A Summer Like No Other - Part 1
The nice summer breeze, blows my hair behind me. All I can hear is the wind and the sound of my horse Topaz hooves hit the ground. I look down to see my feet dangling from his gleaming chestnut coat. I slow him down to a stop to catch two other horses for their turn in.
The bay mare and flea-bitten gray gelding walk up to me knowing its time to go in. "Good." I whisper. I dismount to clip both halters and lead lines on. Topaz moves closer and nuzzles me. "Good boy." I giggle. I swing onto his back, holding firmly the two lead lines and trot all the way back to the stables.
Once we are inside, I lead the horses to their fresh stalls and squeeze myself thru all the riders who are rushing to go ride. I run into a girl carrying her saddle and drops it. "Watch where you are going!" She yells. "Sorry." I reply embarrassed. I walk all the way down to Michelle, my riding instructor and bosses office. Her desk is filled with neatly stacked piles of papers and dozens of pictures and ribbons hang the walls. "Hi Kayla, can you go muck stall number 5 and 27?" She asks.
"Sure." I reply. I drag my feet down to the pitchforks, bedding and wheelbarrows and pick out one of each. Slowly, I make my way down to stall number 5 and clean it out. My phone vibrates. I open it up and see a new text.
Abby: "Hey! I will be over in 30 minutes, trail ride?"
Kayla: "Ok, I will be grooming Topaz."
I exited the conversation and head down to stall number 27, when I notice a boy about my age, 14, in the corner of his stall, twirling a horse hair bracelet around his fingers. "I have to clean this stall, so if u don't mind...." I say. "Yeah,I will get out of your way. I am Eric, my horse is Hailey." He says nicely.
"I am Kayla, mine is Topaz." I say with a smile. He nods, smiles and walks out. I walk in with my pitchfork and start cleaning and spread bedding around. I check my phone. "10 minutes till she gets here." I moan, wishing we would be galloping across the field at this very moment on our horses. I put away all the cleaning supplies and get my grooming brushes.
Topaz pokes his head out of his stall and throws his head up and down in delight of me brushing him again. I smile and brush him in a circular motion with my curry comb. Then, I flick the invisible dust off his coat with two other brushes and finally finish it off with a hoof pick, Suddenly, I hear two pairs of footsteps, whispering coming near my stall, stall number 32.
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A Summer Like No Other - Part 2
Thinking it's probably Abby and maybe her mom, I almost yell out her name. But, I hold myself back, just incase. That girly tone mixed with hate? It's the girl that dropped her saddle this morning, with a dark brown haired girl who is probably her friend. I gasp, why would they hang around my stall?
“Did you see that freak who made me drop my NEW jumping saddle!?” she asks in an over dramatic way. “Yeah, what’s her problem? Obviously she’s clumsy, can’t wait to see her ride!” The dark brown haired girl sneers.
I roll my eyes. They go back outside just as Abby walks up to my stall. “Hey! Are you ready to go for our ride? I am already tacked up.” She says enthusiastically, like always. “Yeah give me two minutes to tack up and I’ll meet you at the gate.” I say. She nods and we head off in our own directions.
I gently place my saddle pads followed by my English saddle over Topaz’s back and tighten the girth. We walk out of the stall and head down to the gate. “Five minutes…” She grins, holding back a laugh. “Yeah, Yeah” I shake my head and laugh as I open the gate and close it once we are on the other side. I turn around to notice Abby galloping across the field heading for the forest. “Wait up!” I yell right before kicking him into a full out gallop. We quickly catch up to them because of Topaz’s Thoroughbred blood.
“It’s about time.” She says and taps her watch. “Haha… let’s go.” I follow behind her at a trot as we encounter our first log and jump it with ease. I trot up faster to get right beside her and her horse, Galaxy. We go up to a canter to jump 3 pilled logs. “Isn’t this great?” I ask. “Yeah! There is so much I want to do this summer.” She replies. We soar over a line of hedges, then slow to a trot.
