A Summer at Tumbling Oaks

by Nina



Although it looked like Katie, a petite 13 year old girl with blonde hair and blue eyes, was walking down the barn aisle on the first day of summer without a thought in her head, she was deep in thought. Katie was thinking about what summer this year would be like. A few years ago her horse and her had been in an accident, hospitalizing both of them for several months, and leaving her to chose whether to put her horse out of pain. Katie had chosen to put her horse, Topnotch, down. She had used to wonder if she should quit riding all together after that. Then she had found a new barn, Tumbling Oaks, it was a vast 400 acres with many boarders and residential horses. The people were all friendly and it felt like a family. There she had fallen in love with a 16.2 bay Thoroughbred mare named Slate. Slate was 7 years old the first day Katie had seen her. Linda had been jumping her as her dad had pulled into the lane. Slate was tossing her head and running towards the jumps. Then, after clearing the jumps, she had kicked up her heels and thrown a half-hearted buck. Obviously her intention wasn’t to get the rider off, she was just having fun. That’s when she knew this barn was for her. They skipped the tour altogether. The next day Katie had talked her dad into making an offer on Slate, Linda had agreed immediately, deciding from what she could tell, Katie and Slate had matching personalities.

Katie sighed, breathing in the fresh smell of new wood, hay and best of all, horses! Bump. Katie had bumped into something, taking her out of her day dream. She looked down to see Courtney’s tack box. Then, she felt a tap on her shoulder which nearly scared her to death. “Goodness!” Katie swirled around quickly to get a look at who tapped her.
“Boo!” Courtney said loudly as soon as Katie had turned around.
“Courtney, don’t you know better than to mess around me?” said Katie with a wild look in her eye.
“Of course your majesty, I’m terribly sorry!” Courtney had started to bow when Linda marched over and interrupted.

“Girls, you’re needed in the tack room where the rest of us are! Please hurry up.” With that Linda walked away in the direction of the tack room. Courtney and Katie shared a glance. Katie looked over her friend. She hadn’t seen her since last summer. Courtney had lost her puppy fat but was still broad shouldered and big boned. She secretly laughed to herself; she was beginning to describe Courtney as she would a horse! It also seemed as though Courtney had also become prettier and dressier. She had on a pretty figure shaped yellow tank top with light jeans, black half chaps, and new doublin boots. Her red hair also looked lusher and combed through, her blue eyes finishing off the ‘fashionista’ look. Courtney was also sizing up Katie. It almost seemed as if Katie had become even more petite over the school year! She had an always cheerful expression on her face. Courtney also saw the same determination in Katie’s eyes. She had always been jealous of her friend’s looks and figure, but now even more so. Katie could have been a model, on a midget runway considering she was only 5’2” and nearly fully grown. They passed smiles and hurried off after Linda.

“Attention,” everyone continued to chatter as Linda tried to get everyone’s attention. “Attention!” The noise stopped immediately at the loud harsh voice. “Now that I have your attention, I will begin the meeting.” Linda nodded as if to make sure everyone agreed, and then continued. “This year will be the same as any other. You are expected to be at the stables or with us at all times. Since none of you ever come in the winter, as we are at least 3 hours away from all of you, you will be expected to treat this summer as a camp at Tumbling Oaks.” She paused as people started to clap and whoop a little. “We will deliver your schedules to you all and go over rules at dinner. Please stay with your counselors at all times for today. Now, this year we have two new students; Linda and Sarah!” As Linda stopped for a moment to catch her breath, everyone glanced around to see a glimpse of the new riders. “Linda, please come up to the front of the room.” Katie noticed a tall, elegant blonde stand up. She was slim with a nice figure; obviously a good fashion sense. She seemed very comfortable and out there. She flashed big smiles to everyone. As she walked up to the front, she turned heads. Katie gave a quick side glance, just to see that Courtney was definitely thinking the same thing. “Welcome Lisa.” Linda broadly grinned at her, Lisa nodded in response. “Sarah please come up here as well.” Right next to me, a short stockier girl rushed up. She seemed very self conscious and a bit nervous with everyone looking at her. “Everyone please welcome these lovely girls!” The applause was thunderous and welcoming. Lisa and Sarah both blushed as they hurried back to their spots. “Alright, we will meet in the cafeteria at 7 tonight; please be on time! We will discuss rules then, for now, get to work looking after your horses and making your teams stall and isle areas squeaky clean!” with that Linda banged her fist on the table and everyone hollered with excitement and got to work preparing for the first day of camp tomorrow.

“Ohmygosh, I’ve been waiting all winter for this! I missed it so much.” Alexis was running towards Katie and Courtney. Alexis was also their friend, they greeted each others with a group hug.

“We missed you too Al!” Katie grinned at her friend. Alexis had also changed. Her face looked smooth and, as Alexis was smiling, Katie also noticed braces! Alexis still had her old style in clothes however, the torn up jeans and a dirty shirt. Though, Katie still marveled at how it worked, Alexis always looked amazing. The three girls linked arms and strolled off together, sharing their gossip, towards their group’s cabin.

“Hey girls.” A cheery looking woman greeted Katie, Courtney, and Alexis. “I’m Jane and I’m you’re counselor for the summer. We have two other girls in our group who haven’t arrived yet, as soon as they do we’ll do some bonding activities. While you guys are here, feel free to pick out your beds and unpack, etc.”

“Okay, sounds good.” Alexis smiled politely and moved over the bottom bed on the bunk bed. Courtney took the top bed and Katie took the single next to them. Courtney was the first one to finish making her bed; she had pretty blue and green sheets with bay horses galloping around on them. She sighed and collapsed on her bed as soon as she was finished. Second to finish was Alexis. She had plain navy blue sheets. Katie was last to finish, she had rainbow sheets with a shiny silver pillow case. Just as she had tucked in her sheets Lisa and Sarah walked in.

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