October Story Contest

At  Riding  Camp
by Taylor Joyce & moonshadow, Ally Franson & icing and Lauren Miller & sparkle age 11

Main Characters:
Lauren: The girl who thought of starting the Happy Hoof Club
Sparkle: Is Lauren’s pony, she is an Appaloosa mare
Ally: She is smart and brave and likes to joke around a lot
Icing: Is Ally’s pony, she is an Arabian mare
Taylor: She is friendly and very adventurous
Moonshadow: Is Taylor’s pony, she is a black Quarter Horse mare

I, Lauren Miller stared out the window of my new house.  I had just moved into a town called Pine Grove, and it was very boring!  Now, if I had a pony, I thought, I wouldn’t be nearly as bored.  I shared her thoughts with my mother.  “Pine Grove is so boring!” I complained.  “Can’t we move someplace else?”  “Honey, our family is staying here.  Now if you had a pony, would you feel different about this?” asked her mom.  I smiled.  Sometimes my mom could guess what I was thinking.  “I guess” I said.  “Can I have one?”  “Maybe.”

That night I looked out my bedroom window.  There was one star shining brightly.  “Starlight, star bright” I whispered.  “The first star I see tonight.  I wish I may, I wish I might.  Have the wish I wish tonight.  Please let me have a pony.”

 The next morning I came downstairs for breakfast.  Nobody was in the kitchen.  “Mom, dad, anyone?” I called nervously.  “We’re outside, in the backyard” called my mom.  I went out the backdoor.  There was a paddock  (partly in my yard and partly in the neighbours) and a shed installed.  “Surprise!” shouted my mom and my seven-year-old twin sisters, Erin and Ella.  If there’s a paddock, why don’t I have a pony?  I wondered.  “Where’s dad?” I asked.  Suddenly my father appeared from behind the shed leading a beautiful Appaloosa mare!  The Appaloosa was light brown on most of her body with stunning black spots.  Between her sparkling eyes, was a white star.  “Thank you!  Thank you!” I coursed.  “Well, what are you going to name her?” asked my dad.  I looked into the pony’s sparkling eyes.  “Sparkle” I decided.  “I’m going to call her Sparkle.”  “Lauren’s got a pony named Sparkle!” said Erin.  “Welcome to our family, Sparkle” said Ella.

When everyone had gone inside the house, I heard a neigh.  I looked at Sparkle.  My pony wasn’t making a sound.  Then I realized there was another pony in the same paddock as Sparkle.  I saw a white pony cantering gracefully around the paddock.  “Icing!” called a girl’s voice.  I saw a girl about my size with long, blond hair running towards her pony.   The girl gave her pony a hug and an apple and then went back inside her house.  Then Sparkle went over to Icing and nickered at her.  Icing nickered back and then the two ponies set off in a trot around the paddock.  I was just about to go and knock on the girl’s front door, but then my mom called me to empty the dishwasher.  I’ll make friends with her another time, I thought as I ran towards my house. 

The next morning I watched as the girl I had seen yesterday saddle up her pony and ride it out of the paddock.  Sparkle ran up and down the paddock neighing at them.  She seemed to be saying, “come back friend!  I want to play with you some more!”  The girl gave Sparkle a strange look, but kept on riding.  Then I decided to give Sparkle some exercise.  I saddled up Sparkle and took the same trail the other girl had taken.

 It ended at a jumping course where another girl and a black  pony were jumping.  “Taylor,” shouted the girl I had been following, “you and Moonshadow have had a long enough turn!”  “Okay Ally” Taylor shouted back.  “You and Icing can have a turn.” Taylor brought Moonshadow to the side of the course.  Ally cantered Icing towards the first jump and flew over it.  I’ll move to a different spot so I can hide better, I thought.  I started leading Sparkle towards a big bush.  Meanwhile, Ally was heading towards the third jump when Icing got spooked by my red sweater.  Icing suddenly stopped and bucked.  Ally let out a short scream and went head first over the jump.  She quickly got up and grabbed Icing’s reins.  “What happened?” asked Taylor.  “Icing got spooked by something” answered Ally.  They both looked where I was standing.  “There’s a person and a pony in there!” said Taylor, excitedly.  “Let’s see who it is!” I considered my options.  I could introduce myself or I could ride away.  I mounted Sparkle and rode away.  “Hey!” I heard Ally shout.  “That’s the girl who just moved in next door!” I moved Sparkle into a fast gallop. 

