To Save a Horse

by Regan
(Ohio)


Part One


The dawn sky is streaked with blues and pinks and purples. The grass is wet with morning dew. I walk out to the barn to feed Riot and Button. Next to me, Hallee yawns. The morning birds sing a song and trees sway to the music.

“Taylor?” Hallee asks, “Do you think that we could go on a trail ride?”

I smile, “Of course.”

When we reach the field, Button is already waiting for us. Hallee reaches out to stroke Button’s chestnut face.

“Good girl,” Hallee says to Button as she slips the halter over the horse’s ears.

“Riot!” I call. The black Morgan gelding’s ears prick and he trots towards us. Riot is my Mom’s horse, but she lets me ride him.

“Hi boy,” I whisper to him. I fasten the halter on his head, and open the gate. I lead Riot out first and Button and Hallee follow us. When both horses are out, I lock the gate.

“Come on Riot, let’s get you breakfast,” I say.

Hallee and I lead Button and Riot into the barn. I bring him into his stall. I slip off his halter and pick up his feed bucket. I walk into the feed room. I dump grain into his bucket and re-enter his stall.

Riot immediately tried to dig into his grain. I pushed him away. Once I placed the feed bucket back on it’s hook, I let Riot eat.

While he was eating, I grabbed my purple grooming kit and started to groom him. When he was done eating, he nuzzled me with his velvety muzzle. His whiskers tickled my skin, and I smiled.

“Taylor! Hallee!” calls Mom, “Breakfast is ready!”

“Coming!” we call.

Once we are out of the barn we take off running. The rising sun warms our skin. The wet grass leaves water droplets on my boots. The smell of roses and lavender perfect the April morning.

When we reach the porch, we are out of breath. My Mother shakes her head and chuckles. We follow her inside the house.

In the kitchen, a plate of blueberry muffins sits on the table. Two glasses of orange juice are poured.

“Thanks Mom,” I say.

“Thank you,” says Hallee. Mom smiles and heads out into the morning sunshine.

My Mom is a horse trainer. She trained Button for Hallee and me. A bay thoroughbred, Linus, is going back to his original owners today. My Mom picks up the horse, trains it, and takes it back when she is done.

My dad is a famous author. He has written many great books.

Hallee is my sister. She looks like Dad, and I look like Mom. I have Mom’s blonde hair and petite figure and Hallee has Dad’s sandy brown hair and freckles. We both have our Grandpa Willy’s blue eyes.

“So Hallee, I was thinking about taking Riot and Button out to that meadow in the wood. Imagine how beautiful it will be! Flowers dotting the sunshiney grass!”

Hallee grinned, “That will be so fun! Maybe we could gallop!”

“Yeah,” I reply, “As long as Riot isn’t getting frisky.”

Hallee nods.

I squeeze Riot with my legs. “Trot,” I say. Riot picks us a well controlled trot. His black mane flies like a banner in the wind. His neck is arched and his ears pricked. Button and Hallee trot beside us. Button’s flaxen tail trails out behind her glossy chestnut coat. We trot down a wooded trail. The sun and leaves dapple the forest floor. Soon we reach the meadow.

The meadow is full of spring flowers. Button and Riot graze and Hallee and I talk.

“Okay,” I say, “Riot, Canter!” Riot takes off at a smooth, fast canter. I urge forward. He gives a joyous buck, and continues to canter. I give him a small kick, and he takes off at a gallop.

“Woohoo!” I yell. The wind in my face and the beating of Riot’s hooves are all it takes to make this day perfect. Soon though, Riot slows to a trot, then a walk.

“That was so cool!” Hallee cries. “Totally!” I agree. We walk back to the barn.

“Girls! Back from the trail ride already?” asks Mom.

“Yeah,” I respond.

“Once you are done untacking Riot and Button, turn them out and come inside for lunch.”

Hallee and I nod. We take off the saddles and bridles. We clean them and hang them in the tack room. Then we lead them out to the pasture. Immediately, Riot gallops off. Button however, walks slowly out to the water trough.

When we come inside for lunch there is two plates waiting for us. Each has a ham sandwich and five celery sticks and five carrot sticks.

“Eat up girls!” calls Mom. Then the phone rings.

“Hello? This is Jen Maxwell speaking. Horses? Yes I own two. What? I’ll be right there.”

The color had drained from my mother’s face.

“Taylor! Hallee!” barks Mom, “In the car now!” We didn’t need to be told twice. We rushed into the car.

