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        10-19-2013, 06:53 AM
      #21
    Green Broke
    Alot of it depends on the horse and how long the trip is. For an 8 hour trip then I would not let them out unless it was a high spirited horse that hasn't been on many trips. If they are used to being hauled regularly then no stretching. With these horses being show horses I doubt very seriously if they would risk stretching them out on the side of the road or rest area along the way.

    If it were an over night drive then I'm sure they would have pre-arranged a stopping place to get the horses out somewhere set up for them.



    Very good story, btw.
    I hope you can continue it to the end.
    Clydesdales likes this.
         
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        10-19-2013, 10:50 PM
      #22
    Foal
    Thanks so much roadyy, that makes a lot of sense! I am going to edit that segment and eliminate the stretching stop.
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        10-22-2013, 08:39 PM
      #23
    Foal
    Ok, so I edited out the section about stretching the horses on the side of the road (the more I think about it, the worse of an idea it sounds )
    This is the next section, enjoy!!


    “Almost there!” Tina squealed later, waking me up. I checked out the window-- definitely Virginia. I’d slept for 5 hours?! Looking at my phone, I found out that it was 2:06 pm. Pretty good timing.
    “Okay, girls, the hotel we’re staying at is right next to the show grounds, so let’s get the horses settled and then get to our room.”
    The horses were staying at rented stalls on the show grounds; it was really expensive, but the convenience was worth it. We reached the show parking lot and occupied a trailer parking space. Leaving our equipment in the car, we backed the horses out of the trailer and followed the signs gesturing to the stalls. They were sheltered by a humongous white tent, and were rapidly filling.
    “Quickly, everyone, we have to meet Lauren at stall…. #19,” Mrs. Clairton announced, checking her phone messages. We filed in behind her as she pushed through the crowd. Just as we were getting kind of panicky because we’d been searching for 10 minutes with no stall #19 in sight, I spotted Lauren waving her arms wildly at us to come over. I alerted Mrs. Clairton, Valerie, Carlie, and Tina and we walked over to say hello.
    “I thought you guys forgot about the opportunity of a lifetime!” Lauren laughed, “You’re all so late!”
    Yeah, 10 minutes late, I thought.
    “The stalls we rented have your horses’ and your names on them, so just go find them. They’re all right next to each other, so I’m sure Alex can show you where she settled Shadow in.”
    Alex brought us to a row of large, airy stalls. I took Pride into the one with his name on it and began removing his blanket, leg wraps, and tail wrap. As they fell away, I let out a sigh of relief to see that Pride was still shining clean and his braids were all intact. Eventually, I finished up and brought a flake of hay and a bucket of water to the stall.
    “Let’s see,” Lauren said, “it’s 2:39 now, and your first class starts at 5. You can all go to your hotel rooms and unpack, but I want you all back here at 3:15 sharp. We’re already cutting it close with the time, but I decided you all really should unpack and get dressed in a quiet, peaceful area to get the correct mindset for the show.”
    It’s not going to be quiet and peaceful for me, I thought, I’m sharing a room with Carlie.

