Part 1 (This is a story I started several years ago for my youngest daughter - she was taking riding lessons at the time.)
“I think it’s going to be a long day,” Christy Overmyer proclaimed to her best friend, as the two of them made their way to the stables. Christy’s bright green eyes watered in the cold wind. She tossed her long dark auburn hair from her face and tied it with a scrunchie.
“Why do you say that?” Wilson Dee, Jr. asked as he grabbed a galvanized bucket to begin feeding the horses.
“Well, we’ve got the band concert tonight,” Christy said with a sigh. “And your mom promised me jumping lessons this afternoon.”
Wilson Dee, Sr. and his wife, Candy, were the owners of Wilson Dee Stables. Candy was the riding instructor and Mr. Dee handled the day to day operations of the stable.
“Well,” Wilson began, scooping up a bucket of feed and pouring it into the first trough. “You don’t seem too excited about the concert.”
Christy turned on the water tap to begin the daily chore of keeping the horses’ water fresh. “Oh, I’m excited about the concert because it’s our first one,” she said. “But I’m looking forward to my first jumping lesson.”
“Jumping is a piece of cake,” laughed Wilson as he continued feeding each horse.
“Yeah, a piece of cake for you! You were born in a saddle.” Christy rubbed the silky nose of her favorite horse, Tigger.
Christy and Wilson were best friends, having grown up together in the sleepy little town of Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Wilson was the son of wealthy horse owners; Christy was from a middle-class family who lived in the subdivision near the stables.
“Come on, Christy. We’ve got to finish feeding. Mom says if we’re late to school one more time, she may make both of us quit caring for the animals.” Wilson scooped up another bucket of feed.
“Oh, she wouldn’t do that! Would she?” Christy felt a momentary pang of panic as she searched Wilson’s face for the truth. Christy enjoyed your time with the horses, and the hard work had helped her learn the personality of each animal. As payment for all Christy’s hard work, Candy gave Christy private riding lessons.
Growing up in a Harrodsburg had been a great experience, but growing up within walking distance of a riding stable was even better. Christy loved all the horses, but Tigger was her favorite. Two years ago when Christy turned 10 years old, she had struck a bargain with the Wilson’s to buy Tigger. She would help with the feeding and watering, grooming, and exercise of the horses in exchange for payment toward buying Tigger. For the two years since, Christy has spent all her free time at the stables, learning everything possible about horses.
“I guess I’m just upset because my jumping lesson will be cut short so we can get to the school for band rehearsal before the concert.” Christy opened Tigger’s stall and led him out to the corral. Wilson followed her, leading two more horses.
Every morning after feeding and watering the eighteen horses, Christy and Wilson would lead four or five horses to the workout corral in preparation for the mornings riding class. Because school was in session, most of the morning classes were reserved for older people, who had always wanted to ride, but never had the opportunity.
As Wilson closed the corral, he turned to Christy with a wide grin. “Let’s just hope you don’t fall off during a jump! I’d hate if you couldn’t play your trumpet tonight!”
“Ha, ha! That was so funny I forgot to laugh.” Christy walked over the corral gate, pulling an apple out of her coat pocket. “Here you go, sweetheart,” she said as she nuzzled her head in Tigger’s fluffy mane. The sixteen-hand gelding tossed his white head and then gobbled up the apple in one bite.
“That horse is going to be spoiled rotten if you keep feeding him apples every morning. You can’t trust a spoiled horse,” said Wilson.
“Tigger is not spoiled!” Christy said between giggles as she gave the horse one more hug. “Besides, you don’t have any room to complain about me spoiling Tigger. I’ve seen you give Warrior sugar cubes. Talk about your spoiled horse! He won’t let anyone else near him.”
“Well,” replied Wilson. “That’s the way I like it. I like having War all to my self.” He walked back into the stable and down to stall number nine. Warrior was a large, golden Palomino with fiery eyes and a temper to match. Since he was a young colt, the only person Warrior would allow near him was Wilson. Naturally, they became great friends. Warrior would not perform for anyone but Wilson.
“Kids, it’s 7:30! If you don’t get a move on it, you’ll be late for school . . .again!” Candy’s cheerful voice came over the stable intercom. The intercom allowed people in the barn to communicate with someone in the house. It was also Candy’s way of giving them a two minute warning.
Christy walked over to the intercom and pressed the talk button. “Ok, Mrs. Dee! I’m heading home to change right now! I’ll see you in half an hour, Wilson.” Christy ran out of the barn, mounted her 10-speed bike and headed for home.
On a typical morning, Christy is up by six o’clock. She would jump out of bed, throw on an old pair of jeans and flannel shirt, and then ride her bike to the stables. It took Wilson and Christy almost an hour to feed and water the horses, and get the morning horses ready for class. By 7:30, she was headed back home to shower and grab a piece of fruit for breakfast, before Wilson’s mom arrived at eight to take them to school.
To be continued ...
© Bobbi Rightmyer