When Sparkle and I reached my house, I started to untack her.  When I lifted off the saddle, I saw Sparkle’s back was dripping wet with sweat.  “I’m sorry I rode you so hard” I said.  Then I went inside the house.  My mom greeted me with cookies and milk.  “What a nice surprise mom” I said. “I have another surprise for you” said my mom.  I looked around the room, but I didn’t see anything unfamiliar.  “I’ve signed you  up for a riding camp called Steep Hill Ranch.  It’s just out of where we live in Pine Grove.”  “That’s great!” I exclaimed.  “When am I going?”  “In two days, so you should start packing” said my mom.  “Okay” I agreed.  I went into my room to start packing.

 Two days later, I helped my mom hitch up the horse trailer to our car.  Then I led Sparkle into it.  “You’ll be safe” I said.  Then I climbed into the passenger seat beside my mom.  We started driving towards Steep Hill Ranch.  “Are we there yet?” I asked.  “Lauren!” exclaimed my mom.  “We’ve only started driving!  It will be another hour.” Then I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

The next thing I knew, my mom was gently shaking me.  “Lauren, we’re almost there!”she said softly.  I bolted upright and looked out the window.  I saw Taylor and Ally galloping their ponies beside the road.  Maybe they’re going to Steep Hill Ranch too, I thought.  My mom turned under a sign that said: Steep Hill Ranch.  Then suddenly Taylor and Ally turned their ponies onto the road, right in front of our car!  “Mom!  Stop!” I yelled.  My mom put on the emergency brake and we both got out.  Ally’s pony, Icing, got spooked and reared up on her hind legs.  Taylor got off Moonshadow and helped Ally control Icing.  “What were you girls doing riding your ponies on the road?!” asked my mom.  “We had permission to ride here” said Ally, angrily.  “You could have killed Icing!”  “Come on Ally, we have to calm our ponies down” said Taylor.  Then they led their ponies into the camp.  “What an unmannerly bunch!” exclaimed my mom.  “Now you stay away from them, Lauren.” All I wanted is for them to be my friends, I thought.

 Then we parked our car and unloaded Sparkle.  A well groomed man came up to us.  “Hi!” he said.  “I’m Peter, the camp’s director.  What’s your name?”  “Lauren Miller” I answered. Peter looked at his clipboard.  “Ah, Lauren!  You’re in cabin four and you can put your pony in the north paddock.  Supper and introductions are at six o’clock in the Dining Hall.” I was just about to ask him where the Dining Hall was, but he walked towards another girl.  “Bye mom!” I said.  “Good-bye sweetie” said my mom.  “I’ll miss you.” I felt a lump rise in my throat.  I was already a little homesick.  Then I led Sparkle to look for the north paddock.  When I got there, Icing, Moonshadow and a bay pony were already in it.  I let Sparkle join them and went to look for cabin four.                                                                    
I finally found it and went inside.  Ally was sitting on one of the beds brushing her hair and Taylor was just coming out of the washroom.  “That one is Taylor’s bed” said Ally in a grumpy voice, when I walked over to a bed.  “Oh, sorry!” I said.  I went to the last bed.  “Be nice” I heard Taylor tell Ally.  “I can’t” said Ally.  “She already almost killed Icing.  What mean thing will she do next?”                               
After I had unpacked, the supper bell rang.  Which way is the Dining Hall?  I wondered.  The kids were heading towards a white building so I followed them.  After I had got my food and sat down, Peter began his speech.  “Welcome to Steep Hill Ranch everyone” he said.  “As we always do, we have the kids introduce themselves.  So I would like all the kids from Pine Grove to come up!” Everyone clapped as I, Taylor, Ally, and some other kids came up to the front.  Ally went first.  “My name is Alicia Franson” she said.  “I brought my own pony, Icing.”  Oh!  I thought.  So her real name is Alicia!  Then Taylor went.  “My name is Taylor Joyce  and I brought my own pony, Moonshadow.”  Then it was my turn.  “My name is Lauren Miller and I brought my pony, Sparkle.”

