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


   Restrained chaos surrounds me as the English Pleasure class is called.Mine is next. Matt takes my coat and helmet, Katie has my gloves and Lynis keeper of my show number. I have the horse. I watch him; he is hotand tired and would rather be resting without that tight girth aroundhim. But he plods along nonetheless. At the gate, we rest, though mymind is racing. I need to remember to check for the correct diagonalwhen I'm posting, keep my hands quiet, get him to trot out ... I sigh.

Matt hands me my coat; I push my arms through the sleeves and cram myhead into the helmet. I shove my gloves into the pommel of the saddleand let down the stirrups. Everyone stands back as I mount, trying tocalm Blue with my voice. I pull myself up as he starts to wander, butonce I have the reins, we stand quietly and wait. I put my black gloveson. This is so uncomfortable; it's 95 degrees and I'm dressed head to toe inblack. Lyn is full of last minute suggestions, but I know nothing shesays will matter when I'm out there.

The English Pleasure horses aredismissed from the ring; I see elated and disappointed faces mixed withthe colors of the ribbons. I hear good luck wishes and flash a smile asI nudge the Percheron into the ring. Blue's head is up, he knows it'sshow time. I pick up the trot and hear the second and final call for theclass. I check my diagonal. Wrong. I sit a beat and switch, irritated.At the call, we walk and reverse. I stretch my back and push my heelsdown, keeping my hands low and my head up. "Trot, please," they call,and I cluck. We settle into the trot and I glance down at Blue'sshoulder. Yes! It's about time I picked up the correct diagonal. I givehim his head and he steps out. He's definitely the largest horse in theclass and we pass several others.

The judges ask us to walk and line up.We're roasting in the sun. Blue lowers his head and I can almost see hiseyes closing and lower lip drooping. The judge finally approaches us atthe end of the line. I squeeze Blue and he perks up, as if to say, "Oh,now what?" The judge asks us to back up and Blue's a doll, doing justwhat I ask. We step back into line and wait. I can't breathe when theystart to place the class. Waiting for that number 83 ...

"Fourth placegoes to Laura Mathis on Blue."

Victory! I pat Blue on the neck, collectour winnings and trot out of the ring, the champions I know we are.




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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