Part One: The Accident
Joy pumped through my veins as I galloped my Arabian mare across our pasture and through the creek.
"This is the best place to be right now," I whispered to my white Arabian who I had named Destiny. I had bought her at an auction and she had been so wild so no one else could gentle her, only me.
"Jessica, dinner is ready!" Amber, my little sister yelled from the house, disturbing my ride.
"Coming!" I yelled. "Give me five minutes."
I gently shifted my weight onto Destiny's back and whispered canter. Destiny slowed on command.
"Wait a minute," I thought, "How in the world could I have heard Amber call me when I was galloping?"
Then I remembered that she had a really big voice and could scream and yell really loud.
We cantered up to the pasture fence and halted next to the barn gate. I hopped off and led Destiny through the gate into our barn.
When I finished feeding and settling Destiny in her stall, I said, "Good night, girl." She nickered in return as I closed the barn door.
I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, dodging the old lawn mowers and many other things that Dad had to fix for his clients because he was an odd-job man.
Now, I had reached the backdoor of our one-storey house.
"You just made it Jessica!" Amber announced as I washed my hands and sat down at the table opposite her. Dad had already started on the massive roast chicken with gravy and vegetables. My mouth all of a sudden watered.
And Mom? Well, she had died in a car accident two years ago. She had been the one who had taught me everything that she knew about horses. Mom had gotten a reputation as being the best horse gentler in the whole country, but I think she was the best in the whole world! After she died, we sold our big ranch and all our horses.
I stabbed a piece of chicken in my mouth. In the meantime, Amber had already started a conversation with Dad. But I am really never of any help.
Part Two: A Black and White Discovery
I woke up when the sun hadn't even had time to show it's face. It was only five in the morning and the sun was already late.
I changed quickly into some jeans, boots and a faded bright green t-shirt.
"It was really good that Amber had bought new t-shirts for the school year," I thought.
On my way outside, I passed the kitchen. I saw that Amber must have been up really early because she had made sausage rolls but they still had a bit of warmth to them.
I took two sausage rolls and a bag of treats for Destiny and stuffed the bag in my pocket. Then I headed outside while eating my early morning snack.
As I neared the pasture, I heard a nicker.
"Morning girl," I greeted my horse. "Wait," I thought as I swallowed the last bit of my sausage rolls, "I put Destiny in the barn but the nicker came from the pasture," I muttered.
I ran the rest of the way to the fence. It was not Destiny I found but a paint horse!
"What?" I gasped, "How did you get in there?" I asked the paint. I studied the paint a little bit more. He was a little bit more smaller than Destiny. He only had a dirty coat but I could still see that he was a paint.
"So you must have run away?" I came to the conclusion.
Destiny's nicker brought me back to the present. "Coming girl!" I told her and dashed into the barn and grabbed a lead rope, a halter and a bucket of oats for the paint. But before I did, I gave her one of Amber's horsey treats.
"School starts tomorrow so I might be able to find out whose horse this is." I planned while I walked to the pasture fence and ducked through the railings.
"It's OK, boy." I said quietly as I walked a few meters towards him. He stood under the oak tree looking with fear and confusion in his eyes. I could see it. His fear won him over and he bolted and galloped around the pasture doing massive circles around me.
But as soon as he saw that I was just standing there and not doing anything that was going to harm him, he slowed down to a canter then a trot, a walk, and finally a halt.
We just stood there for a good five minutes looking at each other. Me, planning what to do next with him. And the Paint? He was most likely deciding what to do with me.
I put down a bucket of oats at my feet. He takes a step forward. He kept on going until he was right in front of the bucket. He lowers his head to eat the small amount of oats in the black feed bucket. He lifted his head looking around for more.
"Sorry boy." I said as I turned my back to him. I lifted my arms to be horizontal with my shoulders (like a 'T' shape). I started walking towards the barn. Soon I heard a soft thump-thud, thump-thud. My heart rejoiced but I didn't turn around. We continued until I reached the pasture fence.
