To Win The Triple Crown - Part 3 - The Kentucky Derby
 By Stay Untamed   •   12th Oct 2012   •   31,454 views   •   0 comments
To Win The Triple Crown

By the time spring rolled around, my brown coat shined in the sun. My legs have grown longer and leaner, meaning I'm about seventeen hands high and my stride is huge. Muscles ripple along my shoulders and back when I walk. I notice people stopping and watching me as I walk by. I know I'm going to be a huge racer this season because they train me everyday to run faster and longer. They're grueling workouts, but I feel much stronger now.

Swiss never talks to me for an hour or so when I come back from being ridden, but she'll talk to me after awhile. I try to get her to run around in the pasture with me, but she always swats her tail and walks away.

One day Marie pulls me out of the field and to the cross ties. She spends extra time grooming my coat until it gleams, then my tail until it shines and moves with the breeze. She puts my small mane into a plait then puts shipping boots on my legs. When they're on, she takes a mesh blanket and throws it on my back and fastens it closed. I stand patiently, wondering what all the preparation is for. When I'm all ready, she walks me outside to the trailer. She leads me into the dark and clips me up so I can eat the hay from a net.

When I'm led out of the trailer, I'm led into chaos. Flashes come from all around me with people shouting and trying to reach out to touch me. I kick and rear a little, unused to all the attention. Marie calms me and walks me in a circle before leading me into a long barn. She ties me up outside a stall and takes off the rug and boots. When the boots are off she wraps my legs with what she calls standing wraps. After they're on, she puts me in a stall with a window looking out over a grass circle and a racetrack beyond it.

I watch horses walk down a path on my right on their way to the track. They all jog and slather with excitement like me. I see people with flashes following them as they walk to the racetrack. Marie comes back in and offers me some water, which I gladly drink. She puts it hanging on the stall door then gives me some hay to eat on the corner wall. I munch on it calmly for the rest of the day while occasionally looking out the window.

The next day Marie walks me out of the stall as the sun peeks up. She walks me around the barn where I'm staying. I see other horses, all tall and their coats gleaming like mine. They all neigh to me as I pass. I nicker back.

People walk up to us occasionally to talk to Marie. Most of the time she only says hi, but other times she talks to them and has a short conversation.

When my muscles feel loosened up, Marie walks me back to my stall and puts my saddle and bridle on. She puts galloping boots on my legs then walks me to the racetrack. The racetrack entrance is dark and foreboding, but Marie leads me calmly through. I walk out onto the turf. All I see is a big, brown track for galloping. I start to get excited and jog in place next to Marie, who immediately pulls on my mouth a little to make me stop. I try to, but the turf feels so light and not heavy like other tracks. She walks me down the track a little to someone standing on the rail.

We walk over to the person.

Eric smiles at me and pats my nose. He laughs when I bump his hand then trot around Marie in a circle, who sighs in frustration with me. Eric laughs then takes my reins and waits as Marie gives him a leg up. When he's on, Marie gives Bill's instructions for the day to him. I stand patiently while she does, then I jog a little when I feel Eric tighten the reins. Marie gives me a pat on the rump, then Eric tells me to go forward.

I take off at a fast canter, but Eric pulls me back to a trot. I try to go forward, but he holds me back with his strong, jockey arms. I give a little buck, like with Liam, but he only laughs and gives me a soft whack with his crop for punishment. I stop bucking and trot for him. We trot for a while before he finally lets me canter. I feel light on my feet as I float over the turf. Eric sits lightly on my back as I canter smoothly down the track. Other horses pass us as I canter, but I focus on my cantering. Eric holds my reins tightly, making me not even think about galloping.

After three laps around the track Eric pulls me up near where he got on. My chest and neck is covered in sweat and foam. My bridle itches from where I'm sweating in it. Eric walks me in a couple circles so I cool down then we walk off the track and to the barn.

Other horses are coming back from being ridden, but I notice all of them are stallions. I wonder why, but I can't wonder long since Marie unties me and puts me in my stall with a rug so I'll stay clean. I walk to the hay trough and eat my hay.