The trail starts to get narrow and there are no other obstacles in sight. I slow Topaz to a walk. “Who is the girl with blonde hair and the ‘I am so much better than you’ attitude?” I ask Abby as she slows to a walk right beside me. “Blond hair, not exactly shoulder length but a little longer, dark brown eye?” She starts and I nod. “Oh, right, that’s Laura... She’s a totally snobby rich girl who gets everything she want. Here’s a tip, don’t get in her way, she will make you miserable.” She finishes.
My brain starts spinning as I think of this morning’s incident, knocking down her saddle. “Wow she sounds mean, wouldn’t want to be on her ‘miserable’ list.” “Want to go back?” She asks. “Okay, race ya!” I shout. We take off at a gallop across the field and reach the gate in only a couple seconds.
“I won” I yell in delight. “Yeah, Yeah... Hey look, there’s a horse trailer over there unloading!” Abby says curiously. “Want to go see? Maybe Michelle got a new horse.” I shrug, then answer. “Okay”
Read part 1 here:
A Summer Like No Other - Part 3
We canter down to the big silver horse trailer. Backing up from the trailer was black and white paint mare led by a boy with flowing black hair. I stare at him for a couple seconds with my mouth open. “Ooooh, Kay has a thing for the new boy!” Abby says teasingly.
“No! I was just...uh...looking at the horse! Do you see that gorgeous coat!” I used my acting skills from summer camp to cover that one. “Nice try, but I can tell you’re lying” She mockingly shakes her head to make me feel guilty. The boy leads his horse into the barn and Michelle follows him inside.
I dismount Topaz and tiptoe into the giant stable, followed by Abby. “Welcome Landon, to Briar Ridge Equestrian Center.” Michelle greets him and walks over to his stall, “I believe stall number 31 is yours.” Her voice booms across the three quarter empty stable; making Landon jump a little. Poor him, I laugh.
Michelle turns around to spot me and Abby. “Hi girls! Would you two mind showing Landon around, I would but I am so busy organizing the next English show.” I freeze. Abby gives me a little nudge with her elbow in my back. “Yes of course, right Kayla?” Thank you once again for saving me Abby! “No problem, we can handle that.” I say. Michelle looks both of us in the eye, “Thank you girls” and with that she leaves.
We each lead our horses into our stalls. “So Landon, how old are you?” I ask looking up to see his paint mare chewing happily on her hay in the stall in front of ours. “14,” he starts “how old are you girls?” I grin, “Both 14.” Abby silently laughs at me in her stall a little further down the aisle.
An exaggerated laugh cuts the silence. I poke my head out of the stall to see Laura laughing at something Eric must’ve said as she looks at Abby with a not so innocent laugh. Abby who noticed, stares at Laura with that look she only uses when she is really mad or whenever Laura is around. I know I’ve only been here for three weeks but it doesn’t take much of a genius to notice what Laura is doing. She and Abby sort of have a complicated rivalry that no one really understands.
From what I know, it started a while ago when they were 7. Both of them were best friends and competing at the local shows. Their trainer saw more potential in Abby so she offered her to compete in the regionals. I guess Laura got jealous because after that everything went totally downhill.
“Hahaha! That is so funny Eric!” Laura laughs. “- and then, Hailey ran to the miniature ponies hoping that they would defend her!” Eric says trying to finish his sentence without laughing.
I walk out of Topaz’s stall and walk down to Abby’s. “Can I come in?” I whisper. “Sure” She replies. She sits down in a corner and I do the same. “Seriously, does she do that on purpose?” Abby has no trouble expressing her anger in a whisper. I scoot closer to her, “What’s the issue? Is it her attitude, her riding or maybe...Eric?”
Read Part 1 Here: https://www.horsecrazygirls.com/a-summer-like-no-other-part-1.html
Read Part 2 Here: https://www.horsecrazygirls.com/a-summer-like-no-other-part-2.html
A Summer Like No Other - Part 4
She freezes and then starts blushing when I say his name. “Pfff what? Nooo… Okay fine, it’s obviously her attitude… and maybe Eric, seriously she’s just trying so hard to make me jealous.” She unties her hair from her French braid. “I know Abby, but let’s not worry about her” I think for a moment. Why don’t we ask the boys if they want to trail ride?
