A/N: Hey people, just wrote this, never written anything like it before, so just R&R like always & tell me what you think x
DISCLAIMER: I own all of this story; characters, story lines, sets, etc.
Please also check out my story JUNK in the CHERUB section x
Ty, K.T x
Ali was on of those days where you couldn't do anything right. Shit, she said under her breath as she went over the line drawn in white chalk on her mare's body. She turned off the clippers and placed them on the window ledge in the stable. "Tara!" she called, "I went over the line!"
A woman of about 40 strode briskly towards her. She had her dark hair tied in a low pony tail, concealed by a baseball hat, and striking green eyes. "I've done three horses in the time it's taken you to just do that little bit!" she exclaimed picking up the clippers and sorting out the mess that Ali had made. She then continued to do the whole left side of the chestnut's body, expertly running the sheers down the mare's legs.
"Right, you can do the other side now," Tara said, walking off again without a backwards glance.
"Alright Rocky," Ali said starting at the neck, "Sorry, I've completely mucked up your coat."
The mare had been a birthday present from her aunt Sara who had looked after her since her parents had died when she was five. Her mum had been an eventer and they had been coming back from badminton horse trials when their horse lorry unexplainably toppled over, killing her parents. The four horses inside had survived and they were still kept in the barn Ali was standing in.
She now lived in America with her aunt at the prestigious Pegasus riding academy. Most young riders would give up just about anything to get a place where the riding stars of the future were made.
After about another half hour, she was finally finished and she called Tara over to check that everything was alright. The instructor quickly pointed out that Ali was crap at clipping and the hair on the legs started at different points.
"I'm going to teach you how to clip properly," Tara said, frowning as she scanned over Rocky's body. "This is really crap, honestly."
"Yeah, I know," Ali said, "I tried my best."
"You best isn't good enough," Tara informed her. "Get ready for the lesson early and I'll give you ten minutes jump training."
Ali nodded and quickly grabbed her tack, a tan leather pessoa and a matching bridle and quickly slipped it onto her mares back. She had to reach right up because Rocky was 17hh and towered above her. Ali had decided to use her navy saddle pad with Pegasus Riding Academy embroidered across it in gold italics. It contrasted with Rocky's bright chestnut coat.
Ali herself was dressed casually in the navy school polo which had seen better days, cream johds and black short boots with half chaps. Although students were meant to wear school uniform at all times, Ali knew that because it was the first lesson of term Tara wouldn't mind.
After about five minutes warming up, Tara walked in. "Alright Ali!" she called, "Bring in her at a trot over the grid on the right!"
The Olympic sized arena had enough room for three grids to be set out across the middle. Ali chose the one on the far right and trotted Rocky expertly though it, shortening and lengthening her stride when necessary.
For the next quarter of an hour Ali worked her mare hard over the three grids under Tara's expert instruction. Tara had once been a famous cross country rider, but had retired when Ali's aunt set up Pegasus and offered her a job.
"Just walk her around a bit, do some dressage or something." Tara said when she noticed the new students starting to arrive.
Ali had always loved September when all the new 1st years arrived. It was good as well this year, because she would be joining them. Usually she was in all their riding classes even though she couldn't official join the school because she was too young.
She knew she'd be top of the class; she'd already taken cross country class three times, so it wasn't going to be difficult.
After another ten minutes other students started to arrive, dressed immaculately with their horses perfectly groomed, keen to make a good impression. That sort of thing didn't matter so much to Tara. Obviously she got angry if your horse had mud patches on his coat, but she cared more about the riding. There were twelve students including Ali majoring in cross country. Five students were already in the ring, four of them riding school horses, while the fifth was on an impressive looking thoroughbred.
A few minutes' later two girls came in on matching palominos that looked like they should be majoring in tack and turnout, not cross country. Ali thought the only riders who looked like they would make it through one of Tara's classes was the girl on the thoroughbred, a curly haired boy on a stocky black gelding and a blonde girl on a dapple grey.
"Okay, can I have everyone lined up in the centre of the school please?" Tara called. One by one she sent them over the grid in the centre of the arena, first at a trot and then at a canter.
First to go was one of the girls on the matching palominos. She was called Leah Riley, and her horse was called Golden Sunset. Her cousin, who rode the other palomino, was called Ria King, and her horse was called Don't Worry. Even though their horses looked identically, the two performed in a very different way – with Leah practically destroying the course and Ria riding it perfectly.
Next up was the girl on the thoroughbred who was called Bailey Stone. Her horse, Nine Lives, was obviously hard to handle, but Bailey managed it without any mishaps. As she rode past Ali, she gave her a friendly wave. The boy Ali had seen earlier was called Tyler Hunt and he rode in a sort of casual style, but still managed to go clear on his horse Dillon.
After them came the three girls and the boy on the school horses Sea King, St. Cloud, Sugar Drop and Skandar. They all did well considering this was only the second time they had ridden these horses. The boy on Skandar particularly caught Ali's eye. He was Called Jay McKenzie and had a mop of bleach blonde hair, hiding his deep blue eyes.
The girl on the grey came next. The horse was called Silver Surfer and the girl, Tegan Reynolds, looked so tiny compared to the big boned animal. She had a good round, but it needed tidying up.
Ali was last to go and she did the jumps perfectly, keeping the perfect striding throughout the grid.
"Alright!" Tara said, "That was a good first lesson, I now know your ability, but if you do not keep up, you will be out of my class. I don't have time for time wasters. This class isn't easy and if you don't cut it, I'll cut you. Every lesson for cross country you will need a body protector, short whip and jumping saddle on your horse. Are there any horses not ridden in a snaffle?"
Tegan raised her hand. "I ride in a Kimblewick; Silver doesn't listen at all to snaffles."
