|| Book Sneak Peek || Into The Show Ring
Hey guys so here is a sneek-peek into the new book I'm writing. Let me know in the comments if you want to read more!!
April in the countryside. The Baker estate is beaming with new life! The trees are budding, flowers are blooming, there is a slight breeze in the air that carries all the fresh smells across the small farm. The lady of the house Marie Baker sees to it that her grounds stay healthy and vibrant year round but she particularly enjoys seeing the fruits of her labor in spring. Her husband Jason owns his own construction company. Their sons are Competitive Show Jumpers Nolan and Landon Baker. There is also their younger sister Abigail Baker.
Jason is hard at work in town while Marie sips tea on the porch enjoying the morning watching her son's warm up their horses.
"Mommy! I can't find Sugars blue saddle pad!" Abigail cries out dropping her arms down on her sides in exasperation.
"Just use a different one honey" Her mother says calmly between sips.
"But I want the blue one!." Abigail whines.
"Sweetie just use the pink one, it's very pretty" Marie says encouragingly.
"ugh!.." Abigail says throwing her head back and turning on her heel back to the barn.
Marie chuckles and turns her attention back to her sons warming up. "Looking good boys!"
Nolan the eldest is on Rifter, a bay mare with a bit of an attitude and a lazy streak. "I'm trying, but she just isn't the most willing partner" he says bringing her to a halt on the side of the arena near the house porch.
"Just keep working with her" Marie quims "She'll warm up to you, just be patient" she adds.
"I doubt it.." Nolan mumbles.
"What was that?!" Marie asks with a firm tone.
"Nothing" Nolan replies but he knows him and this mare don't mesh. And won't mesh. He much prefers his sweet mare Heidi. Nolan looks toward Heidi's stall and the cute little palomino pops her head out to see what's going on as she takes a big whiff of the fresh breeze. He loves Heidi but as a competitive show jumper trying to move up the ranks she is just too slow and small standing at only 15.1hh to take him past the 1.20's. She tries her heart out but she just can't go much past 1.20 and her speed is nowhere near fast enough to take him into the upper levels.
Rifter on the other hand standing at 16.1hh was a steal at 15k as a 7 year prospect for upper level sport. Nolans mother bought the mare from a friends daughter's trainer who had a client that didn't want the mare anymore. But with every ride Nolan disliked her attitude even more. She was not sweet natured like Heidi. She was demanding and angry nearly all the time. She wouldn't really relax so much as get lazy. She had the breeding and body conformation to make it but her attitude was something else.
"See Nolan, that's why boys are best!" Landon says with a grin as he trots his big grey gelding Owen by. Landon subscribed to the popular *geldings rock* opinion. It is popular for a reason. Geldings are easy to tell what to do and make them do it. Mare's require more communication and connection much like women in general... But Nolan had a soft spot for mares..
Meanwhile 45 minutes south in a small town the Garnetts were unpacking from their move. Leonard Garnett moved down for work. After lots of on and off jobs he made the move down for a job in sales. His wife Natalie worked at a local breakfast nook. Their daughter Anna worked at a small rundown farm in exchange for half of her horse's board. Her younger brother Boyd plays on the soccer team at his high school and is a bit of a gamer to say the least.
With a long day of unpacking the family takes the time to have some breakfast together. "Gorgeous day!" Leonard exclaims.
"yup" Boyd says while more interested in his breakfast biscuit.
"Too bad we can't enjoy it" Natalie says disappointedly.
"Or ride.." Anna adds. Missing any opportunity to ride eats away at her like Boyd chowing down that biscuit.
Back at the Baker estate Nolan dismounts Rifter after their ride. He sullenly puts his stirrups up as his brother Landon walks by with Owen in tow. Landon and Owen had a great ride. Owen was supple and energized, Landon was balanced and centered over the jumps. Nolans ride was not as good as his brothers. Rifter can be a gorgeous mover but if Nolan doesn't constantly push her she stops. But then while jumping she gets mad and pins her ears back when Nolan denies her getting to far above the bit.
As Nolan walks into the barn Heidi nickers at him. He smirks in acknowledgment. Then Rifter lunges at Heidi attempting to bite her. "Hey!" Nolan shouts at Rifter "LEAVE HER ALONE!" he says clearly fuming with anger at Rifter as he pulls her away from Heidi. One of the grooms jogs up to ask if everything is ok "it's all fine" Nolan says "Here just take her. I can't deal with her" he adds handing the reins over.
Nolan storms out. He heads to the house. He enters in the side door and pours himself a glass of water. "She has the talent Nolan" his mother says from where she is sitting at the table "you know that."
"Yes mother I know.." Noland restrains his annoyance "but she is so nasty! She just attacked Heidi!"
"Speaking of which.." says Marie as Nolan takes a drink "I was thinking since you have Rifter to move up on why not sell Heidi? She is worth 20k as a wonderful childs high hunters. Or Big EQ's. or even another amature Jumper."
Nolans stomach hits the floor. The very thought of selling his beloved Heidi made him sick. "No. She is worth more than money to me"
"I know honey.." Marie starts "I know how much she means to you.. but she'd just be going to waste just sitting here when she could be showing a child the ropes and bringing someone else to their next goals."
Nolan doesn't reply to that. He felt offended at his mother's offer to sell Heidi but she had a good point, Heidi could help someone else. Nolan was divided and confused now. He put his empty glass in the sink and walked outside.
Heidi nickered to him again when he entered the barn. "Hey girl, you doing ok?" he said as he grabbed her halter. Heidi kept nickering as if to answer his question. Nolan chuckled as he imagined what Heidi would be saying if she could speak. Perhaps she'd be telling him about how terrible Rifter was to her. Or asking why he spends more time with Rifter? Then Nolan thought of his mom's proposal..
