The Adventures of Princess Pearl, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! - Chapter Seven
by Tonja Taylor

Chapter Seven — New Paths and How to Sit a Horse

Pearl’s mother and Risa had their backs to the fence as they talked. Burt grinned and motioned to the kids to be quiet. 

“Uncle Burt, look!” Rob said. “Shhh! It’s a surprise for your mom,” Burt whispered. 

The kids giggled, and Risa said, “What?”

A mare had walked up behind the mothers. She whinnied loudly, and the women jumped. 

Everyone laughed.

“That’s what!” said Pearl. “She was sniffing your hair at first!”

“Hola!” said Risa, turning around. “Hello!” She patted the horse’s neck.

Pearl’s mother gently scratched the mare’s nose, and said, “Hey, horse! Hope you liked my shampoo!”

The horse whickered in appreciation as Watchman stuck his nose under the fence to sniff her hooves.

“That’s Splash,” said Burt. “She’s a sweetie, and lots of fun, as you just discovered. Horses are curious, and have different personalities, just like people.”

“Why is her name Splash?” asked Robert. “For the big brown splotch on her side?"

“Yes, that’s part of it. She’s all white, except for that brown patch. Kind of a paint horse wanna-be.”

“Hey, I like that one too!” said Pearl, spotting another horse walking up. “She’s a Palomino!”

“That’s my favorite,” said Robin.

The horse was cream colored, with a long blonde mane and four white stockings. She held her tail high and with elegance. Pearl held out her hand, and the mare stuck out her nose.

“She’s got pretty brown eyes. Most horses have brown eyes, don’t they?”

“Yes they do,” said Burt. “Aurora is special. She’s a quarter horse with a lot of Palomino in her, and she was a gift from an elderly lady I helped, who is now in

“Aurora!” said Robin. “What does it mean?”

Aurora stretched her neck to allow Pearl and Robin to scratch her nose, and she blew at them gently. 

“It’s Latin for ‘dawn,’” he said. “She’s a little more finicky than Splash, but still easy to ride for kids. So when she blows through her nose like that, that means she likes you. Now you can gently blow into her nose to tell her you like her too. 

Pearl walked to Aurora, and put her head close to the horse’s nose. This feels silly, Pearl thought, but here I go. She blew into the horses nostrils, and to Pearl’s delight, Aurora rubbed her nose on Pearl’s cheek.

Pearl hugged Aurora’s head. “We are going to be good friends!” she whispered to her. “Now you do it, Robin!”

“Okay,” Robin said, and walked over and did what she saw Pearl do. Aurora blew gently back at Robin too.

“Now she likes both of us!” said Pearl. “I guess us four will have to share horses, but that’s okay!”

“Do you only have two horsies?” said Robert, hugging Watchman’s neck. “I wanna ride Splash!”

“Hold on, Buddy,” Burt said. “We’ve got to get some tack out of the barn first.

But why don’t you give the horses those red apples?”

“Oh yeah! Here, horsies!” He held out one in each hand and the horses stepped forward and munched and crunched the apples. “Oh wow, look at those big
teeth!” Robert said.

“That’s a great snack for them,” Burt said. “They get even more excited about watermelon.” 

Burt and Watchman and the kids walked to the barn, where Burt pulled bridles down and handed one each to the girls, then turned to Lucas and Robert.

“Boys, get the blankets from the trunk. Blankets go on first, then the saddles. I’ll let you guys take turns learning how to sit and steer a horse. Then we’ll walk you down to the creek and back.” 

“New fun!” said Pearl.

“Yes,” said her uncle. “New paths for you all,” he said, “and it just gets better!”

They took the tack out to the horses, entering the gate. Splash and Aurora came up and Burt rubbed their heads. 

“Horses don’t like these bridles and bits,” Burt explained to the group, as he slipped the harness over Splash’s ears and nose. She mouthed the metal bit and shook her head. He stroked her neck. 

“But if we ride right, we won’t hurt them.. They like kids and will be easy for you to ride, so don’t jerk or pull hard on the reins—understand?”

“Yes Sir,” Pearl said, and the rest of the kids nodded.

Pearl felt very happy and grateful. What a good life You are giving us, LORD. Thank You! And how beautiful everything is! She noticed the trees that towered above her uncle.

They were various hues—some bright yellow, and some intense red-orange, almost as if on fire. There were purples and greens mixed in, too. 

“Everything is so gorgeous,” she said. “Daddy God is such a good artist!”

“Pearl Sweetie, are you listening? You need to learn this,” said her mother, sounding irritable.

“Yes ma’am,” said Pearl. “I was just admiring God’s work.”

“You’re right,” said her mother. She looked around.  “Burt, can we just stop and thank God for a minute?” she said, and looked up. “I know Thanksgiving is next month, but it should be every day. Pearl was doing what I’ve told her to marveling at the power and goodness of God, and I was correcting her. But I’m the one that needs correcting! She was just enjoying the lovely trees the way God is painting them this fall, and I’m glad. I guess I’ve just been a bit stressed.”