    “3:15 sharp. You all understand?” Lauren barked. We vigorously nodded and hopped in the car to get to the hotel. It took about 4 minutes to get there, and we quickly got our room keys and leapt into a leaving elevator. I followed Carlie to our room. A small, cheery space with light sage walls, I normally would have loved where we were staying. But the frosty silence that hung in the air definitely dampened the mood a little.
    “Let’s unpack quickly so Lauren doesn’t have a conniption,” I said, surprising myself that I had made the first move. Carlie forced the corners of her mouth into a pained-looking smile. At least she was trying to be polite, but I knew she was as mad as I was with the choice of roommate we had been assigned.
    We threw our clothes into a small wooden dresser in record time and I stepped into the bathroom to get dressed. Pulling on my dressage clothes, I mentally readied myself and thought of all of the tricks Pride usually pulled during a show. I made sure to remember all of them, not wanting to end up like Alex on the cross country course, who failed to remember that Shadow would pull out during the combination.
    When Carlie and I had both put on sweats over our clean dressage clothes and gathered our tack boxes, we waited in the hallway for everyone else to emerge from their rooms.
    “Oh no!” Tina squealed in the car, “Look at the time!”
    Everyone glanced at the clock. It was 3:14!!!
    “Mom, hurry!” Valerie commanded. I considered briefly about how rude she was to her mother. That sparked my memory.
    “I was supposed to call my dad!” I exclaimed to no one in particular. I pulled out my cell, scrolled down my list of contacts, and hit send. My dad answered immediately.
    “Is everything ok?”
    “Fine, but when are you coming?”
    “I’m on my way.”
    “Love you.”
    “’Bye.”
    Dad must have known I was in a hurry; he kept our conversation quick and to the point.
    A guy in bright orange pointed the car to a near-filled parking lot just as the time ticked to 3:15. We collected our tack boxes and raced to the stalls.
    “Right on time,” Lauren announced, nodded approvingly at us. I sighed in relief. The last thing I needed would be to have my trainer flip out on me. Alex arrived 2 minutes late, but Lauren didn’t seem to care (what a miracle!). The group all headed to get our numbers and sign in to the show grounds. I drew number 475 and found that I was 3rd to go in dressage.
    That meant I’d better get Pride ready, now!
         
        10-24-2013, 02:11 AM
      #24
    Weanling
    It's getting better and better!
         
        10-28-2013, 10:29 PM
      #25
    Foal
    Thanks, Clydesdales. I'm so sorry I haven't uploaded anything recently, I've had a very busy week with school and I had a show over the weekend! The next chapter will be up tomorrow, I promise! :)
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        10-29-2013, 02:37 PM
      #26
    Yearling
    This is absolutely terrific! I need more!
         
        10-29-2013, 04:08 PM
      #27
    Foal
    Thanks SO much KylieHuitema!! ok, so for this section I had a bit of trouble... I'm neither a dressage nor an eventing rider, so I wasn't really positive on what a good-but-not-unrealistic score would be. If anyone has expertise in this area, please let me know if the scoring is really inaccurate!!

    Chapter 8
    I hurried to our section of stalls and almost slammed into my horse’s flank. Forever Farms’ head groom, Michael, had him tied to a tie ring and spotlessly clean. His red-bay coat shone like fire, and I noticed a few of his braids had been redone. I called out my thanks to the groom, who had moved on to picking out Phantom’s feet. He raised one hand in acknowledgement.
    I pulled my shiny black dressage saddle out of my box and carefully placed it on top of a spotless white saddle pad. I lowered the blanket and saddle onto Pride’s glossy back, making sure I didn’t get a speck of dust on the shiny leather. I’d spent hours cleaning it to make sure it looked amazing. Seconds later, all of the tack was in place. I peeled off my sweats and revealed the show clothing underneath, put my strawberry-blond hair into a fresh hairnet, then led Pride to the warm-up ring to get him stretched and loosened up.
    “Okay, just walk and trot to warm up right now, then do a couple of the more difficult dressage moves to get them set up. Don’t do anything stupid.”
    Lauren was a very, very blunt person. Pride stretched his neck forward, asking for more rein. I relented and let my hands slide forward a notch. We moved around the ring, lapping a slow bay horse whose trot was literally half the speed of our relaxed walk. As I signaled my horse to go ahead into a trot, we were rudely cut off by a tall dark bay horse ridden by… Valerie!


