The Champion Rider


4. 4

Meanwhile down the road, Max and his father were sat in their small cottage kitchen eating their breakfast and listening to the radio that was playing softly in the corner. Max munched down on his marmite toast as Jim flicked through the morning paper, humming along to the radio quietly. “Did you hear that commotion outside in the early hours of this morning? Or was I imagining it?!” Max said to Jim between mouthfuls of toast. Jim lifted his gaze from the paper and looked over at Max… “Mm, I heard something but wasn’t sure if anyone was outside. It was probably just one of the horses making a fuss over something silly like a fox sneaking past the stalls; I doubt anyone was actually out there, especially that early. If you’ve checked all the horses are okay I wouldn’t worry.” Jim responded before grabbing a slice of toast and smothering it in sticky, sweet jam. 
“You’re probably right, I did a brief check over the horses a little while ago and they were all present and correct!” Max replied, grinning. “Anyway I better get moving, got a lot that needs doing today! I’ll catch up with you later.” He stood up and brushed the crumbs off his jodhpurs before walking out the door to tackle the day that lay ahead.

Max strode off towards the stables, pausing on the front lawn; he let out a shrill, short, sharp whistle. Two seconds later, two dogs came bounding round the corner their tongues lolling out the side of their mouths. The skidded to a halt at their master’s feet, panting, and looking up at him with big brown eyes. “Good boys. You would’ve alerted me if someone was around last night wouldn’t you? Of course you would. Come on let’s go, walk on.” He said softly, fondling with the dog’s soft ears distractively. The three of them set of at a brisk walk towards the stables, breathing in the fresh morning air and basking in the early morning sunshine. Within a few minutes they had reached the stable yard, unlatching the gate Max pushed it open and stood aside to allow the dogs to enter, before walking through behind them. As the trio went along, each horse poked their heads out from behind each of the stall door, whinnying their greetings to Max and the dogs. The last stall was tightly bolted shut, as Max got closer he could hear the horse inside shuffling around. Max clucked his tongue and the horse let out a loud nicker before starting to kick the bottom half of his door. “Steady boy. I’m coming, settle down.”

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