After all the kids introduced themselves, Peter led a night game.  When the night game was done, I went to my cabin and got into bed.                                      

I woke up to a loud crash of thunder.  Rain pattered against the glass window.  I looked at the clock.  It was midnight!  Storms don’t scare you, I reminded myself.  Then I remembered something imported. “Sparkle!” I whispered.  “I forgot to put her in the barn!” I grabbed my shoes and a flashlight and ran outside, still in my nightgown.

 When I got to the paddock Sparkle wasn’t there!  The other ponies must be in the barn, I thought.  I turned on the flashlight and went into the paddock.  Finally, I saw what I was looking for!  There were hoof prints in the mud!  I ran in the direction of them.  The rain was pouring down, soaking me.  Twigs scratched at my face and I tripped over tree roots.  But I didn’t stop.  Nothing could stop me from rescuing Sparkle.

I shone the flashlight ahead of me.  I saw something big.  “Sparkle!” I whispered excitedly.  I turned off the flashlight and slowly, walked up to Sparkle.  “It’s okay girl, it’s only me” I said.  I grabbed onto Sparkle’s halter and turned on my flashlight.  It didn’t work!  Oh no!  I thought.  The batteries are dead!  How am I going to get back to camp?  Just then a bright light shone on Sparkle and I.  Sparkle whinnied fearfully.  “It’s okay girl, it’s okay” I said.  But really I was scared too.  Out of the bright light came Taylor and Ally.  They walked up to me.  Taylor handed me a lead rope and I clipped it onto Sparkle’s halter.  Then Ally rapped a blanket around my shivering body.  “Thanks” I said.  “How did you find me?”  “Well,”began Ally, “I was half awake when you said you’d forgotten to put Sparkle in the barn.  Then I woke up Taylor, and we followed your tracks into the paddock.  We knew you had gone out to look for Sparkle, so we followed your tracks over here.”  “Wow!” I exclaimed.  “Can we be friends?”  “Sure!” Ally and Taylor agreed.  “What do your mom and dad do for a living?” I asked Taylor.  “Well” said Taylor.  “My dad owns a tack shop in town and my mom owns a riding school.”  “I know the way out of here” said Ally.  Then Taylor helped me get onto Sparkle bareback  and Ally led us out of the woods.

Over the next few days I, Ally and Taylor enjoyed all the camp activities and spending time with our ponies.  On the last day, Peter let us go on a ride by ourselves.

We rode side by side on the road. “I can’t believe that this is our last day at Steep Hill Ranch” said Ally.  “Yeah,” I agreed.  “It went by so fast!”  “At least we can still see each other in Pine Grove” said Taylor, trying to look on the bright side.  “Hey!” I exclaimed.  “Let’s start a club!”  “What should we call it?” asked Ally.  “How about The Happy Hoof Club?” I suggested.  “I like it” said Taylor.  “Me too!” said Ally. “We are The Happy Hoof Club!”I shouted.  “And we’ll always stick together!” shouted Ally.  “We’re best friends forever!” added Taylor.  Then we high fived each other.

 The End

Coming soon........ The Happy Hoof Club’s next adventure: Halloween Surprise
Ally finds an injured dog in the woods on the night they got trick-or-treating.  Can she save it in time?