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My heart was racing. My blood pounding in my ears.
The worn leather saddle was comfortable beneath me and my feet hung down from my stirrups.
My name rang out from the loudspeakers and my heart leapt into my throat. Pulling my feet into the stirrups I touched my heels to the white sides of my horse.
Walking calm and collected into the arena I tried to hide all of the emotions coursing inside me. The nerves were like little sparks catching gasoline and the adrenaline coursed through my veins.
Staring down my opponent I paused for a moment to let things sink in.
Three barrels set up in a triangular pattern. One right, two left turns. I was ready. I had to be.
“Ready Babe?” I asked my paint mare and she snorted as if saying, Ha! I was born ready, lets do this thing.
With a touch of my heels we were off. Nothing but raw power beneath me.
Then the barrel was there and gone. Before I even noticed that it was gone the second one was staring me in the face. Then we were around it and racing to number three. My boot tapped against the third barrel but i didn’t dare look back to see if it fell.
I stretched out along her neck pressing for more speed and she granted it willingly.
And we were done. It was over.
I pulled her up and she tossed her head as if to say Heck yeah, I went there.
“18.4 seconds,” the announcer called and I thought I was going to cry.
18.4 was my fastest time by over two seconds.
I didn’t win, in fact I didn’t even get third, but fifth is pretty good if you ask me.