Love Like This *On Hold*

By the title you probably thought "Oh, a love story." But this isn't a love story between two people. This is a love story between a girl and her horse.

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2. Chapter 2

 Four Months Ago

 I'm walking home from my riding lesson. It's quite sunny, but not really hot. Like always, I cut through the fields. I pick a dandelion and blow. The white seeds fly around in the air. It's peaceful. A break from the traffic. You can't hear it this far into the field.

 There's a shout to my right. I turn and see the sheds. The Burkes have cows and horses. I hear a frightened whinny and dump my riding gear on the ground. The farm is only a few hundred metres away. By the time I reach the farm I have to bend down to catch my breath.

 "Stop it, you stupid-" They are cut off by the sound of a whip hitting fur. I raise my head to see a chestnut mare. She's being ridden in a kimblewick bit. She is trying to open her mouth but the grackle's preventing it. Foam is dripping from her quivering lips, and drops of sweat are rolling off her. She can barely raise her head as the too small martingale is preventing it.

 The heavy man pulls at the bit and smacks her with the crop. She stops dead. He smacks her again. She drops her head and bucks. The big man is thrown into the air and he hits the ground. The mare canters to the far corner of the arena when two men come in.

 One is holding a lunging whip and the other is holding a rubber pipe. The two men corner her after a few minutes and the taller man grabs the shaking mare while the other man lashes  the whip. The mare tries to trow her head up as it smacks down on her hindquarters. The men trade places and the taller man smacks her with the rubber pipe.

 "Stop!" I shout. I know it's stupid but I can't bare to see the skinny mare hurt anymore. The man who has just picked himself off the ground looks at me. So do the two with the horse.

 "Who are you?" The man with the pipe asks. He has a thick English accent and for a moment I don't understand him.

 "Andrea Hart," I say. The tall man looks me up and down.

 "Well, we gotta train this 'ere mare. We gonna sell 'er."

 "How much are you selling her for?"

 "Five 'undred."

 "One fifty and I'll pay you here."

 "Three 'undred."

 "Two hundred. That's my final offer."

 "We not lettin' 'er go for less than three 'undred."

 "Okay," I say, walking away, "There's plenty more horses. And fitter ones."

 "Wait. Two 'hudred then." I smile. "If you can catch her." The three men exit the arena leaving just the mare in. The tall man cracks the whip and she bolts, running around and around.

 My smile is gone as I climb the fence. I drop my gaze. The mare continues to run. I sit down, then lie down. It's dangerous. She might run over me but I can't just leave her here. After just two more circuts she slows. She's out of breath and looks like she might collapse.

 I push myself onto my haunches and move towards her. She sees me and bolts straight towards me. The tall man runs in and pulls me to the side.

 "Be careful," he warns, "She's very dangerous. You sure you want 'er?" I nod and bend down again. He shrugs and walks out. This time I manage to grab her reigns. She jumps but is too tired to fight. I pat her neck. It's sticky with sweat.

 I pull out my purse, "Here's the two hundred." I lead the mare out of the yard. It seems like the men are too shocked to ask for her tack. She's pulling but I pull back. I need to get her home and to get the vet to look at her.


 

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