A Story of a Girl and a Horse, Broken Without Each Other
This is just a story I started writing :)
I'm really loving writing it, and thought I'd go ahead and grab some feedback!! This main post is just the first chapter, I have written the second as well. The first chapter is much shorter than the second, so thought I'd make sure it started well before throwing you guys the rest. Just so you know, the story is NOT about her recovering from (event in chapter one), so you're not getting the same story everyone else tells ;) Okay, I'll let you read now! Enjoy! Please let me know how you feel about it, I will post more after I get a few people's feedback, so that I know I'm not just posting to an empty cyberspace. Thanks!
“Now Krista, watch that combination, too. It’s a one stride, but it’s super forward. Don’t get behind it though, ‘cause if you try to fit two in there, you’re screwed.” I nodded, understanding what Trina meant. This was the top circuit, and if the judge caught you riding the wrong distances, you weren’t just out of the ribbons – you were out of the top 15. I gazed down to my grand dapple gray. Ghost wasn’t mine, but I loved him as if he were so. I’d been riding him for about 3 years now, bringing him up from a 3 year old, with Trina’s help. He was her horse – a project she bought with spare change. He turned out to be filled with promise, and became ‘my’ show horse.
In that time, we’d grown an amazing bond. I practically lived at Trina’s barn, considering I worked there as a stable hand, and also took lessons 3 times a week. So whenever I had free time, I always found myself playing around with Ghost. He had a spectacular personality, and was the type to follow you around the ring if you unclipped his lead, keeping your exact pace, but very careful to never run you over or go too far ahead. I patted him now, and scratched the spot on his neck where he likes. He stretched his nose out as usual, happy to be itched in his special-spot. “One-twenty-three, you’re on deck!” Words from the ring steward popped me out of my daydream. We were up next. This was the big time – if we came out in first in this Derby, are options were wide open. International teams, top colleges, everything. This was important, considering I was a senior this year, and was hoping for a scholarship on riding in order to get anywhere … because careers weren’t exactly something I had ever really thought about.
“Thank you, Ashlee,” came over the announcer. A rider on a smaller chestnut walked energetically out of the ring on a loose rein. His rider patted him, with a wide smile. Must have been a good run – good for them, not so good for me. I was nervous. Trina grabbed Ghost’s reins, and walked me up to the gate, as if though I could be trusted with her horse over 5 foot obstacles, but not to walk over to the in gate. “Listen, don’t get tense. Just breathe, and relax, and he’ll do the same. You ready?” She looked up to me confidently. I knew ‘no’ wasn’t an answer – Trina would rip my stirrups off my saddle and force me into the ring as is if I did. After a deep breath, I went with “As I’ll ever be! Come on Ghostly, let’s go.” I gathered my reins, so that I had a decent contact with his mouth. I gave him a gentle nudge, and we were off into a canter.
The course was actually a pretty easy ride, so I wasn’t much worried about it. I turned him down the long side toward our first jumps, a single leading to a diagonal line. I held him back at first, easing him off the bridle. He liked to jump strong, though it messed up his form at times. Only during the lines could he really push on, since they usually set them long. He flew over the single with ease, paying no mind to the hay and tree branches used to decorate the jump. I pushed him into the corners before turning him into the diagonal line. I asked for more of him, and he soared over the first of the two. I counted the strides between, “One, two, three, four, five!” A perfect spot, with the exact distance required between – so far, so good. I passed the in-gate, where Trina stood. Per normal, she gave me direction quietly, “Keep him moving, that combo is up after the gate. Don’t let him slow!” She was clearly worried … She’d been watching the previous riders – it must have been giving them trouble. If we could perfect it, we could be in the top 3 for sure. I squeezed him on, though careful not to get him leaning on the bit. The gate was a simple, open distance. But it was teasing for what lay ahead.
