Second Chances

by Aria
(United States)


This story is completely fictional, but the events in it are very real to many people in real life.

Horses. What could they do? They're just animals. They're nothing special, really.

These thoughts ran through 17 year old Audrey Mason's head. Her foster parents insisted bringing her to Second Hope Ranch, where they offered therapeutic riding sessions. Audrey reluctantly agreed. "What can a horse do?" Audrey tried to think of options. Well, she could ride them. But what would that do? She could take care of them. But how would that change her past?

Audrey was an orphan. She admitted it to herself about 8 times a day, she counted. But the shaking memory of her mother leaving when she was 9 and her father dying 2 years, her wound was still open and needed healing.

What could a horse do?

"Audrey, honey, we're here." Audrey foster mother, Leah, said gently. It was clear that this woman cared deeply about this hurt young woman. She had gotten to the point where she felt God pressing her to bring Audrey to Second Hope Ranch.

Audrey read the sign. Second Hope Ranch. Where healing begins. Audrey sighed inside and got out of the car. She and Leah walked up to the office where they found a young woman, about in her 30's. She had dark brown hair and black glasses. The woman glanced up when they entered and smiled.

"Welcome to Second Hope Ranch. How can I help you two?" Audrey noticed her name tag that read, "Eve Price."

"Hello Miss Price, I'm here with my daughter, Audrey. We talked about getting her acquainted with one of the horses?" Leah responded.

"Yes! I remember you. Hello, Audrey. It's nice meeting you." Eve smiled. "I'll be heading her session, today at least. Would you please come with me, Audrey? Miss Clayton, Amanda should be here in a minute to meet with you, if you don't mind waiting." Leah assured her it was all right and gave Audrey a hug before she left.

As they were walking to the barn, Eve started up conversation. "So, Audrey, have you ever ridden a horse before?"

Audrey shrugged. "In a fair, I guess."

Eve smiled. "Well, today I'm going to introduce you to Chance. He's a rescue horse, which is why we named him that. We gave him a second chance here, just as we want to give people like you." Audrey didn't reply. The two entered the barn and were greeted by stable hands and whinnies.

"Hello, Miss Price. Who would you like?" A teen walked up and asked.

"We'll take Chance, thank you, Blake." Eve replied. Then she turned to Audrey. "Blake is a volunteer here at Second Hope Ranch. We have a lot of young people here, actually. You'll see a few around doing barn chores and such." Eve's comment made Audrey inwardly cringe. "Great, now people will see me as a pathetic girl who needs a horse for her mental health. Just superb." Audrey thought to herself.

Eve and Audrey walked out to the pasture behind Blake, who was leading Chance. Once they got in and closed the gate, Blake walked back to the barn.

"Chance is a bay Thoroughbred. He was originally bred for racing, but was sold to someone who couldn't take care of him. He came to us with an infection and was very malnourished. After lots of care, he's turned out for the good." Eve said.

Audrey looked at him gleaming coat. The horse stood at 15.5 hands high, tall and proud. Audrey did admit to herself that he was a very handsome horse, and was glad she didn't get a stubborn little pony. She stroked him face very gently as a greeting. The horse sniffed her hand and looked away. Hmph.

Eve laughed. "He does have some attitude, I will admit. But he also is very loving and will stand with you until the end. The most loyal horse I've ever met!"

Audrey stroked him some more as the two stood in silence. "He's so trusting." She commented softly. Eve smiled in agreement.

"I mean, maybe this won't be so bad." Audrey thought later as she was grooming Chance. "Horses are pretty nice. Nobody from school is here, anyway, so why should I care who sees me?"

After an hour and a half had gone by, it was time to leave. Audrey led Chance to the barn and handed the lead rope to Blake.

"Chance really likes you." Blake commented as he grabbed the lead rope.

"Really?" Audrey asked and looked as the proud horse standing next to her.

Blake nodded. "Your name is Audrey, right?" Audrey replied with a nod. "Well, looks like you're Chance's new favorite. I hope you like Second Hope Ranch; it's a great place." Blake said before leading Chance away.

"Yes. I think I like horses. If it's Chance, anyway." Audrey thought as she drove off with her mother. "I'll be back."

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May 16, 2019
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Second Chances - Chapter 3
by: Aria

Thanks SpiritGirl! You're great at writing, too; I love your story Priceless Joy and Autumn (I love historical fiction)!

Here's part 3!

Chapter Three


And so Audrey continued her sessions at Second Hope Ranch. It boosted her confidence and helped her regain trust. Chance and her had an amazing relationship, and she even gained a friend that had two legs, not four: Blake.

Audrey never really had any friends. At one point she did, but then they moved away. Then she moved away, and neither tried to contact each other. Audrey had a hard time trusting people. She didn't see herself as who she was, but who she though she was.

But, of course, none of that mattered to Chance.

Blake, on the other hand, had a similar experience. His parents fought all the time. Blake thought it was his fault when they got divorced. He thought he could've done something about it. Maybe could've been a better kid (although, he was probably the nicest kid you'd ever have met).
So, he went to live with his mom. Of course, he really missed his dad. He had lots of guilt. His mom had no idea, but Blake had also gotten into the wrong crowd at school at age 14. That year, it went downhill.

And that's when his mom finally noticed. All the detentions, suspensions, and late nights finally opened her eyes to realization.

