January Story Contest

A Competition Adventure

By Alyssa & Cocoa

Age 10


School was starting and I, twelve-year-old Ashley Johnson, was starting seventh grade. I was glad I was in a class with my two best friends, Christina Howard and Mikayla Anderson. It made life so easier, since I was still new here!


As I entered my home room, I saw a girl with shiny black hair and she was wearing a purple dress. Christina rushed over to me. “Do you see that girl, the one wearing the purple dress?” she asked. I nodded. “Her name is Kristy Grant, and she's the snobbiest, most spoiled girl in the whole school. And do you know she comes riding at Dusty Lane Stables?” “How come when I first came she wasn't there?” I asked. “She only rides there during times when school's on,” answered Christina. “And she doesn't own a horse, but she rides one of the school horses. Midnight Bolt, to be exact.” Just then Mikayla ran into the room as the warning bell rang. She sat down beside Christina and I just as the teacher cleared his throat.


“Attention, class,” he said. “I'm Mr. Olson, for those of you who don't know. This year we have two new students in our class. The first one is Ashley Johnson. She came here at the beginning of summer. The second one is Julia West. She just came yesterday.” He pointed to a nervous-looking girl with short, blond hair standing next to him. “Now, Ashley,” said Mr. Olson. “Since you're sort of new and Julia is new, why don't you two sit together?” “Fine with me,” I answered. Julia came and sat down beside me. “Hi!” I said. “Hi,” said Julia. “Now, let's start off the day with some English,” said Mr. Olson. “Go down to Miss Potter's room.”


 As I walked down the hallway, I noticed that Julia stayed right by my side and didn't just follow the other kids. “Are you nervous?” I asked her. “Yeah,” she said softly. “I was really scared to go here today. I tried to fake it like I was sick, but my mom knew what I was doing and said I had to go to school today.” “That's okay,” I said. “This is my first time here too. But I came here at the beginning of the summer, so I'm not that nervous.”


In the cafeteria I introduced Julia to Mikayla and Christina. “Hi!” said Christina and Mikayla. “Hello,” said Julia. “Can we all be friends?” “Sure!” we said in unison. “Do you want to come to Dusty Lane Stables with us?” I asked. “What's that,” said Julia. “That's a riding stable where we go riding,” I answered. “Okay, but we'll have to ask my mom first,” she said. “So you're the new neighbours!” said Mikayla. “I live right beside you!” “That's so cool!” exclaimed Julia. “ After school, let's go ask my mom if I can take riding lessons there.” 


After school we went to Julia's house. Julia opened the door and signaled us to come inside. Her house was messy with boxes everywhere. A slim woman was bending over one of the boxes. “Hi mom, I'm home!” said Julia. “Oh, hi honey,” said Julia's mom, sounding tired. “These are my new friends, Mikayla, Christina, and Ashley,” said Julia. “Can I take riding lessons at the riding stable Christina's parents own?” “Okay, but don't bother me anymore,” said her mom. We all raced out of the house and towards Dusty Lane Stables.


“So, The Country Club has abandoned their little, tiny horses and finally come back to see them,” said a voice. “Leave us alone, Kristy,” said Christina. “Let's go find my mom, guys.” Mikayla spotted Judy watching Jeff, the handyman at the stable. “Howdy girls! What can I do for you today?” asked Judy. “Hi, mom!” said Christina. “This is my friend, Julia. I was wondering if she could join the lessons here and ride here whenever she wants.” “Do you want to?” Judy asked Julia. “Oh, yes!” Julia nodded eagerly. “Okay. Julia, we'll put you on Midnight Bolt for the moment. You girls can show Julia where everything is and there's a lesson on barrel racing in twenty minutes.” “I know where Midnight is,” said Mikayla. “But doesn't Kristy ride him when she's here?” “Don't worry about her,” I said. “She deserves to ride a different horse.”


When we got to Midnight's stall, Julia gasped. “Oh, he's beautiful!” she said. Christina handed Julia a brush. “Start brushing him with this while I get his saddle,” she told her. Julia nodded and started brushing. Soon Christina came back with the saddle and bridle and we all helped Julia tack up. Just then Kristy walked by. “Thank you for tacking up Midnight for me,” she said in a fake sweet voice. “Actually, I'm riding Midnight,” said Julia. “Humph!” said Kristy as she stomped down the aisle. “Julia, we have to tack up our horses, so we'll meet you back at Midnight's stall,” I said. I quickly saddled up my own horse, Starling and met up with Mikayla, Christina, and Julia.


