The Shining Stallion

The Shining Stallion by Terri Farley

Book: The Shining Stallion by Terri Farley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Terri Farley
“Don’t ever let your thumb get in the rope’s path. Even an experienced rider can be surprised, and when a one-ton horse hits the end of that rope wrapped around your soft little thumb, it’ll pop right off.”
    Darby was listening, but she snatched a quick look back at Hoku. The filly prowled her fence like an angry cat, glaring after the stallion.
    When Jonah turned to see why Darby was so quiet, he must have thought she looked skeptical. He gave a short bark of a laugh.
    â€œYou don’t believe me? Sometime ask Kimo how many fingers his dad has, that old scoundrel. He’s the one tricked me into taking Francie.”
    They rode a few steps together before Jonah added, “I tell you, that will sure change your vacation in Hawaii, takin’ off a thumb.”
    â€œYes,” Darby agreed, “I bet it would.”
    By eleven o’clock, Jonah had been teaching Darby to pony for almost an hour.
    Sitting on the grass while Kona cropped nearby, Darby decided it was a skill she wasn’t likely to master soon. There was so much to keep track of at once.
    Two horses, one lead rope, a handful of reins, and her inexperienced riding all had to come together in a kind of synchronized smoothness that made patting your head while rubbing your stomach look easy. And Darby had never been able to do that for more than ten seconds at a time.
    Luna had only broken his perfect pace three times—by the candlenut tree, by Hoku’s corral, and once in the dip between the hills that Jonah called the fold.
    The stallion would probably behave when she took over, Darby thought, if he wasn’t provoked.
    â€œOkay, now, before you try it, go up to the house and get yourself some gloves,” Jonah told Darby. “They’re hanging on a rack in the laundry room.”
    Darby didn’t bother arguing. She started walking, thinking she’d grab a protein bar or something while she was in the house.
    â€œHey,” Jonah asked, “why walk when you can take a horse?”
    This time when Darby approached, Kona’s gray ears waggled in welcome. Darby still hadn’t taken upthe stirrups, so she didn’t need the sidehill to remount. She smiled when Kona let her settle into the saddle as if they were old friends.
    â€œWe’ll get you some gloves of your own later,” Jonah said, watching her. “Boots, too.”
    â€œThat’s okay,” Darby said, gathering her reins.
    â€œWhat do you mean, ‘that’s okay’?” Jonah asked.
    â€œI mean, you don’t have to do that. Aren’t they expensive?”
    â€œDo you want to do this right?” Jonah gestured at the ranch around them.
    â€œYes, but—”
    â€œAnd is it possible I know how to outfit you, so that you can grip your reins and ropes and keep your feet from slipping through the stirrups so you won’t get dragged to death?”
    â€œI just don’t want to cost you a bunch of money.” She squeezed her legs against Kona and aimed him toward Sun House.
    The gray moved into a long walk, just as she’d hoped, but Darby was still close enough to hear Jonah grumble, “Save me money somewhere else—like on doctor bills.”

Chapter 11
    â€œN obody’s eating my pineapple-orange muffins,” Auntie Cathy complained as Darby came through the front door of Sun House.
    â€œI am,” Darby said, snagging one. As she headed for the laundry room to look for gloves, Darby peeled off the crunchy muffin-top—her favorite part—and munched.
    Warmth flooded from the laundry room and Darby heard the ker-thump ing of a loaded dryer. She eased inside and closed the door behind her.
    It was hot in here, but she set her muffin aside and grabbed the chance to push up her shirtsleeves and fan the hem of her T-shirt.
    She should just show everyone the good-luckcharm and dress normally. Or she could take it off. For some reason, she didn’t want

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