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Detached From the World This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I arrive with Alexandria, say good-bye to my mom, and walk into the barn. There I greet my friends and put on my riding boots and half chaps. Alex and I walk to the paddock to get our horses, talking about our “dreadful” problems and a bunch of other things. We take the lead ropes off the fence and go into the paddock where we are greeted by Tuffy and Fritz. We walk them down to the barn and put them in their stalls while I gather Fritz’s tack. I start to groom him, and he performs his everyday ritual of peeing (and wasting bedding). I tack up and walk into the ring, followed by Alex. I walk Fritz to the mounting block, tighten his girth and fix my stirrups. Then, I swing my leg over the saddle, sit in its leather cradle and place my feet in the stirrups.

And then we’re off, walking until we warm up and then moving into a posting trot, and finally a smooth canter. As my pony and I glide around the ring with the wind blowing across my face and the sun gleaming down on me, I feel like I’m flying, as if all my problems have dissolved and I am detached from the world. It is just my pony and me, and the bond that joins us, a human and an animal, turns us into one.

As I turn the corner I can hear Barb yelling over the wind, “Three strides, Katie!”

I canter toward the jump, a small red cross rail. I get into a two-point position as I approach, and count one, two, three and then, as I float over the jump, I feel the thrill of accomplishment. As I land and turn the corner, I slow to a trot, and then to a walk.

“Good boy,” I say to Fritz, as I pat his neck.

Being up there on my pony is one of my favorite places in the whole world. The thought and feeling of caring and achieving for another living creature is one of the most exhilarating things I have ever experienced.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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