"Good boy!" I praised him and gave him a treat. Then I remembered the lead rope and halter that I had left next to the black bucket in the middle of the pasture.
"Stay here, buddy." I told the Paint as I jogged to the bucket. But I didn't need to worry because he dropped his head to graze.
Half an hour later, I had gotten Destiny and the paint together in the pasture. She kicked up a bit of a fuss though, but she seemed to have settled down already. I still had to do my barn chores so I set out to work.
Soon, I had finished and looked around with a satisfied smile. Then I walked up to breakfast.
"So Jessica what have you been doing up so early?" Amber asked as I sat down at the table.
"She must have seen me and I didn't see her." I thought. "Oh, well I found another horse in our pasture!" I said hoping like it happened every day.
Amber's spoon clattered to the ground. "What did you just say Jess?" She asked with her mouth open wide.
"Did you just say that there is another horse besides Destiny in the pasture?" Dad asked with the same reaction as Amber's.
"Yeah Dad, it's a paint gelding. I also already decided that I might be able to find his owner at school tomorrow." I said hoping that it sounded like a good idea.
"Yeah OK, but I want to see it straight after breakfast," Dad said.
"Him." I corrected. "But I also need to go to the feed store," I said trying to make an excuse.
"But I thought the hay man was coming today?" Amber said wanting to take part in the conversation.
"Yeah, that's right. But I need a few other things." I explained.
"OK, I can take you but I'm going to see this horse first," Dad said and the tone of his voice said that it was final.
"Okay," I mutter.
"So Dad, are you going to look a the paint?" I asked him as he entered the garage. "Oh, sure I forgot about that!"
We both walked down to the barn in silence. As we neared the fence, we saw the horses cantering around the pasture with their tails up high like flags of freedom, heads up high and a sparkle of excitement in their eyes.
"Wow." Dad breathed.
I sighed a sigh of relief. it was really good that the paint was making a good impression on him. It almost looked like they were cantering in slow motion.
"So Dad, can we please go to the feed store?" I asked after a few minutes of watching the horses.
"Sure, hop in the truck." Was the reply from my awestruck Dad...
"I'll see you when you get home!" Dad said cheerily as I loaded the pellets up in the truck.
"OK, thanks Dad!" I shouted above the roar of the engine of our cattle truck. I mounted my bike and we rode off in different directions. I was off to my job.
The only two reasons why I had gotten the job as a mucker was:
1. to be around horses, and
2. to earn money to keep Destiny in feed.
I rode up the driveway that led to the Collin's stables. But I knew that Lissara Collin would be there to tease me...
Part Three: Like a Fox
"What are you doing here?" Lissara frowned at me as I walked out of the posh tack room at the 'Collin's Stables'. She always reminded me of a fox with her red hair and green eyes.
"What do you think? I'm here to muck out stalls?" I snapped as I picked up the pitchfork and dumped it in the wheelbarrow.
"But you were meant to come at 6am not nine." Lissara challenged me. But I was ready for it.
"Your brother told me to come at nine," I said through gritted teeth. I wished that she would go away. I started on the first stall. Lucky for me, Lissara got bored of me and went to see a friend.
"Lissara would probably be in a few of my classes when I started school here," I thought as I shoveled some more manure.
It took me about 1 1/2 hours to clean all the stalls. But I didn't mind that much because I got paid for it.
Suddenly, I remembered that I had to go to the stable office to see Mr. Collin as I would only be able to muck out stalls in the afternoon after school.
"Good morning, Mr. Collin." I said in my best job voice as I entered the stable office.
"Hello Jessica, how may I help you?" Mr. Collin's voice came from behind the desk.
"Um, I came to ask If I could only work in the afternoons?" I said as I took a step forward.
Mr. Collin's head looked at me over the top of the desk.
"But I will still do all the stalls," I assured him.
Mr. Collin frowned, "OK, then. But you must be here 3:30 sharp," he said in a strict tone. "Every after noon on weekdays, like it's always been," he added.
"Thank you very much! That will fit into my schedule perfectly!" I smiled.Continued in Comments Section