I sat back. "Easy boy. That's it." Horizon stopped bucking. He swung his head around and nuzzled at my boot as if he was saying sorry. I squeezed with my legs and said "Walk on." He hesitated, then did as I asked. I made a huge fuss of him. I got him to walk another few circut, then pulled him to a stop and jumped off. He nuged my chest.
"I don't know how you managed to stay on," Sarah gasped. I smiled and patted Horizon. He nuged me again.
"Okay, okay, I get the message," I said, picking up a grooming brush from the other side of the fence. I groomed him fro a few minutes before picking up the saddle. I placed it on the sand and let him sniff it. When he lost intrest, I picked it up. I placed it on his back. He sniffed it, then nuged me again. "you need to learn some manners, mister," I laughed.
I tied the girth loosely. Bit by bit, I tightened it. When it was tight enough, I put the lunging rope through his bit. I sent him out to the edge of the arena. He hunched his back, so I aksed him to trot.
After a while, he was walking, trotting and cantering without a bother. I asked Sarah to give me a leg up. I repeated the process of lying down, then slowly sitting up. He didn't even tense up this time.
I nodded to Sarah and she walked to the centre of the ring. I asked him to trot, and he just walked faster. "Come on, boy. Trot on," I said. He lifted himself and began to trot.
After another few circuits I asked him to canter. He lenghtened his stride and cantered. For the first circuit of two, it was choppy, but then he relaxed. I laughed. He began to sweat, and I slowed him to a walk.
"He coped really well," I grinned, dismounting. I gave him a huge pat and when I took his bridle off, I gave him a treat. He crunched it as I took the saddle off. "I'm going to have to get a saddle fitted though. He doesn't have much muscle, so I'll have to work him before I get it though."
"Yeah, otherwise it'll be too tight." When Sarah talked, I flinched. For a moment I thought I was talking to Mam. Tears sprung to my eyes. It wasn'tas bad as waking up though. Waking up was the worst. For a few moments I'd believe that it was all just a dream, that mam and dad were in their room and Thorn was in the field waiting to be fed. But then the realisation hit me that it was all real.
I walked Horizon back to his stall after slipping a headcollar on to his head. Sensing my sadness, he didn't pull at all. i let the tears come as I groomed him. As I began to sob, I flung my arms around his neck and shoved my face into his warm skin. He turned his head and rested it on my shoulder, almost as if he was hugging me back.
We stayed like this until Kim opened the door and came in. "Hi," she said cheerily. Her smile dropped when I looked up, "What's wrong?"
"My father died. Six weeks later; my mother died. They wouldn't let me go to her funeral. I'd be 'Too much trouble', they said. My own mother's funeral. Then they took Thorn. The arseholes didn't even put a rug on her. Or tail bandages. I don't know where she is now. She could be with people who mistreat her. Then Kitty. She's all I had. Now she's sick." I pushed past Kim, almost knocking her over. I went into the forest.
The tears were running freely. Memories were flashing in my mind. The last show we went to was the worst.
We were all laughing on the way. It was only me riding. It was the qualifier for The Dublin Horse Show. Thorn was in the trailer.
Dad pulled into the our reserved parking spot and I jumped out. I ran to the trailer and opened the jockey door. Mam was laughing at my entusiasm. I untied Thorn. Mam opened the door and the kick quard. I led Thorn out. She raised her head and whinnied, as if she was announcing her arrival. I had her white show gear on. I took off her rug as mam did her tail and leg bandages.
"Number 308 into the ring, please." The announcer called. I smiled at my parents.
"You're going to do great," Mam said, smiling. Dad wiped my boots one last time. We had one round to show that we were good enough to qualify.
I trotted Thorn into the ring.
"Naomi O'Sullivan on her own horse Hawthorn Scent." I cantered her around, looking at the jumps. They all stood around a metre, fifteen. The starting buzz went. I turned my mare towards the first fence, a red and white upright. As soon as we passed the flags, the timer started.
I kicked again and Thorn cleared the fence easily. I was the last rider and none of the others had seriously cut corners. I needed to if I was going to win. The second fence was a green and blue oxer. Again, Thorn cleared it. The third jump, however was a bounce. I sharply turned Thorn and te crowd gasped. She cleared the first one. I kicked. She grunted and launched over the second. I gave her a pat and pushed her on again.
There was a dog's leg turn to the fourth jump. It was a water jump. There were rubber ducks in the water. Thorn quickened her pace. I didn't check her. She knew what she was doing. At the next jump, though, I did check her. It was triple. There was one stride between the first and secon, then two short strides between the second and last. There were bushes on the sides. Thorn shortened her stride and popped over then easily. There was a white gate next. She cleared it like it wasn't there.
I turned her sharply to the last fence. It was another oxer. the poles were orange and white. There were flowers at the side. Lots of riders had come to grief at this fence, their horse spooking. Thorn hesitated and I kicked her on. She took one long stride and leapt. I shoved my hands forward and kicked, asking her to gallop through the flags. She powered on, and the crowd burst into applause. I looked at the clock as I slowed her. Eighty seconds.
Four other riders were called in. they gave the rosettes and trophies from fifth place to first place. All of us got through. the yasked me to dismount.
"Would you like to put the rug on her?" The judge asked. I smiled my thanks and threw the winner's rug over her back. I mountted up and took the gold throphy. They tied a blue rosette to Torn's bridle and one to my jacket. "Go on! Lead the lap."
I pushed Thorn on again. As if she knew she won, she powered forward, leaving the other orses well behind. The other horsesturned in. "Naomi O'Sullivan doing another lap of vicory on her mare; Hawthorn Scent!"
Mam and dad were standing at the gate, clapping and cheering. After I untacked Thorn and groomed her down, we wento for a celebratory dinner.
I smile. It had only been four months ago, before mam fell really sick. I fell to my knees. Why? Why did my parents have to die? Why was my beloved mare taken form me? Why was Kitty so ill? And last of all, why did I mess everything up?
Hey, guys, I just want to thank you all!! My story reached second mos popular in pets and animals. It's all thanks to you!! I love you all sooo much!! <3
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Lots of love ~ <3 Nialler'sSweetheart <3 ~