Rebecca's new ride
Rebecca loved riding horses. She had begun to learn when she was 5 years old, and now she was 9. She loved the smell, the friendliness of the people at riding stable, she liked being so close to the animals and, best of all, making the horse do what you wanted. She didn't mind all the hard work: cleaning the equipment, brushing the horses, mucking out! It was worth it to be close to the animals and to learn to ride.
Rebecca had her own special horse which she always rode called Prince. Prince was small and quiet, just right for a beginner. But one day a new horse arrived at stables. He was a great big horse called Warlord, and he was magnificent with black, brown and white markings. Warlord was taller than Prince, with a long tail and flowing mane, and full of energy. As soon as she saw him, Rebecca knew she wanted to ride Warlord. But the stable manager said, “No. He’s far too big for you, Rebecca. You wouldn't be able to handle him.”
Rebecca was angry and sulky. Riding Prince didn't seem the same any more. At the end of the ride, when it was time to brush him down, she spent only a very few minutes, so that the stable manager had to call her back to finish the job properly. When she got home, her brother Billy was there. He had just been to the football match with Dad and was excited. Rebecca didn't want to listen to Billy as he described the winning goal. “Oh shut up,” she shouted at him. “Who wants to hear about your silly game?” At tea time she rudely pushed past him into her place. “What's the matter Rebecca?” her Mum asked her. “She can't ride her precious Warlord,” said Billy, “She’s not good enough.” Rebecca was so angry that she hit Billy in the face and ran to her room.
Much later, after a long cry, Rebecca went to see her Dad. She told him she wanted to give up riding. “You want to ride the big new horse, don't you?” said her Dad. “What do you think would happen if you tried?” “I’d probably fall off,” Rebecca admitted. “You need to keep on practising your riding. Then eventually you'll be strong enough and clever enough to control even that big horse. And there’s another thing you need to practice. You need to work at controlling your temper. Anger is like a powerful horse: if you can't control it, it will hurt you, but if you learn to control it, you will be a powerful person.”
So Rebecca went on learning to ride. A few months later she was offered a bigger horse to ride, though not Warlord. She was disappointed, but she told herself she still had more to learn. Billy still angry with her, and when he heard, he tried to get his own back. “You’ll never get to ride your precious Warlord,” he sneered. “Why don't you just give it up?” “Billy,” Rebecca replied, “you're making me angry. I'm not going to fight you, but I wish you would stop.”
A year after Warlord first arrived at the stables, Rebecca met the stable manager as she was on her way home. “How would you like to have a go on warlord next week?” he asked. “Oh yes please!” replied Rebecca eagerly. “Well, you've been working very hard and making good progress,” said the stable manager. “I don’t see why you shouldn’t have a go.”
Rebecca could hardly wait. She took the big horse out of his stall and put his saddle and bridle on. At first she tried walking and trotting. Everything seemed fine, Warlord was responding and doing what she wanted. So when they came to open field, Rebecca put him into a gallop and they thundered down the field with the wind flying about them. It was the most exciting thing Rebecca had ever done. At the end of the field, she pulled Warlord up, turned him, and they thundered back.
At the end of the session, her Dad picked her up. Rebecca finished brushing Warlord down, carefully put the tackle away. Her eyes were shining and her cheeks were flushed with excitement.
“So you've learned to control that big powerful horse,” said her Dad, “and discovered just how exciting it can be. But you’ve also learned another important lesson, just as difficult. You’ve learned how to control your temper. Billy won't try to wind you up any more. You've made him respect you instead.”