January Story Contest

Happy Hoof Club: Rodeo Pony read part one -- read part two -- read part three

By Ally Franson & Icing

Age 11

Lauren Miller & Sparkle

Age 11

Taylor Joyce & Moonshadow

Age 11


Main Characters:

Lauren: The girl who thought of starting The Happy Hoof Club

Sparkle: Lauren’s pony, she is an Appaloosa mare

Ally: She is smart and brave and likes to joke around a lot

Icing: Ally’s pony, she is an Arabian mare

Taylor: She is friendly and very adventurous

Moonshadow: Taylor’s pony, she is a black Quarter Horse mare


I ran down Main Street and into the tack shop.  I had just earned lots of money to spend on stuff for my pony, Sparkle.  “Hello Lauren!” a voice greeted me.  It was my best friend Taylor’s father.  “Oh hi Mr. Joyce” I said.  “I forgot you owned this place.”  “Indeed I do” he replied.  I browsed through the store when a poster caught my eye.  I went over to get a better look.  It said: Rodeo Pine Grove's second ever rodeo. Happening at High Flying Arena at two o'clock on Friday. Barrel racing, cattle roping, bull riding, bareback riding, and saddle bronc riding. Call 997-6384 if you want to participate. I want to do barrel racing with Sparkle, I thought.  Now all I need is a western saddle and bridle.  “Mr. Joyce” I said.  “Where are the western saddles and bridles?”  “I thought you ride English” he said.  “I do” I replied.  “It’s just that there’s a rodeo coming up and I want to enter the barrel racing.  And you can’t do barrel racing with an English saddle.”  “Okay” said Mr.  Joyce.  He led me to an aisle with a lot of western saddles.  “Which one do you want to buy?” he asked.  I pointed to a second hand saddle and bridle.  “I would like to buy that one” I told him.  “Okay” said Mr. Joyce.  “That will be $988.05.” I gave him the money and then carried it down to my house. 


When I got there, my friend Ally Franson was in the paddock.  I ran towards her and called, “look what I got!”  “Wow” said Ally.  “How could you afford to get that?”  “I saved up my birthday money and allowance for years” I said.  “Guess what!  There’s going to be a rodeo in Pine Grove next week and I’m going to enter for barrel racing.”  “That’s great Lauren!” said Ally.  “Where are you going to get the barrels?”  “I think Taylor has some” I answered.  “Let’s ride over there right now.” Ally and I saddled up our ponies, Icing and Sparkle and rode them over to Taylor’s.


  Taylor was hanging out in our clubhouse.  “Hi guys!” she said.  “What are you doing here?”  “Hi Taylor” I   said.  “We came here to ask you a favor.  Do you have any barrels for barrel racing?”  “Yeah” said Taylor.  “Why did you ask?” Then I explained about the rodeo.  “A rodeo!” exclaimed Taylor.  “I can enter on Moonshadow and you Ally, can enter on Icing.  Let’s call right now!” We took turns calling and all of us got a place in the rodeo.  I opened the fridge and got out three Pepsi cans and gave the others to Ally and Taylor.  Just then the phone rang.  “I’ll get it” I said.  I picked up the phone and said, “hello?” Then I heard my seven-year-old twin sisters Erin and Ella answer.  “Mom says” said Erin.  Ella cut her off.  “Mom says” she repeated.  “Mom says that we’re moving next week” they finished together.  “You guys are joking” I said.  “I won’t believe you unless mom says that.”  “Fine” said Erin.  “We’ll give the phone to her.” Then my mother’s voice said, “Lauren, Erin and Ella are right. We are moving next week.  And I’m sorry, but you have to sell Sparkle.” “Mom, you can’t sell her!  Not now!” I protested.  “Sparkle has just gotten used to me and now she’ll have to move to a strange place with people she doesn’t know!  Besides, there’s a rodeo coming up and I already entered for barrel racing. I’ve just made friends and now I’ll have to leave them all behind!”  “I’m sorry Lauren” said my mom.  “I really am.  But we’re moving and that’s final.”  Tears streamed down my face as I hung up the phone.  “Lauren, what's wrong? What happened?” asked Taylor.  “I have to move next week and sell Sparkle!” I sobbed.  “Oh Lauren you can’t move!” said Ally.  “We’ve already started The Happy Hoof Club.”  “We’ll miss you so much” said Taylor.  We bear hugged and then saddled up our ponies and started to go on a trail ride. 


