I recently started following The Rambling Person, a blog written by Mark who is an aspiring writer. His posts are well written, interesting, thoughtful, funny and he covers many topics. Recently he asked his readers to suggest some topics, and half in jest I suggested a story about a Cowgirl who's scared of horses.
Well guess what ? Yeah, he did it, and it's a proper story too. With chapters and everything. And it's (sort of) about me.
So now my little flock I present to you. . . .
Calamity Jane - the Prequel.
The day was just starting, the sun was coming up, and a cockerel could be heard.
It was the cockerel that woke Jane, a fifteen year old girl who lived on the Gabriel Ranch. The ranch was named after her family, she didn't know how old it was, just that they had lived there for several generations.
After getting dressed and tying back her brown hair she headed downstairs to get some breakfast, and to see just what she would be up to today. As she expected, her dad was already waiting there for her. He was halfway through his own breakfast, and had prepared her something as well. She never really understood how he was always up before her, even though he seemed to do more work.
“Mornin' kid” Said Mr. Gabriel when he saw her enter the kitchen.
Jane stuck her tongue out at him before replying “I ain't no kid anymore daddy”. She was smiling as she said this though.
“Ye are, and ye always will be, daddy's little girl” Was his response.
Jane just sighed, sat down and started to eat her breakfast. While she was eating her dad told her what she would have to do today. It was mostly simple work like mucking out the stables, she was used to chat like this so it didn't put her off her meal. Though her dad then mentioned something she'd be doing that almost made her choke. Riding lessons.
“Ridin’ lessons? Why do I need ridin' lessons?” She asked, a bit nervously.
“You mean to tell me you've been livin' on a ranch all your life and you haven't worked out yet that ridin' horses is somethin' we do?” Her dad replied sarcastically.
Jane flushed, looking down at the table, playing with her food before looking back up.
“I ain't an idiot daddy, I know that...I'll do it” She conceded eventually.
“Good” responded her dad before finishing his breakfast. “Now hurry on up and get to work”.
Jane did start her work day, and found herself in the stables with the horses. She didn't mind cleaning them out so much, and thought they were really pretty animals, but she just had something she couldn't tell her dad. She was also afraid of them. Who's ever heard of a cowgirl that's afraid of horses? She'd be laughed at, or worse, and she just didn't want to face that. They were just so big, and powerful, and they ran so fast. When she was younger she had tried to ride them, and it was just too fast for her. She fell off and hit her head. Her dad told her that it was just because she was so small, and when she was older and bigger, she should try it again, and it would go better, but she was still afraid.
A bit later in the day, as she was still in the stables, brushing the horses and cleaning them, her dad came in.
“I been lookin' for you” he said, “it's about time for your lessons lil' lady”.
She just nodded, and followed her dad out of the stables where she saw a big brown horse waiting in one of the fields. It already had it's saddle on, and she knew it was just waiting for her to get on.
“Can you get up there on your own or will ye be needin' some help?” Her dad asked her.
She looked away from him, said “I can get on just fine thank you daddy” and managed to climb up. When she looked down again though she nearly fell off. It seemed a lot higher than it actually was. Her dad stabilized her before grabbing the reins, and starting to lead the horse forward. She hung on tight to whatever she could grab, but tried her best to not let her fear show. She smiled back at her dad when he looked up at her.
“Okay now you hold onto the reins, and have a go at leadin' her yourself” He said.
It took a few seconds for Jane to respond. She held onto the reins like she was told, and tried to give the horse a quick kick to the flank, to get it to move a little. When it did start moving though she started screaming, which scared the horse and just made it run faster. Which made her scream louder. Her dad tried desperately to catch up to her and the horse, and after a few minutes was able to grab the reins, pull Jane off the horse, and attempt to calm both her and the horse down.
The horse calmed down way before Jane did.
“What was that all about?” asked her dad, still holding her while she sobbed a little.
“I'm sorry daddy, I was just...” she started to answer before hesitating.
“Just what baby girl?”
“Promise you won't laugh?”
“Now why would I laugh at you?”
“Because”, she started “because...well, because I'm afraid of horses” she forced herself to say. She found that when she started talking it was a lot easier to keep going “When I was little I fell off that horse and I've still been scared since then. I like cleanin’ them and takin’ care of them, but I'm still scared to ride one daddy”.
Her dad gave her a quick hug and said to her, “Well why would I laugh at you for that?”
She looked at him, a bit puzzled. “Well, who's heard of a cowgirl who's afraid of horses?”.
Her dad did laugh a little at that, and she sulked, but he just patted her head and kissed the top of it.
“Now now, nothin’ wrong with bein’ afraid. But learnin’ to ride a horse properly will make it a lot harder for you to fall off.” He said.
“I know that, but they're just so big, and they go so fast, and I'm just scared.”
“I know you are honey, but really, when you're ridin' one properly, it'll go a lot better.”
“Promise?” She asked him.
He stuck out his pinkie finger and said “I promise.”
She shook pinkies with him before laughing and giving him a quick kiss on the cheek.
“I tell you what” He said, “I'll try and find you something smaller to ride, something that won't scare you so much”.
“Okay daddy, if you think it'll help” She said.
