August Story Contest

Cloud's Last Chance
By: Andrea and Prancer
Age: 8

I sat in my room on my bed thumbing through horse magazines with a blank expression on my face.
“Some people just don’t understand, they just don’t” I said wiping a tear from my eye.
“So what if they don’t, I don’t get why I care what they all think of me, Horses are the best thing in the world and they have no right to pick on me for liking them.”
“Araya, please come down for dinner, you can’t stay locked up in your room all night!” My mother called.
"I’m coming,” I said, wiping the running makeup off of one eye. I gently closed the horse magazine I’d been looking at and walked down the stairs. I slowly walked into the kitchen, making sure all of the running makeup was off of my face before entering. I used to always get questioned by forgetting to wipe it off. When I stepped into the kitchen, the smell of Shake N’ Bake chicken filled my nose.
“Hi Araya, how was school today, were those kids being mean to you again?”
“It doesn’t matter anymore, I’m over it.”
I’m an almost thirteen year old girl with blonde hair and bright blue eyes. My passion and love for horses often gets me made fun of in school.
“Araya, I can tell your not over them making fun of you, what happened today?”
“I said I was over it mom! Why does it matter anyways, if you keep bugging me we won’t be able to get me to the stable before dark!”
“Well okay, let’s go.”
I changed into my riding gear and then me and my mom piled into the car and began driving to the farm. My horse, Cloud, was the only thing I had to look forward to sometimes. The big grey gelding always made it seem like everything would be okay. My 2 friends at the riding stables, Jenny and Carrie, helped me feel better too.
After about a 10 minute drive, we arrived at the farm.
“I’ll be here to pick you up at eight!”
“Okay Mom!”

I waved goodbye and then checked my watch. It was four so I had plenty of time to go for a nice long ride with Jenny and Carrie. Blue Fox farm consisted of 3 20 stall stables and acres of pasture and trails. Cloud was boarded in the main barn by the entrance, Carrie and Jenny’s horses were as well. I walked up the dirt drive and into the stable. I walked down the long aisle until I arrived at Cloud’s stall. Cloud was an eight year old thouroghbred gelding with a flea bitten grey coat. I had just un latched his stall door when I heard the clip-clop of hoof beats entering the barn.
“Hi Araya! It’s good to see you today! I was just bringing in Sundance, then we can go for a hack around the trails. Carrie said she couldn’t make it hear today.” Jenny said.
“Why can’t she come today?” I asked Jenny.
“She got in trouble with her parents and she got grounded from the stable for a day.”
“Typical Carrie! Now lets get these guys cleaned up and ready to ride!”
It took a reasonable amount of time to clean off the horses coats, but Cloud was being stubborn about letting me pick out his hooves! It took almost 20 minutes to get his hooves clean. When Jenny and I were done grooming the horses they were gleaming! Sundance’s golden palomino coat gleamed like gold when it was caught by the sun. We left the horses in the crossties while we went to fetch our tack, and, like usual, we began to gossip.

“Did you hear that Blaire’s parents are buying her another horse Araya?”
“Are you serious! She can’t even bother to take care of poor Ebony, but her parents are buying her a new horse!?” Blaire Wainwright was the rich girl of the stable and only thought of horses as possessions and not living creatures. She never even bothered to care for them.
Our conversation was cut short when we walked into the tack room. Blaire was inside, talking to her friend, Vanessa, about her new custom riding boots.
“Look who showed up, the 2 stable rats who want to go for a ride on their little nags! None of them can compare to Ebony! He is the best jumper in the whole area!” Blaire flaunted.
“And look at their clothes Blaire! They’re so out of style!” Vanessa laughed!
“At least we take care of our horses!” I defended.
“Stable hands need work too, I was just helping them out. Come on Vanessa, let’s go.”
The 2 girls left the tack room with smirks on their faces. I walked over to collect my tack in silence, I guess I was bullied where ever I went, Even the stable.
“Just ignore them Araya, they must have their helmets on too tight. I know a ride down the evergreen trail will perk you up, just make sure you grab a jacket so you won’t freeze. It is the middle of the fall!”
“A ride down the evergreen trail does sound nice actually, the smell of pine always makes me feel like one with the forest!” We both laughed and joked around while tacking up and we then set out on our ride.


Cloud carefully navigated along the trail, making sure not to slip on a patch of ice; In Maine the ice and snow starts covering the ground in late fall. Luckily we haven’t had any snow yet but the presence of the ice was rather evident. Jenny and Sundance trotted ahead of us, taking in the unusually warm autumn weather. The air was silent other than the beats of the horses hooves pounding over the fallen leaves. We usually only rode down this trail with Carrie, but today we just had to get off of the usual trails. Not many other riders used this trail because of it’s twists and turns and the length, but we found the long ride worthwhile. After staring at the beautiful scenery for a while I noticed I was falling too far behind Jenny. I kicked Cloud into a collected canter to catch up.

“There you two slow pokes are! I thought you would never catch up!” Jenny laughed.
“I was just taking my time so that Cloud would have energy for a good gallop.”
“Right, let’s just hope you could beat me and Sundance! Were the fastest horses at Blue Fox Farm!”
“Oh really? Well, then I’ll race you to the lake at the end of the trail, first one there wins!”

I kicked Cloud into a gallop and we began racing down the trail. Jenny and Sundance quickly picked up their pace and started gaining in on us. Cloud thundered down the trail sending dirt and leaves flying. We ended up being over 12 lengths ahead of Jenny and Sundance. As soon as I turned around to look at them Jenny took advantage and began gaining in on us. I kicked cloud into an even faster gallop. As I looked between his ears I could see the steam rising from his nostrils and the sweat glistening on his grey hide. The lake began looming into view, but something else was there too, a big black animal, and a smaller cheasnut colored one. As we galloped closer, I imeadietly noticed who it was, Blaire and Vanessa. I pulled Cloud to a halt and turned back up to go home.

“What’s wrong Araya?” Jenny asked.
“Blaire and Vanessa found the evergreen trail and now there down by the lake.”
“What?! This is horrible, this is our special trail.”
“I know,” I said as I turned and trotted back to the stables. Jenny tried to stop me but I continued on.
Could my life get any worse?