“The ring is right this way,” said Mikayla. Julia followed Mikayla into the ring. She looked up at the sky. “I think it's going to rain,” said Julia. “Why aren't we using the indoor ring?” “Don't worry,” said Christina. “A little drizzle won't hurt us.” “Kristy, hurry up!” called Judy, impatiently. We all looked and saw Kristy on Lockjaw, a noble horse that wouldn't put up with any nonsense. If a horse did something Lockjaw didn't like, he would kick it.


As soon as the lesson started, I knew Julia was right. It was going to rain. The wind blew my hair everywhere as I raced around the barrels on Starling. After the barrel racing, it had just started to rain. “Okay, guys,” said Judy. “Let's do a bit of loping to cool down the horses.” We all lined up and started cantering. Just then a loud crash of thunder rumbled. Midnight got spooked and gave a loud, shrill whinny. It was just then that I realized that Midnight was behind Lockjaw. Lockjaw lifted his hind leg and struck out. Midnight whinnied and stumbled to the ground, and Julia fell off. Midnight quickly got to his feet. I dismounted Starling and ran over to Julia. By now the rain was pouring down. “Are you alright?” I whispered in her ear. Julia opened her eyes and looked at me. “Are you alright, honey?” asked Judy. She had walked over to us. “I . . . I think so,” said Julia. “Okay everyone,” called Judy. “The lesson is now over.”


Christina, Mikayla, and I walked into the lounge and sat down on a couch. “I hope Julia's okay,” I said. “Me too,” said Mikayla. “Me three,” said Christina. Just then Judy walked into the lounge. “Is Julia okay?” I asked. “She's fine,” said Judy. “Just a bit shaken. Okay everyone! There's going to be a horse show at Water Farm and I would like four of our riding students to enter. Who would like to?” Christina, Mikayla, Kristy, Dylan, and I all raised our hands. “Ashley, you can be in it,” said Judy. “Mikayla, you can be in it, Dylan, you can be in  it, and Christina, you can be in it. It will be at ten o'clock tomorrow.” “Humph!” said Kristy. “I wanted to be in it!”


As soon as Judy left I said, “It serves you right. You could have killed Julia! I don't even think you should be riding a big, wild horse like Lockjaw. You can't even control him!” “But I . . .” Kristy started. “I think you should never, ever ride Lockjaw again,” I continued. “And I think you shouldn't be allowed to ride at this stable.”


Then I stomped out of the lounge and ran out into the rain until I got to my house. “How was your day?” asked my mom. “Fine,” I said. (I was talking about the school part.) “Wash your hands for dinner,” called my mom as I walked up the stairs. “Dad will be home any minute.”


Picture This:

I was saying those mean things to Kristy that I had said this afternoon. Then I went to Kristy's house and looked in her bedroom. She was lying on her bed and crying her heart out. Her mom came into the room and sat down on Kristy's bed. “What's wrong, honey?” asked Kristy's mom. “Everything!” choked Melanie. “At Dusty Lane Stables during our riding lesson, I was put on Lockjaw and he kicks other horses. At the end of the lesson, a thunderstorm came and the new girl, Julia's horse, Midnight got spooked and gave a whinny that upset Lockjaw. Then he kicked Midnight and Julia fell off. Then at the lounge, Ashley said that I could have killed Julia, that I couldn't control my horse, and that I shouldn't be allowed to ride at the stable.” “She should be ashamed of herself,” said Kristy's mom. “She should say she's sorry for what she said. You couldn't help what Lockjaw did.”


I woke up in a cold sweat. It was just a dream, but was Kristy actually crying about what I'd said in real life? Then it came to me. I had that dream because my conscience was telling me that I should say sorry to Kristy and try to be friends with her. But why should I be friends with her? I thought. I quickly got dressed and hurried downstairs, ate my breakfast and went over to Julia's house to see how she was doing.


I knocked on the door and a sleepy Julia opened it. “Feeling okay?” I asked. “I'm fine,” said Julia. “Did you know that there's a horse show today at ten o'clock at Water Farm?” I asked her. “No,” said Julia. “Christina, Mikayla, Dylan, and I are all in it,” I said. “Do you want to come and watch us?” “Sure!” said Julia. “I'll bring Midnight too so I can take him for a ride after the show.” “Can you come out to the barn and help me get Starling ready for the show?” I asked. “Okay,” agreed Julia. “I'll be in the barn in half a minute.”


