The Champion Rider


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It was late by the time the Tizzie walked through her front door, she’d already been back on her family’s ranch for over half an hour, but had spent the time down at the stables grooming and feeding Sunny before turning the gelding out with her mum’s horses for the night. Stumbling through the door, kicking off her muddy yard boots, she called out to her mum to let her know she was back safe and sound.
Amber was in the spacious, cosy kitchen cooking her signature sausage casserole when Tizzie crawled in and leant up against the warm radiator, sighing with content.  “What are you doing? You’re such a strange child Tizzie!” Exclaimed Amber, shaking her head and laughing at her daughter.
“I am not strange! Well maybe a little bit but anyway I’m knackered. Honestly it’s not like I’ve been riding all day! Mm, that smells nice, please tell me that’s sausage casserole! I’m starved.” Tizzie replied indignantly.

“You’re ALWAYS hungry! Now let’s eat and you can tell me all about you’re afternoon at the yard with Max” Amber finished, pointing at the steaming hot bowls in front of them.
 

So as the pair ate, Tizzie told her mum all about the afternoon she’d had. Starting with meeting Jim and Max for the first time to how she’d fallen in love with Diamond, the bay mare she’d ridden in the school under Max’s watchful eye. Amber sat listening while she ate, occasionally pointing at Tizzie’s bowl to remind her to eat while the food was hot! “Well you certainly sound like you’ve had a good afternoon. I hope Max and Jim are well; it’s certainly been a while since I last saw them! In fact Jim was still riding last time I saw them both. Anyway this mare you seem taken with sounds nice, maybe I’ll come with you next time you go up there, it will be nice to catch up with Max and his dad.” Amber said.
“Okay, I think I’m going up tomorrow. Max didn’t really say! You could always give him a call mum; he’ll probably be pleased to have you call him!” Tizzie replied with a giggle.
“Hey! What you giggling for miss, I hope you’re not trying to set me up with Max?” Amber said, poking Tizzie in the side.
“No, of course not.” Tizzie replied with a grin before skipping out to the kitchen with their empty bowls.

One hour later the phone trilled loudly in the small cottage, it was such a sudden, startling sound that made both Max and Jim Tiller jump. They looked at each other as if to question who might be calling them at this time.
“Do you want me to get it?” Max asked his father.
“Please, I can’t get to it quick enough these days” Jim replied.
Max jogged over to the phone that was sat on the side table at the far end of the room. “Hello, Max Tiller speaking. Can I help you?”

“Hey Max, it’s me, Amber. Were you expecting a business call? I hope I’m not blocking the line!” Amber replied.
“Amber! I didn’t recognise your number, sorry. How are things with you?”
“Yeah everything is fine. Anyway listen, I was going to ask you when you’d next want Tizzie to come up. I was thinking I’d come up too and we can have a catch up while she either works or rides, since it has been a fair few years since I last saw you and Jim.” Amber said.
“Sure, well I’ll need Tizzie tomorrow as I’ve got stalls that’ll need mucking out, plus a few young horses I need her to do some schooling with. After all she’s supposed to be coming here to experience working at a competition yard as well as the riding aspect of it!” Max laughed.
“Alright, well we’ll see you tomorrow! Bye” Amber responded and hung up.

 

 

The next morning Amber and Tizzie were up bright and early; it was 7am! They needed to be at Max’s yard for 8:30am, which left them just over an hour to get up and ready to hack over there. Amber had thought about driving over but had changed her mind late last night, if they hacked over together then at least Amber might be able to test Max’s facilities on her mare. “Come on Tizzie, get out the bathroom, I need to go in there before we leave! Plus we’ve got to catch the horses and saddle them up yet and you aren’t even out of your pyjamas! Get a wiggle on!” Amber called out to Tizzie through the bathroom door. “Yeah, I’m coming!!” Tizzie hollered in response.  
Twenty minutes later the pair emerged from the back door into the early morning sun, Amber had already pulled her boots on and was now watching and laughing at Tizzie, who was hoping around trying to put on her other boot! “Why don’t you just sit down and put them on sweetie?” Laughed Amber.
“Oomph! There, see I didn’t need to sit down!” Tizzie exclaimed, poking her shockingly pink tongue out at her mum. “Come on let’s get down to the stables and tack up!”

So the pair set off towards the vast, airy stables, it was rapidly coming up to eight o’clock which meant they had to get their horses in and tacked up quickly in order to be at Max’s yard on time! Amber unlocked the tack room and walked in with Tizzie following closely behind; they grabbed their head collars and slung them over their arms. Then turning around, the pair strode out towards the far paddock where the horses were happily grazing. As Tizzie and her mum vaulted lightly over the gate, Sunny and Flame – Amber’s horse – both lifted their heads and nickered softly out to them. Sunny broke into a high stepping trot, striding out beautifully towards Tizzie with Flame following behind at her usual sedate walk. She soon picked up her pace however, once she realised that Polo’s were being offered! They were too good to resist!
Amber slipped the head collar over Flame’s head and did up the buckle; Tizzie did the same- with Sunny putting his nose through the hole for Tizzie. He continued to stand politely waiting for her to do up the buckle behind his little velvet ears, once she had the lead rope fastened to the head collar Tizzie held the polo’s for Sunny. The little gelding snuffled the treats out of her palm before they all started making their way back towards the stables to get ready to ride out, Amber was walking just ahead of Tizzie with Flame by her side. Tizzie could see her mum now waiting with Flame by the gate, giving the lead rope a wiggle to get Sunny to trot next to her; she jogged along with her horse over to the gate. Swinging it open wide, the four of them walked on through into the yard once more, the loud but comforting clatter of hooves on the concrete sounding out against the fresh but warm morning air. Amber flung Flame’s lead rope at her daughter and turned around to close the gate again, swiftly pulling the bolt back through the little gap so the other ponies couldn’t get loose while they were at Max’s yard. Smiling, Tizzie handed the lead rope back to her mum to lead Flame back to her loose box. Once the horses were safely tied up outside their loose boxes, Amber and Tizzie went back into the tack room and hauled their saddles off the racks and flung their bridles onto their shoulders. Grabbing a brush each the pair set to work removing the mud and dust that was caked onto Sunny and Flame, they were filthy! Finally after ten minutes of solid scrubbing, the saddles were placed gently on the horses’ backs and the bridles were slipped gently over their heads.  “You mount up Tizzie; I’m just going to go lock the tack room up. Do you have your hat and crop?” Amber called over her shoulder as she jogged off towards the tack room.
“No, can you grab them for me please? I must’ve forgotten them.” Tizzie responded as she shoved her foot in her stirrup and bounced up, landing lightly in the saddle.

Amber grabbed both their hats and whips, turned round and shut the door, turning the key in the lock as she went. Walking back into the yard, she pulled on her hat and fastened it securely under her chin. Once she had reached Tizzie’s side she handed her the hat and crop, Amber walked back over to Flame and untied her. The mare was excited about going out so as Amber pushed her foot into her stirrups to mount up she had to move swiftly with Flame as she pivoted on the spot. Finally they were mounted up and ready to set off!

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