SynopsisI grew up around horses all my life. It made me overconfident. I paid the ultimate price for my mistake. When Nadiya, a “damaged” Friesian, comes into the picture everything changes. Can we find courage within each other and heal our wounds?
Excerpt“Why’d we stop?” Susan asked.
“Hey Daniel?” I asked instead.
“Are you crazy?” Abby exclaimed.
“Yeah, didn’t your Mom say to take it easy with Sky Craft?”
“Oh, I’ve ridden him a hundred times, he’ll be fine.”
“You said he wasn’t that good on the trails, though,” Mitchel added.
“Come on, Lori, let’s just keep going,” Susan pleaded.
“Don’t worry about it, Sky’s ready.”
Even though I had never taken Sky Craft at full speed I had become confident that he would be fine. I was convinced that nothing could go wrong. After all, I’ve been around horses all my life. Just because my friends doubted Sky Craft didn’t mean I would.
Daniel only had time to give a shout before I gave Sky Craft a sharp kick and urged him into a full gallop. It was more than I could possibly imagine. The wind flew in my face and whipped my hair back. The ground blurred beneath us as Sky Craft’s feet carried us faster. I whooped with joy. It looked like I had been right after all.
But that’s when it happened; one second everything was fine, the next, Sky Craft became a bronco at a rodeo. His head bowed down and I was suddenly lurched forward in my seat. Before I could recover, Sky Craft bucked again. He did it two more times before coming to a lurching halt. Throughout the whole experience, I had done everything I could to hold on. My mouth hurt from all the jarring impacts.
“Sky?” I asked, looking down.
Sky Craft was shaking and his eyes were wide with terror. There was nothing around that I could find to cause him his unease. However, every time I attempted to nudge him forward, he would toss his head and lift his front feet slightly off the ground. At this point, panic had started rising in my chest, but I forced myself to act calm for Sky Craft’s sake.
Then, without warning, Sky Craft began losing it and started straining at the bit in an attempt to get away from the area. As his prancing and escape attempts became more frequent, I pulled him into a circle as I had been taught. I knew the only way to avoid injury was to get off his back as soon as possible, however, he hardly stood still enough for me to get off and I was afraid that I would end up under his sharp hooves if I attempted an emergency dismount.
“Easy, Sky,” I said, forcing him into another circle.
Sky Craft tossed his head and finally reared up fully, front legs flailing in the air. I managed to lean forward and stay in place, but when Sky Craft came back down, he bunny-hopped to the right. It came as a shock and I let go of the reins in exchange for his main to avoid falling off. Unfortunately, Sky Craft became even more terrified and reared up once again. This time, I wasn’t so lucky in being able to hold on and I felt myself falling backwards, rolling over Sky Craft’s rump. All the air rushed out of my body as I slammed down into the ground and lay gasping in the grass. I heard Sky Craft let out a scream of terror and I lifted my head just in time to see his rear hooves flying toward my face. They made contact, my neck snapped back, and I was plunged into darkness.