Welcome dear readers and horse enthusiasts.
  1. Gray Horse at Oak Lane Stable
    Gray Horse at Oak Lane Stable
    Second book in trilogy. The stakes get higher.
  2. Dark Horse at Oak Lane Stable
    Dark Horse at Oak Lane Stable
    Third book in trilogy. Bigger fences. Bigger trouble.
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A quick look into the story . . .
​                                            Chapter 8.

                                         The Surprise


. . . Over The Top and Miss Scarlet were stabled next to each other, close to Diamond Jack's stall. I opened Over The Top's stall door first and put on his halter. Next, I did Miss Scarlet's. I clipped a lead rope on Over The Top's halter and then one on Miss Scarlet's and led both horses out the open back barn doors. Bob and his crew had finished cleaning the barn by the time I was done talking to Stan, so the tractor wasn't blocking the back doors anymore.

The two horses and I crunched along the gravel driveway to the back pasture. The other horses turned out in the back pastures whinnied to each other. A few song birds flew among the tree branches. The tractor and spreader drove past the indoor ring on the path back from the manure pile. A horse sneezed. Then again.

I liked the walk to the five turnout areas behind the barn. The two areas farthest on the right and the left were about four acres each and big enough to be called pastures. The three paddock areas in between the two pastures were long and straight and only about two anda half acres each. Shade trees and green grass were in all of the white fenced-in areas. The turned-out horses either grazed peacefully, scratched each other's withers with their teeth, or galloped, bucked, and played.

More whinnying and another horse sneeze.

A car door slammed in the stable's front parking lot.

I hated to turn out a few of the horses because they'd get so excited to go outside. I learned the hard way to make the horses stand and wait before I'd let them go. Some of the horses would jump back and try to run off before I had a chance to unclip the lead rope. It felt like my arm got ripped out of its socket when they would jerk back and pull against the lead before they were free to go.

The two horses I led out to the back pasture were too old to misbehave. They walked quietly into the pasture, waited until I unlatched their leads, and simply started to graze the first chance they got. I closed the gate behind me. They swished flies and tried to eat in each others grassy areas.




     
    "Enjoy," I told them as I turned away and went to bring in the horse Stan had asked me to.

    "Come here, boy," I called out to a bay horse that was standing at the far end of the paddock. I opened the gate and went inside. He started to walk toward me, quietly and gently. I always carried pieces of apples with me in case I had to bribe the horses to catch them.

    The horse got closer.

    I reached into my pocket for a piece of apple. My eyes widened and my mouth opened.  The bay horse's wide forehead held a white star. He had familiar brown eyes. I dropped the lead ropes and piece of apple.

    The horse nickered sofly.

    Someone, maybe Keith, had removed the burrdocks in his black mane and tail. The person had also pulled his mane to the correct length. He had had a bath. His coat was redder than before--a blood bay. His legs had four black stockings but no white marks. I couldn't tell that yesterday when we stood in the paddock of muck at the broken-down farm. He was skinny but had been the healthiest of the four horses.

    "Oh my gosh!"

    He came and stood beside me. I wrapped my arms around his neck and pressed my forehead against his sun-warmed coat. He gently pushed his nose against my side. I lifted my head and held out my hand for him to sniff. Warm air blew gently from his nostrils against my palm.

    "How did you get . . . who saved . . . what happened to you?"

    The bay horse moved his soft lips across my hand.

    "Wait, I've got something for you." I bent down and picked up the fallen lead ropes and piece of apple. He took the apple from my hand and made sweet-smelling, white froth as he chewed it.

    I clicked on the lead and started to walk him back toward the barn. Stan leaned against the frame of the open barn door.

    "What do you think of our new horse?" Stan asked . . .

      

                       ---From Mystery Horse at Oak Lane Stable---