“Sure! Let’s do it!” Burt said, and raised his hands toward Heaven and bowed his head. “Father, we do just thank and praise You! You are so good, and You have only great plans for us all! Thank You for the beauty of Your marvelous creation, and eyes to see it!”

Watchman howled a bit as if he wanted to join in the thanksgiving, and everyone laughed.

“That’s a good dog!” Burt said, bending down and patting him on the back.
Burt continued, and his voice grew even more joyful.

“LORD, we rejoice at the works of Your hands, not only the beautiful artwork in Your many-colored trees—and we thank You for all these trees, for You talk about trees often in the Bible—and I’m so glad we don’t live where we only have scrub bushes!—and even more in what You are doing in bringing all of us together.”

He looked around at everyone, then closed his eyes again. “Thank You, LORD, for new paths, new relationships, new fun things to learn, and new abundant life in every way! We love You, Father God!”

“Amen!” said Pearl.

“Now, Lucas,” Burt said, “walk up slowly to Splash, blow into her nose to say Hello, than rub her nose or scratch her neck. Then you can slowly put the blanket on her. She’s used to a blanket and saddle, but she’s not used to you yet.”

Lucas did as Burt asked. Splash accepted the blanket without moving too much and Lucas continued to pet her.

“Good job,” said Risa.

“Now Robert, you take the reins hanging down and hold them gently, but don’t pull, and don’t be jumping around. If Splash starts to move, just stay where you are and hold the reins still.”

“Okay,” said Robert. He sounded happy. Pearl gave him a thumbs-up. Splash stood obediently as if she understood. She put her nose next to Robert and blew at him. “She likes me!” he said, and reached up to pat her neck.

“Robert, watch and make sure she doesn’t accidentally step on you,” said his mother, sounding a little nervous.

“Good job, Buddy,” Burt said. “Charlotte, relax. Now Lucas, come with me to get the saddle.” They returned shortly and put the small brown saddle on Splash. She stood still while Burt fastened the straps around her belly and made sure the stirrups were even.

“All right,” said Burt, “now, Lucas, you hold the reins, and we’re going to let Robert go first! Rob, I don’t think your feet will reach the stirrups, but hold on to this high part right here.” 

“Yay!” said Robert, all smiles. Burt lifted him up, and sat him on Splash.

“Wow!” said Robert, holding tight to the saddle horn. “I’m way up here!”

He looked around and saw the dog. “Look at me, Watchman! I’m way tall!”

“Yes you are!” said his mother.

Robert pushed his heels into Splash. “Giddy up!” he said.

“No, Robert!” said Pearl, scowling at him. “Stop kicking the horse!”

“Pearl, I’ll handle this,” said their mother. “Rob honey, it’s not time for Splash to go yet. Wait for Aurora to get her saddle on, so Lucas can go with you, okay?”

“Okay. What do I do?”

“Just sit there and pat the horse. She likes that.” 

“Okay!” he leaned down and hugged Splash. “You’re pretty,” he said, rubbing her mane. “I like your name. You’re a good horse!” 

“That’s the way to do it, Rob,” said Burt.

“Now, Pearl, you put the bridle on Aurora,” Burt said nd handed it to her.

“But what if I do it wrong? I haven’t done this before and I don’t want to hurt her,” Pearl protested.

“You’ll do fine,” said her uncle. “Just relax, Darlin’. It only goes on one way. Just talk quietly, and slowly put the bridle up to her head, let her smell it, then slip it over her ears and up over her nose, and the bit will just kind of work itself into her mouth. I bet she’ll help you.” 

“You can do it Sissy!” said Robert.

Surprised by his encouragement, Pearl laughed.

“Sure you can,” said Robin. “And you can teach me.”

“You’re a smart girl, Princess,” said her mother.

Risa nodded. “C’mon and show us how to do it.”

I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me, Pearl heard in her heart. “Aurora, here we go,” she said.

At her name, Aurora stopped cropping grass and raised her head. Pearl held up the bridle as her uncle had said, and let Aurora smell it. She sniffed it and stood obediently. The bridle slipped on easily, and Pearl was delighted. Thank You, LORD.

“Good job!” said her uncle. “Now, you and Robin go and get the blanket for Aurora. I’ll help you with the saddle, and we’ll take Robert and Lucas to the creek first, then you girls can go.”

“Sure,” said Pearl. She and Robin hurried to the barn, with Watchman following them, and got the purple blanket from the trunk. It had Southwestern patterns of gold and red on it.

“This is so much fun!” said Pearl. “And once we learn to ride, we can go on trail rides and stuff!”

“Yes, and have picnics and explore his land, if he doesn’t mind!”

“Probably not,” Pearl said. “He’s a pretty cool uncle.” 

Burt came in and picked up the pretty black saddle.

“You girls could handle this, but it’s kind of heavy and I’ll do it this time,” he said. “Robin, I want you to put the blanket on Aurora.”

“Yes Sir,” she said. She walked up slowly to Aurora, let her smell the blanket, and gently put it on her back.

Then Burt put on the saddle and strapped it down.

“Lucas, Aurora is tall, but I think you can get up by yourself, right? First put your hand up to her and stroke her nose.”

