The whole story
"Wow." Was all I could utter.
"Her name is Friday. She's a top-class eventer but she had an injury lately. I know how great you are at nursing and training horses, what with the wonders you did with Dream, so I bought her off the meat man. "
"Why didn't anyone one want her?" I implicated, stroking her soft muzzle abs feeding her polo mints.
"She's been classed as a problem horse. " My Mum sat down on a red brick wall, swinging her legs and humming a tune, looking bored as I tacked up the chestnut, eager to ride. Dream snorted indignantly from the paddock. I felt disloyal somehow, leaving him there. And you know one thing I never noticed, Suki was gone.
The chestnut, whose name was Rocket, was amazing. Just as amazing as Dream. I thought gultily as me and Ricket cleared a three foot spread. I had been taking it easy fir the past few weeks, simple jumps, walking and trotting, hacking and a few exhilarating moments of canter. He had no problem, except he just wouldn't do a triple combination. So I put up three poles, the last one a jump. He trotted over them like a star. But as soon as they rise higher than one foot, he bolts. Mum wants me to sell him. She just doesn't get I can't do that. To her, he's just another horse, to me he's a friend.
So I persist. But he will NOT jump that conmbination. No matter what I do. He will jump ditches, water jumps, logs, tyres, anything. Anything except a combination.
"How'd it go, honey?" Dad asks me when I return.
"Terrible. " I reply dismally, flicking idly through a celebrity magazine.
"Hey. I know a bloke from my days in the instructing business. Steve. Steve Whitbury. I could give him a call. " Dad offers, punching in the number. He's like that, dad. Doesby wait for an answer, just does it.
So this Whitbury bloke sets up the biggest jump I've ever seen.
"She can't jump that!" I squeak.
"You mean you can't, Hannah. Trust your horse.
I canter Rocket up to the jump, my stomach jelly. She stops dead.
"What stopped her?" Steve asks.
"I told you she couldn't jump it!" I grin smugly.
"Your stopping her because you've convinced yourself she can't. Now treat this jump as if it were a one footer. Go on." Steve encourages me.
I gulp, take a deep breath and squeeze her. She springs into an energetic canter, stops, does a gigantic leap, lands and stumbles. My heart pounds, nearly in my throat.
"You did it. "
"Not well. "
"But you did it. You've got to trust her, Hannah. You convinced yourself she can't jump combinations, just like you thought she couldn't jump that. So, let's try a combination. "
Wow. Steve is better than I gave him credit for.
He sets up three cross poles. I nudge her into a steady trot. She pops over them, hesitating slightly at the third jump, but getting over it. Steve soon has us jumping whole courses, with a combination. I pat Rocket's steaming neck.
"Good girl!" I praise her. "Good girl!"
Dream has retired just lately. Very early, due to a heart condition. I still hack him gently, and he is still to this day my number one. Rocket comes a very close second, but Dream will always be first. I like to remember the day when I was four, when he was a tiny foal. We were united in our unknowing of this world, united in our love.
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