We rode to our secret jumping field and practised jumping.  Ally jumped Icing while Taylor and I waited at the side of the course.  “Now I bought that western saddle for nothing” I said sadly to Taylor.  “I’m sure there will be a rodeo in your new town” said Taylor.  “Yeah, but I won’t have Sparkle and she’s a champion, I can tell” I said. “I don't even know if I'll make any friends there.” “Don't worry, Lauren” said Taylor as she put her arm around my shoulder and gave me a little  squeeze. “I'm sure there will be girls there just the same as us.” But that still wouldn't cheer me up. I was still feeling very, very sad.


The next day I was still moping around when I heard a knock on my front door.  “Hi” said Ally.  “What are you guys doing here?” I asked them.  “My mom will freak if she comes home and finds you guys here. “She doesn't like people here when we're just about to move, especially kids.”  “Since you can’t live with us, we brought you some things” said Taylor.  She handed me a box.  “Open it” said Ally.  I opened the box and pulled out a folded  piece of paper.  It said:

Dear Lauren, We’ll miss you so much when you’re gone.  We promise to check on Sparkle to make sure she has a good home.  We’ll write to you every week and tell you how Sparkle is doing.  The things inside the box are: some hay from Moonshadow’s stall, a braid of Sparkle’s mane, one of Aunt Francine’s special chocolate muffins, some apple’s from the apple tree in Icing's paddock, a painting Taylor painted of Sparkle, and The Happy Hoof Clubs’ official T-shirt.  Love your best friends forever, Ally Fanson and Taylor Joyce. 


I looked inside the box and saw hay from Moonshadow’s stall, a braid of Sparkle’s mane, one of Aunt Francine’s special chocolate muffins, (Aunt Francine was Ally’s aunt and she owned a café in town) some apples from Icing’s apple tree, a beautiful painting Taylor had painted of Sparkle, and The Happy Hoof Clubs’ official T-shirt.  “Thanks guys” I said.  “I’ll never forget you.” Then I heard a car coming into the driveway.  “Go” I told Ally and Taylor.  “We’ll get in big trouble if my parents find out.” 


“Lauren, somebody is interested in buying Sparkle” said my father as Ally and Taylor snuck into the woods beyond the paddock.  I couldn’t take it any longer.  “No!” I shouted.  “I’m not letting a stranger take her and I'm not moving!” “Oh, yes you are!” said my mom. “I'm not going! Just watch me!” I shouted. Then I ran up to my room and put a pair of underwear, my hairbrush, and the Happy Hoof Club's official T-shirt into my backpack. On my way downstairs, I grabbed my toothbrush from the bathroom. “I'm staying at Taylor's house tonight” I told my mom who was in the kitchen. “Does Taylor know you're coming?” she asked. “No” I said. “But if I can't stay at Taylor's, I'll stay at Ally's house.” (I secretly wanted to be as far from home as possible, so I preferred Taylor's house more than Ally's.) “Fine. Go ahead.” “Fine” I said coldly. I slammed the back door behind me and ran onto the trail in the woods. Halfway down the trail, I remembered Sparkle. I wanted her to be with me. I stopped in my tracks and retraced my footsteps back home. I went quietly into the paddock. If I was leaving, Sparkle was coming with me.  


“Hey Sparkle” I said.  Then I went into the shed and got out the western saddle and bridle.  “I’m going to ride you western tonight” I told Sparkle.  I put on the saddle and rode into the darkness.  I leaned over and whispered in Sparkle’s ear, “Sparkle, if you love this place as much as I do, then why can’t my parents?” Sparkle nickered sympathetically.