It was a regular pole jump, then one with barrels set up behind it. It looked like a two stride – in fact, it wouldn’t be impossible to fit three. Now I was starting to think that Trina didn’t just mean I’d be out of the ribbons if I didn’t make the distance – The jumps were big enough, that it was possible Ghost could get caught with his legs in the jumps if something went wrong. Huh. That made things a little more nerve racking. “Come on bub, you’ve really got to get this…” I gave him a very quick pat, and pushed him on even further. I could feel him asking for more of his head, but I didn’t want him taking it and running with it after the combination – the judges would frown upon us greatly if he were too strung out. Ghost took what he could, and sized the first jump up as normal. With a kick, we were in the air. I gave him a decent release, and prepared him for the landing. As he needed to, he tried to stretch out to make the one.
But he yanked me forward with the rein in the process.
He brought his head back to a collected spot, as I accidentally cued. I tried to throw away my reins, put him back in a stretch, but it was too late. He’d already taken his first stride. And was now trying to take another half of one. But his feet were tangled. He was unsure. He didn’t want to make the jump. He didn’t think he could. He tried anyway. Oh god.
He threw his head in the air, almost as if he hoped his nose could carry his body over the large jump. He pulled his legs up in front of him, and I could feel his back legs level with them as he tried to do an almost deer-like jump. Feeling so uncomfortable and wrong, he kicked out with his back legs then, throwing his entire body mass to the side. He landed on his right foot first, then tumbled to his left knee. I tried to break the fall with my hands, before smashing into the ground with him. I fell to my side, then quickly looked up to find his side coming straight at me. Then everything stopped, and went black.
58 views and no bites? Critique is more than welcome :)
I threw my shoulders into the sliding barn door, and it opened with a groan. The runners got a bit squeaky in the winter, much like I did. I quickly scurried inside the heated barn and closed the door behind me. “Mornin’ Trina!” I called into the aisles. Concreted and matted floors, graced with beautiful wooden stalls made up the amazing barn. I was always so jealous of her, having something so … pretty.
“Hey Krista! Give me two seconds, I’ll be out!” I just nodded to the air, and decided to check the whiteboard while I waited for my trainer. On it were listed the lesson schedules for the day - the kids’ names, along with the horse they’d be riding. I smiled, knowing I was once amongst the names. But ever since I became Trina’s stable hand, she usually just ended up telling me who I rode, for it would and could change – If a lesson horse had been naughty, I was the one to set him straight. If she needed someone worked, I rode that one instead. I was fine with this system, for it worked fine with the both of us. Today, we were skipping the lesson, though. Krista occasionally went out and grabbed project horses when they came on the market. Considering I was always the one to ride them when she didn’t, she always brought me along. It was a fun time, and I enjoyed it.
The training process was quite simple – I’d ride the horse first, and give him the basic groundwork methods needed in the Hunter ring. I would also give the horses dressage bases, to make them more supple and easy to work with for the Hunters. After they had passed all their flatwork tests, Trina would take over to put jump training on them. I didn’t jump, and hadn’t since … the accident. Fear overtook me, and after Ghost had lost his trust in jumping too, I had decided that he knew best. We both became flatwork masters, but decided to keep it to that – flatwork.
I walked over to his stall now, and clucked gently, “Ghostly grey, come sweet boy!” I called to him softly, from the outside of his stall. He pricked his ears and lifted his head from his pile of hay, sticking his nose through the iron bars of the stall. I tickled his nose playfully, and he in turn played with my finger with his upper lip. “Oh, you know I’d never forget your peppermints!” I reached in my pocket and offered his favorite treat. He still wasn’t mine, and would likely never be, but he still remained my favorite. The problem was, Trina also loved him, and I knew she’d never sell. He munched happily, as Trina turned the corner. “Ready to go?”
I turned to her and smiled, “As ever! Let’s go!” I said my goodbyes to Ghostly, and we jumped in the truck to leave. “Got the trailer hooked up already? Did you get him sight-on-scene?” I asked quizzically, for it was hardly something Trina ever did. She liked to check for potential first, to see what the horse would be like to work with. She wasn’t one to go off a hunch. “Yep, sure did. I liked him. You will too.” She was being so short – she was normally one to talk for hours. It was clear something was a secret, so I let it lay. I casually turned up the radio (Country, of course!) and gazed out the window as we drove to our destination.
