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A dark haired  girl  astride  a  chestnut pony  cantered  into  the  ring. The pony’s neck glistened with sweat  as  he  snorted  spray from  his nostrils.   The  crowd  gasped  as  the  pony  careered  around the course  at  break-neck speed, clearing the jumps with  inches  to spare.   At  the  last jump  the pony  skidded  to  a  halt, and  the  rider  sailed  over  his  head  to land with a  thud on the grass.      

Jane  dashed  under  the  ropes  and  managed  to  grab  the  pony’s  reins, avoiding  the his   flailing  hooves. She waited  as  the rider got  to her feet  and  gave  her  a leg  up  onto her  pony. The girl rode  out of  the  ring  looking  dejected  and  was  eliminated from the competition.           

Jane crawled back  under  the  ropes  and  joined  Sally  on  the  straw bale, brushing blonde  hair from her eyes.   

‘That was  dangerous you  could’ve   been  hurt,’  said Sally  frowning  at  her  friend.

Jane shrugged her  shoulders  as  they  watched  the  rest  of  the riders complete the course.  The girl on  the  bay  cob  won  the class,  with  the  only  clear  round.

            By  late  afternoon  the girl’s  rucksacks  were crammed  with  odds  and  ends.  Sally  paid  a  pound for  a   prancing  model  palomino  horse.  Jane  spent  two  pounds  on a turquoise bead  necklace  which   she  found in  a  church  bazaar tent.  The raffle was to be drawn shortly,  they  fished  tickets  from  their  pockets.

A breeze whipped up  straw  from  the  bales  to spiral across the field like mini-tornadoes.  Weary  stall  holders began to pack  up   their goods  and load  them into the back of their vehicles.  The  judge  tapped  the microphone  in  the  commentator’s box and  began to read out  the winning  numbers  for  the  raffle.  

The  crowd  clutched  their  tickets  in anticipation.  An elderly couple won a crate of wine  and  a   family  collected  a  food   hamper  from  the attendant at  the  ringside.  

‘Number seven is first prize winner’ announced the commentator.

 Sally  shrieked  ‘Oh that’s mine,’  in  Jane’s ear.

The two girls  ran  up  to  the  commentator’s  box  to  collect  the  prize. A tiny  pink  piglet peered   through  the  vents  in  a  small  crate  snuffling with excitement.  

‘Dad can take the  piglet  home  in  the  Land rover,’ exclaimed  Sally,  as  she  handed  her crumpled ticket to the man.   

Meanwhile  the  rider  of  the chestnut horse  ran  up  to them.

‘Excuse  me, I just want to say thanks for catching my pony.’ Said the girl handing a five pound  note to Jane. 

            ‘Oh that’s alright,’ said  Jane  blushing.

            ‘My  name’s  Anna  Henson,’ said the girl as she took off her riding hat  and tucked it under her arm.  ‘Do you like horses?’

             ‘Yes  we  ride  at  Appletree  stables  on  Saturdays,’ Said Sally.   

            ‘I wondered  if  you’d  like  to  come  to my house  and  see  my  other  ponies?’  said  Anna.

            Jane nodded her  head  as  Anna  handed  her a  card with  her  name and  address printed  on  the front  in smart  black letters.                    

            ‘Can you come  over  to see  me  next  Saturday?’ said  Anna.

            ‘We’ll have to ask our parent’s permission first. We’ll  ring  you  one  evening next week  after school to let  you know,’ said Sally, admiring  the  girl’s  smart  riding attire.  

            ‘Great I look forward to that!’ said Anna  and  turned  to  run  back  to  the  horsebox  and load  up her pony.   

            ‘Look’s  like your  good  turn has  paid off.’  Said  Sally  grinning  at  her  friend.

            ‘Yes but she  looks a bit posh,’ answered  Jane  looking  downcast.

The End

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