Lucas nodded, did as Burt asked, and although it was a stretch for him, he was soon seated on Aurora. She was calm and steady, and put her head down again while Risa held the reins. 

“Charlotte, would you and Risa like to lead the boys? I’ll go ahead of you to lead you in the right way.”

“Just like our Good Shepherd leads the sheep,” said Pearl.

Charlotte took the reins for Splash and Risa gently raised Aurora’s head up.

“Girls,” said Burt, “you can follow. Just stay far enough behind the horses that they couldn’t kick you if they got startled or something, although that is
extremely rare. Occasionally a baby bunny will dart across in front of them, but these horses do not spook easily.” 

“Yippee!” said Robert. “Here we go!”

Watchman ran ahead of them, and Burt led them down the gentle slope to the stream. The grass was freshly mowed and the path was pretty clear.

The girls were sure to stay clear of the horses’ hind legs.

“What a great day!” said Pearl. “I’m so glad the sun is out, and the weather is just right! God knew we’d be doing this today, and He fixed it just for us!”

“Yeah,” said Robin. “And maybe once the guys get through, you and I can have more time.”

“Ooh, I’m so excited! I think Aurora is so beautiful, and I’ve never ridden a Palomino before!

“Me neither, and I believe she’s very smart, too.”

“Yeah,” said Pearl, starting to walk. “I think most horses are smart, aren’t they? My dad used to show me in the encyclopedia how the horse was ahead of the dog—smarter.” 

“Encyclopedia?” Robin asked, walking beside her. “Is that a book?”

“Yeah, a big book with lots of information about real stuff.”

Pearl continued. “Grandma and Grandpa had a whole set—A to Z—and gave them to us. My favorite is the L book, where it talks about the royal Lipizzaner horses. I got to see them when I was very little, but I don’t remember much. I wonder if they ever come around here?”

“We can find out,” said Robin. “But we’ll probably have to look on the internet to see their schedule.”

“That would be a good reason to use it!” said Pearl, stopping to smile at Robin.

“Wouldn’t it be the coolest to ride one? And they must be the closest horse to what Jesus will ride when He returns!”

Yeah! With You all things are possible! Pearl thought.

“Anyway,” said Robin, stopping too, “couldn’t you find all that on the web? I don’t have my cell phone with me, or we could look it up on there.” 

“We don’t get on the internet very often. Queen Mother uses it for work, but she says we need to learn how to use encyclopedias and dictionaries and things that we can hold, in case the computer doesn’t work or
something. She doesn’t really care for the Bible on computers, either.”

Robin laughed and nodded. “Yeah, I guess a book always works! But I do have a Bible app that I read when I’m in the car or waiting somewhere, although I
have a book Bible at school.” 

“So you guys have Bible class at school?” Pearl asked.

“Yes, ‘cause it’s a Christian school,” Robin said.

She shook her head. “We used to go to the public school, but we got tired of kids and even some of the teachers cursing and talking about all kinds of junk.”

Pearl was shocked. “Even the teachers?”

“Well, not all of them, of course,” Robin said, shaking her head as if in disbelief. “I had some really sweet ones for a couple classes, but the others seemed to
have a bad attitude toward me because they knew I was a Christian. So I am sooooo glad that we get to go to Grace Academy, where we can be free to talk about Jesus!”

She smiled. “Like Mom told me before we started andbefore she started teaching there a couple years ago, not even a Christian school is perfect, because it’s still people going there that are not perfect. But all the teachers are Christians, and we pray for each other, and cursing and junk and wearing crazy clothes is not allowed.”

“Yeah, and I suppose I’m glad we do homeschool, although to me it would be more fun to go to school with you now,” Pearl said.

“Hey!” said Robin, “That would be great! Why don’t we pray about it, and next year, you would be in Mom’s class! Wouldn’t that be totally cool?”

“Yeah!” said Pearl. “Let’s pray now!”

So they did, and after they said "Amen," Pearl said, “Thank You Daddy God, I believe it! That’s what our former pastor started teaching us about, Robin—that
once we ask Daddy God for something and believe that He will do it cause He’s so good, that we just say, ‘Thank You’ for it from then on.” 

She looked up to Heaven. “Thank You, Daddy God that I’ll be going to Grace Academy for 6th grade! And thank You for telling Queen Mother that too!”

“Yes, thank You, LORD!” Robin said.

The girls giggled when they heartd Pearl’s mother calling them. “Girls!” she said, “I thought you were following close behind. Come to the creek!"

“Oops, we were talking about school,” called Robin. “We apologize, Mrs. Williams.” 

“No problem,” said Pearl’s mother. “Just come on.”

“Yes ma’am,” said Pearl. Then she whispered, “That way, they didn’t hear us pray about me going to school next year. But God did!”

The girls gave each other a high five and started walking toward the water. Daddy God, thought Pearl, help me remember to put Grace Academy on my Vision List.  I know You can do this!

Tonja K. Taylor is the author of many works, including THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCESS PEARL, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! series. She and her husband Clayton minister the Word through teaching, preaching, and the arts, through River Rain Creative Arts (You Tube, God Tube), their church, and beyond.

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