“I think it will, now you go back to your work, and I'll see what I can do for you.”
She gave him another kiss on the cheek before going back to the stables. Her dad watched her go and went back into the house, thinking of just what he could do.
The next day Jane woke up and found her dad once again waiting for her at the table.
“Mornin' ki. . . . ” he started to say before she interrupted him,
“I ain't no kid anymore daddy” She said, badly trying to hide a smile.
“Well one day I'll learn that” Her dad replied, “Until then you are daddy's little girl.”
She just sat down and started to eat her breakfast.
“I got a surprise for you by the way”, Her dad said suddenly, almost making her choke once again.
“A surprise? What is it?”
“Well I can't tell you that now can I? It wouldn' be a surprise if I did” He said before laughing a little.
“It ain't more ridin' lessons is it?”
“No, not just yet.”
“Not just yet? What's that mean?”
“What I said, you ain't got no more ridin' lessons yet, you do have something though.”
“Well what is it?”
“That's the surprise silly, I ain't gonna tell you that.”
“Awww tell me! Please?”
“Nope, you ain't gonna find out what it is until this evening after you've done all your work, so you best get to it.”
Jane sighed, finished her breakfast, and headed out to start her work.
For her, the day just couldn't go fast enough. Everything seemed to take a lot longer than it normally did, and she didn't enjoy herself as much as she usually did. Eventually though she did finish the last job, and found her dad waiting just outside the stable. He smiled when he saw her.
“So, just what is this surprise then?” She asked.
“Always so impatient, but it ain't here yet” Her dad replied.
“Ain't here yet? How can a surprise be late?”
“It can be late when it has to be delivered”
“Delivered? How big can this thing be?”
“You'll find out when it gets here, now hush and watch the road if you insist on bein' so impatient.”
She sat down, placed her head in her hands, and watched the road like her dad said. After about 10 minutes she noticed something coming down the road. It was a horse transport truck she noticed when it got closer. She picked up a bit at this. When it actually turned into the ranch she stood up, and dusted herself down before walking up to it.
“Now now, you wait here missy” Her dad said when she got to the truck.
She pouted a bit but did as she was told as the driver hopped out and went to the back to help her dad get the truck open and bring out what was inside. When she saw it her jaw practically dropped. It was a beautiful chestnut brown pony.
She squealed when she saw it and ran up to pet it's mane. Her dad let her do this for a few minutes as he paid the driver and closed the gate after he left before going back to Jane and the pony.
“Now, you think you can ride this?” He asked.
Jane stopped petting the pony and looked at her dad
“You bought it just so I could learn to ride?”
“It's a she not an it, but the name is up to you, and of course I bought it for you to ride silly, so don't let me down now.”
Jane flushed a bit before giving her dad a big hug and then going back to petting the pony.
“I ain't sure how I'll do, but I think I can give it a try”, she said.
“Good for you darlin', but it's gonna have to wait until tomorrow”
She pouted at him, “Awwwww but I don't wanna go to bed now”.
He patted her on the head,
“Yes, you will, but I'll do some of your work for you tomorrow, so you can spend some time with her, and then we're goin' to try ridin' again. That work for you?”
She nodded, still smiling, and started to lead the pony into the stable before heading up to bed herself.
When Jane woke up the next day, she got dressed in a hurry, rushed down to the breakfast table and started eating before her dad could even talk to her.
“Whoa girl, slow down there, what's the hurry?” He said, though he had a good idea of the answer.
“I wanna go spend some time with the pony daddy”
His guess was right.
“Have you thought up a name for her yet?” He asked.
She stopped to think for a second before answering, “Not just yet, but I think if I spend some time with her I will.” With that she finished her breakfast and rushed outside after giving her dad a quick kiss on the cheek. She ran all the way to the stables and led the pony out onto one of the fields. She spent a few hours brushing its mane, talking to it, stroking it and feeding it.
Her dad came up to her, holding a saddle and reins, and he showed her how to put them on. He said that the pony would trust her more if she was the one that put it on, and it meant she was trusted if she was even allowed to put it on. She did get the saddle on, and then climbed on top of it. She wasn't as high up this time, and that made her less afraid.
The lesson went like the last one did, her dad leading her around a little with the reins so she could get used to it, and again she was less scared. Her dad passed the reins on to her and she started moving slowly at first. She went a little faster after a few minutes, and after that started going at a bit of a canter. She got a little carried away though, and ended up going faster than she thought a little pony would be able to go. She started screaming a little at first, and again her dad had to grab the reins and pull everything to a halt.
She was still crying while her dad hugged her and shushed her.
“I'm sorry I let you down daddy”, she managed to say between sobs.
Her dad just shushed her again,
“Now now, you were actually doin' really well, you just tried goin' a bit too fast. You also lasted a lot longer than you did on that last horse.”
She stopped crying a little, feeling happy that she hadn't let her dad down, and that he was proud of what she had managed to do.
“I'll get there daddy”, She promised, stroking the pony's mane. “One day I'll get there, and I'm gonna call the pony Doris”.
We've been together ever since.
How cute is that ?
Now gallop on over to Marks blog and have a read of his articles.
Thanks Mark, one day when you are a pulitzer prize winner I will really enjoy telling people that you once wrote a story for me.