I went into the barn and saw Mikayla leading her horse, Tricky, into the trailer. “How did you get done so fast?” I asked her. “I'm the early bird in my family,” Mikayla replied. “It's worth it getting up early.”


Then I went into Starling's stall and got out the brushes, hoof gloss, her leg wraps, and blanket. Then Julia arrived and brushed Starling while I put on hoof gloss. Then she put on Starling's blanket and I put on Starling's leg wraps. After a while I stood back and admired Starling. “She looks great!” I told Julia. “I'll just load her into the trailer and then I'll help you get Midnight in.”


After Starling was all loaded up, I saw Julia leading Midnight over to the trailer. “Be careful!” I warned. “Midnight doesn't like trailers. He might rear!” That's exactly what Midnight did. He pulled the lead rope right out of Julia's hand and bolted. “Midnight!” gasped Julia. Without a word I went into the horse trailer and brought out Starling. I used the side of the trailer as a mounting block and then galloped Starling into the field after Midnight. (This was one of the reason's he was named Midnight Bolt.)


I snuck up behind Midnight and grabbed his lead rope. “Got you!” I said. “Good job, Ashley!” shouted Christina from the other side of the field. “Thank you!” said Julia when I brought Midnight over to her. She buried her face in Midnight's coat. “Okay, everyone!” called Mark. “Let's get in the van and go to Water Farm.” I sat down in the van beside Christina and Julia.


After a while, the van came to a halt. Christina, Mikayla, Julia, and I all jumped out and got our horses out of the trailer. Mark came up to us. “Dylan, Christina, Mikayla, and Ashley, the part of the show you're in starts in fifteen minutes, and there you can do last minute practicing,” he said. I led Starling into the ring and it was crowded. I mean really crowded. When Starling was jumping over a log she bumped into another horse and rider.


Then a man shooed us out of the ring because the show was about to start. “And now, Ashley Johnson on her horse, Starling!” called the announcer. “Okay, Starling,” I whispered in her ear. “Put on your best performance and you might win a ribbon.” Starling did the Cross Country course perfectly.


Soon it was over and the announcer was announcing the winners. “First place goes to Dusty Lane Stables rider, Christina Howard and her horse, Lightning. Second place goes to Dusty Lane Stables rider, Dylan Barker and his horse, Smoothie. Third place goes to Twilight Ranch rider, Stacey Moore and her horse, Buttercup.” A cheer rose up from the crowd.


I said congratulations to Christina and then went to look for Julia. I couldn't find her so at last I went to ask Judy if she'd seen her. “Julia left before the end of the show and said she was going for a ride on the peek,” said Judy. “She said she'd be back in half an hour or so.”  “Thanks, Judy,” I said. Then I got on Starling and headed off towards the peek. There was only one peek around here, and that was Eagle's Peek.


As I rounded the bend in the trail, I noticed it was getting narrower and one edge of it backed onto a cliff where you could see the horse show grounds. Soon I saw hoof prints in the dirt and knew that Julia must have been riding Midnight here. “Help! Help!” called Julia. Midnight whinnied fearfully. As I rounded another bend, I saw a mountain lion growling at Julia and Midnight. Every time the mountain lion took a step closer to Midnight, he would back up closer to the edge of the cliff. I looked around for someone to help me and saw Kristy on Lockjaw. “Kristy!” I called. “You've got to help me save Julia!” “Why should I help you after all you've done to me?” she replied. “We'll talk about that after,” I said. “Just help me!” Kristy thought about it for a moment, and then nodded. When Julia saw us she yelled, “Kristy, Ashley! Help me!” Just then a rumble came from the mountain and the mountain lion ran off. “Phew!” said Julia. “I'm safe!”


Then I saw rocks coming down the mountain, and I yelled, “run for you lives! Rock slide!” Midnight got spooked because of me yelling and the rocks coming down the mountain, so he took off, with Julia on him! As Midnight rounded the bend, Julia wasn't holding on properly and then she flying off his back and over the edge of the cliff! I thought I would never see her again, but then she caught hold of the edge and clung to it for dear life. “Help me!” she called. Kristy grabbed one of Julia's arms and I grabbed the other. We pulled Julia onto the ground and got on our horses. Since Midnight had run off, I let Julia ride on Starling with me. Starling and I went first so Lockjaw wouldn't kick Starling. Just as the rocks started hitting us, we reached safety.