    She pulled Prince up next to me. “Don’t think that just because I haven’t been that evil yet, we’re suddenly friends. Okay? And I hope you can process that honestly, I’m ready for this. You’re not. So, just stay out of my way from now on, and I’ll stay out of yours so you can make yourself miserably fail without any interruption. Got that?” She sharply signaled her horse and cantered away.
    Wow. That was some pretty impressive trash-talking. Even though she was completely and utterly insulting me, I had to admire her choice of words.
    I regained riding focus when Pride yanked his head forward and snapped at Prince’s retreating rump. I pulled his head back into frame and asked again for the canter. He pinned his ears irritably and I worked hard to get him going smoothly. I could tell he was still annoyed, so I piloted him out of the ring and hopped out of the saddle.
    “Come on boy, be nice. Focus. We can’t let her ruin our performance. Be good so we can beat Valerie and Prince and get to the final qualifiers. Understand?”
    He nodded and I discreetly slipped him a peppermint. After our quick break, Pride moved easily and we performed a couple of figures that were going to be in the test. Everything was going well, so I dismounted and got some water, giving Pride a tiny sip. I then walked to the outside of the dressage arena where Lauren and the other riders stood discussing what our main priorities were during the test.
    “….. So be sure to have good posture, and watch during the half-pass— your horses might get distracted with all of the spectators making noise in the stands and the judges never like a distracted horse.”
    “Calm down,” Tina urged, “you’re going to make us all nervous, and we know what we have to do. Sit up, make the horses look good, and don’t screw it. It’s simple.”
    I wish, I thought.
    Lauren looked at her watch.
    “It’s 4:56!! You all better get over to the side of the ring to watch the other riders compete. Maddie, you’re up third. Just pay close attention and see where other riders are having trouble.”
    I nodded attentively.
    The bell sounded. “Up first, we have Angelina Rubin, number 561, riding Wild Card. This pair is no stranger to the show circuit, and fans are sure they will turn in a strong performance in this round.”
    A tall redhead on an equally tall chestnut entered the arena at a rhythmic working trot. They halted in a single stride and gave a respectful salute to the judges. I watched in silence as they performed each movement perfectly and eventually came to their final salute. Amazing. I gulped in a ton of air. Would all of my competition be this great?
    “Next in the dressage portion of this 3-day event, we have Thomas Yoncin, number 927, riding Dawning New Day. Dawning New Day is a new horse to Thomas, purchased 8 months ago after Thomas’s senior competition horse, Bright Moon, tore a ligament. This pair have been working very well together, and we all know they will not disappoint in this class.”
    A stocky black-haired boy rode in on a leggy light cream Anglo-Arab horse. The horse did a beautiful supple working trot, bending at the neck and withers. Then a cheer sounded in the crowd. Startled, the horse took off and accelerated into a gallop for a few strides, until her rider was able to bring her back under control. I was relieved that Thomas didn’t freak out on his horse; instead, he patted her neck and resumed the round.
    My relief didn’t last long. “Entering the ring now is Madelyn McCarthy, number 475, riding Pride in Hunyuwatt. These two have been training together for nearly 5 years, and emit a strong partnership.” My first thought was, Emit? My second thought was that…


    I was up. Lauren didn’t give me time to ponder. “Go!” she hissed, shoving Pride forward. I settled into the stirrups, adjusted my helmet strap, and heeled him into a trot.
    I silently counted Pride’s hoof beats to be sure that they were at an even pace. I framed his head down and focused on imaginary letter X in the center of the arena. My horse came to a smooth halt and I saluted ‘crisply’ for once. The collected canter came easily, but the flying lead change across the diagonal was a bit sticky. Pride hesitated, then obeyed my command, but the hesitation was definitely noticeable. However, we fixed it quickly enough and I hoped the judges wouldn’t hold it too much against us. The sitting trot went according to textbook.
    We kept our circle round and the half-pass was performed with ease. Next in the figure line-up was the dreaded shoulder-in. Pride flicked his ears back at me for reassurance.
    “Good boy,” I whispered. He did as I asked and bent at the shoulder while continuing in a perfect straight line. I continuously squeezed the reins to keep his attention, and his focus didn’t waver once. I was so proud of my horse! We completed the slow gallop and countercanter nicely and I slowed my horse to a walk for the final salute. I nodded at the judges and looked them in the eye. They were deciding my fate, after all.
    “Wonderful!!” shouted Lauren as I exited the arena with a test score of 40. In the dressage element of three-day eventing, the goal was to have a few faults as possible, and therefore the score closest to zero. She pulled Pride and I into a hug, then said, “I think there’s someone here who’d like to see you.”
    I looked around, and spotted my dad! “Maddie!” he yelled. I ran up to him and gave him a hug. “I saw your round! It was great,” he assured me. We released our embrace and turned intently to the ring as Carlie’s name was called right after mine.
    “Now we have Carlie Johnson, number 774, on Kandiebar, a 9 year old mare. These two excel in dressage, and we expect a fantastic test from this young partnership.”
    Carlie and Kandiebar trotted in and saluted. Each movement was gorgeous and looked easy, and it was no surprise when Carlie dismounted with a huge smile on her face sporting a score of 40.

