Authors: Angela Dorsey
Tags: #pony, #horse, #angel, #dream, #thomas, #silver, #guardian, #dorsey, #joanna, #angela, #angelica
“Too late.” The voice came from
the dark doorway of the barn.
Joanna pulled Silver Sky to a
quick halt. “Robbie?” Of all the people to catch her!
Her older brother detached from
the shadows, Noah at his heels. “What do you think you’re doing,
riding my pony?”
“He’s not your pony. He belongs
to the farm. And you can’t tell Dad, okay? Please, Robbie? Please?”
Joanna slid from the saddle and led Silver Sky toward Robbie and
Noah. She’d beg if she had to. The black dog came toward her,
wagging his tail.
“Of course I’m going to tell
“I can’t believe it! I kept your
secret when you told Dad you were riding the ponies out on the
trails for exercise, and really you were riding over to Lindsey’s
“That was different. It didn’t
put the ponies in danger,” Robbie said, coming closer. “And I was
still winning all the championship ribbons at the shows. That’s
“Well, obviously I didn’t hurt
Sky either. And I’m sure Dad hates lying more than he hates someone
just not telling him something.”
“I wouldn’t count on it.”
Robbie tried to grab Silver
Sky’s reins from her, but Joanna was too fast. She whipped the
reins behind her back, and thrust her chin out as she glared at
him. “You sure you want to risk it? Because if you tell, I
“You little brat!” he said, his
voice low and quivering with rage. “You’re always trying to sneak
your way into things!” He stopped, obviously furious beyond
Joanna stepped back.
Automatically her hand went to her throat – and brushed against the
necklace Angelica had given her. An instant calm washed over her,
and she suddenly understood
Robbie had been so mean to
“Why can’t you just go hang out
at the mall with Mom?” Robbie spat at her, finding his voice again.
But this time Joanna heard the despair behind the anger and
bitterness. He was afraid of her replacing him on the farm.
She breathed deeply in an effort
to control her own emotion. Giving in to her indignation and anger
would only make the situation worse. “Robbie, I am not trying to
take your place,” she said, her voice as calm and reasonable as she
could make it, her gaze as steady and forthright. “I love the
ponies too. I’ve always loved them, just like you. And I’m not
going anywhere, so you might as well get used to me being around.
I’m going to work here, even when I’m out of school, just like you.
This farm and raising future generations of ponies is going to be
my job.” She paused for a moment to let her words sink in, then
continued, “But I don’t see why we can’t work together. You like
competing, and that’s great. I’ll probably compete too, because
that helps advertise our ponies, but mainly I love working with the
mares and young ones. It seems to me we could be good
Robbie’s gaze dropped to the
“And thanks for the compliment,”
added Joanna. “You must think I’m a great rider if you think I’m
“Not really. I mean, you’re
okay. For your age.”
“Thanks,” Joanna said,
“No prob.” For the first time in
ages, a tiny smile touched Robbie’s face, then disappeared. “It was
something else, something Dad said, that got me thinking you were,
you know, trying to take over behind my back.”
“He thinks Raven’s getting too
small for you, and–”
“Oh no.” Joanna leaned against
Silver Sky. “He’s going to make me sell him, isn’t he?” Then she
looked up at her brother. “But why would that make you mad? Why
would you care if he makes me sell Ravie?”
“It wasn’t that.” Robbie paused
to draw in a deep breath. “He’s thinking of giving you Tessie.”
“What?” Immeasurable joy
sparkled in that one single word.
“Duh. Silver Tresses? Surprise’s
last foal? The two-year-old?”
“I know who she is. He’s
thinking of giving her to
“Yeah,” Robbie said, glumly.
“Don’t tell him I told you.”
“And Dad’s never given you a
pony of your own,” said Joanna, understanding. “But Robbie, it
doesn’t mean he likes me more. I bet he just doesn’t want to sell
Tessie because she’s Surprise’s last foal, and I’m a good excuse.
And you’re such a good rider, he probably doesn’t want to lose you
to one special pony.”
“Maybe.” Robbie scuffed the
ground with his foot, then knelt beside Noah and rubbed the dog’s
ears. “But it sucks.”
“Why don’t you tell him you want
your own pony?”
“What if he says no?”
“I bet he won’t. I bet he
doesn’t even know how you feel. He probably thinks you’re happy
with all of them. If you ask, he might even let you have your pick
of the bunch.”
“Maybe.” His voice was a touch
“Or I can tell him,” Joanna
Robbie looked at her with an
irritated expression, then stood. “I’m not a baby.”
Joanna nodded. “So are you going
to tell him about me riding Sky?”
“I guess not.”
“And we’re partners, right?”
Robbie shrugged. “If we have to
be. You want me to help you put Sky away?”
“No, I can handle it.”
Robbie yawned. “Good.”
Joanna led the stallion past him
into the barn.
She stopped, turned around.
“About Raven, I know the answer
to your problem. I’m surprised you didn’t think of it, actually.
Must be because you’re still just a kid.”
“I’ve had a lot on my mind,”
Joanna said, and flipped her hair back. She and Robbie might have a
truce, but he was still incredibly annoying.
“Well, think for a minute.”
“Just tell me.”
“Small, gentle, reliable
“A granddaughter to be born in
“Oh, that’s perfect!”
“Well, it’ll be at least two and
a half years until she can ride him.”