 Soon we reached Taylor’s house and I knocked on the door.  Mrs. Joyce answered it.  “Hi I’m Lauren” I said as I shook Mrs. Joyce’s hand.  “Can I stay here overnight?”  “You must be from The Happy Hoof Club” said Mrs. Joyce.  “Of course you can stay here.  I’ll just call Taylor.  Taylor!” I heard the pounding of feet thumping down the stairs.  “What are you doing here?” exclaimed Taylor.  “Your mom said I could stay here overnight” I said.  “Okay” said Taylor.  “Let’s put Sparkle in Moonshadow’s paddock.” Soon Sparkle was in the paddock with Moonshadow and Taylor and I went inside the house.  “Shhh!” warned Mrs. Joyce.  “Jordan has just gone to bed and I don’t want him to wake up.”  “Dinner is already over” said Taylor. “But we had brownies for dessert.  “Do you want some?”  “I'm not aloud to have them...” I started to say, but changed my mind. My parents weren't in charge of me anymore. “Sure! I'd love to have a brownie!”  Soon Taylor, I, and a plate full of brownies were in her room. 


I ate three brownies and had a stomach ache afterward.  We had just gotten to the point where we were laughing over nothing when Taylor’s mom interrupted us.  “I think you two should get to bed” she said.  “It’s already ten o’clock.”  “Yes mom” said Taylor. I was surprised at how obedient Taylor was, so I did it too.


Then next morning I woke up to the smell of pancakes.  I looked over at Taylor’s bed and it was empty.  I quickly showered and got dressed and went down into the kitchen.  Taylor was cooking pancakes and her little brother Jordan, was sitting at the table.  “Are your parents home?” I asked her.  “No” said Taylor.  “They went to visit my great grandmother last night.  Since I’m in grade six, I have to stay home and babysit Jordan.”  Jordan pouted.  “I'm not a baby!” I squatted in front of him.  “You’re not a baby” I told him.  “You’re a big boy.  But when somebody looks after a younger person it’s called baby sitting.”  “Oh.” Jordan was surprised.  “Are you going home today, Lauren?” Taylor asked me.  “I’d like to stay here for a few weeks but that might not work for your parents” I said.  “I’d like it if you stayed here too, Lauren” said Taylor.  “But my parents would probably say no.”  “You know what I’d like” I said.  “I’d like it if Ally could come over and we could have a ‘Cheer up Lauren Party’.”  “Okay” said Taylor. 


After a delicious breakfast, Ally came over and we hung out in Taylor’s room.  “You know Lauren” said Ally.  “You’ll have to talk to your parents sooner or later.” I sighed.  “I guess you’re right” I said.  “I would like to barrel race on Sparkle for the last time and you time me.”  “Yeah” said Ally.  “Come on.  Let’s go saddle up Sparkle.” Then Ally and Taylor helped me saddle up Sparkle.  While Taylor went into the house to get the stop watch, I led Sparkle into Mrs. Joyce’s outdoor riding ring.  Ally rolled out the barrels and set them up in a clover leaf pattern.  Finally, I was ready.  “On your mark, get set, go!” shouted Taylor.  I nudged Sparkle with my heels and we were off.  I went around the first barrel, then the second, then the third.  “Thirteen point twenty seconds!” said Taylor.  “I think we can beat that score” I told her.  “We’ll go again.” Then I was off.  I hardly noticed the two cars pulling up in the Joyce's’ driveway.  When I was going around the second barrel, I saw my parents, Taylor’s mom, and my twin sisters watch me ride around the barrels.  “I’ve never seen Lauren ride like that” said my mom.  “I want to do it too!  I want to do it too!” chanted Erin and Ella.  I finished the course and Taylor shouted, “twelve seconds flat!” My parents clapped as I rode over to them.  “Excuse us” my dad said. “Lauren and I would like to talk to each other in private.” I silently went with my dad to the Joyce's' front porch. “Come sit down with me” my dad invited. I sat down with him on the porch swing. “Lauren,” my dad began. “I've talked it over with your mother and she says she can't find a job in our new town, so we can stay and your mom is going to teach ballet.” “Yes!” I shouted. I gave him a quick hug and then ran into the riding ring. “I can stay!” I told Taylor and Ally. “Yes!” shouted Ally and Taylor. Meanwhile, Erin and Ella were still chanting, “I want to   do it too!” Mrs. Joyce laughed. “I think that could be arranged” she said. “How would you two like to ride in my riding school? If it's okay with you” she said to  my parents. “Of course” said my mom. “Let's celebrate that you can stay!” said Ally. “How?” I asked. “Let's ride!” said Ally and Taylor.