    My nerves increased as the competition went on. Vanessa came out of the arena with a score of 38, and Tina and Alex’s scores were both pretty decent. Eventually every entry had finished their round, and each rider stood around the ring waiting for the judges to announce where the list involving the standings was located.
    “The official list of standings is located at the judging box’s north-facing wall, and I wish you all luck with your placing.” I looked up at the announcer booth just in time to observe his wide fake-smile and look of disgust when a horsefly flew past the glass in front of the elevated box.
    “Come on!” My dad exclaimed, “Let’s go look at the standings!” We all led our horses over to the judges’ box and fought our way through the mob of horses, riders, parents, and coaches. I saw several people walking away from the paper list tacked up into the wood looking like their world was ending, and I suddenly got afraid. Afraid to see the results. Afraid I’d have done so terribly that even if I rocked the cross-country and jumping I’d still have no chance; afraid that everything I’d worked for would be destroyed.
    Roadyy and Clydesdales like this.
         
        10-30-2013, 12:00 AM
      #28
    Weanling
    I love this so much.
    Can't wait till more is uploaded!
         
        10-30-2013, 08:24 PM
      #29
    Foal
    Thanks Clydesdales :)
    Again, if anyone more knowledgeable than I notices any errors, or if anyone has a suggestion on a way to better the story, please let me know! It would be greatly appreciated!
    I stared at the list and started at first place.
    1.Angelina Rubin---number 561---Wild Cat--Score-36.20
    The first girl we’d watched had stolen first place.
    2.Kyle Hanshaw---number 993---Capital R--Score-37.51
    Apparently a rider I’d missed watching had done pretty well.
    3.Valerie Clairton---number 871---Prince’s Legacy--Score-38.00
    I turned around to congratulate Valerie. “Nice job!” I said. She looked at me and snarled. I looked back at the list.
    4.Amelia Porinox---number 346---Soft Seabreeze--Score-38.67
    5. Isabelle Moore---number 590---Peppermint Stick--Score-39.43
    I heard a deafening shout behind me and saw Isabelle screaming and jumping up and down in excitement. I was happy that she was feeling such enjoyment, but my panic was increasing that I hadn’t seen my name on the list yet. I had gotten a very good score!
    6. Carlie Johnson---number 774---Kandiebar--Score-40.00
    --TIE--
    6. Madelyn McCarthy--number 475--Pride in Hunyuwatt--Score-40.00
    Tied for 6th! I was bubbling with excitement, and so was Carlie. We did a victory dance for a couple of minutes until we were congratulated by Lauren and looked back at the list, scanning for Alex and Tina’s names. Finally, we found them after looking down the list.
    18. Alexandra Khanni---number 814---Phantom Shadow--Score-51.6

    21. Tina Gyniler---number 599---Dynasty--Score-53.04
    “Well done!!!!” Lauren screeched, hugging all of us at once. We all brought our horses back to their stalls and untacked and groomed them. I spent about a half hour extra with Pride and gave him hugs and mints. Finally, Lauren called us out of the barn-tent to talk to her.
    “I am so proud of all of you. I cannot believe that all of my students did this well. That is a lot for any instructor to ask for, and I am so grateful that you all worked as hard as you did. Tonight, I’m going to treat you all to a dinner out, parents invited. Let’s get some pasta tonight so we’re energetic tomorrow for cross country!”
    To humor her, we all cheered and shouted, “AMEN!”


