December Story Contest

Happy Hoof Club: Winter Pony read part one -- read part two


Taylor Joyce & Moonshadow age    age 11

Ally Franson & Icing age                 age 11

Lauren Miller & Sparkle age             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 the hill to the paddock where I kept my pony, Moonshadow.  A bucket of oats was swinging from my left hand and my Border collie, Tess, ran at my right. I had just adopted her a few weeks ago and she was a big help to my father by rounding up our cows, sheep, and goats.  “Hey Moonshadow” I called out.  Moonshadow whinnied excitedly knowing she was going to get some oats for breakfast.  I patted Moonshadow’s shaggy black coat.  “You’re getting pretty shaggy with your winter coat” I told her.  Moonshadow snorted in response and went back to eating her breakfast.  Then I went into the barn and waited for an hour to be over because you can’t ride a pony just after it’s eaten.  I went to say hello to my parent’s Pinto gelding, Brownstone.  Then I paced up and down the barn aisle waiting for the hour to be over. 


As soon as the barn clock said ten o’clock I grabbed Moonshadow’s bridle and took it to the paddock, for I was going to ride bareback.  Soon we were ready to go, so I mounted Moonshadow.  Tess followed us onto the trail.  “Go home” I told her.  Tess whined, pleading to come with them.  “Oh, all right” I sighed.  “You can come with us.  Ally and Lauren like you anyway.” Tess barked a thank you and ran ahead of us.  I trotted Moonshadow to catch up with Tess.  But something felt funny.  My legs weren’t going in as far as they used to. 


Soon we reached Ally and Laurens’ houses.  Lauren met us at the paddock fence.   Hi Taylor!” she said. “We’re going to shave off our ponies winter coats today”   “Okay!” I said.  “Moonshadow is sweating a lot more than she used to with her winter coat.”  “Tess you’re here!” shouted a voice.  It was Ally.  She and Tess were having a happy time playing together.  Ally had helped rescue Tess a few weeks ago.  “Ally, let’s get busy or we’ll take all day!” said Lauren.  Ally blushed.  “It’s just that I haven’t seen Tess in a long time” she said.  Ally got out three shavers and we got to work.  I finished first so I got out a curry comb and started brushing Moonshadow’s sleek coat.  When we all were done Lauren said, “Moonshadow looks great, Taylor!”  “So does Sparkle” I said.  “What about Icing?” asked Ally.  “Doesn’t she look nice?”  “Of  course she does!” said Lauren and I in unison.  “I better go now or I’ll miss lunch” I said.  I mounted Moonshadow.  “Tess” I called.  Tess ran way ahead of us on the trail because she knew we were going home.  I started to canter Moonshadow but then she bucked.  I nearly fell off her.  I dismounted and took a close look at her. Then I laughed.  Moonshadow had bucked because when she trotted or cantered, the snow would fly up and tickle her belly.  I let her walk the rest of the way home. 


When I reached the paddock, I took off the bridle and went to put it in the tack room.  There was a beautiful sleigh harness hanging on one of the hooks.  It looked like it might fit Moonshadow.  Then I grabbed Moonshadow’s cooler blanket and led her into the barn because it was so cold. Normally, Moonshadow loved to be outside, but my family and I agreed that it was better for her to stay inside in the winter.  Then I went inside for lunch.


  “Dad,” I asked.  “I saw a sleigh harness in the tack  room and it looked like it might fit Moonshadow.  Remember the owner of the stable where we got her said that she loved driving a sleigh.”  “I remember” said my father.  “Maybe you could try her out sometime.”  “Can I try her out now?” I asked excitedly.  “First sit down and finish your lunch” said my mom, who had been listening to us talk. 


After lunch, I dragged my dad out of the house and told him to get the sleigh ready while I got Moonshadow and the harness.  “You’re  going to get to drive a sleigh” I told her.  My father showed me how to put on the harness and then I drove Moonshadow around the yard.  After a while my dad said, “very good Taylor, but I think your pony needs a rest now.” Sure enough, Moonshadow was breathing hard and covered with sweat.  “Okay” I said.   I put away the harness and put the cooler on Moonshadow. 


