Horse Dreams
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    Horse Dreams
    Copyright © 2011 by Dandi Daley Mackall. All rights reserved.
    Cover photograph of horse copyright © by Brandy Taylor/iStockphoto. All rights reserved.
    Cover photograph of fence copyright © by Rowan Butler/iStockphoto. All rights reserved.
    Designed by Jacqueline L. Nuñez
    Edited by Stephanie Voiland
    Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible , New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
    Scripture quotations marked NIrV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version , ® NIrV. ® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
    This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.
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    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
    Mackall, Dandi Daley.
    Horse dreams / Dandi Daley Mackall.
    p. cm. — (Backyard horses)
    Summary: Horse-crazy fourth-grader Ellie James constantly dreams about having a horse of her own, and God finally seems to have answered her prayers, but not with the gleaming black stallion she has been longing for.
    ISBN 978-1-4143-3916-0 (sc)
    [1. Horses—Fiction. 2. Schools—Fiction. 3. Christian life—Fiction.] I. Title.
    PZ7.M1905Hno 2011
    [Fic]—dc22 2011008111

To Helen Isabella Hendren, “Ellie”

Backyard horses are the opposite of show horses. They don’t have registration papers to prove they’re purebred, and they might never win a trophy or ribbon at a horse show. Backyard horses aren’t boarded in stables. You can find them in pastures or in backyards. They may be farm horses, fun horses, or simply friends. Backyard horses are often plain and ordinary on the outside . . . but frequently beautiful on the inside.
    * * *
    The Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
    1 Samuel 16:7


    It’s the moment the world has been waiting for. Ellie James enters the horse show ring on her champion stallion, Ellie’s Prancing Beauty. The crowd at the Hamilton Royal Horse Show goes wild. They jump to their feet and clap. The lean, black American saddle horse prances past the stands. The judges can’t take their eyes off the gorgeous horse and his talented rider. Ellie is dressed in a classic black riding habit and tall English boots. She is the youngest rider in this year’s contest. The horses are called to a canter. Ellie and Prancing Beauty float around the ring. The crowd cheers. The horses line up. The winner is announced. . . .
    â€œEllie! Miss James!”
    I look up. But instead of a judge carrying a trophy for me, it’s my fourth-grade teacher standing over my desk.
    â€œEllie?” Miss Hernandez taps her foot. She frowns at me.
    I stare at her for a second before the dream fades. The horse show ring turns back into four walls and twenty-three desks. “Sorry, Miss Hernandez,” I mutter.
    She keeps staring at me like she’s waiting for an answer.

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