A Pony of Her Own: A short story about girls and horses by Laurel M. Smith
Ch. 3 – The Creek
Libby and the other students weren’t sure what they should do. They waited for
a little while in the paddock, and then Monica said, “Let’s go back to the barn
and see if Miss Lee caught up with Jason.”
“I’m not sure we should leave the paddock until Miss Lee comes back,” said
Libby, “Maybe we should just wait here.”
“We’ll be here all day waiting for her to come back, “shouted Monica
impatiently. “I’m not wasting good riding time just sitting here. Let’s go.”
Reluctantly, Libby and the others followed.
“Monica, I don’t think this is the right way back to the stable,” Libby said
nervously as they headed down a steep slope on the trail. “I think the Main Barn
was to the left on that fork in the trail back there.”
“Be quiet, Libby! I know what I’m doing. I’m not going back to the barn just yet.
This is a shortcut across the creek. There’s a big field on the other side that I
want to gallop across. If my horse, Lady, can run as fast as I think she can, then
I’m going to ask my parents to buy her for me. I saw her picture on the For Sale
bulletin board in the Main Barn.”
Libby often gazed at that very bulletin board wishing for a pony of her own.
“But don’t you think we should wait for Miss Lee?” asked Lauren. “I really don’t
think she wanted us to leave the paddock area.”
“Now you too?” Monica scowled. “What is with you guys? Are you scared?
Why don’t you just go back to the paddock? I can do this myself,” she growled.
“This is my only chance to see if this horse is as fast as I think she is.”
“Miss Lee would never allow you to gallop a horse full-out during a lesson,” said
Amy. “It’s too dangerous. That’s why she had to go after Jason’s horse when it
“I hope he’s OK,” thought Libby wishing that her teacher would come back soon.
We really shouldn’t let her cross that creek alone,” said Christy. We had better
stay and make sure she crosses the creek safely and then go tell Miss Lee what
“Oh, why won’t she just follow the rules like the rest of us?” Lauren groaned.
The girls followed Monica down the steep banks of the creek bed and watched
as she trotted Lady through the water and up the other side.
“I don’t like this,” said Libby, “What she’s doing is very dangerous. I’m going to
tell her she’d better come back to the paddock with us right now.” Libby nudged
Cracker-Jack in the sides to cross the creek. But, lazy Cracker-Jack had no
intention of getting his feet wet and reared up at the edge of the water tossing
Libby to the ground. Mud splattered all over her white T-shirt like the freckles on
“Quick! Grab him before he runs off!” shouted Libby to her friends.
“Too late,” cried Amy. Cracker-Jack trotted up the riverbank and was headed
back to the paddock area where he had seen the patch of thick green grass.
“So sorry about that, Libby!” laughed Monica sarcastically from across the
creek. Then she took off for the open field.
Libby was starting to understand how her brother Jason felt around these big
horses and wasn’t so sure she wanted to ride stubborn old Cracker-Jack
anymore. She got up and washed the mud off her hands in the creek water.
She headed up the bank and began walking in the direction of the paddock with
the other girls following on their horses.
Jason and Miss Lee had just arrived back at the paddock to find Cracker-Jack
waiting there. Tony, the hired stable hand, was with them to help Jason get his
confidence back by leading McCloud on a lead line for a little while.
Libby hated to disappoint her teacher, but when she and the others explained
what happened, Miss Lee was sympathetic. “You must get right back on that
horse, Libby, just like Jason did.” She explained, “Whenever you fall off your
mount, you must get right back on to prove to yourself that you can do it and that
you haven’t lost your nerve.” Libby hesitantly agreed and mounted up old
Cracker-Jack again for one last trot around the paddock.
“Now that everyone is back on board, I’m afraid I must cut this lesson a few
minutes short,” said Miss Lee. “I think we’ve had enough excitement for one
lesson, and I must go find out what Monica has done with our horse. Tony will
take you all back to the Main Barn and help you untack your horses and show
you where to put the saddles and bridles.”
Miss Lee took Libby aside for a moment and said, “Libby, I want to talk to you
before you leave today, so please wait in the office until I get back.”
Libby gulped with dread. Was she going to be in trouble for trying to cross the
creek with Cracker-Jack after Monica?
After she unsaddled Cracker-Jack, Libby waited nervously in the office at the
Main Barn. She gazed at the For Sale bulletin board hanging on the wall. She
saw Lady’s picture on it with a phone number to call for people who were
interested in buying the horse. There were lots of horses for sale on that bulletin
board. Some of the signs had been up quite a while and the corners of the
pictures were starting to curl.
She noticed small index card that must have been placed on the bulletin board
recently because it wasn’t faded and covered with dust. It read “FOR SALE:
Chestnut colored Welsh pony mare named ‘Ginger Snap’; 12.2 hands tall, 6
years old, needs good home.” There was a small color photo of the pony
Libby began daydreaming again. She loved little ponies so much. Her birthday
was only two weeks away. Could she dare hope for a real pony? When she
had mentioned it before, her father said that ponies were too expensive and too
much responsibility for a nine year old. She frowned as she recalled the
She thought of how lucky Lauren was that her parents were going to buy her a
horse by the end of the summer. She felt angry that Monica might even get a
horse when she couldn’t even follow the rules during a riding lesson.
If only she had a pony, a pony that wasn’t so big with such a long way down to
the ground when you fall off. If she had her own pony that she loved and trusted,
then she would know what to expect and she might not have been thrown at the
creek today when she tried to cross it. “If only,” she muttered to herself, “If only.”