I ran to Kitty's ward to be told that I wasn't allowed to visit her. I stared at the nurse for a second.
"Why not?" I asked.
"Kitty is a very sick lady," the nurse answered.
I glared at her. "And it will do her good to hear news about Sunny," I debated. The nurse shook her head and gently pushed me in the other direction. I glared at her one last time before walking away, trying hard not to cry.
Kim picked me up, and made dinner while I took care of the horses. I had to skip out Sunny's stall with him in it, as I couldn't move him yet. I had moved Horizon in between the mare and stallion. Yet he still went mad at her scent. He was pining for Kitty.
The work took my mind off the late events. I worked for three hours solid before Kim came down with my dinner on a tray. I didn't feel like eating, but she insisted. The roll tasted like sawdust and the soup like stale water, but I ate all of it to please Kim. I decided that Cloud had had enough time to settle in so I got her tack and a body brush.
She was well behaved until I tried to mount. She turned her hindquarters away from me, turning in a circle. I took a deep breath. "Stand," I said firmly. Thorn was always easy to mount, she enjoyed being ridden. Cloud turned away again, but this time I was ready for her and I moved with her, giving an extra big bounce so that I could swing my leg farther, to get it over her rump, while she turned. She seemed surprised when I mounted, looking at me and twitching her ears.
I gave her a nudge on. She didn't move, so I gave her a harder nudge. "Come on girl, walk on," I said out loud. She still stood still. I gave a small kick, but she stayed rooted to the spot, her ears pinned back. I didn't want to, but I took a whip from the whip box, not to use it, but just to hold. She knew I had it. Most horses would behave if they know that you mean business. I clicked again and nudged her.
She took a few steps forward and stopped. I gave a small nude and clicked again. She didn't move. I dismounted to check if she was sore somewhere, watching her expression closely. I didn't change, no matter where I pushed. She wasn't sore.
She turned again, but I managed to mount. I gave her a small kick. "Walk on" I said in a firm voice. She didn't budge. I really didn't want to, but I couldn't end the lesson on a bad note. I tapped the whip lightly off her shoulder.
I didn't quite get the reaction I had expected. She suddenly lunged forward, leaving me behind, slightly. I regained my seat and collected the reins. As soon as she felt the pressure on her mouth, she skid to a stop and flung herself in the air. Bucking, with her head between her legs. I leaned back, absorbing the movement with my torso. She continued bucking for a while, and I didn't try to pull her head up.
I had watched her expression when I was checking for sore spots, but not when I was riding. How could I be so stupid? I looked at her face, the whites of her eyes flashed white and her nostrils flared. Instead of having her ears pinned back, like an angry horse, they were swiveling back and forth. She was terrified.
I regretted using the whip. I whispered to her, singing slow songs, hoping to calm her. It worked, she stopped bucking, but both me and her were drenched in sweat. I stroked her neck for a while, using the t-touch method, that I had learnt from reading books, then I looked it up. It worked and she was breathing normally after a few minutes.
I vaulted off, landing lightly, trying not to spook her. I took off her saddle, tied up her reins, and rolled up her martingale. I was going to try another technique; join-up. Monty Roberts discovered it by watching wild herds.
I led her in to the round lunge arena and took a lunge whip. I closed the gate and walked to the centre of the arena. Cloud looked at me curiously and I flicked the line at the ground, about two metres behind her. "Canter on," I commanded. She cantered with a choppy stride, scared again. I threw the whip out of the arena and used my body language to keep her going. I squared my shoulders and looked her in the eye.
Every once in a while, I would step in front of her, making her change direction. I was beginning to think this was a bad idea, when I saw it. Her inside ear was fixed on me. The first sign. Then she started to slow, making smaller circles. Her head dropped and she opened and closed her mouth, as if she was chewing the air. I grinned, delighted that it had worked. I kept her going for a few more circuits before I dropped my gaze to the floor, slumped my shoulders and tuned away form her. She slowed to a stop, breathing heavy. I frowned, maybe it hadn't worked. But she walked towards me, and my heart spread up.
She breathed on my shoulder, causing goose-bumps. I walked around the arena,and she followed. I turned slowly, still looking down and stroked between her eyes. I grinned. It had worked successfully, I spoke her language and she responded.
I hosed her down and fed her. As I watched her eat and I remembered Thorn. A stabbing pain, ripped through my chest. How could I let myself for get about her?
I walked out and turned off the barn light. Kim was talking to someone in side the house. I opened the door. "SARAH!" I screamed, delighted. She ran up to meet me. I enveloped her in a hug. She squeezed me tightly. Kim had got her early. I hugged her too.
"Do you want to meet the horses?" I asked eagerly.
She nodded, "Of course! Let's go," she said, already out the door. I ran after her to catch up. "I haven't been around horses in a year," she said, breathless from running.
We entered the stable, and Horizon looked over his stall door. "He's absolutely gorgeous" she gushed, running her fingers through his short, bushy mane.
Cloud stuck her head over the door and nickered. Sarah turned around and her eyes and mouth became 'O' shapes. "Cloud?" she whispered. She took a shaky breath. Suddenly, she ran to the mare, who backed in to the farthest corner of her stable.
"Hey girl, it's only me," Sarah cooed. Cloud looked at her warily. Sarah gasped, and stepped back. The colour drained from her face.
"What's wrong Sarah? Is it not her?" I questioned, feeling incredibly guilty.
Sarah shook her head, "It is her. It's just..."
HELLO everyone!!! :D I'd just like to say a special hello to 'saibhe Horan <3' who will be making a movella with me!! YAY!! :) Sorry this chapter is so short, mam's going mad at me for being on the interwebs. :p