“Mom?” asks Hallee, “What happened?”

My mother's face darkened, “Do you know Silver Spurs Ranch?”

Hallee and I nod.

“Officials found fifteen mares and foals. They all had been abused. We are going to adopt a horse.”

Part Two

“We are getting another horse?” I ask.

“Yes, Taylor!” Says my mom in an annoyed tone. “If we get a mare and foal, the foal is yours.”

I can’t believe it! I might get a foal! I kept my mouth shut though. Then I remember, fifteen mares were abused. Fifteen! The thought of hurting an animal made my eyes tear up. I would never hurt an animal! I would give these horses a good home!

“Get out girls,” says Mom sternly.

Hallee and I pop out of the car. In front of us is a muddy pasture. The once blue sky was replaced with gray clouds. In the pasture is a large group of muddy, half-starved horses. Some have a spiderweb of scars over their backs and flanks.

“Hello!” Calls a man on the other side of the field. He runs toward us. “Are you here to adopt a horse?” he asks.

My mother nods.

“Follow me,” he says.

We follow him out into the pasture.

“I’m Steve,” says the guy, “Would you like a mare or mare and foal?”

“Mare and foal,” says mom.

Steve leads us over to a gray mare and bay foal.

“This is Distorted Shadow and her foal, well, her foal doesn’t have a name. Would you like them?”

“Can we get to know the horses a bit first?” Asks Mom.

Steve nods. I walk up to the gray mare.

“Hey Shadow,” I say to her. I hold out my hand. A peppermint sits in my palm. Shadow sniffs the peppermint and slurps it into her mouth. I stroke her neck. At first she jumps in fear, but then she calms down and closes her eyes.

“Mom!” I call, “This is the one!”

My mother gives me a small smile, and she and Steve help me lead the mare and foal into the trailer, that is still hooked onto the truck after Mom brought Linus back to his owners.

Mom tells Hallee and me to get into the car. We both whisper about the foal and the mare.

When we get back home, the sky has darkened.

“Come on girls!” calls Mom, “Let’s get these horses in the barn!”

Shadow is being very well-behaved, so Mom let me lead her. The foal was being less... well-behaved. Mom had a hard time bringing him to the large stall.

Shadow and her foal are in the large stall. That stall is used for mares and their foals, so it is extra large.

“Okay,” I begin, “We need to find a name for the foal.”

“Yeah,” Hallee agrees, “He’s a colt and has quite an attitude.”

We both laugh. The sky is lit for a second before a roll of thunder shakes the house. Rain strikes the ground.

“Wow,” I say, “That is quite a storm.” Hallee nods in agreement.

“How about Cowboy?” Hallee asks.

“That sounds cool! But what about Aero?” I reply.

“Oh I love Aero!” cries Hallee.

“So the colt is now, Aero?” I ask.

“Yes,” Hallee replies.

Part Three

In the morning, a mist fills the air. The sky is shrouded with clouds. Hallee and I walk out to the stable. Riot and Button peek out of their stalls.

“Hey boy!” I say as I stroke Riot's black face. I walk into the feed room and prepare his grain. Then I walk out and slip into his dimly lit stall. I give him his grain and pat his neck before exiting.

Mom has written the amount of grain for Shadow, so I can feed her. When I enter Shadow and Aero’s stall, Shadow rears up in surprise.

“Woah!” I say.

Shadow calms down when she smells the grain. I give her the grain and stroke her back. I also pat Aero. He gives me the evil eye but doesn’t kick.

“Bye!” I say softly.

When Riot and Button are done eating, we put them in the first pasture. Mom takes Shadow and Aero to the second pasture.

Afterward, Hallee and I muck out the three stalls. And after that, Mom calls us in for breakfast. We walk slowly inside.

On the kitchen table, there are two plates of scrambled eggs and sausage. Hallee and I walk back out to the second pasture to watch Shadow and Aero. Aero is galloping around the field, while his dam is grazing quietly.

In a few weeks, Aero is weaned and halter broke, and Shadow is fit enough to be ridden. I climb onto her back and kick her into a trot. Her trot is smooth and easy to sit to. Her gray mane blows in the wind. I urge her to a canter. She transitions perfectly and continues to canter. Her legs fly out striking the ground with balance and grace.

“Girl, I hope Aero is as amazing as you.”

Continued in Comments section

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Apr 22, 2017
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more?
by: hoofbeats

Is that the end or are you going to write more?

