Forever Alone

Eclipse cannot find a place where she belongs. No-one seems to want her and no-one seems to need her in their life. Will Eclipse ever find a place where she is truly needed?

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4. North Carolina- Part Two

Several days had gone by. Time flew by so quickly when you did hours and hours of solid training constantly everyday. I heard from the other horses that I was going through the 'entrance period'. This was apparently the first seven days after a horse arrives where they are put through their paces to find out whether they need further training or are fine to be entered into races. This is my entrance period training program:

Monday: health check

Tuesday: simulated track to set the paces

Wednesday- Thursday: indoor muscle strengthen sessions

Friday- Saturday: final training

Sunday: review before the next week of practice races

I hated the training. It was long and exhausting. We began early in the morning, stopped for lunch and a couple of breaks, then completed the day until late in the evening.

The entrance period was soon over though, but I now needed to take part in the practice races with everyone else. They were much more fun, we got to canter round the track as fast as we could go. The humans were no bother as they practically stood up so as not to bother our backs or paces. I knew the actual filmed races would start next week and I was prepared to canter my way to victory!

***

My mind was focused on the track ahead. I tried my best to ignore the claustrophobic feeling that was filling my head and the roaring of the crowds. Blinding lights flashed before my eyes and the smell of food lingered in the air. I ignored all that as the bell echoed in my ears, and I sped off down the track.

My legs were burning with the effort and my mind was screaming with adrenaline overload. My rider patted my neck gently as she lifted herself a little higher to take the weight off. It was all going so well. The track stretched out ahead of me, but I was not put off by the distance. I stretched my neck forward, even though I knew I was holding first place. I was winning. I felt confident that this would be a great victory and I could almost taste it.

The next few moments happened so quickly. I knew that I was dangerously close to the bright metal barrier that signified the edge of the track, but I thought nothing of it as I had confidence that my rider would keep me from hitting it. Another rival horse smacked into my right side. My balance was threatening as I veered slightly left to avoid them, and closer to the barrier. A second horse accidently knocked my back leg, but I was not expecting the second hit. I tipped left and over the metal barrier. I couldn't see anything clearly, as the fall happened in jerky freeze-frames. At some point during my fall, my rider had fallen off, but I couldn't see where she had gone. My back smacked the ground at the bottom of the hill as I rolled onto my side, moaning with the pain. I attempted to haul myself to my feet, but the pain knocked me out and the world went black.

***

From what I heard from the other horses back at the stable, the race was cancelled after my accident and will be repeated next week. The horse who knocked my back leg was in the stable opposite me and was locked away, but he looked very dejected when he looked over to see if I was back.

I heard from the humans checking me that my rider had broken her neck, they weren't sure whether she was going to live. The racetrack owner's daughter had told me that I had damage to my back and legs. Nothing was broken luckily, but I was going to be in great pain for a few weeks.

I learnt later that day that my rider had died and they were uncertain who was to take her place, but one thing was absolutely certain: I was never going to race again.

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