One hot and sunny Tuesday, Harrison and Storybird were playing Stratego. Storybird was losing. Boyink came up to the table they were playing at.
“We are going to visit an Equestrian park tomorrow,” he announced.
“Okay,” said the kids.
Boyink waited to see if what he had said would actually sink in. It did.
“Wait, doesn’t Equestrian have something to do with horses?” asked Storybird.
“Are there horses there?”
“Are we going to ride them?”
Storybird stopped playing her game and looked up.
“Really?” she asked, as this had been one of her dreams.
“Yes,’ Boyink confirmed.
Storybird was very excited. She couldn’t wait to ride a horse that wasn’t being led. (She won Stratego, by the way.)
Early in the morning, Boyink, Crissa, Harrison, and Storybird left their trailer park to go to the stables. Since they were early, they decided to stop by the Smokies Visitor Center to waste time. Storybird found an interesting book that she proceeded to flip through as the others meandered around.
Finally, the time was right, and the Boyink family clambered into their truck to drive to the stables.
After they got checked in, Storybird, Harrison, Boyink, and Crissa watched the horses stomp their feet and swish their tails, and, well…. take a pee.
“I guess he’s going to see a horse about a man!” Storybird joked.
Finally, the horses were lined up and they were ready to go.
“Put the young lady up on Cha-Ching over here,” said a deep voice.
Storybird got helped up on a tall, tan horse named Cha-Ching. Harrison was put on horse named Scout, Crissa on Scooter, and Boyink on Sunny. The trail guide swung around and addressed the group.
“Hey ya’ll, my name is Rusty,” he said in a heavy Southern accent. “I’ll be yore trail guide for now. If you have any questions or if you drop sometin’ along the trail, jus’ let me know so we can wait for you to pick it up. Are you ready?”
“Yes!” said the Boyinks, plus the couple that had joined their group.
Storybird grinned as Cha-Ching started up. She was so happy that she was finally able to ride a horse all on her own. She patted Cha-Ching’s velvety neck.
The trail was shady, but warm. Storybird was happy that she had decided not to bring her coat along. She only wished that Harrison and Scout would hurry up a bit, and catch up with the trail guide.
“Kick him, Harrison!” she yelled to her brother.
Rusty also noticed that Scout was lagging, and kept giving Harrison tips to get Scout to move all during the ride.
Storybird loved guiding Cha-Ching. She knew that she wasn’t actually driving her horse, but it sure felt like it, pulling back on the reins when Cha-Ching got to close to Scout, or kicking him when he got too far behind. She leaned forward when Cha-Ching went up a hill, and she leaned back when Cha-Ching went down. She tried to keep exactly a horse-length between her a Scout, as she had been instructed.
“Okay, so we are about’ haf’way there now,” Rusty shouted. “Is ever’body doing good? Alrigh’.
Storybird enjoyed the ride, even though her butt got a little sore after a bit. Going down, she pulled on the reins tight so that Cha-Ching didn’t go too near the edge of the mountain. The only thing Storybird didn’t like was dismounting. She hopes to do it again real soon, and take horse riding lessons next summer.