So then she brought him here, to Second Hope Ranch. And that's where his healing began.

Blake started to go to church, ride horses (a lot), serve, and trust, despite the hurt from his past.

"So we're not so different." Audrey said at last, after Blake had told her his story one day after her session.

Blake shrugged. "Except one major detail. I trust God."

Audrey sighed. She wanted to trust Him. She wanted Him to take her guilt and hurt away. But it was just hard.

"You know what, there's a Bring a Friend night at my church on Wednesday night. Do you want to come?" Blake offered.

Audrey thought about it. It couldn't hurt, and her mom would definitely allow it...

"Sure, I guess I'll go." She shrugged. Blake grinned and gave her all the information: where, when, time.

"All right. Thanks. I'll see you then." Audrey turned to Chance. "And I'll see you next week."

Audrey waved to Blake as she walked back toward her car. "It feels so nice to be able to drive everywhere myself..." Audrey thought as she got in and buckled. "Well, let's hope I made the right decision to agree to this youth group thing."

May 08, 2019
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Awesome story!
by: SpiritGirl

Hey! This is an awesome story, please keep going! You are a great writer, I really enjoyed it.

May 01, 2019
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Second Chances: Chapter 2
by: Aria

Here's chapter two :)

Chapter Two


At the next visit, Audrey wanted to ride Chance. It would be her first time (other than a pony ride at the fair, perhaps) on a horse by herself.

"It couldn't be that bad." Audrey commented to her mother as they pulled into Second Hope Ranch. Her mother smiled and prayed a pray of thanks in her head.

"Hi, Audrey and Mrs. Clayton." Eve welcomed them as they entered the office.

"Hello, Miss Price." Audrey's mother replied. Audrey nodded her hello. "Audrey said she wanted to ride Chance today, if that's all right?"

Eve grinned. "Really? That's great, Audrey! Sure, as long as it's okay with your mother to do it so soon." Mrs. Clayton nodded.

"All right then! Let's go get Chance." Eve smiled and walked with Audrey to the barn. Audrey gazed around the property. Horses were grazing, riding lessons were going on, therapeutic sessions, horses being groomed--lots was happening.

Audrey loved this place already. It gave her a chance to be normal, forget her past and everything that went with it, and put her trust in something beyond herself.

Blake showed up in the barn with Chance saddled up. He grinned when he saw Audrey.

"I'm glad you came back." He said.

Audrey was confused. "Why wouldn't I?"

Eve replied for Blake, "A lot of people don't always come back, especially not so soon here. Horses can be intimidating for a lot of people, which is why we try to start out slow." Eve paused and smiled. "But it looks like you're ready to ride already, so let's go!"

Audrey smiled and grabbed the reins from Blake. She walked the big bay down to the large round pen, where they would begin lessons.

Audrey enjoyed learning to ride Chance. He seemed to know there was a new rider on his back and didn't give her any trouble. By the end of the lesson, Audrey was leading the horse on her own in a walk around the round pen.

Eve decided to ask a few questions. "Audrey, why do you think you like Chance so much?"

Audrey stopped and thought for a moment. Why did she like this horse? She'd never been around them before. She also thought they smelled bad. But then why did she like him?

"I guess it's because I don't feel like I have to explain anything to him. He's just there for me, you know?" Audrey smiled. Now she knew exactly why. "He doesn't care about my past, or any of my problems. He doesn't ask questions. He listens to my every word. He's also a good friend."

Eve smiled. "You know, Audrey, there's Someone who's always there for you. He doesn't focus on your past, He doesn't question you, and He always knows what you're going through. He's also a very good friend."

"You're talking about God."

Eve nodded. "Yes, I am talking about God. Look, Audrey, He doesn't want to see you hurting. But He does allow it to make us stronger and more trusting in Him. He's the only sure thing in this world."

Audrey went quiet. She knew all this. She used to call herself a Christian, even. But after all that happened. she felt abandoned. She had questions about life. But even after all that, what Eve said seemed to make sense.

"Thanks, Eve. I'll think about it." Audrey smiled. "Can I groom Chance?"

"Sure, go ahead. Blake will show you where the supplies is while I go and report to your mother on your progress." Eve waved as the two separated.

Audrey led Chance to the barn and tied him up. Blake came over and showed her how to untack Chance.

"There, now the saddle is a bit heavy since it's a Western saddle, so be careful." Blake said as Audrey pulled the saddle off. She made a face when she felt the warmth underneath the saddle pad. After it was off, she brought it to the tack room along with the bridle.

"Now, time to groom." She said and grabbed the supplies she needed. Blake carried and hoof pick.

"How do you do that?" Audrey pointed to the hoof pick and asked.

Blake walked over to Chance and asked him to raise his hoof. The Thoroughbred stubbornly kept his foot on the ground as Blake tried to get it up.

"We're still working on this, as you can see." Blake commented and continued to lift until Chance's hoof was off the ground. "There. Now you see that? That is the frog, so we'll avoid that, but the part surrounding it is full of dirt and other stuff. So you take it like this--yeah, just that like--" Audrey replaced Blake's spot, "and there. Done."

"That was satisfying." Audrey commented.

Blake laughed. "It really is."

Once Chance was groomed, Audrey led him to his stall and gave him a treat.

"See you next week, Chance."

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