before the show, pajamas, and toiletries. I’d pack up Pride’s stuff in my tack box after I rode this afternoon.
    After I finished packing, I had breakfast for once and actually took the school bus to school instead of a normal public bus. I hated taking the school bus-- it was so disgusting! I smiled at Kat’s expression as she walked down the bus aisle and saw me sitting there. She greeted me enthusiastically and we laughed for the entire bus ride.


    “Officially worst school day ever!” I informed Kat. All day, I had been unable to focus with the show looming. Each second seemed like an hour. I told her all of this.
    “You have to get your dad to tape all of your rides and take tons of pictures,” Kat said, “I really wish I could see you ride! Make sure you call me a lot and tell me how you’re doing.”
    “I will.” I promised. “Look, we should get to class.” We had been loitering in the hall for nearly 5 minutes, and math was starting in 20 seconds. We jogged down to room 429 and sat in the back of the classroom. I definitely wouldn’t be paying any attention today to Mrs. Moore and properties of a parallelogram.


    “Finally!” I exclaimed to my dad when I burst into the house after school. He gave me a hug and we left for the stable as soon as I changed into my riding clothes.
    Pride got a super-grooming today and I tacked him up slowly, pausing every so often to rub his nose or scratch his neck.
    “We’re going to do great tomorrow,” I told him, “I’m positive about that.” He nuzzled my back and we walked together to the indoor ring, where Lauren was waiting for us.
    “Hi, guys,” she greeted. “Is your dad coming to watch?”
    “I’m right here!” he called from behind me. He climbed into the bleachers and took a seat near the front.
    “Okay, we’re just doing a simple prep today. We’ll run the dressage test once, take a jump or two, and then just do some basic flatwork. Not anything difficult, but it’ll be good not to push you and Pride too much the day before a major show. This minor practice will be great just to keep you two on your toes.”
    I agreed completely. I definitely didn’t want to do anything difficult and risk Pride getting hurt. We were this close to the qualifiers.
    Lauren asked me to perform the dressage test. Pride smoothly completed every movement and I was proud of him when he didn’t lose focus once. My instructor praised the ride, and we moved on to jumping a simple course of 5 fences. We cleared each jump with ease and though Pride rushed a bit, I was able to slow him down in time and it didn’t affect the rest of the course.
    After, we did some easy flatwork. My horse was attentive to my commands and I stayed glued to the saddle. The show that could change my life was tomorrow. We were ready.
    I lifted the saddle off my horse’s back and removed the bridle from his mouth. Dad raved about how well we would do tomorrow. I loved how he had that much confidence in me, but I was feeling a lot of pressure. Of course, I would ride my absolute best, but was my best good enough? I groomed Pride well and my dad went to talk to Lauren.
    I brought Pride to his stall and stood with him in the straw. I hugged his neck for a few seconds and then left him to get a good night’s sleep.
    Eventually, I finished packing my tack box with everything Pride would need for the show and left the stable at 9 pm. 3 hours until show day!
    Clydesdales likes this.
         
        10-18-2013, 03:28 PM
      #20
    Foal
    Chapter 7


    Beep! Beep! Beep! My alarm sounded at 4 am. I clicked it into the ‘off’ position and stretched. Pushing back the comforter, I swung my legs over the side of my bed and groaned. Then a single thought popped into my head.
    The show’s today!
    My feet padded silently down the carpeted hallway to my dad’s bedroom. I leaned over his slumped, sleeping form and whispered to wake up. He opened his eyes, and I said goodbye before I left. Promising I’d call him as soon as I arrived at the show grounds, I took my suitcase and jacket, put on my boots, had a quick breakfast, and walked the path to the barn. Today, I would be completely on.
    “Hey,” said Carlie as I entered the barn. She walked, bleary-eyed, to Kandiebar’s stall with leg wraps in hand. Apparently, she was too tired to be nasty. I hurried to the tack room and grabbed black thread and a sewing needle to braid Pride’s mane. I hadn’t given my horse a bath, only because it had been chilly the last three days. I’d just have to groom him super-well this morning.
    I looked over the stall door. Pride lay sprawled on the ground, fast asleep. Low snores emitted from his nostrils. He was not going to like waking up this morning!
    “Pride,” I called, “wake up! We’re going to a show!” He raised his head and glared at me.
    “Show! We’re going to a show!” I reminded him. He immediately scrambled to his feet and stuck his nose into my chest. Prancing around and huffing through his nostrils, he finally looked awake. Shows really brightened him up. I buckled his halter into place and clipped him to the last free pair of cross-ties with a sigh. Braiding always took forever; I really should have done it last night. I combed Pride’s mane to silky smoothness and began the never-ending braiding process. 45 minutes later, I was finally finished. Pride’s mane now was held in sophisticated rolled up braids, and his tail was correctly plaited and tangle-free.
    A few minutes later, I had groomed Pride to a shining red.
    “Time to get you ready to load!” I informed him. He rubbed his cheek against my jacket and I bent down to wrap his legs in his hunter green trailer wraps. If Pride banged around in the trailer, they would protect his legs. After I had done all 4, I wrapped his smooth tail in a tail bandage to keep it clean and covered him in a green trailer blanket.
    Outside in the stable yard, chaos was ensuing. Dynasty was refusing to walk into the trailer, Valerie was screaming that her hoof polish was missing, and Carlie and Alex were yelling for everyone to please hurry up and load, because their horses were getting anxious waiting. I led Pride next to Alex and he seemed to calm Phantom Shadow down. Eventually, everyone was prepared to get the horses into the trailers. With a groan and rolling my eyes at Alex, I followed Tina, Carlie, and Valerie to their 4 horse trailer. Valerie’s mother was waiting in the truck and got out when she saw us.
    “Why, hello!” She exclaimed to me as I loaded my horse without an issue. I fake smiled at her, said ‘thank you’ for driving me, and got into the backseat with Tina and Carlie. Valerie sat in the passenger seat up front with her mother. I inched as far away from Tina, who was next to me, as I could and stared out the window. This was going to be so awkward.