The next morning I was bored of just driving Moonshadow around my yard so I decided to go on the road.  Since my dad was working at the tack shop he owned, and my mom was at a sewing class, my secret would be safe.  I fixed some bells onto the harness and then we were ready to go. 


My first stop was Ally’s and Lauren’s houses.  They were out in the paddock and I saw Lauren’s eyes get big.  She pointed to Ally and her eyes did the same.  I called, “come on in.  We’re going for a ride!” Ally and Lauren hopped in.  “I just found out that my parents owned a sleigh” I said.  “I’m usually only allowed to drive Moonshadow around the yard, but since my parents are away right now, my secret is safe.”  “I don’t know about this” said Lauren, doubtfully.   


Lauren Miller is about the nicest person you could ever meet in your life.  She worries all the time, about hurting people’s feelings, or doing the wrong thing, about getting good grades, or anything else she can think of worrying about.  Lauren is the kind of person who should worry least about hurting people’s feelings because she never does.  Lauren has curly red hair with green eyes and freckles.  Ally Franson and I, are like two opposite human beings, but some how our friendship works okay.  Ally is totally honest, she’s not scared of anything, she has a big heart, and she loves to joke around.  Sometimes her joking around can drive Lauren and I crazy.


For example, when we're all right in the middle of a serious project, she will make up a joke and we’ll get annoyed.  Most of the time she’s okay, though.  Ally wears the coolest clothes: blue and purple leggings, colorful shirts, big sweaters, sparkly boots and sneakers, and vests from the thrift store.  Ally has long, blond hair and blue eyes that sparkle with mischief. She loves to be the center of attention.  Me, on the other hand, I’m not at all interested in being the center of attention.  I’m interested in the truth.  I’m very serious, but there are times when I’m not.  Ally and Lauren say I’m a great person to have in The Happy Hoof Club.  I love to do research and I’m very organized, unlike Ally and Lauren.  I’m a very normal person.  I have shoulder-length black hair with brown eyes.  I don’t have any fancy clothes like Ally, I’m just plain normal. “Oh come on!” I said.  “It’ll be fun!” “Alright” said Lauren. 


We drove for about an hour when Ally said we should start heading home.  I turned us around and grinned triumphantly.  “Do you hear something?” asked Ally.  We all listened and a humming noise came from in front of us.  I yelled “snowplow!” Moonshadow reared in fright and the sleigh almost tipped over.  I didn’t have control of Moonshadow anymore.  She reared once more, and then everything went black!  I couldn’t see anything.  Then I heard some giggling.  Then I realized that I was upside down in the snow.  Someone grabbed hold of my legs and pulled me out.  It was Ally.  She and Lauren were both giggling.  I looked around.  The sleigh was on it’s side and Moonshadow was standing calmly beside the road.  I began to get angry at my friends.  This wasn’t funny, this was serious!  “We’re sorry Taylor” said Lauren.  “It’s just that you looked so funny upside down in the snow!”  Still half angry, I walked stiffly over to Moonshadow and gave her a lump of sugar.  It only took the slightest push to get the sleigh back to it’s right side.  “We can’t get to the road because the snowplow put a big ridge there, so we’ll have to go this way” said Ally.  “I think I see a clear driveway over there.” I shuddered.  Who knows what might be under the snow.  An old barbed wire fence or even a brook with sharp stones that could cut a pony.  “Ally,  you go in front of us and feel if it’s safe to go through” I directed.  Ally went in front of us and Lauren rode in the sleigh with me.  I gave Moonshadow the signal to go forward.  At first she was a bit surprised by the deeper snow, but then got used to it. 


Soon we reached the road and it took us to my house.  “It’s a good thing my dad isn’t home” I said.  “Uh-oh” said Ally.  She nodded towards the gate where my father was standing with his hands on his hips and looking grim.  “Honestly,” I sighed,  “in all the years that I’ve lived, I’ve never gotten away with anything without my dad knowing about it.” We took care of Moonshadow in silence.  “I don’t care how mad my dad is” I said finally.  “Driving the sleigh was fun anyway.  Is it okay for you guys to walk home?”  “Sure” said Lauren.  “Bye!”


