Hey y'all!

So I did have another Horseland fic going for Halloween but in case you haven't noticed, Halloween has been and gone. Now, I would totally keep writing in spite of that little detail, but I hit a block and I decided I need to take a break from it. INSTEAD I have begun this new fic which I am so, so excited about.

So before you starting wondering why the first chapter is so short, I'm going to tell you that this is in fact a Prologue, one which is merely setting the scene and giving you an idea of what is to come.

One more thing; the primary character of this fic will in fact be Will, but everyone else is important as well. As the summary states, everyone is going to be facing problems which you shall soon see.

Now please, enjoy!

A Leader

When the sun began to peer over the hill, Horseland awoke to a new day. Horses shifted in their stalls as they awaited their riders' arrival, and other horses grazed contentedly on the dewy green grass blades outside, reveling in the soft rays of the sun. Some stretched their necks to reach up and into nearby trees to snatch a few mouthfuls of luscious spring leaves.

All was well at Horseland, but unfortunately, peace can only last for so long. Our friends at Horseland were soon going to find out that riding horses goes so much deeper than just getting into the saddle and pulling on the reins. Horses need so much more than just a rider; they need someone they can trust with their lives.

The peace's demise began when Will walked into the barn leading a young colt, one which the others had definitely never seen before. They all stopped what they were doing, stepped out of their horses' stalls, and hurried to greet Will and the newcomer. The colt had gangly limbs, which were characteristic of young horses, large brown eyes which were wide as he glanced about the barn, and a chestnut coat the color of autumn leaves in the sunshine. His delicate black nostrils quivered as he took in all the sights, smells, and sounds of this new place.

"Who is this, Will?" Sarah asked eagerly, studying the colt curiously with her large blue eyes.

"Is he new?" Alma asked in her Hispanic accent, tentatively holding out her hand for the colt to sniff.

"How old is he?" Molly grinned, noting the colt's lanky awkward legs that looked far too big for him.

"What did my parents tell you, Will?" Will's cousin Bailey questioned, looking at his cousin with his dark blue eyes.

Will shook his head and grinned good-naturedly at his friends. "Hey, guys. This here is Benedict." As if on cue, Benedict stomped the ground with one dark hoof and snorted loudly. "He's four years old and never been ridden." Will continued, "He'll be staying here with us at Horseland for a while."

"Wow, never been ridden?" Sarah repeated, beaming at the colt, and pushed one highlighted blond curl behind her ear.

Alma examined the colt carefully before saying, "He looks like a thoroughbred, but aren't they supposed to very energetic? He seems so calm."

"He is a thoroughbred," Will nodded, "but he seems to be calmer than most. Now and then, you meet a thoroughbred who is pretty calm. They aren't all worked up and energetic, even though most of them are."

"So what's he doing here?" Molly asked inquisitively.

"His owner asked Bailey's parents if they could have someone back Ben for them. They asked me if I could do it and I said yes."

"Have you ever backed a horse before?" Bailey demanded.

"Nope." Will shrugged but grinned. "But I'm ready to try. For now, I'm going to let him settle in. So why don't we all go on a trail ride while Ben gets used to the place?" There was a chorus of eager agreements and immediately, the others drifted back to their stalls and resumed tending to their horses, grooming and tacking up, while Will put Benedict away and went to see his own horse, Jimber.

"Hey, buddy." Will greeted the palomino stallion as he opened the stall door. Jimber's head came up and he nuzzled his rider dotingly while Will picked up a brush and ran it across his horse's golden coat. Jimber snorted happily and lazily chewed about halfway through a mouthful of hay then simply let his half-eaten food sit in his mouth. Will chuckled at his horse's laziness then tacked him up, opting to ride in a western saddle today. As he buckled the throat latch of the bridle, he saw that everyone else was ready to go.

"Alright, let's head out to the arena, mount up, and then we'll head out. Sound good?" Will called out from Jimber's stall.

"Hey, Will! Are Chloe and Zoey coming with us today?" Molly asked loudly.

But Will shook his head. "Not today. They had a doctor's appointment so they'll be back tomorrow." He pretended not to hear his friends' relieved sighs as he led Jimber out of the stall by the reins.

"Be sure to check your girth before and after you mount up." Will reminded them all as he strapped on his helmet.

Molly nodded as she pulled on her own helmet over her black curly hair then reached over and slipped her hand in between the girth and her mare's barrel to check its tightness. Calypso, a cute Appaloosa, turned her head around to watch her ride gently tighten the girth.

Meanwhile, Bailey had already mounted his bay Kiger Mustang, Aztec, and was checking the girth from the saddle while Aztec twitched his ears impatiently.

Sarah had checked her girth from the saddle and was patiently waiting atop her beautiful black Arabian, Scarlet, whose apt name came from the vibrant red streaks in her raven mane and tail.

Like Sarah, Alma was mounted and waiting for the others to mount up, and while she waited she reached over and lovingly patted Button, her pinto mare, and cooed adoringly in Spanish to her horse.

Will checked his girth, tightened it some, and then put his left foot in the stirrup and swung up into the saddle with athletic ease. After he'd put both feet in the stirrups and checked his girth, he turned to his friends to find them all gazing at him expectantly. They considered him a teacher and leader as well as a friend, and looked up to him in times of need.

"Ready, guys?" When everyone nodded, Will tugged on Jimber's reins and steered him towards the woods. "Then let's move out." Jimber obediently began to head towards the trees and the others quickly followed behind in a single-file line, blissfully unaware of the tears, frustration, and despair that were soon to come.

Thus ends my short Prologue. Yay! Does Benedict count as an OC? Well if he does, he's the only one that is going to be in here.

Squeeeeeeeeeee! I'm totally psyched to be writing this thing! Ah, I cannot WAIT to continue! Yes, this prologue is not my best work but I promise I'll try harder for the first chappy.

I hope you're looking forward to this fic as much as I am (although I doubt such is the case but I can dream), and I hope you'll keep reading! I also hope you'll review! Pretty please? And please keep it nice; no flames, though, thank you.

Did I mention how happy I am to be writing this? I want to thank Niham for spurring me to post this with her kind review on my other fic, Halloween at Horseland, which is currently on hold.

Hope you liked it!