“Uh, Trina… I don’t think this is the horse we want,” was all I could manage to say about the topic. The gelding was black as coal, with nothing but a tiny, yet glistening, white snip. His eyes were a deep, almost orange amber color that blazed with fury. He had an attitude to match. “Now, Tee, I told you that this horse wasn’t for your little girl to ride. He’s a-goin’ to need all your attentions, and I mean yours, Tee,” spouted Vince, a horse trader Trina had done business with for … well, forever. She liked to buy youngsters off of him, for he was good at finding some nice bloodlines in the auctions. How he did it, I’d never know, because I’ve never been one to be auction savvy.
“She can ride anything I’ve got, and I know she can ride him. He’s got some fire, but she’s dealt with that before. Haven’t you, Kristene?” She only used my whole first name when she needed me to say something very specific. In this case- “Yes, of course! I’d love to give him a spin, he looks like he’d be .. er, fun.” I choke out as I walk up to the dark horse. He gave a few short, upward bursts with his head against the reins Vince held, connected to a bit that the horse chomped on unhappily. I gently placed my hand on his toned neck, as if he could shock me like an electric fence. He was a beautiful animal, really, if you weren’t focused on the fact that he had ambitions to kill you.
Trina helped me into the saddle, as I gathered my reins. We were in a large round-pen, with high metal fencing. It looked safe to ride in, as I had ridden horses like this one in open fields, with no fencing at all. Yet Vince was still standing in front of me and the horse, with his hands on his hips and a troubled look on his face.
“Now, Kristene, I don’t think this is a very good ideal, do you?” I sucked back a ‘no,’ and recited what I knew Trina would want me to say, “No, thank you Vince, but I’m fine. He’s being good, I’m sure he’ll be fine. Thank you though,” I tried to explain to the insistent man. But he shook his head, “No, I won’t allow it. I don’t usually deny customers, but I’ve known Tee too long. I ain’t goin’ to let you ride this horse, ma’am, seen him throw one a-too many. He get wild real quick, he don’t warn you or nothing. Just takes off buckin’. Threw a good ol’ cowboy into these fences. I’m a do you a favor, and get you down from there,” He began to walk to the side of the black horse, and as he did I gently squeezed the horse into a forward walk, away from Vince. “No, thank you. I’ll be fine. Ask Trina!” I called back, taking in the horse’s movements. He moved … largely. He was big, and powerful, like sitting on a hot wire. Ready to burst in flame at any given moment. Vince stood in the middle of the arena nervously. I kept a tight rein on the animal, hoping to limit his abilities to take control. Hesitantly, I asked for a trot.
Surprisingly, the horse moved into the higher gait beautifully. He accepted my contact, and moved out into a lovely stride. He pulled his hind quarters into action, and floated into the air. He felt simply wonderful. I smiled, now knowing what Trina came to see this horse about. His ground manners could use some work, but he just floated under-saddle. He’d be the perfect dressage prospect. But what about what Vince said? There was no way this horse could throw people, not with the way he was behaving now. I reached down carefully to pat his neck, remembering he said he’d blow without warning. After recollecting my reins, I reversed the horse, and trotted the other way. The same reaction. I looked to Vince, wondering what he thought. His face was awestruck. “Impossible …” he muttered. I just shook it off, and decided the horse was ready for a canter. He rocked back into it, knowing exactly what I wanted, almost before I asked. He pushed into the bridle, but careful not to pull through it. He rounded up, and took the gait like it was all he ever did. More magical than his trot, he danced through the arena. I loved him.