Nolan shook his head of such thoughts and numbed his emotions while grooming Heidi. Meanwhile Landon was warming up on his other ride Crimson. Crimson a tall lanky chestnut gelding with a bit of fire under him was Landon's other Jumper. Crimson was Landon's favorite of the two because Crimson was a show off. Landon shows both of his geldings regularly both Owen and Crimson can go to the next level when Landon is ready but for now they are sticking with the 1.20's. Landon loves the way Crimson has more flare in his personality. Owen had a great personality but he was relaxed like a hunter. Crimson on the other hand was more flashy.
Landon was taking a lesson on Crimson with their trainer Carl Fletcher. "More knee over the jumps!!" Carl said as Landon and Crimson turned from their last jump to their next one. "Stick! Stick! Stick!" Carl shouted because Crimson was slowing a little. Nolan looked at his mother who was watching intently at Landon and Crimson as they nearly knock the jump. "What was that!?" Carl said exasperated.
"Sorry.." Landon said catching his breath.
"Hey! He's only following your instruction!" Marie said to Carl very matter of factly.
Nolan hoped on Heidi and headed for the trails before things got anymore tense and awkward. This trainer probably won't make it long either. Mrs. Baker changed the boys trainer at least once every year. Nolan wasn't a fan of Carl. He prefered tainers like their last one Mika Shrevolts, she was originally a dressage rider and she taught the boys how to use dressage basics in their jumping. However Mika moved to Canada.
By late afternoon the Garnetts were all exhausted from unpacking most of their stuff. But while the others sat down to watch TV and relax Anna was zipping up her half chaps. She was going to ride even if it was late and she was exhausted. She hoped in the little beat up car that she was allowed to drive and headed 15 minutes down the road to Sleepy Stables.
Sleepy Stables looked like it had been asleep for the past thousand years. Most of it was overgrown. Dull chipped paint, fences in need of repair. The fences that were repaired were badly done. The barn ceiling was like one massive cobweb. Dirt floors. Stall doors that hung crooked. You get the picture. For obvious reasons the place had cheaper board than all the other barns and because of said obvious reasons was desperate for business even at discounted rates in exchange for work.
Anna couldn't find anything worth listening to on the radio so she rolled the windows down and enjoyed the cool breeze. Once she arrived she found her mare half asleep in her stall. "Aww, you tired Ginger?" she asked while she caressed the blaze that ran down the 16hh chestnut mares face. "Come on big girl" she said while she slipped on Ginger's bridle. Ginger had just turned 17 and was an ex broodmare with some hunter/jumper training. Anna's parent's bought Ginger for her 7 years ago, Ginger had had a few years off so they got a good deal on her. Ginger was Anna's second horse. Her first was a blood bay gelding named Fire. Fire was a small Arabian with an unpredictable personality. At first Anna and Fire were a good match but they grew apart and she decided it was time to sell him. She had him for 5 years and sold him in his late teens after he was calm enough to be a family horse.
Anna took her time grooming Ginger. Ginger was a big girl. Thus the nickname "big girl". She was especially large for her breed. Most Quarter Horses were about 15hh. But Ginger was 16hh and change. She was massively built too. She didn't look like a quarter horse though. She looked like a warmblood with the way she was built. Stout and robust but still lean and not bulky. "Warmblood-esque" is the term Anna used. A warmblood-esque quarter horse with the sweetest personality of them all. Once you got to know her that is. Ginger was very reserved until you got to know her, then she was sweet as pie. A lazy pie.. Much like she is reserved at first and then sweet, she was lazy at first. But once you got her jumping she perked up. That was Ginger in a nutshell. Reserved at first, then sweet. Lazy, then spicy. Thus her show name Sweet & Spicy. Well that would be her show name, if they could ever afford to show.
Anna wanted to have at least one good show year with Ginger and then she wanted to breed the warmblood-esque quarter horse mare to a nice warmblood stallion. One with an uphill build to make up for Ginger's ever so slight downhillness that comes naturally with being a quarter horse. They are bred for sports that require that type of build. The future stud would also have to have a little more "blood" to ensure the baby didn't come out lazy. And would have to have very good dressage type movement and be capable of a big jump. Because Anna wanted to breed an Eventer and Ginger was very much a hunter in movement.
Most people thought Anna was silly to want to breed Ginger at all let alone to get an Eventer out of her. Everyone told her of what a pain it would be, and for the price you might as well buy a 3 year old. But Anna and her Vet Dr. Crawley thought the mare deserved to be bred. And Anna only waited for the right financial circumstances.
Anna and Ginger had a relaxing ride. They simply did a stirrupless walk/trot/canter with some ground poles. Anna took her time grooming Ginger afterwards. She didn't want to leave. She carefully applied hoof conditioner to Gingers hooves. She curried the damp spots on Gingers coat. And then brushed it smooth.
Anna got home after dinner. She ate some leftovers and went to bed.
Nolan got home late as well. He lingered in his trail ride with his beloved Heidi. He felt like the longer he resisted returning home the longer he could hold on to Heidi.
But nonetheless he had to go back at some point.
He entered the house just after dinner. Everyone was still at the table, but with dessert instead of dinner. "Oh, your home" Marie stated passive aggressively.
Nolan remained quiet.
"Your dinner is in the microwave" Marie told him in an ever so slightly softer tone.
Nolan simply responded "thanks" in a neutral tone. His father Jason and brother Landon continued eating while shifting their eyes side to side in anticipation of things getting more awkward.
Nolan ate his dinner quickly at the counter and then left for his room and went to bed