To Win The Triple Crown - Part 2
 By Stay Untamed   •   3rd Oct 2012   •   2,560 views   •   0 comments
To Win The Triple Crown

The day after the race, Marie loads me into my trailer and we drive home. My home is filled with people and horses and dogs hustling and bustling about. I had grown up there, so I knew every nook and cranny. I usually stayed in the South barn, where the female racing horses where. The North barn was where all the male racing horses were. The East and West barn were the breeding barns, one for the mares the other for the stallions. A huge race track was right in the middle of everything, so if you walked out of the back entrance of each one, you could walk a little ways and be at a racing track. It wasn't as big as the ones I raced in competitively, but it was good for exercising.

I breathe in the air of my home when I get off the trailer and neigh to my friends. Some neigh back, while others keep grazing. Marie smiles and leads me into my stall. My stall is the very last stall in the barn. It was actually the biggest and nicest, even though it was the farthest away from the wash racks. Marie puts me in then walks to the back wall. She opens the top half of the door so I can poke my head out. Then the bottom half opened and I could walk in and out of my field, which was attached to the barn.

I neigh to Swiss who walks over. She was born on the same day as me, so we had grown up together. For some reason, she never came to races with me and never seemed to race at all. She says she had an accident at one race that is preventing her from racing again. I felt sorry for her, since racing was in our blood. I knew she was jealous of me, but she was good at hiding it.

She wuffles a greeting then walks a couple feet down into her stall. Our stalls led out into the same pasture. They were the only two stalls to do that in the barn, and it was the only pasture connected to the barn. Swiss said it was because we were special, though she doesn't know why. I poke my head back in the stall and munch on my hay.

A week after I come back from the race, Eric comes to see me. He comes out into the pasture from my stall and walks out to me and Swiss. Swiss watches him then goes back to grazing, while I walk over to him.

"So you remember me, huh, girl?" He says in a playful tone.

He strokes my forehead and gives me an apple slice.

Swiss comes over when she hears me munching and tries to get one too. I snip at her and tell her to leave. She gives a little buck as she walks away, but does what I tell her.

Eric chuckles and pats my neck then walks over to the fence. I watch him curiously, as he slides down the railing and sits on the ground. He sits there for a minute with his head down where I can't see his face. Swiss looks at me, wondering if I know what he's doing. I swish my tail, as in no, and walk over to him. He doesn't look up, but reaches out with his hand to pet my nose. I put it against his hand.

I get impatient after a minute and toss my head up and neigh.

Eric looks up and laughs. "Alright, alright, I'll get up!"

He stands up and pats my neck one last time.

I walk beside him as he walks to the barn. He rambles on and on about how the next race will be a big one and that I'll have to try my hardest. I listen to him but don't pay attention to what he's saying.

When we get to the stall, Eric turns around and gives me a long look. He sighs then gives me another apple slice before leaving. I watch him leave the stall and walk into the barn aisle, almost bumping into Marie. Marie blushes and apologizes while Eric laughs and reassures her itís okay. He pats her shoulder then waves to me and leaves.

Marie watches him leave for a long time then finally comes in the stall. She walks into the pasture with a leather halter and slips it over my head. I sigh, but I follow her out of the field into the stall, then into the barn aisle. She walks me down to the entrance of the barn and hooks me into the cross-ties. Another person wearing a hat and a navy jacket comes and starts to brush my coat. He comes up to my neck and starts brushing.

I can't resist. I reach back and flip off his hat, sending it flying behind me.

The person shouts in surprise, then starts laughing as he picks it up and puts it on again. I nod my head up and down, my version of laughing, and look back around and see Bill, my owner, laughing.

He walks over and rubs my nose then starts talking to the groom in a serious tone. They talk for a minute before Bill gives me one last pat and leaves.

After the groom is done brushing he puts a saddle pad and then a plain saddle on my back. He wraps my leg with some wraps before putting my bridle on. After I'm tacked, he walks me down the barn aisle to the back door, which is where my stall is. I try to walk into my stall, but the groom laughs and walks me out the back door, down the trail to the racing track. When we reach the racing track another person, who's small like Eric, hops on and walks me onto the track. He walks me around, then we canter around the track until my muscles are loose.

I try to run faster when other horses gallop past, but the rider holds me back in a canter. I let out a small buck in frustration, which catches the rider in surprise.

He flies off!

I stop in surprise and walk over to him. Another horse comes to a stop next to us and the rider hops down. He laughs as he helps my rider up.

"She's a spitfire isn't she?"

My rider shakes his head and walks over to grab my reins. I toss my head up and trot to the other horse, who looks at me then walks calmly to his rider.

My rider sighs in frustration.

"Need some help, Liam?" The other rider asks.

Liam, my rider, nods and the other jockey comes over and grabs me. He looks at me for a minute, then lets out a low whistle.

"Can you believe that we're working at the barn where the next likely Kentucky Derby winner is at? And we're handling her?"

"No, now give me my horse." Liam says, walking over. He gets a leg up from the other rider then clucks me into a canter.

The other horse and rider breeze by us a minute later.

I pull the reins from Liam's grasp and run. Liam tries to stop me, but I pull harder, pulling him off the saddle. I lengthen my legs and catch up with the other horse. He looks at me with surprise. His rider yells something to Liam, who replies back.

A minute later, the other horse slows down to a slow canter. I toss my head in frustration and canter too. Liam gathers the reins and pulls me to a walk.

"They'll never let me ride her now, Jon." Liam says.

"Just say it was my fault and you were caught off guard."

"If I say I was caught off guard, I'll get in trouble. Jockeys must always be on guard."

Liam steers me away from the other horse and towards the place where we came onto the track. The same groom that led me here, grabs my reins and we walk back to my barn. I trot beside him, wanting to run. He pulls hard on my reins, with Liam still on my back who also pulls, and I walk almost obediently beside him. When we get to the barn, Marie takes the reins and holds me as Liam gets off. He comes up to my head and pats my neck sadly.

"You're a good girl, Zara. I'm glad I got to ride you at least once." He says then walks off down the barn aisle.

Marie watches him curiously for a minute then walks me to the cross-ties. She hooks me up then removes the tack. I shake off the dirt before she takes the hose and washes me down. After I'm good and wet, she rubs the excess water off then takes me out the door to hand graze me as I dry off. I graze on the good grass that never seems to be in my field as Marie rubs off whatever water she can.

Bill comes up to me and Marie with Liam beside him, with his head still hanging. Bill pats my withers and looks at Liam.

"She looks fine, Liam."

"I know sir, but I wasn't paying attention and she started to race another horse that passed. I fail at riding her, I'll get my stuff and leave." Liam looks down at the grass, waiting to be dismissed.

Bill looks over at Marie and they bust out laughing. Marie has tears streaming down her eyes when they finally calm down a little.

Bill, still chuckling, looks over at Liam. "Liam, she always runs at every workout. No boy has enough strength to keep her cantering the entire time, not even Eric. That's why the instructions are always just to canter her, because I know she'll grab the reins and run."

Liam looks up. "Really?"

Bill nods then walks over to him and puts his hand on his shoulder. "It's normal, so you can still exercise her, but just try to at least not fall off next time."

Bill leaves, still chuckling. Liam looks over at Marie, who smiles, then gives me a pat on the neck.

"I guess I'll see you everyday now." He walks away into the barn.
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