Apr 09, 2017
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Part Five
by: Regan

Part Five


Hallee hugs her mare. She still hasn’t named her. "She was so good today," brags Hallee.

I pat Aero’s neck and smile. Aero and I took a break from the ring and went on a trail. In the arena, Mom works with the palomino, Euro.

"Taylor!" Calls a voice. I turn Aero around to see Laina and Kelsi. They both live next to each other. Our houses are two minutes away at the trot. Ari quickens her pace when she sees Aero. This sends Laina, Kelsi, and I into laughter. Everyone knows that Ari and Aero are buds.

"What is the reason for your visit?" I ask.

"Well, we know that your mom is planning on gelding your palomino, but my parents were wondering if we could cover Ari," replies Laina.

"Oh!" I reply, "Let me ask my mom about that. I’ll call you when I get an answer."

"I got it!" Cries Hallee that night at dinner.

"What?" asks Dad.

"A name for the mare," she says, "Flame!"

"Ooh! I love it!" I coo, "About horses, Mom, Laina, and her parents want to breed Euro and Ari before we geld him."

"Oh! I’d love to do that. Can you tell Laina that we could do it this Thursday, for $950."

Twelve months later...

Brrring! Brrring! I pick up my phone, who’s calling me at 10 PM? "Hello?" I say.

"Taylor! It’s Laina! Ari’s having her foal! The foal should be born by tomorrow morning! Come right when you get up! Go on Euro! I want the dad to be the second horse the foal sees. After Ari of course."

The next morning, I slip the bridle onto Euro’s head. I push myself onto Euro’s back and kick him to trot. He trots nicely. We head over to Laina’s house. My heart is pounding. What if the foal isn’t born yet? What if Ari is dead? What if the foal is dead? Before I know it Euro is standing before Laina’s blue barn.

I dismount Euro. My feet send up a cloud of red dust. I take the reins off of Euro’s neck. I then lead him into the barn. Laina is peering over a stall door smiling. "Laina?" I ask.

"Taylor! You’re here!" Laina motions for me to come over, with Euro. I peer into the stall, Euro does the same. What I see before me takes my breath away. A little black foal feeding. It stands on it’s little wobbly legs.

Suddenly, the foal pops up and trots over to Euro. Euro and the foal bump noses. I smile.

"Colt or filly?" I ask Laina.

"Filly," she replies.

"Name?" I ask.

"Wish," she replies.

Mom waves goodbye to Euro. She found a home for him. He was a project horse, still, I miss him. Aero, Shadow, and Flame graze by the fence. They miss Euro too.

"Hallee!" I call, "Do you want to go on a trail ride?" Hallee’s eyes light up.

"Yes!" She cries.

I slip only the bridle on Aero’s head. Bareback is best. In a few minutes, Hallee emerges on Flame’s back. We urge the horses to a trot. Flame and Aero both trot nicely. Then we ask them to canter. Both horses canter.

Soon, we are at the meadow in the woods. Then a memory flashes through my mind. Me on Riot, Hallee on Button. I start to cry. I miss Riot. Aero continues to canter despite my tears. I think he knows I need to cry.

Apr 07, 2017
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This is great!
by: claudiahorselovr

Please keep writing!

Apr 05, 2017
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Part Four
by: Regan

Part Four


"And next to the ring is Taylor Maxwell on Aerodynamic!" Calls the announcer.

The hot summer sun scorched my face. My wool black riding coat doesn’t help.

I ask Aero to trot. He transitions perfectly. I ask him to canter. Not a problem. We approach the first jump, a vertical a meter high. 1,2,3, up! I think. Aero soars over the jump and lands perfectly.

Everything is the same with the stone wall jump, the oxer, and the two other verticals.

"Good job!" Cries Hallee, she gives me a big hug.

"You were great!" Says Laina, my friend from school and riding.

"Totally! You nailed that oxer!" Smiles Kelsi.

Kelsi, Laina, and I all met at a horse show last summer. We clicked immediately ever since we have been competing together.

Then the announcer speaks again, "Can all riders in the Advanced Show Jumping, ages 12-14 enter the ring?" Laina and I exchange nervous glances.

Kelsi, Laina, and I all wanted to win, but we knew that Lyla Johnson was competing too. She always won. We lead our horses into the ring. Lyla is in front of us. She leads her famous stallion, Silver Knight, with her. Once all ten competitors are in the ring, they begin the awards.

