Read Horse Blues Online

Authors: Bonnie Bryant

Horse Blues

BOOK: Horse Blues
13.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“Stevie has come up with a brilliant idea,” Lisa announced.

“What?” asked Carole nervously, afraid that the idea was going to be something that would create more aggravation among the three of them.

Lisa and Stevie twittered for a moment. Then Stevie burst out, “Simon Atherton!”

“Whichever one of us breaks our resolution first has to call up Simon and ask him out on a date!” Lisa said.

Lisa and Stevie watched to see how Carole would react. Slowly Carole began to grin. First she grinned a little, then a lot. “I can tell you one thing: I sure as heck am not going to be the one to lose!”

Other Skylark Books you will enjoy
Ask your bookseller for the books you have missed

THE WINNING STROKE (American Gold Swimmers #1)
by Sharon Dennis Wyeth

COMPETITION FEVER (American Gold Gymnasts #1)
by Gabrielle Charbonnet


THE GREAT MOM SWAP by Betsy Haynes

BREAKING THE ICE (Silver Blades #1)
by Melissa Lowell

SAVE THE UNICORNS (Unicorn Club #1)
by Francine Pascal

by Jerry Piasecki

by Jerry Piasecki

RL 5, 009–012


A Bantam Skylark Book / January 1997

Skylark Books is a registered trademark of Bantam Books
a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc
Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and elsewhere

The Saddle Club” is a registered trademark of Bonnie Bryant Hiller

The Saddle Club design/logo, which consists of
a riding crop and a riding hat, is a
trademark of Bantam Books

USPC” and “Pony Club” are registered trademarks of The United States
Pony Clubs, Inc., at The Kentucky Horse Park, 4071 Iron Works Pike
Lexington, KY 40511-8462

All rights reserved
1997 by Bonnie Bryant Hiller
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical
including photocopying, recording, or by any information
storage and retrieval system, without permission in
writing from the publisher
For information address: Bantam Books

eISBN: 978-0-307-82562-9

Published simultaneously in the United States and Canada

Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words “Bantam Books” and the portrayal of a rooster, is Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Marca Registrada. Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, New York 10036


I would like to express my special thanks
to Caitlin Macy for her help
in the writing of this book



?” Carole Hanson asked, stifling a yawn. It was New Year’s Eve, and Carole and her two best friends, Stevie Lake and Lisa Atwood, were sacked out in front of the Hansons’ TV. A sleepover was always fun, but this holiday evening seemed to be lacking something—excitement, maybe. Christmas was over, it was cold out, and Carole and Lisa, who went to the public school, had to go back the day after next. Stevie’s private school had one more week off.

“Nice try, Carole,” Stevie said, with a glance at her watch, “but it’s not even eleven-thirty.”

“You’re not falling
, are you, Carole?” Lisa asked, feigning surprise.

“Oh, no,” Carole insisted, “I’m wide awake.”

Lisa and Stevie looked at their friend and laughed. Despite what she said, Carole’s eyes were half closed and, up to this point, she hadn’t said a word in half an hour. Stevie loved any excuse to stay up all night. Lisa was used to studying late when she had to. But Carole went to bed early. She enjoyed getting a good night’s rest because she liked getting up early and spending as much time as possible with her horse, Starlight.

“Here, have some more soda,” Lisa suggested. “It’s got caffeine in it. That’ll help you stay awake.”

“I’m awake! I’m awake!” Carole protested. She sat up on the couch and took the can of cola Lisa handed her. “I really shouldn’t drink this, you know,” she said. “I eat way too much junk food.”

Stevie raised her eyebrows. “You’re not going to start worrying about your diet, are you?”

“I guess not,” Carole said. “But sometimes I think I’d feel healthier if I didn’t eat so much popcorn, chips, dip, cookies, candy—all the stuff my dad likes to snack on when we watch movies.”

“Did I hear someone say
” The girls turned as Carole’s father, Colonel Hanson, poked his head
into the den. “I thought you girls might need a pick-me-up, so I brought you some buttered popcorn and a plate of nachos and salsa.”

Carole groaned good-naturedly while Lisa and Stevie cheered.

“Colonel Hanson, did I ever tell you I like your style?” Stevie joked, eyeing the snacks appreciatively.

Carole’s father beamed. “Oh, once or twice, Stevie, but it’s still nice to hear.” Colonel Hanson and Stevie had a special bond. They both loved old fifties movies, they both loved bad jokes, and they both loved junk food.

“Dad, why don’t you join us?” Carole asked. “We’re going to watch the ball drop in Times Square at midnight.”

“If Carole can stay awake till then,” Stevie said, needling her.

“Thanks, honey, but if you can believe it, I think I’m going to turn in now,” Colonel Hanson said.

