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Authors: Bonnie Bryant

Trail Ride

BOOK: Trail Ride
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“Check over there!” someone yelled. “She couldn’t have gotten out of here yet.”

Her heart racing, Lisa quickly considered her options.
If I can get them to follow me
, she thought,
maybe I can circle around them farther ahead.
At that moment there was a shout and one of the men pointed in her direction. Without hesitation she whirled Stewball around and urged him into a mad gallop.

Lisa didn’t dare look back—it was taking every last ounce of concentration simply to stay in the saddle. The path she had chosen was getting narrower and narrower, and, to her dismay, there was a steep drop on either side of her. Any hopes she’d harbored about slipping off onto a side trail were dashed.

“Give it up, little girl,” one of the men called. “There’s nowhere to go from there. It’s a dead end.”

“Leave me alone!” Lisa screamed.

Then, to her complete horror, she felt Stewball lurch beneath her, and the two of them went over the cliff.

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RL 3.6, AGES 008–012

A Bantam Skylark Book / July 2001

“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
Text copyright © 2001 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: 978-0-307-82604-6

Published simultaneously in the United States and Canada

Bantam Skylark is an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.
SKYLARK BOOK, BANTAM BOOKS, and the rooster colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc. Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, New York 10036.


My special thanks to Cat Johnston
for her help in the writing of this book.

Thanks also to Peter J. Zeale, M.D.,
and Mary Kay Tobin, M.D.,
for their expertise.


of summer left,” Stevie Lake said, thumping her empty lemonade glass down on the dresser. “We have to wring maximum yield from it.”

Carole Hanson, sprawled lazily across the bed, exchanged looks of amusement with their other friend, Lisa Atwood, who was curled up in the window seat. “ ‘Maximum yield,’ Stevie? You and your brothers weren’t by any chance watching the Sci-Fi Channel last night while your parents were out, were you?”

“The forbidden Sci-Fi Channel?” Lisa asked, raising her eyebrows inquiringly.

“I refuse to answer on the grounds that I might in-criminate myself,” Stevie told them airily.

Carole laughed and rolled onto her back. “Spoken like the true daughter of two attorneys.”

“Besides”—Stevie grinned—“it was the original black-and-white version of
The Thing.

“Oh yeah, the carrot creature,” Carole murmured. “My dad really likes that one.”

“Excuse me?” Lisa said from her sunny perch. “The

“A space alien frozen in the ice of Alaska,” Stevie told her.

“Antarctica,” Carole corrected.

“Whatever. Anyway, they thaw it out and it begins killing all the scientists.”

Carole nodded. “Yeah, that about covers it.”

“Wait a minute. Where does the carrot part come in?” Lisa asked, confused.

“The alien is carrot-shaped,” Stevie said impatiently. “I can’t believe you haven’t seen this movie.”

“Yeah,” Carole said, resting her chin on her hand. “My dad probably has a book on the making of it somewhere in his library.”

Lisa rose lazily to her feet and stretched. “That’s because your dad loves any movie made in black and white.”

Carole sat up. “Hey! Dad is very discriminating.”

“Let me get this straight,” Lisa said, crossing her arms. “The movie is about a giant frozen carrot from outer space that successfully terrorizes and kills Earth’s most intelligent scientists.”

“You’re oversimplifying,” Carole told her.

Stevie grinned. “No, actually, she’s not. At least, not from what I saw last night.”

“Very sophisticated stuff,” Lisa said, giggling.

Carole tossed a small heart-shaped pillow at her. “All right, that’s enough. I thought we were going to have a meeting of The Saddle Club.”

“I thought we were in the middle of one already,” Stevie said.

“That’s the trouble with The Saddle Club.” Lisa sighed. “We’re so fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants.”

Stevie frowned. “What do you mean? We have regular meetings.”

“We don’t even have a president!” Lisa pointed out. “Let alone a vice president or secretary.”

“There are only three of us in the entire club,” Carole reminded her. “We would each have to take two titles simply to fill out a proper roster, and then there would be no one left for us to boss around.”

“Could I be treasurer?” Stevie asked brightly.

“No!” Carole and Lisa responded firmly.


“At least we have rules,” Carole pointed out.

