Today was my first day at my new stable, but it wasn’t just a stable, it was also a boarding school. Some people go there because it's got great test scores, or they want to go to the Olympics in literally any sport. Almost all of the alumni from Trottington Prep. ended up competing or at least trying out for the Olympics.
No one is really friendly here, at least not when you’re the new girl. It's like whoever you hang out with is who you stay with until you graduate. Even my roommate didn’t want to hang out. There were all these groups, and I feel like if I sat down with the wrong crowd for lunch, I would never get any friends. That’s all okay though, because friends are distracting, and I need all my focus and energy spent on riding.
I was stuck at orientation, and as soon as it was over I went straight to the stables. I didn’t have my own horse, but I knew that just spending time with horses and the smell of hay would calm me down. My riding instructor, Mr. Armstrong, said that if I wanted to try out for the riding team that I would need some practice. “A bay gelding named Mars needs exercise, so if you want to ride him, go ahead.” he said.
The very next day I came down to the stables in my best riding clothes, if I was going to make any friends, I may as well try to look nice too. Mars was completely spotless when I got him out of his stall where he was sleeping, so I only did a light grooming and started to put on his tack.
Mars glided like an angel when I got on him, and my new green saddle pad with my initials in the color gold, looked perfect on his bay fur. His chestnut mane flew into my face as I cantered him around the arena.
When I asked Mr. Armstrong if I was allowed to set up a few jumps in the outdoor arena, he said that I would need another rider there as well, and since I didn’t really have people lining up to be my friend, I didn’t ask anyone. So my quest to find friends, began.
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When ever I was at the stables, I always tried to memorize what people looked like, so that at lunch, I would end up sitting with the crowd that liked horses. So far, I’ve only sat alone. No one seemed to want to sit with me. I guess being the new girl is harder than it looks.
After 5 days I finally got someone to practice with me. A girl by the name of Alyssa, with tan skin and dark chocolate hair, had finally agreed to help me practice for tryouts. Turns out she was new here last year, but had tested into intermediate, and was going to tryout for advanced this year. Alyssa rode a little dark colored mare named Nike, and the two of them were inseparable. I continued riding Mars, whom I soon found out loves nothing more than attention and show jumping.
Tryouts were in two weeks, and Alyssa and I were practicing six days a week and giving the horses relaxation days on Sundays. We sat at lunch together and had almost all the same classes together.
Just three days left until tryouts, and my brain could not focus on anything except for Mars. He had been doing great until yesterday when I took him out to the trails to practice cross country. We jumped over the bushes, and alternated between jumping and walking through the streams. He had been perfect, until I asked him to jump over the biggest part of the stream, which is only about two feet wide. He went towards it with bravery but then about four strides from the stream he stopped. He wouldn’t budge. Finally I had to get off and walk him around to the path with a bridge to go over the stream. I know giving up is bad, but I didn’t know how to solve this.
Once I got to the end of the trees, I hopped back onto Mars and asked him to canter back towards the stable. There I got off his sweaty tack and made sure he was clean before putting him back in his stall. Normally after a ride he would go outside, but I thought he should just rest.
I decided to text Alyssa and see of she was able to meet up later and help me with Mars. She said she was busy until three, and that she could help then. So I walked back to my dorm along the long twisting path, and the campus seemed to almost overflow with students going to get lunch. I walked towards the small yogurt stand which was hiding in the corner, with only three people in line: two girls and one guy. They were all different heights, making it almost funny that they were all friends. They all ordered the berry pie yogurt, and walked back towards the grassy areas to eat.
I walked up towards the counter and asked for one key lime pie yogurt, and paid the two dollars. I started back up my slow walk to my dorm, the trees whispering in the wind, and the mountains stood tall and strong.
By the time I got back to my dorm, I had to eat quickly and then sprint to get back to the barn in time to meet Alyssa. So that’s what I did. I ate as fast as I could, and then ran all the way back. I got there just a few minutes before Alyssa, and we quickly got ready to go for a ride.
Once we got past the stable and were in open pastures, we nudged our horses with our legs and they picked up a fast paced canter. “Race you?” teasingly asked Alyssa.
“Of course, just be prepared to lose!” I joked back. We raced all the way to the woods, where we then had to slow to a trot. I won the race, and that was all thanks to Mars, he had been amazing during the race and was very excited to show off in front of his friend. “I think you gave Mars extra treats to make him go faster!” said Alyssa, trying to keep a straight face, but laughing.
“Well I think you just didn’t realize how good your competition is.” I teased back at her.
We laughed and laughed, until finally we got to the stream, and then we had a problem.
“Umm, is the stream supposed to be that high?” I asked. We walked farther up the mountain where the source of the stream is and so much water was spitting out, I thought it was going to flood the entire area!
“Maybe we should go?” I suggested nervously.
“I think that’s a good idea.”
We turned our horses around, and we were about to start to walk away when Mars panicked as the stream overflowed and the water hit his ankles.
“Come on Mars, nows not the time to stop in your tracks!”
“Come on, let’s go!” called Alyssa.
“Mars won’t budge!” I kicked him a few more times, and got off, realizing it was no use to try and move him. I pulled his reins over his head and started to walk him out of the way of the water that was now rushing to where we stood. His knees where now submerged in water, making his once muddy hooves free of dirt and gook.