“Thank you Vince, he’s absolutely wonderful! Trina, your turn! You’ll love him, he’s such a dream!” Trina unlatched the gate and walked into the pen as I dismounted the black. I turned to Vince, realizing something about the horse, “I never got his name? What is it?” He still had that same stargazed look in his eye, but told me, “Kiro. The horse’s name is Kiro.” I nodded, liking the exotic name. I turned back to the horse, now admiring his blazed eyes. It was almost if he held secrets, that he didn’t dare share to just anyone. I stroked his small white snip, that acted as a flashlight against his coat. He accepted the touch, and pressed into it gently. “He likes you, Krista, I really think he does,” Trina said in a sincere, caring tone as she hopped into the saddle. I backed away, to the outside of the pen, and sat on a bench just outside it’s gate, watching to see how Trina did with Kiro. What I would see, would simply shock me.
She asked for his walk, which he did just fine. I could tell it was halfhearted, and not as forward and full as he had before, which I didn’t question – Trina was likely holding him back, fearing what Vince had told her about the horse. But then, she asked for his trot. I expected his beautiful, round, cloud nine of a trot he had produced before. What he gave Trina was not that. He was flat, with pinned ears. He brought his head into a rollkur motion, which was extremely unnatural, and I could tell Trina was not asking for it – she never trained with rollkur, and swore against it. I stood, confused by Kiro’s action. Why was he not behaving the same way he had for me? Trina kicked him forward, and he finally shaped up. Brought his head out of the twist, and rose his hind quarters. “That’s more like it…” Trina thought aloud. I smiled too, knowing Kiro would need to make a decent impression if Trina were to buy him. I wanted to keep him, more than anything. To have the opportunity to ride such an amazing animal every day would be a god given grace.
Trina then asked him for a canter. Asked. Not received. Kiro broke out into a hideous run, throwing his head into the air, nose level with his ears. He ran through the bridle, and stole away Trina’s reins. As soon as she had lost her grip, the horse threw his head down quickly and deliberately. She fell forward immediately, as Kiro then threw himself to the side, twisting his back into an awful buck. Then, for the first time in all the time I’d been with Trina, I witnessed her being thrown off of a horse.
She flew to the dirt, as Kiro ran away from his dismounted rider, coming directly toward me. He stopped dead at the gate, and stared at me, with the whites of his eyes glowing against the amber glare. I raced into the pen, and grabbed him, making sure he couldn’t run back to trample Trina or Vince. Vince went to Trina then, and helped her to her feet. She snarled, and pointed to me and Kiro, “Krista!! Get back on that horse, and you teach him to behave! I won’t have a horse get away with something like that! But I’m not getting on that wretched thing…” She snarled, walking quickly out of the arena. It was such a shock to me. Trina didn’t seem like the person that wouldn’t get back on after a fall. She was strong, able, and knew how to ride, and did it well. It was puzzling, but I ignored it, and did as I was told. Expecting the same treatment from Kiro, I treated him like a bomb, careful with my aids. But there was no need. He was an angel. Rounded back, on the bit, just the perfect horse I had been on just minutes ago. Trina was completely shocked. I expected her to go on a fit, running back to the truck, not even worried about getting her money back from Vince. But she surprised me, yet again, a popular trend now-a-days.
“Load the horse in the trailer. He’s coming home tonight.” She said quickly, but softly. She turned on her heel, and opened the trailer doors. I dismounted and untacked Kiro. The entire time I handled him, he seemed lovable, careful, and calm. Nothing like I had walked into, and nothing like I’d seen Trina ride. I started to walk him to the trailer, but Vince decided he’d take him from me, and let me go sit in the truck. I began to oblige – but Kiro did not. He planted his hooves, and threw his head into the air as soon as Vince took the lead of his halter. I turned back to him to see him throwing himself backwards, away from the man’s grasp. He called, “Trina!” as she came running. She grabbed the horse as well, and tried to hold on to him as he went back, but he only went faster, shaking his head. I came to them now, managing to snag the end of the rope, and called to Kiro, “Woah, boy, enough!” The horse stopped dead in his tracks. No movement forward, no movement back. Just nothing. Vince and Trina looked to each other, to me, to Kiro, then back to me. And let go of the rope. I collected it, and asked Kiro to walk on. He did just that.
