As promised, here it is. I want to thank kiana for your review. It was really nice hearing that and I made sure to go over some of the grammar in this chapter. I know its not the greatest in these chapters and that is because I'm truly only posting a rough draft on this site. The reason for this is if I ever do plan on publishing it(probably not but hey i can dream right? lol) I can make changes to the story and fix everything then. I already know alot of things I want to change about this story but since its already been posted I know for a fact it would take way to long for me to update with the changes. Anyway, here you go I hope you guys enjoy :D

-Stang-


Chapter 16: The Race

"Easy Ace," Nicki said as she patted my neck from atop my back.

I couldn't help but be excited, this was my first real race after all. The owners and trainers stood along the fence where the finish line was. There was a small crowd of humans standing along the fence line to watch. Most of them arrived here yesterday with the owners.

Nicki kept me jogging along down the track while my competitors did the same. My eyes scanned the crowd for Scott and Steve. It was surprising, how much their approval meant to me. I never cared about those two before Nicki came along but now I feel the need to please them. My heart began pounding when I found them. Standing next to Scott on the end of a lead rope was my favorite little filly.

Fury reared ever so slightly and whinnied to me. Scott tugged on the rope to calm her down. Ignoring Scott I returned a nicker and arched my neck to jog like a true stallion. Nothing was going to stop me from winning this race. Not with my small crowd of fans watching.

Beside me came a snort of disgust come from beside me. Nessie rolled her eyes at me as she jogged past us. My mouth opened to sneer at her but I stopped when my eye caught her.

Carter had bathed her just a couple hours before the race. Her deep black coat glistened along the curves of her muscles and despite her ears being pinned back she was gorgeous. My eyes watched every movement her body made and it wasn't until Nicki gently kicked my sides that I realized I had stopped moving. A fellow stallion laughed at me as he passed. I shook my head and forced myself to focus.

Up ahead there were all sorts noises and commotions. The horses were already being ushered into the gate. My heart fell. I hate that contraption. Scott and Nicki have worked with me on the gate daily but it still frightened me. No beast as big as I should be forced to be contained in such a small area.

Nicki continued to rub my neck. She knew it scared me but I had to be brave. Unable to control it, my eyes glanced at Nessie. She yawned as she carelessly walked into her spot with no troubles at all. Just walk in. Don't think about it. I kept telling myself. I was doing good too until I felt a pair of hands attempt to push me faster from behind. I don't know if was anger out of some fool thinking he could shove me through or simply from the fear but I couldn't help but back away. I made sure the man who pushed me got a taste of my hoof.

"Ah!" I smiled when the man who tried to force me forward hopped while holding his foot. "Stupid animal!"

Serves you right stupid. I snorted.

Do you mind! Get your butt in the gate. The other horses already lined up in their spots complained.

"Don't push him!" Nicki shouted at the man.

"Fine! Get him in yourself then little missy," the man stomped away.

"Come on Ace. It's just you and me now." She patted my neck.

This time I walked right in. It helped seeing all the other horses trapped in the gates. When we were practicing it was just me and I don't like being stuck in here alone.

"All in!" My ear turned towards the side of the track. Before I knew what was going on the gates opened and everyone charged out.

I quickly jumped out of the gate but I was late compared to everyone else. I quickened my stride to catch up to the others. The other horses swerved in to one side of the track. I was so focused on sprinting ahead that I almost didn't notice Nicki's soft pulls on my left rein. I moved in closer to the herd of galloping horses.

Finally I reached them and I was immediately attacked by mud and sand. I tried lifting my head but no matter where I moved the dirt continued to fly into my face. Nicki steered me outside of the pack. I could see the herd of eleven horses in front of me. At the front Nessie lead with quite a distance between her and the second place horse. I tried running faster but I felt completely spent. We just started and I'm already exhausted.

I remained at the back of the pack through the first turn. I ran next to the horse on the edge of the pack so I could avoid the dirt. As I ran I could slowly regain some strength. Nicki whispered softly to me. Though, with the sounds of the pounding feet and the air running through my ears I couldn't hear a thing.

After a while of galloping at the back I could feel energy return to my body. I waited patiently for the final turn to come. By the time we made it there I was ready to make my move. Nicki had the same game plan as I did because as soon as we hit the last turn she kicked me forward.

As I began passing horses the adrenaline rushed through my body. The other horses looked exhausted, while I was just beginning. My heart pounded against my chest as my feet pounded against the ground. Just up ahead I could see Nessie continuing her lead at the front of the pack. Not for long, I thought to myself. I closed the gap between us as we hit the final stretch.

I was tired but I had no problem keeping up with her. I sprinted until we were side by side. Her eye caught me and she seemed shocked that she had competition. A surge of satisfaction hit me as I slowly inched my way ahead of her. However, as soon as I began to gain on her everything went wrong.

My life flashed before my eyes. The evil man was inspecting my mother's dead body, cursing before coming to me. In his hand was the long skinny stick he used to attack me with. That crack of the whip, chasing me around the backyard. When I was too tired to run anymore he struck me with his other weapons.

This time was different. The crack of the whip was not directed towards me but it still startled me sideways. Nicki struggled to regain her balance. I dared a look to my left. Nessie was tired. It was so obvious that even the human could see. Yet that didn't stop him. The man upon her back raised his stick once again and smashed it upon her side. With every hard strike she would attempt to lengthen her stride.

My heart dropped, the adrenaline was gone and the joy of winning was no longer existent. The only thing running through my mind was anger. I wanted that man off Nessie. I wanted to protect her. My teeth bared but before I could attack the man, Nicki pulled my head away from them. I was still galloping but my pace slowed drastically. Nessie sprinted across the finish line and I followed shortly after.

Nicki struggled to keep me calm. She did everything she could to keep me from charging at Nessie. Although it wasn't Nessie I was going to attack.

"Easy buddy," she tried petting me. "It's okay. We'll get them next time."

I wasn't listening to anything she said. Right now I only wanted one thing. For Nessie to be safe. Before I had thought she had a bad attitude but now I understand. She is me. I have the same attitude for the same reason. I watched her trot along the track with her head down. There was no blood but it didn't matter. He hit her and forced her to exhaust herself. If Nicki didn't have such a tight rein right now, that evil man would be dead.