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Once I had finally gotten Mars back to the stable and safe and warm in his stall, I went to the Cafe with Alyssa, and we tried to figure out what had happened that had caused the normally shallow stream to overflow.
The pink and purple colored shop was decorated with all sorts of designs, some being flowers and others just swirls. It looked as if they had taken every item from the stores during Valentine’s day and plopped them into late october.
“So do you think someone sabotaged us?”
“Well, you were there earlier, and it was as shallow as the old well, and then you texted me about coming to help you with Mars for tryouts. What if someone sabotaged us?!”
“Who would do something like that?”
“A rich spoiled snob. The only reason she’s even popular is because of her stupid clique, and her dad has a major record label company.”
“Why would she try to sabotage us? And what would she want to gain over us? If she’s popular than I don’t understand why she would want to do anything that could potentially ruin her title.”
“She’s on the advanced riding team, but she’s not doing very well, and she knows tryouts are coming up, and that she could lose her place on the team.”
“How did she know we were going to the stream though?”
“She’s major popular, she could have asked any one of the computer tech people to hack into one of our phones.”
“Here are your brownies and shakes.” said the waitress.
“We’ll talk about this more later, now onto the exciting topic!” Alyssa squeaked.
“Oh no. I am not talking about this, the only reason I came to this school was for-” Alyssa cut me off before I could finish.
“For the hot fudge inside the ice cream?”
“What? That’s a thing? And that’s where you were going with this??”
“Yeah, they do that in all of their ice cream, unless you ask for one without it.” We laughed and talked until, finally, I said that I had to go or else I was going to fail my science test.
The walk back to the dorm seemed cold and long, the paths starting to be lit up by the glowing lights. The dorms seemed to have a friendly, yet cold feeling. Because I knew that although people wouldn’t say it, none of them would want me to be here over anyone else. Maybe because I have different beliefs than them, or because I’m new and different. Either way, I only had one friend on campus, Alyssa.
The next morning I woke up and saw that all of my roommates stuff was gone. I walked to the bathroom. Inside all of her stuff was gone as well, and some of my stuff. There was also a note, it said that Harper, my roommate, had decided to move out of our room and live with one of her actual friends (otherwise known as the opposite of me) and that she was never going to see my face again, and she was very, very, very happy about that.
I brushed the note aside and hopped into the shower. The warm water rushed over my body and gave a refreshed new day sort of feel. I brushed my teeth in the shower and washed my face. I got out and grabbed my teal colored fluffy towel. I walked back out into my room and put on the clothes I had laid out last night. I then went back into the bathroom and I put my hair up in my towel. I did a quick coat of foundation and mascara. I then took my hair out of my towel and brushed it out. I did a quick loose braid and tied it off with a brown hair tie that was almost broken. I grabbed my bag, and walked out the door.
“My roommate actually moved out.” I told Alyssa as we walked together towards the stable for our morning ride. “I thought she was going to move out next semester? That way you both could get new roommates.”
“So did I, but I guess she just wanted to room with her friends and couldn’t stand me any longer.”
“Well, at least you can get a new roommate who you can actually hang out with.”
“Maybe, what if someone totally annoying gets assigned as my roommate?”
“Then you deal with it, or you ask for a new roommate.”
We walked into the tack room and checked the announcement board. “The try outs got moved to today?” I asked in confusion.
“Apparently!” replied Alyssa.
“We 0nly have half an hour until try outs!”
We hurriedly got our tack and rushed to our horses stalls. We set down our stuff and we both started to walk inside, when we realized neither of our horses were there.
“Someone must have put them outside last night!” I said, trying to calm myself down.
“Who was here between 7:00 at night, and 6:30 in the morning?”
“Doesn’t matter now, we have to hurry! We have twenty-five minutes until try outs start, and we are up first!” I practically screamed.
We raced out to the front paddock, hoping that they wouldn’t be in the very back pastures.
“Ugh, they aren’t out here!”
“I swear if Nike rolled, she is going to be in so much trouble!”
“Doesn’t matter right now, we have to get them clean anyways.”
We ran out of the pasture and towards the biggest one, which also had the most mud. As I saw horses come into view, the only thing I saw were two brown colored horses, who I assumed had just arrived at the barn.
“There they are!” whisper screamed Alyssa, not wanting to startle them.
“Those horses are practically black! There’s no way those are our bay ponies.”
“Doesn’t hurt to try, does it?”
We slowly walked over towards the two horses, who as we got closer, looked more like ponies, and like they had rolled. I carefully got closer to the one I assumed was Mars, and put on his halter. Alyssa did the same with Nike, and we trotted them to the pasture gate.
“The time is 6:45.” I said, checking my watch as we walked them into their stalls. We tied them to the circular hooks and got as much of the mud and dirt off as we could, we then braided their tails and manes as fast as possible and put on their tack.
By the time we were mounting our horses in the arena, it was 6:57, leaving us just barely enough time to warm up. I trotted around and made sure all of my tack was on correctly and didn’t have any loose parts.
Our tests went almost perfectly, except for the part when Mars and I clipped one of the rails, and Alyssa got a refusal.
“Good job girls,” said Mr. Armstrong, “You both did an excellent job. Practice is every day except for the weekend, your lesson times will be posted on the cork board in the tack room by tomorrow. Congratulations and welcome to the advance team.”
We nodded our heads and said thank you. Taking our time as we got them untacked and brushed. We walked our horses out to the paddock and let them go. “See you tomorrow?” I asked.