A Chesnut Mare - Part 1

by Abby

I pulled back sharply on my reigns as a cow threatened to escape. I made a loud, crowing noise from the back of my throat.

'Oh, no you don't', my partner, Eliza, called out, busy trying to keep cows away from the open gate.

Worried, I looked at the time. 30.861 - shoot. Little time left, and with five cows to go. As a steer, #8, ran by me, a quickly switched places with Eliza. My task now was to cut cow #9 from the heard and make sure no other cows followed. I jerked my reigns to the side as I looped around the poor calf.

Separated from the herd, the pure black calf tried to escape. I ran to the back of him and pushed him to the gate. Eliza, now back in action, had #0 separated already. I made opening for him right as another cow bolted for the gate, I ran in front of him.

He backed up, and #0 tried for the gate. I pulled right to make an opening. The only problem was, my beautiful silver gelding, Gypsy, went left. I fell off right as another cow entered the gate.

'Were we close?' I asked, standing up and brushing myself off.

'Two cows left', Eliza called back. I cooed Gypsy back to me and mounted.

'No problem', I said. 'We only had a couple seconds left anyway'. Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration. If that was a real competition, we would have been roadkill. And it wouldn't look great for either Eliza or me to get that time. Plus, I fell off. There's always that.

'Sorry, boy', I told Gypsy, stroking his mane. 'You knew that calf was trying to go right and I was just blocking him'. Eliza smiled.

'You know', she said, 'You apologize to your horse before you apologize to me'. I rolled my eyes. Eliza and I were cousins. Out of the two, she was older by three months. That landed us in the same grade at school, the same class in riding, and on the same sorting team. But I don't think any of us minded.

'Oh, ya. You too, Eliza', I said mockingly.

'Its lunch time, Paige', came the reply.

I unmounted Gypsy and tethered him to to a pole. I un-tacked the heavy western saddle and bright red saddle pad I picked out at the store. As soon as I saw the lively color, I knew it would be perfect against his silky, silver coat. Along with the saddle pad, I got red and white striped boots and black ankle supports.

Eliza said it made me stand out, but coming from him that means nothing. With his black and gray tack, Eliza blended into the crowd like a cloud in the sky. I stroked his silky mane with a comb, and soon was brushing him down head to toe. His soft breath calmed me.

I could spend all day with him. Who cares about lunch. Sadly, I threw his halter over his head. The halter, like all of my tack, was red. Well, all my tack except my saddle.

As I lead him to his stall directly across from my bedroom, something bright caught my eye. A beautiful chestnut mare was running through our stables, mowing over buckets, lawn chairs, and hay bales. He was coming closer and closer. Before I knew it - things went black.

I woke up in a room full of white. Nothing hurt. But then again, from waist down, I couldn't feel anything. I couldn't remember what happened. But I knew where I was. The hospital. I slowly looked down at my feet. One ankle was in a brace, while the other was bruised.

Suddenly, things came back to me. The mare, her running into me. Oh my gosh! Gypsy! I reached out to get up, but my arm was locked. And in a cast. It couldn't get worse....

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