Baby-Sitters Club
#54
Mallory and the Dream Horse

by Ann M. Martin

Book Photo Mallory loves horses. She loves reading about them, writing about them, and, most of all, she loves daydreaming about them.

I circled Isabelle, making sure to pat her nose and whisper, "Good girl." Then I slipped my left foot in the narrow stirrup and swung my right leg over Isabelle's back.

I felt as if I were sitting on top of the world. I'd ridden Western style before, but that felt so clunky compared to sitting on this English saddle. Now there was just a small piece of leather between me and my hors.

"Sit tall. Chins high. Backs straight," Lauren barked the commands and we responded. "The reins are held loosely in your hands, threaded between your pinkie finger and the one next to it. Elbows in. Very good, class."

I smiled. I had mastered holding the reins. Horseback riding was going to be easy.

"Take a deep breath. And let's walk our horses around the ring again."

We circled the edge of the wooden enclosure, and I muttered to myself under my breath. "Back straight, reins loose, chin up." Suddenly I noticed Lauren was walking beside me. She chuckled at my mumbling and added, "Breathe, Mallory. That's very important. Wouldn't want you keeling over in the middle of the ring."

Some of the other kids laughed at her joke, but I didn't feel embarrassed because Lauren added, "That goes for all of you. Remember, riding is fun. Try to relax and enjoy it."

This time we all laughed. Once again I had a chance to look around me. And that's when I saw him. My dream horse.

He was an Arabian with a beautiful head and delicate nostrils. He was nearly all white, with a white mane and tail and a light dappling of gray that made his coat look like marble. He was the beautiful horse in the whole world.