    Everyone was silent as we got onto the parkway and began the route to Virginia. Mrs. Clairton’s expensive, high-tech GPS called out directions in its cold, steely voice. It sounds just like Valerie, I privately thought.
    “So, I’m so glad that we can all drive together! We’re all such good friends here!” Mrs. Clairton exclaimed. Valerie, Carlie and Tina and I all shared a look. We were not all good friends here. They were. I was the outcast. Carlie laid her head against the window and closed her eyes. Apparently, the two other evil ones thought this was a good idea, because suddenly the three of them were asleep and I was having a forced and awkward conversation with Valerie’s mom.
    “So, honey, what is your horse‘s name?” She asked me.
    “Pride. His show name is Pride in Hunyuwatt.”
    “Was he expensive?”
    What?!
    Mrs. Clairton continued, “Valerie’s horse was terribly pricey. However, to get the best, you must pay the price!” She flashed me a false smile in the rearview mirror through scarily whitened teeth. “So, what did your horse cost?”
    I got him for $5,000 when he was barely trained under saddle, I thought, just because he was cheap, does that mean he has no talent? Official: Valerie’s mom was creeping me out.
    “Umm, he was an average price,” I said, “nothing too expensive.”
    Valerie’s mom absently nodded and said, “Why don’t you get some sleep, dear. I’ll wake you all up at the show.” I agreed and leaned against the window, watching the nearly empty roads slowly fill up with cars as the day progressed. Soon, I found myself slipping into sleep.


    I woke up to whispering and laughing. Oh-evil-ones were cracking up together-- as soon as they saw me looking, they abruptly closed their mouths. I glared at them and asked to no one in particular,
    “Should we get out and lunge the horses?”
    Tina answered, “I guess so. We’ve been in the car for 3 hours.”
    Mrs. Clairton pulled into a random grassy clearing on the side of the road-- there was a lot of unused space around where we were. I had no idea at all which state we were in; I’m terrible with directions and maps.
    Banging sounded from the horse trailer. We hurried out of the truck and lowered the trailer ramp. Pride’s black tail swished from side to side agitatedly.
    “Hello, mister,” I said, “let’s back out of the trailer nicely now, and I’ll give you some exercise.”
    He slowly walked backwards down the ramp and I grabbed his lead rope. I pulled him to a trot, and ran alongside him so he could stretch his legs. After about twenty minutes of exercise, I walked him back to the trailer and saw that the rest of the group were tying their horses back in the trailer. I finished up with Pride, latched the trailer ramp, and clamored back into the car.

    “We should really stop for something to eat, and to use the bathroom,” Mrs. Clairton announced.
    “Whatever, Mom,” Valerie responded.
    Ten minutes later, we were at a rest stop, and people were gawking at the trailer attached to the truck.
    “Umm, I’ll have a small hamburger and lemonade, please,” I told the person at the register. Mrs. Clairton ordered a chicken salad.
    “Hey, Carlie, want to split a side salad?” Tina asked. Carlie nodded, and they ordered the salad and 2 bottles of water. Valerie ordered nothing.
    I pulled out my wallet, and took the food in the to-go bag. We used the restroom and walked back to our car. Next to everyone else, I looked like I was eating like a pig. Oh well. Just because I wasn’t anorexic didn’t mean I would fail at the show.
    After giving the horses more hay and water, we left and drove for 5 hours straight, no stopping. I continuously asked if we could go stretch out the horses, who were pretty restless in the trailer, but Mrs. Clairton said they would be fine, and to please stop talking so she could make a few phone calls. I was really worried that Pride might get too impatient and dent the Clairton’s surely billion-dollar trailer.

    More is soon to come! (by the way, do people actually take the horses out and lunge them on a long trailer ride? I had absolutely no clue; I've never shown somewhere more than an hour away! Any advice would be appreciated!)
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