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        11-04-2013, 03:13 PM
      #31
    Foal
    Thanks Tex everyone's kind, positive responses make it really enjoyable to upload this!!

    Eventually, our trainer led us back to the barn-tent to get our horses ready. There was about an hour until show-time, and the horses weren’t even tacked yet! Pride happily stuck his head out of his stall as I approached, his mouth full of hay. Stalks tumbled down his chest as he opened his mouth to neigh at me.
    “Piggy!” I laughed.
    Pride stared at me, waiting for my next move. I strapped his green nylon halter into place and led him to a pair of cross-ties. The grooms had already made him super clean, so I only had to run a body brush over him quickly before I tacked him up.
    I finished getting him ready and took him into his stall for a couple seconds of just us, together, preparing for the challenge. Yesterday, doing dressage, and the sheer magnitude of the whole show was just beginning to sink in. I hadn’t had time to think about it previously. Now, I realized the pressure of it all and how well I needed to perform in order to succeed.
    Pride nudged me and his wide, innocent eyes made me laugh and give him a hug. We’d done well yesterday without all of this pointless worrying; I had to let go of my nerves and have a good time with my horse. After all, today was cross-country!

    “Number 561, Angelina Rubin, on Wild Card,” The commentator announced, “please proceed to the start of the cross-country course. Number 561, Angelina Rubin on Wild Card.”
    Angelina rode past me with a determined look set on her face. Her horse also looked like it was thinking of only one thing: a perfect round. They leaped forward as the buzzer sounded and disappeared into the large field at the start of the trail.
    10 minutes later, the announcer called Thomas Yoncin to start, and he immediately galloped into the field with Dawning New Day racing against the clock. Next, the announcer called…..
    Me.
    I steadied myself for Pride’s quick start, which would commence as soon as the buzzer began ringing. Luckily, in the 30 minutes I’d had since getting my course map, I had memorized the course decently well and though I was quite sure I wouldn’t be getting lost, I hadn’t exactly come up with any shortcuts yet.
    Ding!
    Pride exploded forward and hurled himself into the field. As a team, we easily cleared a low combination of log fences and a wide trakehner. Also a name of a breed of horse, this simple fence just consisted of a (usually very large) ditch with a rail over it. Lauren had prepared us for all obstacles on the course at Forever Farms; she’d never disappointed with finding random obstacles to drag onto the trail, randomly adding new obstacles every so often where we’d least expect them.
    Remembering my trainer’s repeated warning, I kept a diligent watch for shadows that could spook my mount as we rounded the sharp bend into the woods. A couple of sinister-looking branches cast odd marks on the forest floor, but Pride ignored them and continued galloping. His breathing was fine, but I made him slow down his blazing speed just a bit so that I could prepare him for the corner fence that I knew was coming up around the turn. I checked his stride again and focused him on the small but dangerous obstacle. Many horses would refuse this angled jump but I knew Pride was fearless and would never run out on me.
    The corner fence went as planned, and we continued to a high and wide but otherwise normal brush fence. Then, we approached the water. The sequence all began with a drop fence, which was rapidly approaching. Next, I would ride Pride through the water and take a couple of fences in the water itself, then do a bank up out of the water again.
    Looking ahead at the drop fence, I slowed Pride so that he wouldn’t leap too strongly over it. We’d be jumping the fence, then landing at a lower level than the takeoff point. That lower level also happened to be the water! If Pride propelled too strongly over the fence, he could hurt himself when the drop came by landing with extreme pressure on his forelegs. Pride obediently slowed his pace and gently took rocketed over the tall log. I gave him a lot of rein while we flew down, down, down, until we hit the water.
    Pride gave a snort of surprise and thrust his head in the air. I half-halted him in an attempt to get him settled before the first, skinny fence made of piled narrow logs called an Arrowhead. He fought my hands, super-spooked by the water. But I could not let him jump blindly. That was pretty much about the worst thing you could do on a course. I soothingly murmured to him and sank deeply into the saddle, but he would not calm down. We launched over the Arrowhead and I hoped for the best.
    I was thrown off balance, and nearly flew over my horse’s right shoulder, but I gripped hard with my calves and kept us together as we landed. Where was my I-love-everything-and-I-never-spook horse? Luckily, he settled down and we took two logs without any issue, then athletically leaped up the bank, clearing a large brush fence shaped like a duck. Urging Pride faster, I hoped that we were still within the allowed time. He’d been galloping for quite some time now, and wasn’t getting slightly tired! Lauren had told me that when a horse doesn’t run away with you a little bit while galloping, he was getting out of breath, and Pride certainly was yanking the pace faster and faster.
    This leg of the course was just a long stretch of steep up-and-down hills, and I briefly thought of Carlie and Kandiebar with their reputation of this being a problem. We didn’t slow for an instant, and when I noticed Pride was panting a bit, I kept him going and slowed him up as soon as we were away from the hills. A couple of wooden board fences passed easily, then the first real test began. A hop up two large stone steps that were built into a hill, with an immediate wide brush spread to follow.
    Pride asked for his head, and I gave it to him, leaving it up to him to balance himself up the steps. I adjusted my grip on the reins and looked ahead at the first humongous stone step.
    Go! I mentally urged my horse on and physically tightened my legs until I thought they might crack. Pride responded-- the good boy-- by lightly floating up the steps and taking the brush without an interruption in his long, easy stride. I gave him a quick pat on the neck. He whinnied happily and sped up, flattening his body across the ground. Spectators were scattered along the sidelines, and they cheered us on. Pride really liked the applause; every time a clap sounded, he would prick his ears and gallop on with renewed energy. Next came a coffin ditch, more logs, and a rather large wooden fence that resembled a box, sponsored by some random tissue company. The end of the course drew nearer, and I knew we were doing a very fast time. Pride was definitely tiring now, but I knew that there would be absolutely no chance of getting him to slow. While we did cross-country, he always ran himself into the ground, despite my sometimes desperate efforts to slow him down.
    Then the last fences came into view; a combination of a drop fence down, a brush fence with wood planks in front, and then a large fence of two boards with a painted banner bearing the Olympic symbol. I focused on the five linked rings in the distance. That was my ultimate goal.
    Pride pushed off the edge of the drop fence and we plummeted down what must have been 10 stories before hitting the ground. There was almost no time to set up for the brush, but my awesome, wonderful, amazing horse (who hadn’t let himself slow down yet) set himself up and leaped it cleanly. We soared over the final fence and the end of the course was directly ahead—the one that stopped the clock. I’d been having so much fun, been so focused on the task, that I almost didn’t want the course to end.
    “Go!” I told Pride, throwing my weight low on his neck and flapping the reins. We raced over the light spring grass and I heard a stopwatch click. It was over.