I loaded the black gelding onto the trailer, hooked him up, shut the door, and walked to the truck. He sat in the trailer quietly, and munched away at his hay. Trina came into the truck just watching me. I looked back to her to express that I knew just about as much about the situation as she did. Absolutely nothing.
omg i love this i wish i had this relationship with my horse lol please put up more i want to know what happens. please please please!!!???
Wow, glad to hear someone is enjoying it! Of course I'll post more, as I write it :) In the middle of chapter 3 now - as soon as I finish, I'll post :)
After settling Kiro in his stall, Trina decided to have a chat with me in front of his stall door. “Krista, you are my star rider, and I love you. But please, tell me how in the world you made that horse do anything for you. He was a complete mess when I rode him – just strung out, heavy, and not listening. But you get on and he’s a perfect angel. I just don’t get it.” I honestly didn’t know anything about it either. I hadn’t done anything special, just rode how I normally do. “I don’t know,” I started, “I just … I guess we just clicked. What did Vince tell you about the horse before we got there? He said he threw people, but that’s all I know,” I inquired, curious of Kiro’s past. He did seem full of secrets, and not all of them kind.
“Well, that’s the basis of it. He said Kiro would do anything to get someone off his back. Buck, rear, twist, bolt, even just stop dead in the middle of a run. I mean, you saw the measures he went to to get me off. Something is nasty about that horse, I’m sure of it.” She did seem hard on Kiro, and I felt bad for him, especially seeing as he’d done no wrong to me. “But, Trina, if you don’t like him so much, why did you get him? He won’t keep you on his back! So how will you train him to jump? I mean, he’s already got his dressage basics down. I don’t think I could teach him anything,” I admitted embarrassingly. Trina went silent for a moment, and looked to her feet. After pondering for a moment, she looked me dead in the eye, and told me, “I’m not. You are.”
I really didn’t know what to say. I wouldn’t jump, couldn’t jump, since the fall with Ghost. It’d left his hip cracked, my pelvis crunched in places. Not to mention my shattered confidence. I’d tried jumping with many of Trina’s school horses, all I knew would take me over gladly, with no issues. The jumps were tiny, 2 foot. But for some reason, it was always last minute – I’d pull the horse to a halt, or to the side of the jump if he wouldn’t stop. Trina would yell and holler, push me to do it, but in the end she knew she couldn’t. I trusted her more than any person I knew, but something inside me blocked me from soaring once again. The feeling I once loved, I no longer remember, and no longer desire. Ghost was now a lesson horse, whom I still ride and love. The only difference? Jumping is out of our schedules now.
“No,” was all I could make out. “Well then I’m taking him back to Vince,” came Trina’s bitter reply. She turned to walk away, grabbing her truck keys off the table. “Grab him, load him in the trailer,” She called without turning. I refused the command, not willing to let go of Kiro. There was something about him I knew I had to hold on to, something I couldn’t release, “No! I won’t take him back!” I called back to my trainer. She turned swiftly, facing me again, “Well then you’ll have to train him. I obviously can’t do it, and that horse has the potential to really go somewhere – and you know it just as much as I do. So do something about it. Tack the horse up, and meet me in the arena in 5 minutes. That, or load him in the trailer. Those are your options, Krista, pick which one you want.” I stood there stunned for a moment, then nodded. It was lesson time. I grabbed Kiro’s red nylon halter, clipped it to his lead, and placed him in the crossties across from his stall. I took my red saddle pad, with white trim, and placed it upon his back. Then came the saddle, and leather girth, without a hitch. Kiro was truly a different horse from where we had picked him up - before he had been flighty and aggressive, stepping away from the tack, and even kicked out at Vince when he tightened the girth before. “Just playing favorites, aren’t you buddy?” I teased the big black boy. He looked back at me with his dark amber eyes, almost speaking back to me. I smiled, and bridled him. Led him to the arena, and mounted him.
