“Leah!” My mom yelled from down the stairs.
“What?” I yelled back as I stuck my digital camera in my huge suitcase.
“Done packing yet?”
I surveyed the suitcase, the sleeping bag, and my blue duffle bag. Looks good to me, I thought to myself. I couldn’t wait. In exactly-I glanced at the clock on my nightstand-one hour, my friends and I would be headed off to Willowbrook Riding Camp! It was one of the only greatest in our area. It was in Pennsylvania, about two hours away from our little town Carsondale, but from the pictures in the brochure, it looked like it would be a blast.
Suddenly remembering my mom, I called back down. “Yup! All done!”
“Great, let’s get this stuff down to the car!”
I looked at the pile of baggage dubiously. It might take a while…then I remembered.
“Mom, I have to help Ali load Pippa!” My friend Ali Brooke had a beautiful black thoroughbred mare named Pippa, who she was bringing to camp with her. She had originally bought her from the owners of the stable, Jake and Lori Hanson. They had bought her from an auction, where she was bound for slaughter. Pippa was a retired racehorse, so she’s well-trained but can be nervous. Ali had been working on trailer loading with Pippa, but she still needs work.
“Alright, go ahead. But hurry!”
As I went down the stairs, my older brother Steven emerged from the kitchen.
“I can’t believe you’re leaving for four weeks! Finally, I get the house to myself!” he rejoiced.
I glared at him. I can’t believe Olivia has a crush on him! I mean, come on. I stuck my tongue out at him-Real mature, Leah-and walked away.
I grinned and ran outside, my curly blond hair blowing all over the place. My friends thought that I was really lucky because I lived a few houses down from Hanson Farms, the stable that we ride at. I am pretty lucky. Hanson’s is a great place. The owners, Lori and Jake, are super nice and really good teachers,
I arrived shortly, just as Ali started to lead Pippa up the ramp. I stood next to my friends Charlotte and Olivia.
“How’s she doing?” I whispered to Olivia
“Good so far”, she whispered back, her hazel eyes still glued on Ali and Pippa.
We watched as Ali led Pippa up the ramp with ease. I smiled.
“So, I guess those drills worked after all?”
Ali grinned at me. “Yup! She was perfect!” she said fondly.
Charlotte elbowed me. “Come on! Let’s go say goodbye to our horses!”
I nodded and followed.
Technically, the horses weren’t ours, but they felt like it. I ride a black appendix horse gelding named Outlaw. He’s so sweet! Charlotte rides a headstrong chestnut mustang named Wildfire, and Olivia rides a Connemara pony named Jasper.
As we got to the stalls, I felt a pang of nervousness. What if the horse they assign to me hates me! What if I hate it! What if…The list went on and on, until I got to Outlaws stall. He nickered when he saw me. I smiled and gave him a hug.
“I’ll miss you boy.” I said wistfully.
Charlotte, Olivia and I finished our goodbyes and walked outside to meet Ali.
I took my phone out of my pocket and checked the time.
“I better go you guys. See you at camp!”
They all wished me the same and we took off. I ran home just in time to help with my luggage-groan-and then drag my dad and Steven away from the baseball game on TV.
On the way out, I said goodbye to my dog, Baily. She looked at me sadly, almost as if she knew I was leaving for three weeks. I know girl, I thought. I’ll miss you too.
Our moment was interrupted by Steven yelling, “Hurry up!”
I got into the car and we were off. I started to listen to my iPod. The song “Wild Horses” by Natasha Bedingfield came on-how ironic-and I found myself drifting off.
I got out of the car, and looked around. Why was I in my bikini? In the outdoor arena? Where were my friends? All of a sudden, everybody looked at me. I realized I was supposed to mound this really tall horse. “Um…I don’t think I can..” I tried to choke out, but I couldn’t speak! Suddenly, the horse tried to stomp on me. I screamed “HELP!!’
And I could see the hoof, and it was coming for me..and…and….
And I woke up just as we arrived.