I get up and out of the stall. “Hey Eric, come over here!” Abby shoots me a glare probably thinking I am going to tell him about her ‘crush’. He walks over followed by Laura who is still following him everywhere like a puppy. “Eric do u want to come trail riding with us?” I smirk looking at Laura who’s face is turning tomato red. “Sure, I know Hailey would love to” He says then looks at Abby with a smile. Too bad she isn’t looking, I think to myself.
I walk over to Landon, “Hey, want to come trail riding with me, Abby and Eric? We can show you the trails.” He shows me a smile, “That would be great.” So it’s all set! I walk back over to Topaz. Should I even tack up? “Do you guys want to go bareback and to the lake?” I say loud enough for them to hear me but not enough to scare the horses.
“Yeah works for me” says Landon. “Same” both Abby and Eric say together. She blushes. I throw the halter over Topaz’s ears and clip my tie-dye lead line to the gold ring. “Are you guys coming?” I yell out to my friends. “Yes” I hear each of them yelling out.
I lead Topaz out of the barn. “Hey boy, we are going for a trail ride!” I giggle as he sniffs my hands. Abby walks out of the barn with her strawberry roan gelding followed by Eric and Landon. I slide my hands down to his withers and easily lift myself off of the ground. Since I took gymnastic and dance lessons, I am pretty flexible.
Being 16 hh +, Topaz is pretty tall compared to Galaxy, Hailey and – Wait, I don’t even know Landon’s mare’s name! We all get our horses to walk. “Landon, what’s your mare’s name?” I pull my hair back into a pony tail. “Lola” he smiles.
I unlatch the gate that leads to the trails and the fields. Abby races past me missing me by a centimeter. “Hey!” I yell as I latch the gate after going on the other side and noticing that Eric took off a second after Abby. “Gee it looks like it’s just you and–." I look around me and see Landon going at a gallop, trying to catch up to the two other riders.
“Looks like we have some sort of race” I whisper to Topaz. Up ahead Abby and Eric are head to head and Landon is coming close behind. “Ready? Let’s go!” I kick Topaz into a gallop and smile as the cool breeze blows against my skin. Topaz speeds up as we see the others still far ahead. I lean back to his smooth yet fast strides and let out a breath.
To me, there is nothing better than racing across a field without a saddle and with just a halter and a lead rope. “Come on slow poke!” I hear Eric say in a singsong voice. I laugh, “I think the lake is down this trail.” We trot down the hill and take off into a slow canter over a log. My eyes flick up moments before the log.
I look back and see everyone go over the jump with ease. “Is that the river up ahead?” Landon asks. “Yeah, the water is usually really nice there too” Eric says. I slow down to a trot and turn left into a narrow trail. Single file, we go to a walk as we see the clear blue lake.
“Wow this is really nice” Landon’s eyes light up. “Come on guys!” Abby yells and rides into the water. “Oh, it’s really refreshing!” Not able to resist the temptation, I canter down into the lake. Landon and Eric follow behind me.
“Guys check this out” I stand up onto Topaz’s back and do a front flip into the water. I pop back up to the surface to hear everyone clap so I bow “Thanks you, thank you.” I laugh. Landon stands up onto Lola’s back and flips into the water barely making a splash. “Wow I am so embarrassed, the best I can do is a cannon ball” Eric says, shaking his head. “Haha me too” Abby sticks out her tong at me and Landon. Topaz starts pacing and bucking. “Easy boy, you’re ok” I reassure him.
They both stand on their horses and synchronize a cannon ball. “Nice!” I splash the water around me. The silence we shared for a couple seconds gets cut by a noise. “Ummm… do you guys hear something?” Hailey rears and Eric nearly falls over. “Did anyone notice that the horses are getting really spooky?” he asks. Galaxy bucks Abby who falls into the water. “Abby!? Are you ok?” I ask. She stands back up and leans against Galaxy, “Yeah I am fine.” She hops back on.
Landon’s face goes from tan to as white as a ghost. “Landon, what’s wrong?” Abby asks concern. Hailey trots around nervously, “Something is definitely wrong, Hailey is pretty bombproofed” Eric states. I look back at Landon waiting for him to say something. The noise gets closer, “I am getting a little scared, what is that noise?” I shake.
