The Final Fall
By Kate L.
(Honourable Mention – Youth Category)
The horn blew, cueing me to begin. I felt Quigley below me and my breath slowed as I sank into the saddle. Quigley bent forward, taking the sharp turn perfectly. His hooves thumped against the ground, digging up the freshly raked dirt. Dust flew into my mouth. My hair flew everywhere, like it was having its own rodeo. I looked at the barrel in front of me. Quigley’s short breaths matched mine. Then, fear, as Quigley’s great hooves whacked together. His last steps were a multiple of stumbles. I braced myself for the fall and watched in slow motion, the open mouths of the crowd, the waiting riders reaching out to save me. Nobody could help me now. My head hit the dirt like a stone. I heard the buzzer and knew I was disqualified. So much time, so much money. I felt guilty; it hurt to lose it all so fast. One thought kept me moving as I struggled to my feet.
“Next year, there’s always next year.”