“Okay, I’m ready,” I turned to Trina, standing in the middle of the arena. She smiled and nodded, pleased to see me on the big black gelding. “You know, you two do look pretty good together. But no matter. Let’s get started.”
She started with just putting us through the paces. Walking, extended walking, a collected walk, and all of the above at the trot and canter as well. All simple things I knew and could execute well. I could tell it was almost … a test. For something I knew was imminent. “Okay, go ahead and take on walk around the small field to cool off a bit. Then come right back.” I knew what she was doing – sending me away so she could set up standards. She was crazy. I wouldn’t jump before, nothing was changing now. But I obliged, letting her think that she could get away with her tactics for now.
The winter air was nice, and crisp. I always loved the winter. The pasture was low on grass, as they always were in the colder months. But they made for a lovely ride. It was just about February now, so not as bitter as it could be. The afternoon time of day made for a nice sun to ride by as well, so things were nice. I loved taking rides in the pasture. I always wished I could do more trail riding, but Trina’s property didn’t have any, and the closest trails were miles and miles away. So it was never really convenient. I reached down to pat Kiro’s neck, “No worries, bud. I’ll make sure to get you out there some time. It doesn’t look like anyone else will be riding you, so I bet we’ll be spending lots of time together!” I giggled. I liked the idea of having Kiro to myself, as he was so wonderful, and I really felt a connection with him – one that was almost as strong as me and Ghost’s, which was hard to say, considering me and Ghost had built that bond over many, many years, and Kiro and I’s came so … suddenly.
Before I knew it, I had circled back around the pasture, and came back to the gate. I took a deep breath, then asked Kiro to walk on back into the indoor arena. And, to no great surprise, I found myself a series of three jumps set in a line. They were all tiny – the first a cross-rail, the second an extremely low vertical, and the third maybe a 2 foot vertical. All looked like skyscrapers to me though. Jumping was out of the question. It had put Ghost in too much danger before, and had ruined his jumping career – all because I didn’t give him his head. I wasn’t meant to jump. I knew this, and I refused to do it again. I wasn’t going to ruin another horse.
“Okay Krista. I know what you’re thinking. But please just try. Maybe you’ve found your horse, that can pull you out of this fear spot you’re having. Just please. For me? For Kiro?” She pleaded with me. I knew the outcome of this, but I simply nodded, much to her delight. “Great! Then let’s get started! Start by just walking over the jumps. I’ll make them poles for you.” I guided Kiro to the line of poles after Trina had finished lowering them. I had done pole lines several times before, and they didn’t bother me. I couldn’t harm a horse with pole-work, and actually rode Ghost through such practice frequently. None the less, I went into my jumping position, and walked Kiro over the poles with confidence. He was happy to do so. “Good! Now trot,” came my next instruction. I did the same exercise at the higher gait, still as easily as I had before.
In fact, this trend continued all the way up to the point where each pole was raised on one side – the poles may have been 6 inches off the ground on the highest side, but it was an accomplishment, at least for Trina. I had actually never gotten that far before. I always chickened out after the poles stopped being flush with the ground. Kiro was a champ – lifted each leg in the perfect form, never touched a single pole the whole time. “That’s great Krista, that’s fantastic. Just keep going around at the trot like that.” She took one of the poles, and made it a cross-rail. Still tiny. 6 inches off the ground, again, at the highest point. The point where I would actually jump was likely 3 inches. But for the first time in years, I let myself go over that 3 inch cross-rail. I couldn’t believe it, but it had happened. And Trina was overjoyed. As was I! I looked down at Kiro, unbelievably proud of the wonderful horse. “You may be a one-person horse,” I whispered to him, “But you’re my one horse … and that’s all I need…”
I love it!!!
omg your a wonderful author try to publish this book/short story!! your great take your time making it as great as possible
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