The Sport of The Kings
by Horses Rock This World
I tensed in the saddle, sliding the cool smooth reins through my hands. Sassy Girl tossed her head and pawed the ground, eager to stretch out. I ran my gloved hand over her neck, soothing her.
"It's okay girl," I whispered. "Calm down, it's gonna be okay."
I glanced down the row. The last gate slammed shut. 24 horses. It was time. 3, 2, 1, go!!! The gates whipped open and a mass of horses surged forward. I coxed Sassy down the straight and into the middle of the group. Who Shot The Barman was in front of us. Darren Weir told me to follow him and then make a break at the last moment, shooting past the leaders. Worst case scenario we would come top ten.
But I didn't have time to think about that. A gape had opened up and B. Prebble was making a move. I closed my legs around Sassy's side and she lengthened her stride, chasing Who Shot The Barman.
We passed Rekindling, Heartbreak City and Chaser To The Last. I urged Sassy to the front of the pack and all of a sudden we were out in the open. We were in fourth place and were bearing down on Eclipse. It was time. It was our time.
I slid my hands along Sassy's neck and gave her a squeeze, asking her to lengthen out. She responded immediately and surged forward, her strides eating up the ground. We passed Eclipse, Flying Fox and He's Our Woody. One horse left.
I decided to let her go to the outside rail and keep up momentum to run second or even first!!! I was so excited I didn't notice Red Rum Coming up beside him.
Sam Horrold had lost control and Red was going crazy. He barged into Sassy and she tipped over. I screamed as her weight toppled over me and crushed my leg. Everything went black.
I moaned and opened my eyes. I was in a hard bed with stiff blankets that smelled of washing powder and cough lollies covering me. Where was I? I was in a... hospital? Then it all came rushing back to me.
The race, second place, Red Rum, Sassy Girl falling... "Sassy!" I gasped. Is she okay, what if she broke her leg? My thoughts trailed off as I became conscious of the hospital’s Nurses dressed in white aprons, with their hair piled on their head, towering over me.
"I, who, how..." I stammered. The Nurses seemed uncomfortable. "What happened to Sassy Girl?" I managed to squeak. Silence. A Nurse with blonde hair and a clean white nurses cap perched on top of it spoke up.
"Sassy Girl has broken her leg. When she fell she landed on an angle and her leg twisted and her bone snapped."
"No, not Sassy." I whispered, burying my face in my hands. "This can’t be happening."
"Excuse me?" A gruff voice spoke. I looked behind me. Great. "Come on Missy, we have some talking to do."
"Why weren’t you paying attention to the field Nicki? Anything could have happened out there, you’re lucky you managed to escape." I hung my head in shame. "Yes Dad, sorry Dad."
"Do you realize that you have put a horse’s life in danger by not paying attention? Sassy was relying on you to take her safely across the finish line and you failed. Maybe you’re not cut out for racing after all." And with that, he turned on his heel and left the room.
As soon as the door was closed, I burst into tears. Can’t I do anything right?
I cried myself to sleep that night. As my head hit the pillow I was submerged into a deep sleep. And of course, I just had to have a nightmare.
I was in a field full of lush green grass, dandelions, and of course horses. I walked up to a cute pinto, Splash, who was standing all by himself. "Come on boy." I whispered to him. "We need to do this."
The next thing I know we’re in a dusty dry 5-acre paddock. I’m galloping him around and around pushing him to racing speed. We can do this. We will go to the top.
Three people in suits and wide-rimmed glasses watched us carefully, stalking our every move. Except their not stalking us. They're observing us. If we can do this, if we impress them, they will accept Splash to ride in a race. With me as his rider.
But then there was a gunshot. I wasn’t ready for him, and I fell off as he veered to the left and bucked. I sat up, winded, just in time to see him slam into the fence and tangle his hoof in the wire. Oh, what have I done?
I woke up, gasping, tears streaming down my face. Boy, I hate it when I have dreams that are true. Then you can’t wake up and pretend it didn’t really happen.