(Lewis, Scotland, UK)
Bella steeled herself for the fence, and then felt her heart soar as she and her flaxen Black Forest mare, Burning Beauty, cleared it without a hitch. But the story started 10 months ago, when she first found Burning Beauty...
She was pedaling home from school. There was a small wood beside the road. Suddenly, a horse charged out from a small copse and knocked her off her bike.
She gasped, for the horse was the lovliest thing she had ever seen. Then it disapeared, charging at a gallop down the road. Bella couldn't think of anything else for the whole day, so imagine her surprise when she woke up the next day and found it peacefully grazing in a small patch of land she had been given!
She threw her clothes on and ran outside as fast as she could. As she approached it though, she slowed down a good deal. She was a horse-a-holic so she knew a good deal about them. Her parents had promised to get one for her next birthday, so they might, they just MIGHT, let her keep it.
It was obviously wild. Her mane and tail were matted, her coat filthy. She was also unshod, with no nail marks. However, she was fairly tame. Bella excitedly yelled for her mum and dad. After a few hyper explanations and pleadings, they gave in ON THE CONDITION that she was fully responsible for her.
Bella gently coaxed the mare into the old shed, which she had been given as a den the previous year. She had always kept fresh straw on the floor of both halves, for it was split in 2 halves. One half, the far half, would do as a stable. Training would begin immediately ... or as soon as she was cleaned up, anyway.
Which then, 10 months later, led her to the winner's podium.