Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Girl Talk #25:Horse Fever

By L.E. Blair. Published 1991.

So the girls are chilling at Fitzie’s, as they are prone to do. Sabrina finds an ad for horse riding lessons. She gets all excited, like she does, and tries to get the other girls interested in taking lessons with her. Katie’s too busy with hockey. Sabrina gets slightly racist on Allison, telling her she’s Indian, so she must love horses. Allison shuts her down, saying her people were more into canoes. Randy surprises everyone with her knowledge of horses. She used to ride in Central Park. But she says no to lessons, and acts all weird about it.

Randy tells her mother about it when she gets home, and her mom offers to pay for half of the lessons if she wants to do it. But Randy brushes her off.

The next day at lunch, Sabrina is still carrying on about horses, and trying to get the others to change their minds. Randy surprises everyone, including herself, by saying she’ll do it. After she gives in, Allison decides to give it a shot, too. Sabrina says they can start the next day.

Their instructor is the sixteen-year-old son of the owners, Richard. So boy-crazy Sabrina is totally happy. Richard goes over parts of the horse, tack, and grooming. It’s a bit boring if you’re a Saddle Club reader. But Randy impresses Richard with her knowledge. She’s attracted to one horse, Thunder, and Richard tells her he’s hard to handle, a bit of a rebel. When it comes down to assigning horses, Randy has the choice of Thunder or Pumpkin, a very easy horse. She wusses out and chooses Pumpkin. Allison is suspicious.

Allison gets the whole story out of her the next day at the mall.  Back in the day, while riding through the park, Randy’s horse got spooked and bolted. When it came upon a fence, the horse jumped and Randy didn’t go with it. She fell off and was knocked unconscious.

At their next lesson, they take a long time getting the bridles and saddles and whatnot on the horses. Then, finally, it’s time to actually get on. Sabrina ends up in the dirt the first time. But she gets it the second, and Allison has no problems. But Randy completely freezes up at first. But she shakes it off, and is able to mount Pumpkin.

Randy goes to the stable on a day when she doesn’t have a lesson, bringing carrots with her. She gives one to every horse, saving Thunder for last. He won’t take the carrot from her; she has to leave it on the door and turn her back. And then he won’t let her pet him. Randy’s ok with this, though. She knows it sometimes takes people a while to warm up to her.

After a few visits, though, Thunder will take the carrot from Randy, and let her pet him.

At their fourth lesson, a girl named April’s horse can’t be ridden, so Richard suggests Randy ride Thunder while April rides Pumpkin. April, who does having riding experience, insists she can handle Thunder. But during the lesson, Thunder bolts, and April falls. Fortunately, she’s not very hurt. Unfortunately, Richard’s dad says they’ll have to get rid of Thunder, since he can’t be ridden.

Randy sets off for another visit, and Allison tags along because she knows Randy is going to try to ride Thunder. Fortunately there’s no one around at the stable. Randy freaks out a bit trying to mount him, but she gets on. Thunder is very tentative at first, until he reaches the pasture, that is. Then he bolts. And just like the time in Central Park, Thunder jumps, and Randy falls. Allison runs to her, and Richard appears out of nowhere. But Randy just ends up laughing, making them laugh, too. Thunder comes back and nuzzles Randy. She gets back on him, and Richard tells her to make Thunder turn left. She does, and he does it perfectly. Randy has him do a bunch of different things, and finds he’s really easy to handle. She offers to work with him, but Richard says his dad’s not going to change his mind.

The Telephone Talk chapter is just Randy calling each of the girls and inviting them over to watch videos and eat pizza. It’s pretty pointless.

They have and end-of-lessons horse show, and the morning of, Randy is pounding away at her drums, working off some energy. She realizes Thunder needs the same thing. Once he got to run for a bit, he was fine.

Not long after Randy arrives at the stables, April comes in with her parents, and shows Thunder to them. She wants her father to buy him, so she can ride him in competitions. Randy is upset; she knows April has no idea about how to handle him. Richard can tell she’s dismayed, but says there’s nothing they can do.

Of course, Randy’s not just going to take that. So she saddles Thunder up, and tests out her theory. They gallop out to the pasture, and just run for a bit. Then they head back to the stable, and make a grand entrance by jumping over the fence into the show ring. This time Randy stays on. Then she takes him through his paces. Each student is supposed to go through all the gaits, make the horse go in different directions, and jump over small obstacles. Really? Max would totally not approve. We all know how he feels about jumping; you have to have been riding a year first at Pine Hollow.

After the show, April wants Thunder more than ever. But Richard’s dad intervenes, saying that since it is now obvious Thunder can be ridden, he is no longer for sale. April gets bitchy, and is all, Whatever, I’ll get another horse and win all the prizes. But Randy’s not going to take that shit, and says she’s going to compete with Thunder. So there.

So I guess Randy’s all in on this horse thing now. Will she keep it up? We’ll see.

o   Did anyone actually like hot tea when they were younger? I thought it was gross. Randy drinks it, and I find that odd. This question is probably not for those in the UK, or other places where tea is more traditional.

o   So Sabrina’s horse is obsessed with her hair, and tries to eat it. Allison suggests she wear a hat, and Sabrina thinks “one of those English riding hats” might work. You mean, they weren’t wearing helmets already? Isn’t that usually mandatory?

In other, unrelated news, I’ve started a Pinterest for the blog. So come get your nostalgia on! It will continue to grow, I promise. I’m a bit of a Pinterest whore.

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