I don’t know when it was that I stopped liking horses, though I suspect it was during the school year. It’s not that I don’t like horses. I love their majestic manes, their soft, glossy fur, their big black eyes. I’m just scared of riding them.
From the moment I got to camp, and clambered over the back of one of the horses, something just didn’t feel right. Maybe it was because of last summer, when I was unceremoniously thrown from Taffy’s back (and I don’t blame her, as I know exactly how it went down and besides, she was my favorite. I blame CB and Neville.), but I was scared. But I couldn’t back out of an activity I’d already signed up for, so I just had to cope. And please don’t give me that “conquer your fears” talk, ’cause trust me, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
For some reason, I was calmest around Sheila, who surprisingly, had tossed off a rider and survived a backwards somersault. But when I was around her, I couldn’t see that side that had freaked and done a flip, ’cause she was extremely quiet and docile. She was perfect for me.
I had two good friends in my horse riding class: Lydia and Raya. Lydia has been my friend since last year, and Raya I had met in drama class.
I don’t think I’ll ever step foot in the riding area again.
It was Mom’s Weekend, when our moms came to our camp, set up tents, and watched us do our activities. Since Claire and I have different schedules, my mom had to split activities with us. She’d watched me riding.
My mom accidentally caught part of the fiasco on video tape, if you want to see it.
We were each doing a trot around the arena. That’s when my mom started recording. I got through it okay. Actually, I was just glad it was over with. It was Raya’s turn that got messy.
I’ve forgotten what her horse was called, but I do know that the counselors claim he is psychic. I don’t really know, as I’ve never actually ridden him, but I think I’m gonna have to take their word for it.
Raya had a good trot going about halfway around the arena, but that’s when her horse started to slow down. So she gave him a good kick… A little too hard.
Her horse’s trot turned into a canter.
The rest is just a blur of memories, but I can remember Raya’s scream, her frantic pull on the reins, spooking the horse into flinging her into the hard wooden fence. The rest of us were in a pileup in the corner, with a riderless horse charging right at us.
It made a smooth turn and rushed another horse.
Luckily, the riding staff caught both of the horses then. Raya and the girl on the other horse were crying, and Lydia, who was right next to me, raised an eyebrow.
To my embarrassment, I found myself crying.
The weaker baby bird died today.