“Yay! That’s awesome, Dez! I’m sure you’ll do well with her. She’s in Devi’s old stall.” Raved Ashley. “Yeah…..” I replied, though very unconvincingly. I knew Ashley noticed the waver to my voice, but even so she didn’t let on.
She smiled and walked out of the office, beckoning me to follow.
“So, for now her tack is on my hook. You can use your saddle on her; I rode her with it a few days ago."
The first thing Dez noticed was her martingale. Dez, not usually a fan of high tempered horses, felt a few butterflies arise in her stomach.
“Does… does she…really need a martingale?” asked Dez, stomach still churning.
“Huh? Oh, Hope? No, not really, but it seems to help with her outline, and you can never be too careful with a new horse.” “Oh…ok.” Dez’s nerves were subdued.
“So, let’s go see your steed!” Ashley nearly exploded with excitement. Dez, with less enthusiasm than Ashley by a long shot, followed her out of the office, down the school horse aisle, and into the courtyard. The courtyard is a gorgeous well-kept yard with 10 stalls surrounding it. All of the stalls were occupied with the best horses at SPRA.
Funny, I wonder why she’s keeping Hope out here. I seriously doubt she’s one of the best horses. Eventually Ashley stopped outside the stall.
“Dez, meet Hope!” Ashley said, nearly bursting at the seams with excitement. The head that came up wasn’t extraordinary, but wasn’t the ugliest thing Dez had ever seen. Her painted coat was dirty, yes, but nothing that a good groom wouldn’t fix. Her ears we delicate and soft, and the longer Dez looked at her the more beautiful Hope seemed to get.
“Wow, she’s gorgeous!” Dez, not quite sure whether to thank Ashley or to hug her very very very tightly.
“I knew you’d love her!” Ashley was now jumping up and down, looking very strange for a 20 year old.
“She’s awesome! Can I ride her in my group lesson today?” Dez was feeling more and more positive by the second, and was almost to the point of attacking Ashley with grateful hugs.
“Yes, definitely! Try to stay away from the others; she may react poorly to other horses. Don’t worry, though, I’m pretty sure she’ll be fine.” Thankfully Ashley had calmed down and was acting her age. “Better start getting ready!”
“Hey, girly. I’m just going to put on this halter and we can head down to the cross ties. Sound good?” Dez’s voice was soothing, and Hope’s ears began to droop.
They clip-clopped down the aisle and easily stopped for the cross ties.
“Alright Hope, I’m just going to go get my grooming kit and saddle, and then we’ll have an awesome ride. Don’t do anything while I’m gone!”
Dez walked to the tack room, and breathed in the amazing aroma of leather and horses. The tack room was gorgeous, and every time Dez walked into it, she thought of how lucky she was to be able to ride at such an intense barn. She headed to her trunk, which was smaller and had much less grandeur by far in comparison to the others.
Opening her trunk, she heaved out her grooming kit, and usual lime green saddle pad.
She grabbed her saddle off the rack and headed back down the aisle.
“Ok, sweety, let’s get you clean and ready to go.”
20 minutes later, an anxious but excited horse and rider walked out to the dusty arena, where Dez’s lesson mates were already warming up.
Dez’s best friend, Tina, trotted up and halted next to the mounting block where Ashley was bringing down her stirrups and tightening her girth.
“Hey, who’s this?” Tina inquired. Tina’s horse, Smoky, a giant dapple grey Irish Warmblood, Smokey was the definition of a gentle giant.
“This is Last Hope. Ashley’s letting me ride her for now. I don’t know when I’ll have to stop; we’re hoping this will work out so I won’t have to stop. You like?”
“Yeah! She’s so pretty! I really hope you two have an awesome lesson. Now, it’s time for you to warm up.” Tina smiled and trotted away.
“Tina’s right, Hope. Time to go.” Dez murmured.
Dez took a deep breath, and got on.