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by Lauryn Abbott  
8/04/2008 / Short Stories

As Sara stormed to the corral, she kicked the ground, not caring if she scuffed her new boots. Ugh, she thought, I'm so mad I could spit. Or scream. Or cry. What was he thinking, when he entered her in that barrel racing competition? She'd told him she'd never compete again. Now she's stuck. If she backed out, everyone would know why and start talking again. Why couldn't he have listened to her? He thought he was doing the right thing, but really it was more like meddling. Dang!

Sara looked at Stormy and smiled sadly. She walked over to him and looked into his beautiful brown eyes while stroking his face. She knew word weren't necessary he understood. That's the way it is with best friends. That's what Stormy was to Sara. He was more than just a horse he was her best friend. Though lately they hadn't spent much time together. Not since that day.

She'd been around horses all her life. Her family had several there on the ranch. Her mom taught her to ride when she was just a little girl grew up on horses in fact. Her mom was passionate about riding and that was something Sara seemed to get from her. They'd ride together often, starting with Sara and her mom straddled atop one horse, then as she got older she'd take her own mount. It was their favorite way to spend time together. Her mom taught her everything she knew about horses, riding and competition. In fact, her mom got her into competing. They worked on it together, as a team.

When they were riding they had lots of fun, laughed and talked. Boy, did they talk! Things got real then. They talked about life, love, God, friends and even boys. Her mom taught her that life is a succession of choices. You got where you are by the choices you made and how you chose to handle the things that happened to you.

As she stood there with Stormy, she started thinking back to when she first got him. What a surprise he'd been. She'd been complaining for forever it seemed that she needed her own horse. She didn't want a family horse. She wanted her very own, nobody's but mine, horse. She came home from school the day she turned 16, went to the stables to do chores and there he was. A big, beautiful, 2 year old chestnut horse with a huge bow around him and a banner above that read "Happy Sweet 16." She screamed, cried, and then laughed. Her mom had arranged it all including convincing dad that she needed her own horse. From that time on it was all Stormy, all the time. That was 6 years ago.

Everything was different now. She hadn't ridden Stormy for five months now. Not since the day her mom died. It was a senseless accident really. Her mom was riding a new horse that got spooked and bucked up. It should have been an easy thing for her to handle, but the horse tripped in a gopher hole and they both fell to the ground. Her mom hit her head on a rock. That was all it took. There was nothing Sara could do to help her. She simply never woke up. It wasn't even the horse's fault; it was something that just happened.

Sara looked at Stormy again. She knew he was ready, but was she? Figuring there was only one way to find out, she saddled him. With nervous anticipation she mounted Stormy and said a silent prayer. She rode around the corral a couple of times, gaining confidence and feeling a weight lift. It was time to leave the corral. She'd start training for the competition later. This was different. This ride was for her mom, for Stormy and for her.

I guess he did know what he was doing by entering me in the competition, she thought. It's was done now and there was no undoing it. Sara realized she was no longer angry with him for doing it. It was time to move on. It was time to choose life. She couldn't change what happened, but she could start moving forward. She looked back at the house, knowing he was watching her. Then she rode, with her long hair flying in the wind, and she did something else she hadn't done for a long time. She laughed.

Lauryn Abbott is a wife and mother, with a passion for writing and a zest for life. Her writing has always been a private passion, but recently the Lord has been urging her to make it public. More of her writing can be found on her Seed Thoughts blog at:

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