"Okay, well tomorrow just use the snaffle with a flash and a running martingale. If he plays you up you can go back to your old bit." Tara said. "And Ali you're alright how you are."
The riders filed back into the barn and dismounted. As it was really hot, Ali decided to tie Rocky up outside in the western style tie-ups. Some of the other riders copied her, including Tegan. "You ride well," Ali complemented her.
"Thanks," Tegan smiled, "Hey, I didn't catch your name?"
"Alice Carter," Ali said. "But I'm just known as Ali."
"Your horse is so gorgeous," Tegan exclaimed standing back to admire Rocky. "Silver's good, but to be honest I'm a bit over horsed!"
"No you're not." Ali said stroking the big greys nose. "Anyway, it's good to have a horse you can grow into and build a strong relationship with, especially if you want to be professional."
"Yeah he can be hard to handle though," Tegan said as she pulled a red fleece cooling rug over his back.
"Rocky's like that too; she gets really head strong," Ali admitted, "That's why I ride in a stronger bit."
"Oh yeah. How come you don't have to ride in a snaffle?" Tegan asked.
"Well actually, my aunt owns this school. My parents died when I was little and I've pretty much lived here my whole life." Ali admitted.
"That's pretty cool." Tegan laughed, "So you get all these training facilities to yourself?"
"Yeah, when there not being used of course." Ali said. She walked into the feed room to the left of the tie-ups and started making Rocky's dinner. Because it was summer, all her mare got was a scoop of chaff, two handfuls of pony nuts, and half a soaked scoop of conditioning cubes.
"Hey," Tegan said, walking in and making up Silvers feed.
"So what do you feed him then?" Ali asked as she added water to Rocky's feed and gave it a good stir.
"In summer he has coarse mix and conditioning cubes and in winter he has chaff, pony nuts, coarse mix, cubes and sometimes some blue chip mix as well. I sometimes give him pony nuts in the summer, but that's only if he's off condition and needs some extra energy." Tegan explained.
The two girls fed their horses together and then put on summer sheets and turned them out so they could have a few hours at grass.
"So what house are you in then?" Ali asked Tegan as they walked back towards the barn in the lazy summer with their head collars slung over their shoulders.
"Windsor," Tegan said.
"Ah cool, I'm in that house too!" She said, hooking Rocky's head collar on her stable door ready for later. "Are you going to do your yard chores now or later?"
"I was gonna do them now," Tegan said, "Where's the hay?"
"In the end stall the straws opposite." Ali said pointing down the aisle.
"Ah okay, thanks." Tegan said.
Ali sighed. She probably wouldn't get out of the stables for another couple of hours. She had three horses to muck out - Rocky, her first pony Briar and her old eventing horse Prince who was now retired. It also didn't help that they all had their stalls made differently. Rocky had a bed of shavings, Briar had shavings underneath and straw on top with banks at the back and Prince had half his stall filled with straw with shavings underneath and no banks. They all had rubber mats underneath their beds that had to be cleaned every 2 weeks. Ali also had a stall that used to tie up her horses in when she tacked them up, groomed them or even fed them that needed sweeping and washing out too.
She had just finished when she heard the big barn doors sliding open. She knew it wasn't Tegan coming back because she had gone off to have a shower and she couldn't imagine why someone would be down now – everyone had to bring their horses in between three and half four. Silently she opened the top half door of Rocky's stable and pocked her head out. She had to quickly duck again because the person was coming in her direction now.
Ali peeked out through the gap in the stable and saw that it was a girl, dressed in black and purple johds and short boots. She had a black baggy t-shirt on which had been cut so it left everything below her ribcage on show, including her belly piercing. Her hair was long and came halfway down her back. It was bleach blonde with pink highlights around her fringe and black ones near the ends. Ali opened the door and walked out into the aisle, making the girl jump.
"Oh hey," She said. "Are you new?"
"Err, yeah." The girl said. "I wasn't expecting to find anyone down here!"
"Well, I have to do my three horses as well as some school ones." Ali said.
"Are you doing punishment or something?" The girl said, laughing.
"No," Ali said, "Stable chores aren't exactly punishment!"
"Well depends," The girl said. "Anyway, what's your name?"
"Ali," Ali said. "What's yours?"
"Chasity, most kids just call me Chase." She replied.
"So," Ali began, as she started putting away her pitch fork, and sweeping the aisle. "What are you majoring in?"
"Eventing, I'm doing a minor in polo." Chase said. "Do you want any help by the way?"
"Yeah, that would great," Ali smiled. "Could you help me do the feed rounds?"
"Okay, how come you're doing all these chores?" Chase said, following Ali as she walked across the yard to the feed room.
"Well my aunt owns the place, she's the head," Ali admitted.
"Oh, what about your parents? Do you just live here permanently or something?" Chase said.
"Well they died when I was young. I've lived here since before the school opened," She said. "Okay, grab a wheel barrow, and put the feed buckets in it. The buckets are in the correct order, so all you have to do is drop them in front of the door. You do the left side and I'll do the right."
Ali watched Chase. The girl seemed quiet and she was different to anyone Ali had ever met before. Apart from the fact that she was scene, she just seemed so natural around the horses. The way she talked to them was like the way you'd talk to a human. She walked in a confident way, striding one foot in front of the other, as if she was on a catwalk. Ali decided that she liked her.
"Hey, Chase." She called across to the girl. "What house you in?"
"Windsor, why?" Chase replied, not looking up from fondling over Blue, a grey roan polo pony.
"I'm in that house too, do you wanna get ready in my room before dinner? |Everyone is allowed to wear their own clothes the first dinner of term." Ali said.
"Well honestly, it would be easier for you to come to mine. I have a lot of hair and make-up requirements," Chase smiled.
"Sure," Ali said, and the girls both headed off to get ready.