Scholastic Canada: Heartland

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Heartland #14: Everything Changes

"Amy! There's a trailer coming up the driveway," Lou shouted up the stairs.

"I'm coming!" called Amy, pulling on a pair of jeans. Running around trying to get everything ready for Dazzle, she had accidentally bumped into Ben with a bucket of water on the yard, and she'd been soaked. The October mornings were getting chilly, so she'd dashed inside to change into something dry.

She ran down the stairs and out the door. The trailer had pulled up, and a couple were climbing down from the cab. They were in their forties. And both looked easygoing and friendly.

"Mrs. Abrahams?" asked Amy, stepping forward.

"That's right. You must be Amy," said the woman, shaking her hand. "Nice to meet you."

As she said this, there was a thunder of hooves from inside the trailer. Mrs. Abrahams glanced around anxiously.

"He's pretty restless," she said. "It's been difficult for him. We had a terrible time loading him. We had to call the neighbors to help. Maybe it's best if we get him out right away."

"Of course," Amy agreed.

Grandpa, Ben and Lou stood by as Amy and Mrs. Abrahams undid the bolts on the trailer. It was clear that Mr. Abrahams had little control. Amy gasped at the sheer power and beauty of the horse. He was fired up with desire to be out of the trailer and, seeing the sea of human faces, the stallion screamed and reared. He seemed to linger in the air, his hooves flailing dangerously close to Mrs. Abrahams's head.

Ben dashed forward and grabbed the stallion's halter as the lead slipped from Mr. Abrahams's grasp. Amy quickly reached up to help Ben. Together they grappled with the overexcited horse.

"Let's try to get him right down to the paddock," suggested Amy, and with a concerted effort, she, Ben, and Mr. Abrahams led the stallion forward. It was a battle every inch of the way. All the mustang's strength was pitched against them in a fierce struggle to break free.

Grandpa jogged on ahead to open the paddock gate, and eventually they made it. Mr. Abrahams quickly unclipped the lead rope, and they all watched as Dazzle thundered off, his head held low, another piercing scream filling the air. He tore around the far corner of the paddock, looking for an escape route in the fencing. Amy's heart thudded fast – this horse wasn't used to being contained, not even in a large and grassy paddock. He was used to the open range – to freedom.

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