It had all sounded so exciting when her mom told her that she had purchased a package deal at the nearby riding stables for her to have a beginner's riding class and actually ride a horse in the paddock and even out on the small trail behind Mister McArthur's farm.
This was the big day!
She put on the riding outfit her mother had bought her and looked in the mirror. She looked like a regular horse-riding girl from the country. Kaylie didn't quite know what to do with the tiny riding crop her mother had handed her but she didn't want to hurt her feelings by telling her mom of her reluctance to even hold it in her hand.
Her best friend Amy was a little bit jealous because she had never ridden a horse and she wanted a horse of her own so bad that she could almost taste it. Amy touched her riding clothes like they were some symbol of good luck and she might have a little rubbed off on her if she only touched them.
Kaylie's mom was on the cell phone almost the entire trip to the riding stable. She didn't mind because her mind was all mixed up with her thoughts about actually getting up on the horse's back and making it go. She wasn't sure if she was to say things like,
"Gidiyup!" or "Whoa!" or stuff like that they said on the TV and in the movies. Her older brother Ronald told her that she would learn to control the horse with her hands and her knees but she didn't see how that was possible at all. Certainly, the horses at the stable had been trained to respond to simple commands if she was real serious when she said them. They went down the gravel road entrance and she saw a sign that said,
"Keep horses off the gravel road at all times!"
She thought it rather odd to want the horses not on the road. It seemed to her that they would be able to walk a lot easier on the road than on the uneven ground of the farmland and pasture. Oh, well, she would probably learn all these things in due time after they gave her the introductory lessons.
It looked like the other students were already there and that she was the last one to arrive. Her mom was generally good about being on time but this was one of those days when she seemed to have a lot on her mind. In fact, she was still in a conversation with one of the ladies from her yoga class when they pulled up at the entrance of the riding stable.
Kaylie was a little unhappy with the way the riding pants were so tight across her bottom but her mom told her it was for the best to prevent blisters from loose clothing that rubbed on her sensitive skin back there when she was in the saddle. It made sense but she was always a bit self-conscious of how she looked from behind ever since Amy told her that was the place boys like to look to see if a girl was sexy or not. She had no idea if she was sexy and didn't really care because she thought all boys were more trouble than they were worth. Besides, it all sounded like downright foolishness to think her backside made her sexy. It seemed like it would be a lot more important to have a pleasant attitude and a clean face with well-groomed hair.
She took the sheet of paper her mother gave her to give to the lady collecting them at the folding table set up by the stable door. The woman must have been one of the instructors because she was wearing riding clothes and had a bunch of folders to hand out to the young people waiting for instructions. It looked to Kaylie like the class was equally split between boys and girls with six of each gender. She was standing right next to a very short Oriental girl with big black glasses and troublesome thick thighs. It was a bit of a shock to her because in her mind Oriental girls were almost always skinny and petite. On her other side was a boy with a disastrous red pimple on his forehead and a silly smile on his face.
When Kaylie heard her name called, she was conscious of trying to keep her backside turned to the stable wall so none of the boys could compare her to the other girls and see if she was lacking in the "Sexy" category. It really seemed unfair that it was only girls that had to pass that test and not the stupid boys.
"Right here! I'm Kaylie Morris. Where should I go?"
The lady smiled up at Kaylie. She had a genuine smile not one of those phony smiles you see on the salesclerks when they are ringing up a sale or on a teacher at school who is really much too busy to answer your question.
"Kaylie, you and Tommy will be starting out on the dummy horses inside the stable because you haven't been through the mounting and dismounting class yet. Just grab a couple of those saddles and Lucy will show you how to strap them on the wooden horses."
She was totally mortified because the other slightly more advanced students all moved off to the paddock to choose their mounts for the session and she and the boy with the embarrassing pimple were being sent into the stable to sit on fake horses like little children not yet ready for the real thing.
.... There is more of this story ...