The Big Day This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Waking up at 6 a.m. to an overcast Saturday morning was not my idea of a good start to theday. I'd hardly slept a wink and there were chores to do; life didn't seem worthgetting up for. I did, however, because it was the big day.

With my horse,Sinbad, loaded in the trailer and my family on our way, I had time to considerwhat lay ahead.

I was going to give my all at the State Horse Show. Mystomach fluttered and a lump in the back of my throat grew. I was moreapprehensive for this show than any previous one.

I relaxed a bit once Iput on my Renaissance maiden costume. My un-easiness came back, though, when Isaw my sidesaddle on Sinbad and heard the distant shouting of the crowd. I fearrejection, and spectators offer the worst kind. That won't happen, I tried toreassure myself. The crowd is not going to shout you out of the arena. Theycan't.

When I mounted I could tell Sinbad felt my agitation. Unable tostand still, we sauntered past a row of parked trucks. I felt calm - it was justmy horse and I - until I heard the event before mine announced. Waiting outsidethe gate I felt the butterflies return. Gathering my composure, I sat up straightand proud, like the maiden I represented. Sinbad and I waited apprehensively.Then the announcer called our number, and we passed through the gate.

Thesun shown brightly as we entered the dusty arena. I felt an incredible calm washover me. The crowd blurred and the applause faded. I barely heard the judge'svoice as we went through a series of maneuvers before cantering slowly around thearena. Fluttering in the breeze, my green and gold veil flowed behind me. Ithought, You're doing great. Only a few more laps. A horse and rider in front ofme was kicking up dust I could taste and smell. Not that it mattered; I was inthe zone. Sinbad and I worked together as one. Predicting the next command,Sinbad was ready when I gave it. "Good boy," I whispered and made amental note to give him extra grain.

The call came for all contestantsto come to the center of the arena. This is it. Just us and the judge. I answeredher questions and was relieved when she moved to the next rider. Images of pastshows, wins and disappointments ran through my mind. Be positive, smile. Keepyour chin up.

It didn't take long for the judge to make up her mind andshe winked at me when I caught her eye. That's a good thing, right boy? I thoughtas I gave Sinbad a gentle pat on his neck. The third- and second-place winnerswere announced and then I heard a drum roll. The loudspeaker slurred theannouncer's words, running them together like gravy and mashed potatoes. I wasbeing congratulated, but was confused until I realized they'd called my name asthe first-place winner. Overcome with joy I felt the hot sting of tears and urgeto shout from the highest hill. Sinbad and I were awarded a trophy and a giganticblue ribbon. I felt like a queen as I left the arena with the audience applaudingand shouting praises.




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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