"In fifth place, we have Sam Clarence on Classy Boy!" Calls the announcer. A boy leads his chestnut gelding up to except his pink ribbon. Kelsi and Laina look nervous.

"In fourth place, we have... Kelsi Dylan on Solstice!" Kelsi sighs in disappointment and leads Sol to retrieve her white ribbon.

"In third place is... Lyla Johnson on Silver Knight!" Lyla’s jaw drops. She has never got less than first. She stomps up and grabs her yellow ribbon. Laina and I exchange hopeful looks.

"In second place we have... Laina Michaels on Thin Air!" Laina smiles and takes her red ribbon thankfully.

"And in first place, we have Taylor Maxwell on Aerodynamic!" I gasp in surprise and joy. Aero follows me excitedly as we accept our blue ribbon.

"Wonderful job!" Praises Mom, "You and Aero were flawless!" Aero tosses head.

"I can’t believe I beat Lyla!" Cries Laina, she strokes Ari’s gray coat. Ari nuzzles Laina.

Kelsi sighs, "I knew I wasn’t going to win. Sol was on the wrong lead for part of the time." Sol nudges her with his nose. Kelsi laughs and gives him a peppermint. His piebald coat gleams under the sun.

We drive back home.

After I lead Aero into the pasture, I go visit Riot. "Hello boy," I say to him. His black coat is starting to gray and she can’t jump like he used to.

Button stands next to him. White hairs dot her muzzle. The two are starting to age.

"I love you," I say as I kiss Riot’s muzzle. Mom had decided to sell Button to our younger cousin, Lexi. Riot was going to go to our other cousin, Kendra. They both live twenty minutes from here. We visit them a bunch, so it’s not like we will never see them again.

Anyhow, I will miss Riot. We were buddies. When I couldn’t ride Aero, I always rode him. Tomorrow, Aunt Kim, Lexi, and Kendra are coming to pick up Riot and Button.

A tear trickles down my cheek. I would miss Riot’s nicker. I would miss his playful personality. Hallee had outgrown Button and needed a new horse. My mom wanted a new project horse. We couldn’t keep six horses, so Riot and Button needed to leave.

When we got Shadow and Aero, Shadow was still only five. Now she is only nine. Mom says we can keep her. I just can’t bear to see Riot go.

In the morning, Aunt Kim pulled up. Nine-year-old Kendra pops out of their truck. I lead Riot up to her. Tears swell in my eyes, and I flick them away with my sleeve.

Kendra smiles and strokes Riot's forehead. I smile sadly as I see Riot and Button being led into the trailer. Riot whinnies to me. Tears run down my face. "I love you!" I call to him. He looks at me through the window on the trailer. Hallee wraps me into a hug. We both cry softly.

"I miss you Riot," I say.

The next morning, Mom takes Hallee and me to a horse auction. "Okay girls, let's go see the horses," says Mom. Hallee takes out her notebook to write down the possible horse candidates. We walk down the aisle. In the end, Mom and Hallee each have their top 5 possible horses.

"Okay, the piebald gelding and the chestnut mare are my top choices," says Hallee.

"I love the palomino stallion," says Mom.

We chat until the announcer says that the palomino stallion was entering the ring. That got Mom's attention.

"2-year-old palomino stallion, starting bid $500. Mom raises her paddle, #105. Two other people raise their paddles.

"700?" Mom raises her paddle.

"800?" Mom raises her paddle.

"Going once, going twice, sold to Number 105! Please come to the ring to retrieve your horse!"

Mom, Hallee, and I run over to ring. Mom takes the lead rope from the man holding the palomino.

"Hey boy!" Mom says. She strokes the gelding’s neck.

Then the announcer calls the chestnut mare Hallee wants to the ring.

"Starting price is $500!" calls the announcer.

After a few minutes, Hallee enters the ring after buying the mare for $3,700.

"She is so gorgeous!" Sighs Hallee. The smile slips from my face when I see a black Morgan in the ring. The image pricks my heart. I hold back tears as we enter the car.

Apr 04, 2017
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so cool!
by: hoofbeats

Please write more! This is so cool!

Mar 15, 2017
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Great story!!
by: Anonymous

Very simple, detailed yet very exciting. Part two please!

Mar 09, 2017
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:)
by: Sydney

Part 2 please!

Mar 09, 2017
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Awesome
by: Kendall

Can you do a part 2?

Mar 08, 2017
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Love it!
by: Cora

Part two please!

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