We saddled up our ponies and rode them to the picnic table by the Colorado River.  “What day is the rodeo?” I asked Ally.  “I think I have the poster in my pocket” she said. Ally reached into her pocket and pulled out the poster.  “Tomorrow!” exclaimed Ally. “The  rodeo is tomorrow!”  “Wow!” I exclaimed.  “We should start getting ready then.  Where should we meet to ride to the rodeo?”  “How about on Main Street?” said Taylor.  “Sure” said Ally.  “Be there by one thirty.”


Once Sparkle and I had reached our house, I went into my room and looked for a shirt that was suitable to wear in the rodeo.  I finally picked out a lime green shirt, (which was my favorite color lightly) and jeans.  Then I went downstairs to ask my dad a favor.  “Dad, do you have a cowboy hat?” I asked.  Then out of nowhere, my dad pulled out a light brown leather cowboy hat.  “This was you mom’s” he said.  “What!?  Mom used to barrel race?”  “Yeah” said my dad.  “She didn’t tell you because of a bad experience that happened when she was doing it.”  “Tell me” I said.  “Well, you mother was in a rodeo and her best friend was just ahead of her.  As her best friend and her horse entered the ring, the horse stumbled and her friend was thrown from the saddle and broke a few ribs from that accident. The horse had to be put down.” “That's so sad” I said. “It must have been very scary.” “It was” said my dad. “That's why she was scared to let you do it.”


 The next morning I washed Sparkle’s coat until it was shiny and put hoof gloss on her hooves.  Then I was ready to meet Ally and Taylor so we could ride to High Flying Arena together.  As I rode down the road, people smiled at me.  Some said, “what a cute pony!” and others just waved. 


I met Ally and Taylor in the middle of Main Street.  Together we rode to High Flying Arena.  We had a good time watching the other events, but when the intermission came, my stomach felt all topsy-turvy.  The barrel racing event was right after the intermission.  We all drew numbers from a basket to see which order we would barrel race in.  Taylor got first and Ally got second.  I picked last.  I could tell Sparkle was excited because as we watched the other riders go, she stamped her hoof.  “And now,” said the announcer, “Lauren Miller on her Appaloosa pony, Sparkle!” The crowd cheered as Sparkle and I raced around the barrels.  I didn’t notice the clock ticking on the score board, nor the sweat trickling down my face.  All my concentration was on Sparkle and completing the course correctly.  “Bring 'er on home little girl” said the announcer.  “Bring 'er on home!” I crossed the finish line and the announcer shouted, “Eleven point forty seconds for Lauren Miller!  And we have our winners.  Lauren Miller and her pony, Sparkle, in first place, Taylor Joyce and her pony, Moonshadow, in second place and Ally Franson and her pony, Icing, in third place!” The crowd burst into applause.  I could see my mom, my dad and my twin sisters waving at me and giving me a thumbs up.  I went over to Ally and Taylor.  “Congratulations, barrel racing champ!” said Ally.  “Congratulations to you too!” I told them.  “I’d like Lauren Miller to come in the arena to get her trophy” the announcer was saying.  I led Sparkle into the arena and the announcer handed me a big, shiny trophy.  I said thank you and then went out of the arena.  I couldn’t wait to show my family and friends this great new prize!

The End


Coming soon........ The Happy Hoof Club’s next adventure: Movie Stars

Ally and Icing try out for a movie called: Lucy’s First Adventure with Cloud.  And Ally was surprised to find out she and Icing got the part!  Then Ally and her friends travel to a city called Denver for the filming.  But there’s this snobby girl called Angela who plays one of Lucy’s new friends and she makes it hard for Ally and another girl to act.  Can Taylor and Lauren help Ally and her new friend Kate?