“But I’ll need to wait another
year before Tessie’s ready to start anyway. And then Ravie can have
a rest for a year or so. Dad won’t want to sell the perfect pony
just because there’s no one to ride him for a little while. Thanks,
“Anytime.” Robbie was already
heading toward the house when Joanna heard another word slip from
his mouth. She couldn’t help but laugh. She wasn’t one hundred
percent she’d heard right, but the single word sounded a lot like,
Even though she was exhausted, Joanna
had a hard time getting to sleep. In her imagination, visions of a
beautiful grey filly named Silver Tresses – soon to be
Tessie – galloped and pranced and cavorted beside a small dark
pony. Sometimes she imagined she was riding Raven, but most of the
time she was astride the sleek grey. The three of them leapt over
fences and swam in the lake and raced through flowery meadows,
totally consumed with joy.
When she finally fell asleep it
was like falling down a dark well. She didn’t even dream, she was
so tired. And then there was a beeping noise…
The alarm clock. She rubbed her
eyes before checking the time. It had been going for two hours
already, and she hadn’t heard it. And no one had told her to get
out of bed.
remembered. The day of rest on the farm, at least for the ponies.
There would still be stalls to clean and ponies to feed and groom,
but no riding. No training.
“Hey, sleepyhead,” said her mom
when she walked into the kitchen.
“Why didn’t anyone wake me?”
“Robbie said he’d cover your
chores this morning. He’s feeling energetic, I guess.”
Joanna yawned. “I told Cally I’d
come over this morning. Her parents are getting back today and then
she’ll be gone.”
“You know, Mr. Thomas’s
“I thought you said her name was
“Oh yeah,” Joanna said and
blushed. “Well, I just got her name wrong the first time I met her.
Can I go over?”
“Sure. In fact, why don’t I take
you?” her mom replied. When Joanna opened her mouth, her mother
quickly added, “No, no. I insist. It’ll be nice to have a few
minutes together, without any ponies to intrude. And besides, we
have church this afternoon. You won’t want to spend all your time
walking over there.”
“That’ll be great, Mom.” What
else could she say? Well, there was one thing. “Mom? Can Robbie
have his own pony? I know he wants one, one of the bigger ones, but
he doesn’t want to ask Dad.”
“Really? Well, I’ll talk to your
dad about it.”
“Just don’t tell him I said
anything, okay? Let it be a surprise.”
Mom smiled. “Another surprise. I
The ride to Mr. Thomas’s house
seemed ridiculously long considering they shared a property
boundary. They had to go almost to the highway before turning onto
a side road that then branched off onto another road.
“There’s a police car behind
us,” said Mom, glancing at the speedometer. “I hope I wasn’t
Another quarter mile and the
police car turned into a driveway – Mr. Williams’ driveway. Joanna
looked back to see the car stop in front of Mr. Williams’ house and
two officers get out.
“I wonder if something’s wrong
at the Williams’,” said Mom.
“Maybe Mr. Williams is a bad
guy,” Joanna suggested, as she turned to face the front.
“I wouldn’t be too surprised. He
has shifty eyes.”
Joanna laughed. “He has nice
“I suppose. I know they make him
lots of money.” As usual, when the topic turned to horses, her mom
sounded bored. Bad luck for her that she’d fallen in love with a
man who loved horses, and then two of her kids were horse crazy –
and her granddaughter too, if Joanna had anything to do with
“You’re awesome, Mom, even if
you don’t like horses.”
“So are you, princess, even
though you do.”
Minutes later, they turned into
Mr. Thomas’s driveway. A shiny red car was parked beside his
beat-up old pickup. Bonnie and Breeze were grazing on the overgrown
lawn, and Cally sat on the porch steps, watching the horses. She
stood when Joanna and her mom drove into the driveway, her face
pinched and white. A look of immeasurable relief flooded her
expression when Joanna opened the door and jumped out.
“I’ll come pick you up in two
hours,” Mom said before Joanna shut her door, then she unrolled the
driver side window and leaned out. “Hi, Cally. I’m Joanna’s mom,
“Hi, Mrs. Taylor. My parents are
with my grandpa right now, or they’d love to meet you,” said Cally.
She hardly smiled as she spoke.
“Is everything okay with your
grandpa?” asked Mom, noticing Cally’s drawn expression.
“I’m sorry to hear that, dear.
Is there anything I can do?”
“I don’t think so. But thanks,
Joanna’s mom nodded. “You let me
know if I can help, okay?”
“See you later, Mom,” said
Joanna. She couldn’t wait to ask Cally what was happening.
Finally, her mom backed out the
driveway, and was gone. Joanna and Cally wandered to where the two
horses grazed and sat on the grass together.
“I saw a police car at Mr.
Williams’ house when we drove past,” said Joanna.
“That’s good,” Cally said, but
she didn’t sound overly enthused.
“What’s happening in there?”
Joanna motioned toward the house.
“I don’t know. They haven’t told
me anything. I’ve been sitting out here, just dying to know, for
ages. I’m so glad you’re here.”
“Me too,” said Joanna. “Let’s
groom the horses while we wait, okay?”
“That sounds awesome.”
He was so embarrassed. How had he done
such horrible things? Stolen horses from his neighbours! The couple
that owned the black mare were even his friends. He’d been totally
out of his head, stealing any horse that superficially resembled
his long-dead racehorses.