A week later, Marie and another groom come and get me from my stall as soon as the sun comes up. They tie me up and set to work hosing me down and shampooing me. Marie works on my tail, mane, legs, and hoofs while the other person works on everything else. Marie cleans my tail until there's not one knot or tangle then puts it into a braid to where it only reaches my knees and not my hocks. She then plaits my mane so that Eric can hold onto it if he needs to when he's riding me.

It must be a race. I think.

After I'm all prepared and ready they walk me to a stall where there's no door. Flashes blind me as I stand, waiting for whatever. After a while Eric comes with Bill and they talk to the people and flashes in front of me, then they look at me and smile. Eric comes over and pats me on the neck and stands next to me as I hear the stallions in the stalls next to me walk around and getting excited. I try to stay calm and stand in place. After a minute Marie starts walking me out of the stall and into the craziness. Eric gets a leg up from Bill as we walk behind a bay stallion. People try to touch me as I walk past, but Bill tells them not to since I kick and bite.

Marie leads me to the entrance of the track then gives me a pat on the neck before letting me go. Eric takes over and we trot to a guide horse who will lead me to the gates. My guide horse is a stingy fellow who doesn't say anything except to have fun and good luck. At the gates I have to wait patiently as the horses get loaded into their posts. When it's my turn I walk calmly into the gate, for which Eric and the gate person is thankful.

Eric talks calmly to the gate person for a minute then concentrates on the race ahead. I wait patiently as the rest of the horses finish loading, then I wait for the gates to open.

Everyone is silent as we wait. Some horses start to paw and neigh. Others, like me stand quietly, ready to burst from the gates and win the Kentucky Derby.

The gates open with a deafening thud! We all scramble out, fighting for position against the rail. I'm in gate seven, putting me in the middle of the pack. I try to pull forward out of it, but Eric holds me next to the leader of the pack. Two other horses gallop against each other about a length ahead. I battle with one horse, fighting for third.

I continue galloping with the pack, almost leading the pace except for the two horses who I'm closing in on. I travel at a steady pace for awhile, seeing other horses breaking away and trying to shoot past me, but I block them and gallop faster. I pass a marker on the side and know it's time. I tug at the reins, a signal to Eric to give me my head. He sighs then releases. I take them from him and shoot from the pack. One of the two leading horses tires and I soon pass him leaving only a length behind the winning horse. Eric spurs me to go faster and I immediately lengthen my stride and will myself to go faster. I catch up with the lead horse, neck and neck. Eric gives me a whack with the crop which is all I need. I shoot off past the horse, galloping faster and faster. I gallop further and further away from the horse until Eric finally pulls me back.

I fight him at first, but then a guide horse comes cantering beside me. I slow to a trot and trot beside them. Another horse ridden by a lady with a camera comes up on the other side and starts talking to Eric.

"That was amazing! I've never seen a horse run that fast before!" The lady says.

"I know, she's an amazing horse. I hope she'll do that well at the Preakness."

"I bet she will, she has spunk! I've never seen a horse come practically from the middle of the pack then win the race by seven lengths."

Eric laughs. "And I've never ridden a horse that can do that either!"

The lady laughs then walks away. Eric gives me a pat as we trot to the winner's circle.

Once there, he stays on as roses are placed over my shoulders and flashes go off like everywhere. Bill comes over and hugs my sweaty neck and gives me a kiss on the nose. Everyone shouts and yells as he does so, making me think that everyone is really glad that I won today. I bob my head and everyone laughs some more. Bill talks to some people as they hand over a silver thing and more flashes go off.

Eric hops down after awhile and takes off my saddle and walks away, leaving me with Bill, the flashes, and the people. After a long time, Bill finally leads me away from everything and to my stall. People stop and shake hands and take pictures as we walk back to the stall, but I'm so exhausted that I don't even kick at them.

When I reach my stall, Marie takes my bridle and legs wraps off and hoses me down. I get cooled off with a rug on me afterward as she hand grazes me. I see other horses, some from the race pass by me. Their owners smile at me but they seem almost fake and sad. I forget about it and keep grazing.

When no horses are walking past anymore and I'm dried off, Marie puts me in my stall for some oats and rest. I eat only half of my oats before I fall asleep, my nose still in the bucket.
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