“Turn in? Half an hour before midnight?” Stevie asked, aghast.

Colonel Hanson chuckled. “I know, I know—but when you’ve seen as many midnights as I have, you can afford to miss one now and then. And we’ve all got to get up early for Horse Wise tomorrow.”

Carole, Lisa, and Stevie rode and took lessons at Pine Hollow Stables. The owner of Pine Hollow, Max Regnery, had started Horse Wise, the local branch of the United States Pony Club. He held most of the mounted and unmounted meetings at his stable. The girls knew that Max really believed in Pony Club. He thought it was a great organization because it taught its members horsemanship and teamwork as well as riding skills. All three of the girls had participated widely in Horse Wise, earning higher ratings as they improved and competing in different events, including rallies, mounted games, and Know-Downs, which were quiz games about horses.

“So you’re going tomorrow, too?” Lisa asked Colonel Hanson. “I know my mother is planning to be there.”

“Yes, Max specifically asked the parents to come. I’m not sure why, but I guess we’ll find out tomorrow,” Colonel Hanson said. “I thought about asking Max when he called, but I didn’t want to jump the gun.”

Carole flashed her father a smile. At the beginning of Horse Wise, Carole’s father had gotten so involved in the club—without knowing the first thing about horses—that he’d driven Carole crazy.
But since then, he’d kept his participation to a level that was acceptable to them both. He volunteered his time when Max needed him, but he didn’t try to take over.

“I’m going to hit the hay now, so make sure you greet the New Year for me, okay, girls?”

“Will do, Dad—and thanks,” Carole said, hugging her father good night.

The girls dug into the nachos.

“It’s strange that Max invited the parents to a Horse Wise meeting,” Lisa said thoughtfully.

“I think it was more of a command than an invitation,” Carole remarked. “My dad said that when he talked to Max on the phone, Max’s voice had a downright military ring to it.”

“And your dad should know,” Lisa said with a grin. Carole’s father was a colonel in the United States Marine Corps.

“I’ll bet Max wants to tell us what a great club we are and what exciting stuff we’ll be doing in the new year,” Stevie predicted, with typical optimism.

Lisa and Carole gave Stevie skeptical looks. Max Regnery was hardly the kind of person to call meetings just to give compliments. Even in riding lessons, his praise was kept to a minimum—just enough to let his students know they were making
progress and little enough to let them know there was a lot of progress yet to be made.

“I doubt it, Stevie,” said Lisa, “but since it’s New Year’s Eve, I’ll look on the bright side.”

“Speaking of the bright side,” Carole began hopefully, “it’s getting pretty late, right? Morning’s just around the corner. Maybe we should—”

“No way! Not on your life, Carole Hanson,” Stevie interrupted. “You’re staying up till midnight if we have to—to make you start reciting equine trivia!”

“Now, there’s an idea,” said Carole, brightening. “All this New Year’s stuff is boring.”

“You said it,” Lisa agreed. “I think New Year’s is overrated, too. We’re old enough to stay up, but we’re too young to go out. Still, I’m glad I’m here instead of at my house. Right about now my mother would be telling me to get my ‘beauty rest’ or practice my embroidery.”

“Practice your what?” Carole asked. Lisa’s mother was constantly suggesting ways that Lisa could “improve” herself, but this was the first she’d heard of Lisa’s learning embroidery.

“Yes, it’s my mom’s latest thing: She thinks it would be useful for me to learn the ‘home arts’—knitting, crocheting, needlepoint—the works. I’m
supposed to start with embroidery. Mom gave me needles, thread, and a book of patterns for Christmas. It looks more complicated than algebra. I’m supposed to be learning in my spare time. What I want to know is
spare time!” she exclaimed, exasperated. A straight-A student, Lisa was a perfectionist about her schoolwork. She also did her chores without complaining, kept her room perfectly neat, and generally did whatever her mother asked. All of that could add up to a lot of pressure.

“We saved you from home ec for a night, so at least this New Year’s Eve has one thing to its credit,” Carole said.

thing? What’s wrong with you guys?” Stevie demanded. “TV? Junk food? Who could ask for anything more!”

Carole and Lisa laughed. Stevie had a great appreciation for the simple pleasures in life. She also had a great appreciation for creating elaborate plans and schemes. Sometimes she got so eager about them that she ended up dragging Lisa and Carole into crazy situations. But usually she could talk—or plan—her way right back out, no matter how complicated the mess she had created was. And being friends with Stevie was so much fun that Lisa and Carole didn’t mind the occasional mix-up.

BOOK: Horse Blues
13.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Queene's Cure by Karen Harper
Fail Safe by Eugene Burdick, Harvey Wheeler
Single Player by Elia Winters
Web of Lies by Candice Owen
Brendon by Nicole Edwards