“Two! We have two whole rules,” Lisa said. “What kind of club has only two rules?”

Carole shrugged. “I think they’re very good rules, as rules go.”

Stevie pulled herself to attention and placed one hand on her heart. “Rule number one: You must be crazy about horses.”

Carole climbed to her feet and also placed her hand on her heart solemnly. “Rule number two: You must be willing to help the other members out, no matter what.” She nudged Stevie in the ribs. “By the way I think you’re abusing that one.”

Stevie’s mouth dropped open, and she put her hands on her hips. “It’s not my fault!”

Lisa and Carole both gave her a
tell us another one

“Things just happen to me!”

“Stevie,” Lisa said, “if you spent half as much time riding as you do playing practical jokes on people, you’d probably be the youngest equestrian Olympian by now.”

“And if Lisa and I didn’t have to spend half our time trying to figure out how to get you out of hot water, she
could have graduated early and I would have been in veterinary school already,” added Carole.

“Oh, you’ve decided, then?” Lisa said, turning to her friend with great interest.

“No, I still don’t now exactly what I want to do when I get older, but …”

“It’s definitely going to have to do with horses,” Stevie and Lisa finished together.

Lisa sighed wistfully. “When we formed The Saddle Club, I kind of thought we might end up with more members.”

Stevie found Lisa’s attitude annoying. The Saddle Club was the center of her universe. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for her two best friends, or they for her. “We do have more members,” she argued. “It’s just that they’re absentee members. Anyway, look at all the adventures we’ve shared.”

“Remember making that movie with Skye Ransom?” Carole asked.

Lisa got a dreamy look on her face. Skye was a well-known actor whom The Saddle Club had helped teach how to ride for one of his movies. Lisa had definitely had a crush on him.

“Who put a burr under your saddle anyhow?” Stevie asked Lisa.

Her friend shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s something my mom said about time slipping away without people noticing. I guess it got me thinking.”

Stevie was determined to bring the subject of the remaining days of summer back into focus. “Speaking of time, we only have a few weeks of summer left. What are we going to do with them?”

“I really want to work with Starlight on dressage techniques,” Carole declared. “A horse well trained in dressage moves so precisely, it’s really beautiful to watch. Like you and Belle, Stevie.”

Stevie blushed at the compliment. She knew she was one of the best dressage riders at Pine Hollow Stables, but to have someone as knowledgeable as Carole say so was a great pat on the back. “Thanks, Carole. I’d be glad to give you pointers anytime.”

“Yeah, I know. That’s why I was buttering you up.”

Stevie playfully shoved Carole, who fell back on to the bed, laughing. “Okay, then,” she retorted, “you have to work with Belle and me on jumping. It’s only fair.”

“Sure. Happy to do it.”

Stevie crouched at nose level with her friend. “We’ll see how happy you are when Belle and I snatch that blue ribbon out from under you at the next horse show.”

“In your dreams.”

“What about me?” Lisa asked.

Stevie felt a twinge of guilt. Lisa was the newest of the three to riding. She was doing fantastically well—a real natural—but she relied on Stevie and Carole for reassurance and guidance. “You’re going to be working with Prancer, right?” Stevie asked.

Lisa nodded. Unlike her two friends, she didn’t have her own horse yet. But Max Regnery, who owned the stables where the three of them rode, let her use a wonderful horse named Prancer on a regular basis. She was a former racehorse and tended to be a bit high-strung. “Any suggestions?”

“Prancer’s still kind of jumpy,” Stevie noted.

“What about some intensive trail riding?” Carole asked.

Lisa shrugged. “We’ve done that before. What would be the point? Outside of having a nice day of riding, I mean.”

Carole smiled thoughtfully. “I was thinking more along the line of a guerrilla trail ride.”

Stevie perked up. “Tricks and traps?” she said eagerly.

“What are you two talking about?”

Stevie grinned. “Carole and I would set up a series of minor events.”

“You know, a piece of paper blown across the trail, a sudden car horn going off, that kind of thing,” Carole explained.

“You’d know all about it beforehand,” Stevie said, winking. “But Prancer wouldn’t.”

BOOK: Trail Ride
10.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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