My apologies that I don’t have another Free Rein excerpt to share with you at this point in time! I am working on the seventh book in the Free Rein series, but it’s in lots of little paragraphs currently. This isn’t conducive with sharing an excerpt! I was thinking however, perhaps you’d be interested to read about Geordie and Hannah’s characters in another novel?
Before the Free Rein series, there was my debut novel Horse Country. In this, Geordie and Hannah are regular clients at the East Riding School. In time these two – plus Jacqui – got their own series 😉
So below is an excerpt that may put them in a different light to what you’re used to in the Free Rein series!
Madison grinned as she watched Jacinta manage yet another clear round while under the tuition of Jack. Talented, indeed. I hope he doesn’t push her too hard. She was all too aware of how seriously Jacinta took her competing and riding. But you’re supposed to enjoy it, too. Glancing at her watch she strolled over to the tie up area, aware that her four o’clock lesson would be here shortly. The two young girls that were to be riding were new clients, meaning she’d need to go through the run down of approaching the horse, moving around the horse, untying and leading over to the arena for a lesson.
Many that turned up for lessons were well aware of being around horses and had done so for years but because she never knew how much they knew and how much they thought they knew, it was always safer to explain how things were done at the East Riding School.
She cast her eye over the two ponies that were waiting patiently, half dozing in the shade, taking advantage of the rest before two new bodies were placed on them. Bodies that often represented beginners, legs flapping, insistently asking the loyal creatures to move forward, reins being yanked on, asking them to slow – sometimes the legs and arms at the same time; just to make things a little more confusing. Tucking a strand of auburn hair that had escaped back behind her ear, Madison looked up slowly as she heard excited laughter followed by the constant sound of running feet.
“Well, glad they know how to behave around horses,” she muttered sarcastically, stepping away from the horses and towards the two children; a friendly smile making its way onto her face.
“Geordie and Hannah?” she queried, stopping in front of them, her gaze flicking up to the two mothers behind the pair before refocusing on her students.
The pair nodded, both smiling widely.
“Great! We might as well get started. You can call me Emmy and over here,” she gestured, turning her attention to the two steeds in the tie up area, “are Sheila and Dundee. Geordie, you’re on the chestnut mare Sheila, and Hannah you’ll be riding Dundee today.”
Both girls rushed towards their mounts for the lesson, causing Madison to half smile at her mistake.
“Before you both rush in there,” she called out loudly, strolling after them, “I’d like to show you how we prefer people to move around the horses while at the East.”
“Oh, we already know all that,” Geordie spoke up, stroking the face of Sheila.
“Wonderful! Then you’ll know that I’d much rather you walk up to the side of the horse and pat her from there as a way of hello, rather than directly in front of her,” she commented easily, still smiling.
Frowning, the pair of girls both turned to face her.
“Ok. So let me go over how we approach and handle the horses here,” she stated again, this time having both girls’ attention.
Madison did some math in her head, well aware that she’d easily have two horses untacked, brushed and put away within twenty minutes, but with two horse crazy girls who didn’t appear to be interested in leaving any time soon, she questioned if half an hour was even going to be doable.
She smiled at the two parents as they wandered over to the tie up area while the young girls headed the ponies into their stalls. The open toed shoes of the parents didn’t go unnoticed as she commented on how well suited to each of the mounts their daughters had been. Or rather, how well each pony put up with the two who constantly wanted to canter, tried to talk her into letting them jump higher than would be safe and who spent a reasonable amount of time pulling on the ponies’ mouths. Boy am I glad that Mel is taking these two next time.
Madison frowned as it became further evident that the parent’s weren’t overly horsey as they stood directly in front of the ponies with plastic bags full of apples and carrots, distracting the animals, making it hard for either girl to be able to tie up their ponies.
“Can you help me, please?” Geordie queried, relief evident when Madison ducked under the rail and pushed Sheila back far enough to be able to get the head collar on.
“Me too!” Hannah whined, pulling on her reins with all her might in an attempt to get Dundee to back off the rail so she could reach her head collar.
Madison questioned not for the first time why parents couldn’t stay away until the kids had tied up and untacked their horses. I doubt insisting on that would go down very well with anyone… except me, of course. Oh well, deal with them for the next half hour and then Mel can worry about it. But how do I convince her to take them on again without her being suspicious of me not wanting to teach them?
She grinned, questioning whether telling her twin that she’d enjoy their energy when teaching them would be giving too much away. A frown marred her features as one of the mothers questioned her about whether or not the riding school ran day programs over the holidays. Dear God, no! Plastering on a smile she prayed with all her might that the last couple of places had already been taken.
“Indeed we do. Remind me to give you some flyers before you leave and if you ring the office tomorrow between eight and four, you should get a hold of my mother who runs bookings.”
I may just be lucky enough considering school holidays start next week. We should already be all booked up for the day programs… I think I need a new job.
Realising both girls had brushed most of the sweat out of their ponies’ coats, she picked up a rug, flinging it over the back of Dundee, quickly explaining the order in which the buckles and straps should be done up. The sooner we get these on, the sooner these poor ponies can go out and you two energetic girls can be on your merry way.
Like what you’ve read? You can purchase Horse Country at Amazon, or check out Christine’s other horse books for older readers at http://www.horsecountrybook.com/