    (Again, I'm not a XC rider so if there's anything I can change to improve the accuracy of the story, please let me know!)
         
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        11-06-2013, 04:37 PM
      #32
    Foal
    Chapter 10


    “Maddie, look!” Screeched Lauren, appearing out of nowhere with tears in her eyes and brandishing her arm at the scoreboard. My time flashed onto the screen: 8 minutes, 54 seconds. No faults!
    “How did we manage that?!” I exclaimed, hopping to the ground and hugging Pride around the neck. He’d been so amazing, and now, having done his duty, was blowing without restraint and rubbing his head on my arm. I spotted a TV camera flying in a helicopter above, broadcasting film taken from the sky. I was glad I hadn’t made myself and my horse look like fools on national TV.
    “Wow, great job, you,” said my dad, coming up from behind me, “and you, too, Mister Pride.”
    Pride neighed at his name. I laughed and after Alex had complimented our ride, Dad, Pride, and I walked to the veterinary tent with the grooms to check Pride’s vitals after working so hard. All was well, so I returned to the stable area and accepted the Michael’s offer to walk Pride cool for me while I changed into some comfy barn clothes I had in my tack box.
    Just as I’d released my horse back into his stall later that day, Tina appeared leading an exhausted Dynasty. “Maddie, Lauren’s looking for you and she’s freaking out, so you’d better get over to her quickly.” I followed her to where the rest of us and Lauren stood near the barn.
    “I had the hardest time finding you guys!” exclaimed Lauren, looking harassed, “Since you all are here now, finally, I wanted to congratulate all of you and your horses on some pretty great rounds. Maddie was the only one to not collect any faults…” she said with a nod in my direction, either not noticing or ignoring Valerie’s glare, “…but all of you had very respectable times.”
    We silently listened to the pep talk, no one really taking it in. We were all too curious to see the standings!
    Training us for so many years, Lauren noticed our lapse of attention. “The results are in the same spot that the dressage results were yesterday. Go see them, but make sure all your poor horses are put away first!
    With Pride already cool, groomed and settled in his stall, I speed-walked to the judges’ booth and began the fight through the crowd of people observing results. In this phase of eventing, the penalties accumulated in cross-country for time faults or refusals would be added to the dressage score. If there were no faults, the dressage score would remain untouched.
    1. Angelina Rubin—number 561—Wild Cat—36.20
    Only her and I hadn’t collected time penalties, so did that mean..?
    2. Madelyn McCarthy--number 475--Pride in Hunyuwatt—40.0
    OH. MY. GOSH.
    2ND PLACE!!!!!
    I did some sort of peculiar victory dance and pushed through the crowd, looking for my dad. He was standing next to Lauren; as soon as they saw my ecstatic look, they both piled on top of me in an awkward, crowded, group hug.
    “Great job!” they both exclaimed together. Suddenly, I remembered that Alex was still anxiously awaiting her result. I found her by the standings list. I quickly scanned the sheet of paper, searching for her name.
    3. Olivia Tymber--number 003--Majenta Miss—42.87
    4. Jonathon Browne—number 509—Queen Venus—43.11
    I continued down the list until I found Valerie, back in 7th. Tina, Carlie, and Alex’s results were nowhere to be found. Eventually, with Carlie and Tina tied in 14th after some slow times, and Alex positioned in 17th, I offered congratulations to everyone and excused myself from the group.
    As I headed off to the stable to spend some extra time with Pride, my phone buzzed with a text from Kat.
    AWESOME!!!!! MY BFF IS A STAR!!!
