Like A Whisper...

Alice loves horses. She helps out at her local yard. Her mother and father hate not being able to afford to buy their daughter a horse.
Alice doesn't like school, though she gets good grades. She's not popular, but she's not bullied.
What will happen when her perfectly normal life is turned upside down?

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5. Chapter 5

  I pat his chestnut neck one more time before pulling on my gloves. Hatter's going well today though he doesn't like dressage much. His paces are floaty and light and his carriage is perfect.

 "Good luck, he's your best ride." Mally smiles at me as I ride in. I trot Hatter to X and he does a perfect square halt.

 "Welcome Alice Hayes on The mad hatter to the arena." The announcer says. The crowd burst into applause. "She's only fourteen and this is her first three star event." The crowd clap and cheer louder. I have to fight to suppress my grin.

 I salute the judges and push Hatter into a trot. Staying in a sitting trot, I turn onto the right reign at C and keep him trotting. I keep my tongue firmly between my teeth to stop myself from talking. I change the reign from E to B. Unlike a few months ago, my bum is firmly on the saddle instead of bouncing into the air.

 I've been riding for four years but only learned how to do sitting trot when Mally realised that I was determined to become a professional rider.

 Now on the left reign, I squeeze my legs slightly at F. Hatter lifts to a canter. I turn up the middle of the arena and ask him to do flying changes with every stride. I turn him right and turn him into the middle at A. At X I ask him to preform a piaffe. He preforms it perfectly and I ask him to go on again.

 I ask him to do a half pass up the long side of the arena. Riding straight again, He preforms a five metre loop off the track. There's a figure of eight each way in trot and two twenty metre circles.

 I ask him to walk and change the reign four times before asking him to go from a walk to a canter. At X i ask him to do a pirouette.

 Finally, going onto the right reign, I turn him in at A and ask him, once again, to go from a trot to a square halt. I dropped the reigns and saluted the judges. I walk up the centre line and turn him onto the left track and exited at A, sitting up straight and keeping him going at a nice pace the whole way. The crowd are clapping and cheering so loud I'm afraid Hatter might spook.

 "That was brilliant!" I gasp, jumping down once we're out of the arena. I fling my arms around his neck and give him a hug.  I lead him towards the trailer. Cathal and Mally are walking towards me.

 "Well done," Cathal smiles.

 "He was so good wasn't he? That has to be the best dressage test he's ever done."

 "You got thirty eight," Mally grinned. I got thirty six on Jack and I'm coming first on him. There's one rider left to go.

 I watch him enter the arena. The horse takes two steps at a walk before coming to a square halt. He salutes the judges and digs his spurs in. I raise an eyebrow. Even I noticed that kick. The horse spring into a lively trot and he yanks its mouth. He jerks forward as the horse suddenly stops. It spreads its back legs and I giggle as the mare begins to pee.

 The man stands up and waits. When she's finished he gives her a slap of his crop. Even form here I can see the judges shaking their heads.

 "Come, on, boy. Let's get you to your stall."

 I wipe a small piece of dirt off Wonder's bridle and smile up at Martha. She smiles back before entering.

  "Welcome Martha O'Connor on Mystic Wonder into the arena."

 I smile as he executes a perfect square halt. Martha salutes the judges and asks him to trot. He's going lovely, his tail streaming out behind him like spun silk.

 I open my Coke can and take a gulp. Martha rides Wonder out on a loose reign, a grin on her face.

 "He was amazing," she gushes. I smile and take his reigns as she dismounts. "Oh, did Mally tell you? You can jump him in the seventies at twenty past two if you want. I'm going to lunch with Damien."

 Sure," I say calmly though I'm delighted that I get the opportunity to jump him at a show.

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