Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Race

At that time, I used to ride Starr in the sugar cane fields and forests close to where we lived, and one day we encountered a girl I had met at Greenmeadow Lane. She had a young thoroughbred she had recently bought off the track, which she bragged was super fast, and had only been kicked off the track because he wouldn’t go into the starting stalls. She went on and on about how fast her horse was - unbeatable, in fact. Eventually, she asked me if I wanted to race, so she could prove just how fantastically fast her horse was. We were in the sugar cane fields, which had broad, straight, grassy lanes running through them, perfect for a good gallop.

I already knew that Starr liked to be in front when we rode with other horses. He was rising four, but I hadn’t really galloped him flat out. He was old enough, though, for he had stopped growing, and now stood at 16.1hh. I accepted her challenge, and we halted our horses at the beginning of a long, green lane with a slight uphill slant. I said ‘one, two, three, go’, and gave Starr his head as she kicked her horse into a gallop. Starr needed no urging, and, since her horse had taken off a little ahead of him, he stretched out in a full gallop.

Her horse was fast, no doubt about it, but Starr gained on him with every stride. Then the most amazing thing happened. He seemed to find a sixth gear, and the rapid jolting of a normal gallop gave way to a wonderful smooth gait the likes of which I had never experienced before, or since. It was like low flying. Starr stretched out his neck and gained speed at an astounding rate. We passed our competitors with ease, and pulled away at an amazing rate. By the time we reached the end of the track, Starr was ahead by three lengths!

I pulled him up and turned to grin at my challenger and her super fast horse, whose sour expression had to be seen to be believed. She told me she had to get home, and off she went. I never saw her again. By now, I had started to realise that Starr had depths of potential far beyond my wildest dreams, and had visions of him winning major racing tournaments and making pots of money. Hey, I was eighteen, and full of dreams. This one didn’t seem to be so far fetched, however, until I discovered that only thoroughbreds were allowed to race in the major meetings. That seemed grossly unfair, since I had the fastest horse in the world, and I wasn’t allowed to race him!

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