One morning I asked my father a question.  “Dad, why is Moonshadow so fat?”  “Don’t be silly” said my dad.  “You’re feeding that pony too much.” But I couldn’t help worrying so I called Dr. Bennett to come look at her. The only thing that would stop me from worrying was having a vet check her over.


“You’ll never guess what!” I breathlessly told my mother.  “Dr. Bennett says Moonshadow is going to have a foal and Brownstone is the father!”  “What?” said my mom.  “I thought Moonshadow was a male.”  “Don’t be silly mom” I said.  “I’ve told you a hundred times that Moonshadow is a female.”  “Oh, well I guess I forgot that” said my mom.  I danced out of the room.  “I’m going to call Ally and Lauren!”


The next time Dr. Bennett visited, I said to him, “I find it hard to believe this is true.”  “I’ll tell you what” he said.  “Don’t put Moonshadow’s blanket on before you feed her.  Usually when a mother pony eats or drinks, the foal kicks.”  “Thanks for the advice Dr. Bennett” I said. “Glad to be of help.” He flashed me a quick smile and left.


When I fed Moonshadow that night, I put her hand on her belly.  Immediately I felt a thump.  I jumped back as if a bee had stung me.  Then I put my hand back.  This time I felt two thumps.  “It’s real!” I whispered to Moonshadow.  “It’s real!  You are really going to have a baby!”


In the middle of March, I went into the barn to feed Moonshadow and my mom's school ponies. (This was part of my chores.)  I went into Moonshadow's stall first. I glanced around, hoping to see a foal nestled in the straw.  But there was still nothing. I finished my chores and went to go inside the house but as I started to leave, Moonshadow began to get restless, walking around in circles and getting up and down.  My heart thumped with excitement as I ran into the house.  I called the clinic but Dr.  Bennett was out treating an injured cow.  “Can I take a message?” asked the receptionist politely.  I knew how important it was for a sick animal to get it’s treatment but I didn't want to be there alone when Moonshadow had her foal.  “I think my pony, Moonshadow is in labor!”  “Okay I’ll tell him to come as soon as he’s back at the clinic.” I ran back to the barn where Moonshadow was standing as her normal self.  “What a dirty trick!” I said as I glared at Moonshadow.  “You made me call Dr. Bennett for nothing!” But I asked more calmly, “is it time now Moonshadow?” Moonshadow nodded and then lay down in the straw.  Then I saw Moonshadow begin to push.  Then a hoof appeared, and another.  Then I heard a deep voice.  It was Dr. Bennett.  “Take hold of the foal’s front legs and pull it out” he said.  I pulled and the foal gently slipped into the straw.  It didn’t breath.  “It’s dead!” I cried.  Dr. Bennett handed me a towel.  “Start rubbing” he said.  “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt the foal.” I started rubbing harder and harder, pressing more weight on the foal’s lungs.  “Breath!” I whispered.  “Breath!” I cleaned out it’s nostrils and it took in a big breath.  Dr.  Bennett went to check if it was a colt or a filly.  “It’s a colt” he said.  Dr. Bennett examined the colt and said, “this is one of the healthiest foals I've ever met.” Then he left. 


I called Ally and Lauren and they came over to see the colt.  “He’s beautiful!” exclaimed Ally.  The colt had black spots like a pinto and a white coat.  “What are you going to call him?”  “I don’t know yet” I said.  “How about something that starts with moon” suggested Lauren.  “Okay” I said.  The foal was nursing and did a jig in place.  “I know” I said.  “Moondance!  His name is Moondance.”  “He can be The Happy Hoof Club's mascot” said Ally. “Welcome to Pine Grove Moondance!” said Lauren.  “We hope you like it here!”


                                         The End  


Coming soon........ The Happy Hoof Club’s next adventure: Rodeo Pony. There is a rodeo happening in Pine Grove and Lauren wants to enter for barrel racing.  But then she finds out she’s moving on the week of the rodeo.  Can Ally and Taylor help convince her parents to not move so she can stay with Ally and Taylor, and maybe, just maybe, enter the rodeo?