Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved horses more than almost anything else in the world. She dreamed all her life of having one to call her own.
The little girl worked hard, and she paid her way to horse school. With encouragement and help from her instructors she got a scholarship to horse college far away, and she learned how to teach and train and breed horses. She was offered jobs riding spectacular horses all over the country, and turned them down for the love of a boy.
Along the way the girl grew up. She trained horses for others, she gave lessons to children. She rode hundreds of horses that weren't her own. She leased horses to ride, but was forbidden to own one herself so long as she lived at home. Her parents told her "You can have horses when you are all grown up."
The girl moved away and married the boy, but they were poor. The girl was given a choice by doctors, and she chose to have babies instead of ride horses. She thought, "I have waited for my dream so long already, a couple more years will be alright. I will have patience so I can have children."
She planned and saved all her life. The boy had made her a promise, and she had only 10 more years to wait. She waited patiently and counted the years and the months and the days. But, her babies were sick and needed her, so she kept on waiting and planning to make her dream come true.
One day, she suffered a serious back injury, and was told her life with horses was over. But the girl was stubborn. She hid the pain as best she could, working hard to make herself better. She decided she would make a way to have them in her life again.
One day her dream came true. She bought a small hackney gelding to train for resale. Soon she had a whole stable full of horses, including the gelding who loved her, whom she could never bring herself to part with. She wasn't able to ride very much, but she was training and teaching and breeding horses again, and she was finally content. She knew how very lucky she was.
The girl had made her dream come true, but the boy was not happy. He did not like horses. He was afraid of them. He thought she must love the horses more than him, and this made him sad.
One day the girl and her veterinarian were talking. He owned race horses. He said, "Why don't you bring the boy to the racetrack tonight and be our guests?" and the boy reluctantly agreed.
While at the racetrack, the boy was introduced to owners and trainers and jockeys who talked to him about horses. He had picked many winning horses that day and had fun. This surprised him. The veterinarian asked the boy and the girl if they might want to own a race horse and be partners with him and his wife. The boy laughed, but the girl said, "We should talk about it."
When the phone rang early the next morning, the veterinarian said, "Well, what do you think? Are you ready to buy a race horse?" and the boy said "Okay."
The next day, the girl went alone to the race track to meet the trainer and see a horse named Brandy. Because the horse was nervous, she only got to look at the horse a few seconds before having to decide if this was "The One." She and the trainer spoke quickly then went to the race office before time ran out. She signed her name on a card, punched it in a time clock, and held her breath.
The bay mare she chose ran in her race a few moments later. She did not place first, but she was not last. When the race was over, it was announced on the loudspeaker that the mare had been purchased (called a claim) by the girl, the boy and the veterinarian and his wife. The trainer took a halter to the horse and jockey. The mare was theirs. That night the girl gave the horse to the boy.
Two days later the phone rang. It was the veterinarian. He said "What do you think about running the mare on July 3rd?" The girl said "But that's in only 3 days." The veterinarian said, "That's okay. The trainer thinks she can do it."
On July 3rd, the boy and girl and their two children asked their friends to come to the racetrack with them. They did not tell the friends that they had bought the mare. They had not told anyone they bought the mare. They did not tell the friends that they personally knew the horse that was going to run in the race they came to see.
Everyone had fun that night. The friends yelled for every horse whose jockey had pink silks because the shirts were "pretty".
At race time, together they went to the fence and watched the bay mare walk up and be saddled. They watched the trainer and they watched the jockey in the bright pink silks as he was boosted onto the mare.
The girl and the boy and their friends walked to the fence next to the track with the veterinarian and his wife.
The horses were off!
The sun was shining and the track was good that day. Everyone watched the horses leave the gate at the other end of the track, looking for the jockey with the pink silks. The announcer called the race and excitement filled the air. The boy and the girl held their race programs and yelled their hearts out, and their friends yelled too. The veterinarian and his wife did not yell for the horse in the beginning.
As the horses came around the curve, the boy and the girl lost sight of the bobbing pink silks, but they could hear the thunder of pounding hooves as the horses drew nearer and nearer their spot on the rail. People all around them began to scream and the girl and boy began to jump up and down as the bay mare with the jockey in the pink silks passed all the other horses and pulled ahead.
With great leaps the bay mare passed the leader and kept pounding the earth. The boy and the girl could hear her great breaths as she passed them on the finish line.
The announcer yelled "And it's Brandy O'Brannigan, wholloping 'em here tonight!"
When the race was over, she was 6 lengths ahead of the rest of the horses. She had won.
The boy and the girl hugged each other and their friends and began walking behind the veterinarian and his wife to the winner's circle, dragging the friends behind them. They had told their friends that the mare belonged to the veterinarian and were all invited to the winner's circle for a photo.
After the photo was taken next to the steaming, dripping mare, she was walked off by the trainer headed for the barn, and the boy and the girl looked for their friends.
They were nowhere to be found.
When they were found, the friends said that they were embarrassed at being included in the photo of a horse that belonged to someone they didn't know. They had ducked out just in time.
The boy and the girl slapped their backs and laughed and finally told their friends why they dragged them in the winner's circle... The secret was out.
The bay mare that had won the big race, was theirs!
(in the back) The veterinarian, the girl, the son, the boy
the daughter (front)