Riding the Wind
"Back straight Erin! Keep him in line. That's it, nice job bring him over."
I turned my horse Running Wind or as I called him, Wind, toward my riding instructor Josie. When I got there Josie put a hand on Wind's neck and continued her lesson.
"Remember, every time you sail over a jump you don't want him to go his own way. He could end up knocking over a rail or even walking off the course."
I nodded and bent down to my horse's ear, "You hear that? You've gotta listen to me." Wind snorted in response and I frowned. I've had him for almost three months now and he never seemed to like me that much. The other girls in my riding group never had that much trouble with their horses but their horses weren't Wind. He was a hot-headed Bay Belgian Warmblood who seemed not to have a care in the world about what I said.
"Alright girls, good run. Now go give your horse's a good brushing and let them out." We all nodded and simultaneously got down from our horses.
I got Wind's reins over his head and headed out with him trailing behind. We made it to the gate before little miss rude showed up.
"You know what, you should sell him. He's way to good for you and besides he doesn't even like you." As if to prove her point, Sonia's horse Jake nudged her back while Wind just stood there looking bored.
"If I didn't know any better I'd say you're jealous, Sonia." I turned and grinned at Casey. She was my best friend and we'd known each other since we were in second grade and a friendship becomes pretty stable when you've known each other for eight years. All the girls turned as Casey took up her place beside me with her horse Camelot who stood next to Wind.
I grinned even more as Sonia stuttered, "Yeah right, Jake is ten times the horse Wind will ever be."
Oh, she knew exactly how to push my buttons. I lunged at her and socked her in the face. We both fell to the ground slapping and punching each other. I got on top of her and socked her once more in the face. That's exactly how they found us, two fifteen-year old riders fighting on the ground of the stable. Josie yanked me up off her while Kaylee, Sonia's friend helped her up and held her back at the same time. It was silent except for me and Sonia's heavy breathing.
"My office now!" I barely heard Josie but I obliged and made my way to her office once I saw that Casey had a hold of Wind.
When we got there, I took one of the chairs and Sonia took the other one. We both started talking at once but I didn't care what Sonia said so I said the one thing Josie would understand, "She insulted Wind."
Out of all the mean things you can do at the stable, insulting someone's horse was the worst. Sonia fired back defending herself, "She said Wind was better than Jake so I said Wind isn't!"
My temper flared again but Josie spoke before I could say anything. "Both of you are going to muck all the stalls in the stable and then I will decide what will happen next. I will give you this though, you may go untack and brush down your horse but then straight to the stalls."
I nodded. Once Josie's mind was made up there was no changing it. Sonia didn't take the hint. "But it's not my fault. I'm going to have a black eye tomorrow because of her."
Josie just shook her head and pointed toward the door which I was already making my way to. I walked out and made my way down to the cross ties where all the girls were untacking their horses.
I was surprised to find it was silent. I made my way over to where Casey had put Wind next to Camelot and whispered to her when I saw Sonia coming up to Jake, "she tried to argue with Josie."
Casey covered her mouth to smother her laugh which ended up coming out like a snort. I smiled at her and got to work on unclinching Wind's saddle which was a Wintec 500 all-purpose saddle even though I could never ever do dressage. Once I put his saddle away, I grabbed a curry comb from the brushing box and began doing large circles all over his back. I quickly finished and went to work on picking his hooves and for once he didn't fight me on it.
"You coming?" I nodded to Casey who was waiting with Camelot near the door that went to the pastures. Camelot and Wind shared a pasture so we were able to walk out our horses together. I clipped Wind's black lead to his matching black halter and led him out. I nearly shouted in surprise when I heard him nicker playfully but then I realized he was nickering to Camelot. Casey gave me a sad smile as we walked on.
When we got to the field, we led our horses in not caring if we got mud on our boots and laughed when we saw Josie running out of Jake's field saying, "Yuck yuck yuck!"
We took off Camelot and Wind's halters and jogged out of the field so if they were following wouldn't get out. We made our way back to the barn and saw Josie standing there with two pitchforks. I grimaced a tiny bit, I liked but at the same time didn't like mucking out stalls. Casey snickered next to me and I elbowed her in the side when she said, "So that's what your punishment is."
Josie smiled at us and handed me a pitchfork saying, "You start on right side. Sonia will start on left. And yes Casey, you can talk to her while she does that but no helping besides moving the wheel barrel."
Casey stared at her in shock when she continued, "You are getting a little predictable." She put her hand on her chest like she was offended but then cracked up a laugh and bent over her blonde hair shadowing her face. She stood up straight again and wasn't laughing that much anymore but her hazel eyes still shook with laughter.
We made our way to the first stall and Casey finally spoke, "I still don't see how you can do this without being grossed out."
I rolled my eyes at her. Me and Casey had stuff in common but a lot of differences to. Like she had blonde hair but I had cinnamon brown hair with streaks of blonde in it like highlights except it was natural or I have green eyes and she has hazel eyes and she has a curvy body whereas I don't have many curves but I am pretty muscular. Even our skin tones are different while she's a little more on the pale side I'm more on the tan side.
Our biggest difference was that I didn't mind mucking out stalls and I never really dress up in the type of fancy clothes other girls do. Put me in a dress and I'll have muddy boots and leggings on under it.
"Ya know what Casey, I think Josie doesn't have anything to worry about because you hate mucking out stalls," I said grinning at her as I started the stall.
"Naa, I mean I 'Love' mucking out stalls but I think I'll pass for now." We both burst out laughing when she finished. We both knew she hated mucking out stalls and she only would do two stalls if I weren't here to do Wind's which wasn't often.
I finished pretty quickly with the rest of the stalls while she quizzed me for our upcoming quiz, but most of the time we just talked.
When I was about to finish the last stall, she squealed. I looked over and half expected her to have a magazine with her favorite celebrity in it but she didn't, "I completely forgot for a moment there. Have you heard about the new CC course? They're doing a competition on it!" My jaw dropped and I nearly squealed too.
"NEW COURSE!!!" I practically yelled and when she nodded I nearly went crazy. "Please tell me we're competing on it?" She nodded again. I jumped up fist in the air and yelled, "YES!"
Not that I didn't like show jumping, it was just that well, Cross Country was more me. It was in forests sometimes and it shows your horse's stamina, strength and the rider's stamina and strength too. We did them every once in awhile but we haven't for awhile so I've been practicing them more on my own than with the group.
I quickly finished mucking the stall and practically ran the wheel barrel into the dung pile even worse I nearly forgot it. Okay, I forgot it but Casey grabbed it and parked it. I lined the pitchfork along the wall and we raced down to where Josie was, who smiled when she saw me.
"I take it you finished?" I nodded and she continued, "And you've heard?" She smiled even more, she knew how much I love Cross Country courses. "Okay then so you know what to wear during lesson tomorrow."
I nodded and said, "Are we really entered?" She nodded again.
"I knew you and Casey were going to do it so I signed you up right away but I didn't know about the other girls so I just reserved spots."
My smile grew and I gave Josie a hug. "Thanks so much and is it alright if I go since I finished?" She nodded and returned the hug before letting me go. Me and Casey grabbed our bags and ran out waving bye to Josie.