Julia gave Kristy and me a hug. “Thanks guys,” she said. “You saved my life!” “How did that mountain lion get you?” asked Kristy. “Well,” Julia began. “I watched Ashley and her friends in the show, and then I got bored, so I took Midnight for a ride over here. I had just reached here when the mountain lion jumped out and started to pounce. Then you and Ashley came and you know what happened next. I'm going back to Water Farm to tell everyone how brave you guys were!” Then Julia remembered that Midnight had run off. “Midnight! Can you guys help me find him?” “Sure!” said Kristy and me in unison.


After a while of searching, I said, “Sorry, Julia. But it's getting late and Mark and Judy will be wondering where we are.” “Wait!” said Kristy. “I think I see something black in that grove!” “Let's see if it's Midnight!” said Julia, excitedly. We walked tired Starling and Lockjaw over to the grove and found out it was Midnight! He was having a drink from the cool brook. “Thank you for helping me find him!” said Julia. “You're welcome,” I said. Then Julia rode off to tell everyone how brave Kristy and I were. I let Starling and Lockjaw drink from the brook while I talked to Kristy.


“I'm sorry about the things I said to you yesterday,” I said. “You couldn't help what Lockjaw did.” “That's okay,” said Kristy. “Can we be friends?” I asked. “Sure!” said Kristy. Then she said more softly, “You and Julia are my only friends.” “Oh, I'm sure Christina and Mikayla will be your friends too,” I said. “Oh. By the way, were you crying in bed about what I'd said to you?” “No, why?” “Just curious,” I said. “Now let's go back to Water Farm before Mark and Judy leave without us!”


When we got back to Water Farm, Mark had just started the engine of the truck. Kristy and I quickly loaded up Starling and Lockjaw and climbed into the truck as it started moving. As the truck turned onto the highway, Judy said, “Congratulations, Ashley and Kristy. You're now Dusty Lane Stable's most famous riders!” Kristy and I blushed and Christina thumped me on the back. “You and Kristy were great!” she said. “Julia told us all about what happened today.” “Kristy, can Christina and I also be friends with you?” asked Mikayla. “Okay,” said Kristy. “And so you know, my name isn't short for any other name like Christina.” Christina laughed. “It would be cool if your name was,” she said.


As soon as we got back to Dusty Lane Stables, I went inside the house and took a hot bubble bath. When I was finished, I decided to watch the DVD *Over the Hedge*.  I had just then decided that my favourite character was Hammy, (the squirrel.) I loved his energy and he looked so cute! When it was over I switched to the News channel and saw a warning that Eagle's Peek had a rock slide and warning people to stay away from it. “We don't know for sure, but  we do believe that some people came here on horseback and caused this to happen,” said the news reporter. Then it showed a video taping of Cats and big trucks clearing away the rocks.


 I found Christina and Mikayla in the lounge and called them for an emergency Country Club meeting. “I was thinking,” I said. “Could Julia and Kristy be in The Country Club? They're both good riders and they need some friends.” “Okay,” agreed Christina. “Let's go into my mom's office and make them both an official Country Club certificate.”


Christina sat down in the computer chair and logged into Microsoft Word. We argued over what designs would be on the certificate and what it would say. Finally, I said, “Guys, if we keep on arguing like this, we'll never get the certificates finished. How about we make both the certificates the same and we each get to pick two things to put on it.” “That sounds like a good idea,” said Mikayla. “Since you came up with the idea, Ashley, you can pick first.” I thought galloping horses all around the edge of it would look nice, so Christina put them on. Christina thought up the words to put on it. It said, This certificate is presented to Kristy Grant as an official member of The Country Club. And for Julia's it said, This certificate is presented to Julia West as an official member of The Country Club. Mikayla said to put a horseshoe sticker underneath the words, The Country Club.


As soon as the certificates were printed, I presented Julia with hers and Mikayla presented Kristy with hers. “Wow!” exclaimed Julia. “We're both part of The Country Club?” “Yep,” said Christina. “Let's go on a ride to celebrate this!”

The End

Well, it all came to a happy ending. Kristy doesn't bug the girls anymore and The Country Club has two new members. But the series is not over yet! There's still one more story to come, called: The Perfect Horse for Kristy. I encourage you to read The Perfect Horse For Kristy because there's also going to be bonus features. A map of Dusty Lane Stables and a map of what's around it. Please send me a pal request!