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Lost on Horseback This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   We had spent the entire summer riding our horsesacross our ranch. My brother and I had explored the valley, and felt we knewevery inch of every trail within any reasonable, and sometimes unreasonable,distance, until that night.

We had taken off a little later than usual forour evening ride, and once again, were exploring off the well-beaten path. Takinga different turn led us into places we'd never seen before. This new forest -reminding me of something I once read in a fairy tale - puzzled, excited, and ledthe two of us deeper.

Bushwhacking through the pine trees, we came to ahuge valley. In the distance we saw an undiscovered mountain that seemed toscream to be climbed. We trekked across the valley. To our left was anothermountainous forest too thick to penetrate; to our right, a hill of stone massesthat dazzled the eye. Gorgeous flowers emerged from the rocks, creating anamazing picture.

Reaching the base of the mountain, we began our journeyup the steep incline. The loose, fresh top soil made our horses apprehensive.Leaning into the mountain, we and our horses made it, carefully, up theslope.

Reaching the top, the new view of my ranching realm took the breathin my lungs away. We turned, looking in every direction to take it all in. Bothmy brother and I were filled with gratitude for being in that place. Snapping outof our dreamy haze, we noticed the sun beginning to set, so we started to headfor home.

For the sake of adventure and variety, we went down theopposite side of the mountain. The valley was filled with radiant hues of gildedvermilion as those few perfect minutes of twilight settled. Weaving back andforth, we started to worry; the way ahead didn't look very navigable. We onlyknew the direction we were headed, not the path we were to take. As we broke ourown trail, we wound our way into the crevice of a dry river bed. This would bethe safest way down the mountain.

When we had to get off our horsesbecause of the darkness and the rugged route, we realized we were in trouble.Each step was agonizing, plunging through a bramble of branches and underbrushthat mercilessly scraped our shins. We led our horses with blind faith, as thelight faded and darkness prevailed.

All of a sudden, my horse boltedcrazily, and unsuccessfully, up the side of the ravine. This terrified me, and Irealized we were in deep trouble. We did not know how to get home safely, andwere getting tired. Quaking like one of the surrounding aspen, I had to stop andassess our situation.

From somewhere inside I found renewed courage andbegan to lead the way. The sound of my own voice in the darkness calmed mynerves, and kept me in communication with my horse and my brother.

Afterwhat seemed like hours, we reached a clearing; my brother and I collapsed overour horses' necks. Too dark for our eyes to see the way anymore, we let themounts' astonishing sense of "home" lead us.

Completely depletedof energy, we entered our deserted barnyard. Finding the light switch, we wereblinded by the sudden light. We then realized how dark it really had gotten. Aswe unsaddled our horses, we gingerly checked the many scrapes and scratches ontheir legs. Once they were munching on their sizable treats, and after many gulpsof water, we set them loose. With a strange connection lingering in the air, thehorses were actually reluctant to leave us.

I discovered that night thatwhen placed in a scary and crazy situation, a person can do things that will keepothers on track if you don't freak out. One can be a leader, a quality I neverknew was in me. One can find a way to that blessed barnyard.




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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naturelady said...
Dec. 8, 2008 at 6:28 pm
I love your descriptions, such as the forest or the gildedvermillion. I also enjoyed the whole story myself.
 
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