Redwood Academy: Counting Strides

Redwood Academy, the top boarding school in America, is home to aristocratic students and has an elite equestrian team. When Marleigh Hunter is invited to try out for the team, she realizes it isn't all that it's made up to be.... What happens next? Read to find out!


5. Over the Oxer

       I had cantered around a few times before I began to steer Atlas to the 3' brick wall jump. While I was riding, I had watched the other riders school around the course and had memorized it myself. I gave Atlas a push with my outside leg and a bit of outside rein and started to steer him towards the fence. Without warning, a girl on a shiny,black, Warmblood sped past close enough to almost scrape irons with me. "On your outside." She warned surlily.

     "Who does she think she is?" I muttered under my breath.

       Angrily, I circled Atlas and watched the girl and her lustrous horse continue cantering and clear the brick wall effortlessly.  With a sigh, I came back towards the fence and reminded myself to focus more on my equitation. I went over what my trainer would normally tell me: heels down, eyes up, look ahead not at the jump but beyond it, hands forward, and lean back. I counted in my head 1,2,3 take off! Atlas leaped up and we sailed over the jump. I tried not to hollow out my back over the jump. Overall, I thought it went well. I gave him a prod with my inside leg to get him to move to the wall.

         "On to the outside triple." I whispered under my breath.

          The three jumps, a Swedish oxer, a triple bar, and an ascending oxer, loomed overhead. I kept my eyes up past the jumps on the fence that enclosed the arena.  I sat back, put my hands forward, and counted again 1,2,3.  As we sailed over each jump, I kept my eyes up  and ahead. After we cleared the triple, I pushed Atlas again with the inside leg and guided him towards the diagonal line which consisted of a stone wall jump and a roll top. I continued my routine with every jump focusing on steering and my equitation.

       After I cleared the diagonal, I asked for a lead change since I was now trekking left. Atlas almost plunged me out of the saddle with his large-strided lead change.  I looked towards the next line, the girl on the black horse stood at a halt at the end almost blocking the last jump. This line was a diagonal triple with a square oxer, a verical, and hogs back at the end. I took a breath and looked ahead past the jumps at the black horse. I gave Atlas a nudge before the jump and he leaped over it easily.

         Then, I cleared the second jump and gave the gelding a nudge as we approached the hogs back. Atlas leaped over the jump like the others. Over the top, I gave him a squeeze with the outside leg and some outside rein. I navigated  him around the girl. "On your outside." I said bitterly.




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