Everything Changes - Part 1
Clover Leaf & Emily
Wins & Losses
I took a deep breath and studied the course ahead of me. The jumps were bigger than ever, all 4 feet and over. I glanced down at my coach, Kelly. She gave me a tight smile.
“You’ll do fine Emily.” She assured me, but it also sounded like she was trying to assure herself.
No need to, I was one of the best jumpers in her class. I watched as a tall girl finished the course on her bay mare. They had two faults; my only real competition was Lily. She was after me, and I was starting to stress over that. Clover, the horse I leased, shifted his weight impatiently, wanting to get out there. I patted the gelding’s dapple grey neck then took a deep breath. If I was nervous Clover would be nervous. I would win this, as I won almost always. My room was decorated with red and blue ribbons and trophies that were almost as tall as my little sister, Emma.
“Next up, please give a warm welcome for Emily Evans and her horse, Clover Leaf!”
The crowds cheering buzzed in my ear as I nudged Clover forward at a canter. We circled around the ring, before I gathered him up for the first jump. It was red-and-white striped and had two flags on each side. The wind made them flap, so many horses had spooked at this but not Clover. He ignored them and jumped easily over the fence as if it was just a trotting pole. The next three fences were as easy as the first, but then Clover noticed what he hated most. The water jump. It was as tall as it was large. I swallowed my fear, and then patted his neck, whispering assuring stuff into his ear. He kept going, braving it for me. I felt his body tense up, but I knew what to do. I just kept urging him on.
Finally it was right in front of us, and Clover leapt as high as he could, not wanting to touch any water. Thankfully, we made it over and we were done. The crowd roared with excitement and Kelly hugged me as I slid off Clover. I wanted to stay and watch Lily, so I let Jenna, the stable-hand take Clover. Lily cantered easily around the ring. Her bay mare, Lollypop Princess, looked like she was gliding. They took on the first four fences easily, but just like Clover, Princess hated water. Lily didn’t recognize the signs I had, so she was prepared for the sudden stop. She flew right over Princess’ back and landed in the water. I almost burst into laughter, but a look from Kelly made me clamped my mouth shut. Once Lily was out of the ring, the announcer spoke.
“Okay, great job everybody! Our fourth place winner is…Gwen Perkins and her horse, Superman!” A girl with spiky black hair accepted her ribbon; she didn’t look upset at all, but happy. Our third place winner is…Nicole Leo and her horse Jenkins!” The girl who had gone before me, walked into the arena, her face stony and angry. She snatched her ribbon from the judge and stalked off. “Our second place winner is…” I didn’t even have to hold my breath. I knew I would win first. Sure I was a bit cocky but it made me feel better. “Lily Adams and Lollypop Princess, and now our first place winner are... Emily Evans and Clover Leaf!”
I let out a little scream and hugged Kelly before getting Clover and walking in to collect my ribbon.
“Thank you!” I exclaimed then mounted Clover for our victory ride. We galloped around the arena twice before dismounting.
“Emily, can we talk?” Mom and Dad walked towards me as I was grooming Clover down.
“Did you guys see me?!? It was amazing!!”
Mom and Dad glanced at each other, worry clouded on their faces.
“Emi, I got a job.” Dad said slowly.
“What? That’s great!” I hugged me, dropping the curry comb. Dad had lost his job a week ago, and he’d been looking for one everywhere.
“Yes it is. The job is in Canada though.”
I felt like I had been slammed back down to earth. “C-Canada?” My voice squeaked.
We lived in California. I loved it here, I had my friends and my riding stable and my boyfriend, Greg.
“No,” I whispered backing away, “No! No! No! No!”
Mom tried to grab me but I jumped out of her way, almost bumping into Clover.
“How can you do this to me?” I screamed at them, Clover’s ears twitched at the sound. “My whole life is here! Kelly was going to get the National Youth Equestrienne Team to see me! She thinks I’m good enough for NYET!”
Dad set his jaw. “This is happening Emily, we thought you’d be a bit more mature about this all! You’re fifteen. Act like it.”
Tears burned in my eyes as I watched me stalk back to our car. Mom opened and closed her mouth, trying to find something to say.
“I’m Emily.” She whispered finally, then turned and followed Dad to the car.
I grabbed Clover’s mane and started to sob into it. My whole life was going to change. I would have to transfer to another school, make new friends and go to a new stable. I scratched Clover’s clover shaped spot. And leave Clover. I loved this horse since I met him three years ago. We were inspirable. Mom had promised that soon we would buy him. Now that we were moving, that chance seemed to slim down. Kelly finished loading up the last of her students’ horses then turned to me.
“I’m sorry Emily." I could see in her eyes she had known about this. The back of my throat burned as I nodded and held back tears.
“I-I need to go.” I pushed past her and started to head to the car. Dad drove away as soon as I got in.
“When are we leaving?” I asked eyes down casted.
“Monday,” Answered Dad, sympathy in his eyes and voice.
I nodded but didn’t speak. It gave me time to say good-bye. My stomach twisted and started to ache from holding back tears. As soon as we parked in our driveway, I leaped out, running for the safety of my bed room, ignoring the for sale sign that stuff out on our green lawn. It was almost September. I wouldn’t be joining my classmates again for another year. I would be gone. I slammed the door shut and fell sobbing onto my bed.
I hugged Megan and Ana good-bye. We we’re all crying, we had been best friends since third grade. We had hoped to graduate together. Mom promised they could come see us any time. I turned to Greg. I hugged him tightly. We decided a couple days early to break up. It made no sense to be together when we lived so far away.
“’Bye,” He whispered in my ear.
“I’ll miss you.” I pulled away, and Greg kissed my check.
Kelly was here, and she had brought Clover. I hugged Kelly then turned to Clover.
“Bye Clover. I’ll miss you so much, baby boy.” I kissed his velvet nose.
“Emi, you’re not leaving Clover.” Dad said.
“What?” I asked, glancing at him, Mom then at Kelly.
“It’s unfair, to take you from all of this. So we decided you needed to bring something to reminded yourself of all this. Clover Leaf is officially yours.”
I moved my mouth open and closed, I couldn’t speak. Tears sprang to my eyes, and I blindly hug my parents then Clover.
“But we don’t have a trailer.” I spoke finally, taking the lead rope from Kelly to hold my horse.
“We got somebody to trail him done! He’ll be down there waiting for you at your new stable.”
I grinned and hugged Clover again. I hugged my friends once more then got in the car to start the long ride down.