Post Number: 5
|Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 04:23 pm: ||
I joined this group a long time ago to post my stories but a few months ago events took place in my life that took away my time and passion for my writing. I finally seem to be back on my feet again and I hope you enjoy reading my short stories. I posted part one of this story quite some time ago, so I am re-posting it along with parts 2 and 3. Let me know what you think of these characters because I have many many ideas for them.
As Anna guided her horse over jumps, she glanced to the center of the ring and smiled at Brad standing there watching her every move with intensity. Those grey eyes of his never missed a thing, a fact which had gotten her into trouble more times than once. After being at the ranch for more than three years, it was hard to remember her life without Brad in it, but she found herself getting lost in a daydream about the first time they met…
Anna came to the ranch as she was just finishing up college, hoping to make a little extra cash to help pay off tuition. She was hired to exercise the horses, muck out stalls and any other odd job that needed done around the barn. The ranch employed many other part-timers aside from Anna, as well as a few full time stable hands and trainers. After a week or so of orienting herself to her new job and responsibilities, the ranch owner, Joe, asked her to start riding the horses to exercise them. Anna had never really had lessons on a horse, but had been around them and ridden enough to semi know what she was doing.
Anna walked Phantom, a powerful mustang, down into the indoor arena. Joe was waiting for her there.
“Hey Joe” Anna cheerfully smiled, “are you ready to be entertained?”.
Joe smiled at the petite woman chuckling “Come on, Anna. It won’t be that bad.” In all honesty he really didn’t expect that much out of her. She wasn’t there to show the horses, just exercise them. He was still on the prowl for a show rider, but certainly he would have to find one with more experience than her, or any experience for that matter.
As Anna led Phantom to a mounting stool, she noticed another man on the other side of the arena. She couldn’t really make out any facial features, but she could see he was quite tall and had a good build. He looked at her as he walked to the center of the ring where Joe was standing, and Anna couldn’t help but blush as he did. There was something about his eyes…the way he looked at her.
“Anna, I’d like you to meet Brad, one of our trainers.” Joe stated.
“Horses or humans?” Anna asked.
“Excuse Me?” Brad raised an eyebrow.
“Do you train horses or humans?”
“Oh”, laughed Brad, “Both” With that he gave her a grin and a wink and Anna felt like she was going to melt on the spot.
As Anna proceeded to mount Phantom, she wondered how in the heck she was going to ride when her legs felt like rubber.
“All right” Joe shouted from the other side, “Brad is going to give you different commands, and we’ll see how well you put the horse through its paces.”
Anna glanced over at Brad and saw him staring at her with a quiet intent. She was nervous and prayed silently that she wouldn’t make a fool out of herself.
The session started and Anna found herself almost immediately at ease. While Brad was very clear in his commands, he never once shouted at her or degraded her in any way. She found herself thinking about how natural this felt, Brad in was clearly in control and she executed the commands with the horse almost the instant they left his mouth. The riding itself was easy, Brad basically had her go through all the horse’s gaits to see her technique and finally made her take a few low jumps. After about a half an hour of this Joe stopped the session and told Anna to cool Phantom down while he and Brad talked.
The two men walked out of the arena and Anna was left there with her own thoughts. She dismounted Phantom and began walking with him around the worn path. Her thoughts wandered to the riding session she just had and how it felt so right to her. There was something between her and Brad, a connection of some sorts, however she just couldn’t figure out what it was.
Suddenly the gate to the arena swung open and Anna looked up and saw the two men walking toward her. As they all met in the center of the arena, Anna couldn’t help but notice that at her short 5’3, Brad stood almost a full foot taller than her.
“Anna, I have an interesting proposition for you” Joe stated. “While your technique and posture need some serious work, your timing and natural rhythm with the horse are things that don’t occur naturally with most riders. I feel that with some intense training, you will shape up to be a very fine rider. So here’s the deal. If you agree to this, for the next two months you will train daily with Brad. After two months, we will both evaluate your performance again and if we see a marked improvement, I will offer you a job as a show rider for my stables.”
Anna stood there, mouth agape in disbelief. She looked over and saw Brad almost expressionless. “Is this how you feel as well Brad?” she hesitantly asked.
He stepped forward so that he was standing directly over her and held her gaze intensely. “I agree that you are a fair rider, with great potential. I do, however, believe that we should spend some time and talk about exactly what these daily training sessions entail to see if you are able to agree to them first.”
With that Joe made a quick excuse about having to deal with some business and left Anna and Brad alone in the middle of the arena.
Still holding her gaze, Brad began to explain. “If you agree to train with me, you agree to live by my rules. You will be under my constant supervision for the next two months. This means no going out and drinking, no staying out late, eating healthier than you do now, and being in bed at a reasonable hour each night. I know you are still in college, but if you are going to be a show rider for this stable, you need to start realizing now what a big responsibility this is. Also, while we are training, you will listen to me and obey without question. If you don’t understand a command I give you, fine, however, I will not tolerate you questioning why I use certain training methods. If you fail in any of these things, I will punish you as I see fit. Now, before you say anything, I want you to go back to the barn, saddle two horses and bring them down here.”
Brad reached out and grabbed her arm, cutting her off. “Are you questioning me?”
Anna stared at him, still trying to figure out what just happened. After a few seconds, she turned and walked out of the arena. Brad stayed in the center of the ring half wondering if she was going to come back. A few minutes passed and just as he was about to go after Anna, the sound of horses hooves could be heard clomping down the ramp. As Anna entered the arena with the requested horses, a smile played across Brad’s lips “And so it begins”
Do or do not, there is no try.