    I smiled and stuck my phone in my pocket as I neared the stall—I’d have to call her later to catch up on what was going on at home. I unlatched the stall door and carefully stepped inside. Pride was leaning against the back wall of his stall with his ears floppy and a back hoof cocked, fast asleep. I quietly called to him.
    “Pride, wake up, buddy,” I whispered. He sleepily opened his eyes, exhausted by today’s work. I didn’t blame him. Not wanting to disturb his sleep too much, I gave him a couple spearmint candies and stood with him in the back corner of the stall, his nose snuffling my hands. He was asleep with his head on my shoulder by the time my dad came to drive me home.
    Clydesdales likes this.
         
        11-07-2013, 09:03 PM
      #33
    Yearling
    I'm LOVING this!! Totally hooked!! Can't see why this wasn't published - I'd pay for it!!
         
        11-08-2013, 02:59 PM
      #34
    Weanling
    So would I it a really good read!
         
        11-12-2013, 10:30 PM
      #35
    Foal
    Thanks so much, both of you!! I am considering re-submitting it to an editor...
    I promise more will be up tomorrow, I was showing over the weekend so I haven't had the chance to edit more!
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        11-13-2013, 01:49 PM
      #36
    Foal
    Yess !!! I AM IN LOVE !!! This is really a great story liveluvride !! I really hope you can get this published I would certainly buy this !!
    Posted via Mobile Device
         
        11-13-2013, 09:25 PM
      #37
    Foal
    Thanks Tex :') I really appreciate everyone's comments. If it's okay with everyone, I might send some of your 'reviews' in with the story if/when I submit it-- please let me know if you would prefer not to have your comment sent in. The publisher was concerned that there'd be no audience for this kind of book, and I think I have proof now that there are people interested in reading this type of thing!


    We drove in drowsy silence. When we got to the hotel, my dad let me off at the door and said goodnight, then left on his way to his hotel. I hurried into the elevator and seconds later was standing in front of mine and Carlie’s room.
    “Hey,” she greeted me, “want to order room service? Tina invited us to her and Valerie’s room, and we were going to get a pizza.”
    “US?” I questioned, “Why would Tina and Valerie invite me to come too?”
    Carlie looked uncomfortable. “If you don’t want to, you don’t have to, but I thought you’d prefer that to being alone. I called Alex too, and she’s coming. We thought we could have a team dinner.”
    Wait a second. Carlie came up with the idea to invite me? I was really confused now, but somehow I found myself waiting in front of Tina and Vanessa’s room with Carlie and a newly arrived Alex.
    “Hi.” Tina said abruptly, swinging open the door. I stuck close to Alex and we shared a look. Kat would definitely have to hear all about this when I called her tomorrow.
    As we walked in, I spotted Valerie lounging on a comfy brown chair, looking every bit of evil that she truly was. She didn’t speak. Neither did anyone else.
    Tina chose to first break the silence. “So, the pizza’s probably almost here. I got plain cheese; that okay?”
    Everyone nodded. Soon, Alex got us discussing Lauren’s mental stability on show days(always an interesting topic, as no one knew for sure whether or not she would say some… interesting things). Before long, Valerie and Tina got into their own conversation, Alex and I continued the Lauren debate, and Carlie hovered somewhere in the middle, mostly hanging out with her clique but occasionally popping into our increasingly animated discussion. The pizza came quickly and was delicious.
    At nearly 10 pm, Carlie, Alex, and I left the room. Alex told us goodbye and left for her grandparents’ house, while Carlie and I went back to our room and fell into a deep, easy sleep.