Topaz starts to buck and rear. “Topaz! Calm down!” I try to push him back down to the ground, but it is no use. His hooves kick the air and he pushes out a loud whinny. “Guys help!” I yell to my friend’s. They stand there shaking. After what has seemed like an eternity, we land back onto the ground.
“Seriously, what’s wrong now?” I ask irritated. They don’t even have to speak. I turn around and see it with my own eyes.
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A Summer Like No Other - Part 5
Standing in front of us, with its glowing green eyes, is a cougar. I try to calm myself down by trying to remember what the TV show I watched 3 weeks ago told us about what to do when u have an encounter with a cougar, but I can’t seem to remember.
“W-w-wha-wha-what-t are w-we su-suppose to do?” Abby stutters quietly. Not knowing what to do or say, I stare at the cougar for a moment, trying to avoid looking straight into its eyes. All four horses start pacing and the agitated cougar starts walking slowly towards us.
“Pull out your phone and call animal control” I whisper nervously to Eric who is now on my left. He takes out his phone and dials. Eric starts telling the operator our situation, “Hello, please help us, there’s a cougar right in front of us and we don’t know what to do. Our horses are freaking out and we aren’t sure if we should run or stay put. ”I can’t hear what the operator says and we are all waiting impatiently for Eric to end the call.
“They are sending someone right now; they should be here in 5 minutes. As long as we don’t show any signs of fear and we don’t move too much, we might have a chance to survive.” Eric says softly. This doesn’t reassure me, or the others.
The cougar hasn’t moved for close to four minutes. “I have a feeling it’s trying to find a way to attack us.” Landon whispers to me. Every minute feels like it has been an hour. “How long until the ani--...” Before I get to finish, the cougar pounces in front of us and the horses rear in fear. “AHHHHHHHH HELP!” I yell as Topaz tries to kick the cougar that is biting at his leg.
The cougar decides to leave Topaz alone and starts attacking Lola, Landon’s mare. Lola whinny’s in panic and rears high to the sky. “Landon lean forward!” We all yell. He leans forward and clutches the black paint horse’s silky mane. “Easy Lola, easy!” Landon says and tries to push her back down.
I look down at Topaz’ legs and his two front ones are covered in blood. I freeze. What are we suppose to do now? Just as things seemed to be hopeless, the cougar drops to the ground. What?
“Are y’all ok?” A man with a southern accent asks. I look at his suit that reads ‘Hudson Animal Control’. I feel a sudden feeling of relief. He must've shot a tranquilizer dart at the cougar. “Yeah I think so, but not too sure about our horses….” Abby speaks up for the rest of us.
After slowly making it back to the barn, some of the boarders gasp and run to Michelle to get help. I wipe a tear from my face, hoping Topaz isn’t in too much pain. “It’ll be ok Kayla” Abby gives me a sympathetic smile.
After a few seconds, Michelle comes running. “I already called the vet who is on her way.” She examines Topaz and Lola’s legs. “What happened?” Landon explains to her what happened and she nods along with 10 other riders who were curious as to what’s going on.
One of the grooms, Sadie, leads the vet, who has just arrived, to our horses. “Hello, I am Doctor Megan Hawthorn” The tall woman with short black hair and pale skin says sweetly. Not to worry Kayla, Topaz is in good hands, I say to reassure myself.
Michelle sends everyone off to go do something else to leave me, Eric, Abby, Landon, Michelle and Doctor Hawthorn with our injured horses.
“Hmmm… Galaxy and Hailey are fine, but to calm them down I recommend you both bring them for a walk, they seem quite jittery and that is not good for them.” The vet explains. Eric nods but Abby looks over to me, “Yes go.” I say to her. I completely understand that she doesn’t want to leave me at a time like this and I don’t really want her to but I wouldn’t want Galaxy or Hailey to be scared and nervous.
I start to feel nervous when Dr Hawthorn examines Topaz. This could mean he’s really hurt and I hate to think that he’s in pain...
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