The sun was streaming in through my window when I woke up. I looked at my clock, it was six am. I got up and got dressed.
Kitty had left a note, saying that she was down at the stables and the horses had been fed. I grabbed an apple and went down to join her. When I walked in to the stable block, the horse in the first stall put its head half way over the door. My heart skipped a beat. "Thorn..?" I whispered.
But then he put his head out fully and I saw it was Horizon. Hot tears stung the back of my eyes, but I blinked them back. I had allowed my self to hope, to believe. How could I be so stupid? She wasn't coming back, none of them were, I just had to face it.
I grabbed his head-collar and a grooming brush from the tack room. Bonding time.
I had lost my appetite, so I gave my apple to Horizon, who happily crunched on it, as I slipped his head-collar on. I started to brush him, and when I reached his itchy spot, he swung his head around, and nibbled on my hoodie, as if to return the favour. Thorn always did that. I wrapped my arms around his neck and shoved my face in to his warm mane, letting the tears flow this time.
I pulled my self together and continued grooming. Kitty looked over the half opened dutch door. "Do you want to go to the auction?" she asked.
"Why?" I asked, confused. She smiled.
"To get you a horse. You have Horizon, but you need to keep working your riding muscles, for when you back him, or you have no chance of staying on," she explained. It made sense. I found myself agreeing all too quickly, I was allowing myself to hope, to think that she might still be there.
I shook the thought out of my head, slipping Horizon's head-collar off and giving him a pat.
The drive took twenty minutes. We had brought the trailer, just in case I saw a horse that I really liked. We had watched about a hundred horses go when Kitty asked if I wanted to get lunch. It was ponies under 14hh for the next two hours.
We went to the crépe stall. I got lemon and honey, and Kitty got ham and cheese. "We'll meet back at the ring in two hours?" Kitty asked. I nodded, walking away towards the horses stalls.
When I walked in to the quiet barn almost every horse looked out.
My heart stopped. I ran to her, dropping my crépe in the process. She shied and retreated to the back of her stall. It wasn't her. It was a bay thoroughbred mare, but not Thorn. She was smaller, only 15.2hh. And she had two white socks. Her whole body was different.
I dropped to my knees. I had really believed it was her. She had looked so similar. But then I saw her, the piebald mare. She was looking at me from three stalls up. I walked slowly up to her. "Hey girl," I cooed, offering my hand for her to sniff. She blew on my face, and I blew gently in to her nostrils. She looked so much like the mare from Sarah's picture.
I looked at her details she was five. Hope burned in side me. I looked at her name: Winter Clouds. It was her.
I took my phone out and rang Kitty. Thorn wasn't here, my pony was gone forever, but Sarah's pony wasn't. "Hello?"
"Hi, Kitty, its me. I found the horse I want. Will you please come to the horse barn?"
"Of course. But make sure you want her, and no-one else."
"I do. Bye"
I hung up and almost shouted with happiness. But then I remembered that I was in a barn, and took a deep breath.
The next hour and a half went so fast, between riding the mare, discussing stuff with Kitty and the owner and paying for her.
That's right, I bought a pony, a pony for Sarah. Kitty had arranged with her niece, Kim, that Kim would adopt Sarah and move in to Kitty's old house. It was perfect. We were collecting her on Saturday.
I tied Cloud to the trailer and took a drink of water, I was parched. Kitty followed with Cloud's tack, including her traveling things. I tacked her up, having slight trouble with her feathered feet. She was fine, though.
I walked her up to the trailer and she stopped, straining against the lead rope. She flashed the whites of her eyes. She was scared. I got a scarf and tied it around her eyes. Then I led her back to the trailer, talking to her all the time. She loaded without a fuss. I took the blindfold off, and poked her hay-net, which she started eating from and I tied her up. Kitty secured the kick bar and pushed up the door. I jumped out the jockey door and in to the passenger seat.
When I led Cloud in to the barn, Horizon nickered a friendly greeting, while Sunny let out a clarion call. Damn It! I never thought. He was a stallion and Cloud was a mare. She whinnied back, raising her head and trotting on the spot. I led her down to the last stall and untacked her.
Kitty came in. "Dinner's ready," she said. My stomach rumbled, I regretted dropping my pancake.
Dinner was homemade veggie soup and rolls. I wolfed mine down and scooped a second serving.
Kitty got up to put her bowl in the sink and suddenly dropped, first to her knees, then on to her front. "KITTY!!" I screamed. Not Kitty too. I nudged her and she didn't move. I whipped out my phone, and phoned 999. Then I called Kim. She came straight away. The ambulance came a few minutes after and took Kitty away.
I ran to Horizon and cried in to his mane again. For a young horse he was unusually patient. I spent hours grooming him. He was shining by the time I finished. Kim came in with a blanket and a flask. "I brought you hot chocolate," she said, sitting down beside me in the corner.
I looked at my phone, it was half four in the morning. I couldn't sleep, I was too worried about Kitty. I must've fallen asleep, because I jumped at the sound of Sunny whinnying. I went out to him. He was craning his head over the door, looking up the aisle. I realised that he was looking for Kitty. She hadn't come to feed him last night, or this morning. I stroked his cheek, but he just looked past me and up the aisle. I started crying again, I wanted to curl up in a corner and sleep forever, but I had jobs to do. I mixed feeds and filled hay nets. It was too dangerous to lead Sunny out to clean his stall, as I wouldn't be able to hold him if he decided to run. So I did Horizon's and Cloud's instead.
I went inside and my phone rang. I answered, it was the hospital with news about Kitty.
"I'm afraid its not good news." The nurse said. "She had a heart attack and now she's had a second one. She's in critical condition."
Sorry about the bad, short chapter, but it was ten to five in the morning when I was writing it, so my mind wasn't at its best. <3