    I awoke at almost exactly 7 am. Carlie was still emitting light snores from where she lay, and I gave her a couple minutes before I roused her. Our show jumping class started at 11 am, and Lauren wanted us there at nine.
    “How long until jumping?” Carlie asked nervously, stretching.
    “We have to get to the show grounds in 2 hours. We’re fine, time-wise. I think we should get breakfast and then come back here and get dressed.”
    “Yeah, eating breakfast in a public place with your pajamas on, that’s totally not weird at all,” she scoffed, “but why not, we should get there before all the good stuff is gone.”
    Both of us hurriedly ran down the hall to the elevator and grabbed bowls of banana yogurt. I snuck over to the topping choices and sprinkled granola pieces onto my breakfast. Perfect.
    After breakfast we showered and changed into our show clothes, then split up when my dad arrived to drive me to the show grounds.
    “We can drive you, it’s no trouble,” Dad assured Carlie. But she insisted that she already had a ride, and my dad and I eventually drove to the show without her.
    At exactly 9 am, I met Lauren in front of the stable.
    “As soon as everyone else gets here, we’ll walk the course together. I’ve already walked it; it’s very challenging, so I’d like us all to see it as a group all at once. That way, we can discuss any problems or nervous spots on the course.”
    I nodded in agreement.


    About 10 minutes later, everyone was gathered in front of the stable, preparing to walk the course. Lauren led us to the huge arena. The light-colored arena dirt was raked smooth, and the footing looked perfect for jumping.
    “So, the first fence is just a plain, simple vertical, but it’s very high. Also, right after you land there’s an immediate left turn, which could get you off-balance for the next fence. This second one is difficult-- it’s an oxer, which by itself is scary enough, but this one is almost 4 feet wide and at least 4 and a half feet tall. And all of that right after a sharp turn! You really have to set up the horses.”
    All of us nervously glanced around at each other at the sight of the humongous fence.
    “Then, there’s a triple combination. Try to put in one stride between each fence, I’d say, but maybe Carlie-- you could do two, since Kandiebar has such a short stride. The rest of you, definitely do one.”
    I would really have to push Pride forward and open his step to get exactly one stride between each of the three fences.
    “After that, it’s straightforward enough, there’s a roll-back, but the verticals are relatively low and it’s not like you haven’t seen them before. Next, a liverpool, not too wide, but they put in a couple floating ducks in the water—it’s supposed to distract your horses. Which it will not, since I spent hours with you drilling ‘scary’ water fences!”
    She glared at the group as if daring us to disagree. I wasn’t worried; Pride had never looked twice at the long, low fences with water underneath.
    “And then, with the drum roll of dread, is the wall.”
    I stared at the tall bright red vertical patterned with light blocks, taking the shape of a wall. Pride had a random fear of these; honestly, I’d never met a horse who hadn’t for at least some period of their lifetime.
    “Some of you,” Lauren continued, staring straight at me, “have concentration issues when it comes to wall jumps. Then you blame the horse on having a fear of them, when it is clearly, the rider’s favorite catch-phrase, ‘Always the rider’s fault’. So, just keep leg on Pri- your horses and focus very clearly on the fence. Though that won’t come easily for some.”
    I turned red. Seeing this, Lauren laughed and said, “I’m just kidding. But do pay special attention. Anyway, after that’s a bending line to an oxer. I’d recommend sitting back a little and aiming for six strides instead of five, since that could get a bit strung-out. Then a triple bar, just watch the striding and you’ll be fine-- your horses are all athletic jumpers. Finally, the last combination-- first an ascending oxer, then a vertical, and the last fence is a parallel oxer. Very tricky striding, first one stride, then three, then two. Watch out during that, and don’t get all goofy just because the end of the course is there.”
    So that was our course, plain and simple. Not.
    We all headed to the stalls and quickly groomed and tacked up. I led Pride to the warm up arena, where most of the competitors were already warming up over the practice jumps. The entire ring was filled, and I had some difficulty finding a spot on the rail for us. Once cantering, I found the practice fence open for a moment and we hurriedly leaped over it. Luckily, Valerie didn’t cut me off again!
    “Number 561, Angelina Rubin, on Wild Card.”
    The buzzer sounded and the pair calmly moved into a slow canter. In this round of jumping, speed didn’t matter as long as you finished within the allowed time. Only those who rode clear would get to the next round, which was measured in both speed and accuracy.
    Angelina gently piloted Wild Card around the course, and they finished with a clear round. How many hours a day did the girl practice?!
    “Number 927, Thomas Yoncin, on Dawning New Day.”
    After his disaster in the dressage round, I knew that Thomas would definitely not get into the top 5 at this show. However, his show jumping round was beautiful with only one knockdown and I applauded with the rest of the crowd when he finished.
    “Number 475, Madelyn McCarthy, on Pride in Hunyuwatt.”
    This time, I didn’t need Lauren to shove me forward. I gathered my reins and gave Pride a light squeeze, permission to enter the ring.
         