    Chapter 9


    “Thanks so much for driving me, Dad,” I said as my father headed towards the hotel after dinner, “I couldn’t survive another car ride with Valerie, especially now ‘cause she’ll be flaunting around her 3rd place.”
    My dad laughed. “No problem.” He was staying at a hotel down the road, which was the only one left with any open rooms, and was sharing a room with Valerie‘s father. He said it was a terrible experience so far.
    Dad parked the car and I left the car as he drove off. I searched down the hallways for me and Carlie’s room and inserted the key into the door as I found it. I noticed that Carlie had already claimed the cherry-wood bed nearest to the window, so I plopped my tack box onto the bed next to me. I quickly unloaded and had just finished putting on my pajamas when she emerged from the bathroom. Her candy-cane heart pj’s were adorable, and I wished I’d brought something more decorative than my plain sky-blue top and leggings.
    “Your turn for the bathroom,” she said abruptly, turning the covers back on her bed and leaping in. I brushed my teeth and used the bathroom before getting comfortable on my own sleeping space.
    “Umm, nice job with your dressage round.” Carlie said awkwardly to fill the uncomfortable silence.
    “You too,” I replied, surprised, “Kandiebar looked great during the circles.”
    “Thanks.”
    “’Night.”
    “’Night.”



    I woke up to the slamming of the bathroom door. Apparently Carlie had wanted first shower. Today was cross-country! I opened a dresser drawer and laid my clothes on my bed. After I got dressed and took a shower, Carlie and I headed down to eat at the hotel’s continental breakfast room. We gulped down bowls of fruit and cereal and hurriedly jumped into the back of Lauren’s car with our tack boxes. Valerie and Tina also came along for the ride, while Alex, still at her aunt’s house, would be coming just a bit later in her parents’ car.
    “Okay, you guys, do you all have your stuff you need? We have a 9:00 am cross-country class and it’s 6:30 now, so there’s no coming back to the hotel to get anything you left behind.”
    I mentally checked my bag and discovered I hadn’t forgotten anything. No one else was missing anything, so Lauren set off driving for the show grounds while the 4 of us squeezed into the 2 tiny seats in the back of her van.
    “Go say hi to your horses but don’t tack up yet. We’re all going to go walk the cross-country course together, so leave your boots in your tack boxes and put on your sneakers. Meet me by the start of the course in 5 minutes.”
    All of us scattered quickly. I went straight to Pride.
    “Hey baby!” I said, approaching his stall. He neighed sleepily and I saw the grooms had already given him the amount of food I’d written on an index card.
    “You did such a great job yesterday, and I know our routine usually is to let you relax today, but we have to do cross country. I’m going to go walk the course and make sure there’s nothing scary on it that could make you get nervous. I’ll come get you in around an hour, OK?”
    Pride whinnied agreeably as I left the stall to go meet up with the rest of the group. I found them all huddled over a course map printed on light green paper.
    “So when you turn the corner to get into the woods, you’re all going to…..”
    “…..Look out for weird shadows that could spook our horses,” Everyone dutifully replied. Lauren turned and saw me, and motioned me over to join them.
    “We’re just about to leave,” she said, “here, take this map and look it over quickly. You have 5 minutes.” I nodded and studied the map intently. The fences themselves weren’t too bad, but I noticed that there was a small lake that the horses had to run through, while jumping in the water. Though Pride and I had encountered this type of sequence often, he had never been a fan of it. The course was also painfully long and the allowed time was painfully short.
    We set off on the course, walking on foot. The horses were forbidden to see the fences beforehand-- it was supposed to be a surprise for them, but not to the riders.
    All of us walked quickly beside Lauren. She blabbered on nervously about things to remember while riding, which I didn’t really need to hear because she’d explained the entire same list of focus points last night. I tuned her out and tried to memorize the course. It took me forever to remember even a piece of it, and I was glad for the red and white flags along the course sidelines that helped to guide riders in the correct direction.

    KylieHuitema and aussiemum like this.
         
        10-31-2013, 03:34 PM
      #30
    Foal
    Its so good so far !!! Please keep writing I'm hooked !
    Posted via Mobile Device
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