        11-13-2013, 11:00 PM
      #38
    Foal
    I quite like this novel you've got going. However I do have to agree with your previous publisher that some of these terms are too technical or "horsey" for the non-horse/non-jumping crowds. If you take a group of people who do not jump and put them in front of a few different oxers, it's likely they won't understand. With that being said, it's easy for me to see that you've tried adding explanations of what the jumps are through the use of hint dropping. (Liverpool having rubber ducks, etc.) The same was apparent in your Cross Country chapter, though your cross country is slightly more technical in course description than this chapter is. If you revise and see fit, I'd suggest looking for more clue drops that you can add (maybe take the time to have your character describe an oxer in an earlier chapter; you may have, I haven't read this entire story in one go; just another example.)

    It's easy for me to rank this novel in line with books such as Heartland, Phantom Stallion, The Thoroughbred and The Chestnut Hill series, and the Saddle Club(tv show and books). You might also be able to be along the lines of Pony Pals, however your book seems more matured in material. These books share a similar upbeat tone with a minor antagonist in the "rich snobby" character. You'd have a target audience of early-teens and younger, if you were well written enough, I'd imagine you could target Scholastic Books as a possible publisher. You most definitely have an audience for this book.

    If I'm nitpicking, I'd tell you your character development and your ability to use these characters to their full advantage is lacking. Valerie, for example, feels like she's currently a novelty character, used to add some sort of drama and only making an appearance when it suits the story. She shows up to mock someone injured or become a hinderance to the main character's transportation plans, otherwise disappearing. This, however, is partly addressed in the addition of your latest chapter and may well be addressed in chapters unreleased at the time of this review. Remember that people do have several layers to their personality. The dad is always seems to be upbeat and supportive of the daughter, when you know that there'd be instances that annoy him. Things like this can make characters seem too idealized, less "human" and more "fictional ideology the author would enjoy seeing".

    Your story overall is captivating and it's on the edge of a "page turner" type piece. You've got a friendly, inviting tone that draws the reader in and a mysterious back story. Regardless of the fact that you've made no mention of the girl's mother (and may not do it in this story at all) it works for you in that it does maintain a genuine curiosity as to what became of the woman and whether she will return to the story. I'd like to remind you of other aspects of this girl's life. Homework, school, getting a license and practicing driving, would all make for decent additions to this story. Since the type of writing in this particular novel is geared more toward younger readers, it's always beneficial to remind the impressionable that it's not all fun and games - other aspects of life exist.

    With all of that being said, remember that this is my personal opinion. :)

    ___

    I, really, really, like what you have going here. I always find myself with the want to read more after the end of each chapter. You're an awesome author, and I would most definitely consider sending it off to the publisher after you revise it again.
    xJumperx and faiza425 like this.
         
        11-14-2013, 10:16 PM
      #39
    Foal
    NeryLibra, thank you so much for your kind comments! Your suggestions were very helpful, and I plan to take a look at the story again with them in mind and try to address some of the character developmental, technical, and real-life aspects. I appreciate you writing such a detailed review, this will be extremely helpful in my quest for being a published author.
    Thanks again!!
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        11-16-2013, 06:29 AM
      #40
    Foal
    Keep up the good work ! Its still amazing .. some terms are a bit to technical but I don't really mind *
    Posted via Mobile Device
         

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