WONDER HORSE BOOK ONE
By: Victoria Hardesty and Nancy Perez
Writers of Action and Adventure with Arabian Horses
Caroline decided to talk to Ginny Hartley about the parade invitation and see what her opinion was. The minute she explained it to Ginny, her comment was, “Fantastic! That is great. You guys can share that beautiful animal with all your friends and neighbors. You did a great job breeding him, and Chris has done a wonderful job training him. But he is a special horse. I think you should let your daughter ride him in the parade.”
“Don’t you think Becky is a little young for that?” Caroline asked.
“Have you watched her ride Ali?” Ginny asked. “Those two are so good together. I know Ali loves her. If anything were to happen, that horse would take care of your daughter. She’s one of the best young riders I’ve ever seen. Give her some credit, will ya?”
“I hadn’t considered Becky riding him in the parade. I assumed I have to get Chris out here for the weekend to do that. Are you sure about Becky? If she was your daughter, would you let her ride that stallion in a parade by herself?”
“Caroline, that stallion is your daughter’s best friend, and she is his too. If Becky were my daughter, I would definitely let her ride him.”
“I haven’t told Becky about this yet. Please don’t say anything to her until I have a chance to talk to Walter and Chris, okay?” Caroline asked.
“Not a problem. But I think you will have a problem if you don’t let Becky ride,” Ginny chuckled. “I wouldn’t want to be in the same house with you two if you told her no on this.”
Twenty minutes after Ginny left to drive home, Chris called. “Hey, Sharon told me the good news. I think that’s fantastic. Public appearances are the best thing for Ali. He loves all the attention.”
“How would you feel if I let Becky ride him?” Caroline asked.
“I’m all for it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be honored to get on a plane to California and spend the weekend with you guys to ride Prince Ali, but you have his rider under your own roof. Remember, I was the first one to put her on him. I’ve seen them together. She is an excellent rider already. She is going to kill the competition in the show ring with him. She has enough confidence in herself, but that doubles when you put Becky together with Prince Ali.”
“Okay. I haven’t talked to Walter yet. I’ll call you later and let you know what we decide to do. You might have Sharon pencil that weekend on your calendar, just in case.”
“Caroline, it would be a silly waste of time and money for me to fly out for this when Becky will do a great job. All you need to do is get your farrier out a couple of days before the parade and have him put special non-slip shoes on Prince Ali. There are a couple of different kinds. Your farrier will know which ones to use. Those shoes will help ease your mind. Ali won’t slip on the pavement in them.”
When Walter got home that evening, Caroline invited him into the office and shut the door. She told him what happened that afternoon. “I haven’t told Becky about this yet. I wanted to talk to you about it first. I have talked to Ginny and Chris. They both suggested we let Becky ride Ali in the parade. Both of them feel Becky is good enough to keep control of Ali and not get into trouble. Chris suggested we get special non-slip shoes put on him a couple of days ahead of time so he can get used to how they feel. What do you think?”
“You know he’s only supposed to walk the parade route, don’t you?” Walter said. “If both trainers feel Becky is qualified to walk her horse down the street, who are we to say no. I’m excited they think so highly of him to invite him. You do know this is the first time the Grand Marshall of the Swallows Day Parade is not some over-rated actor or self-important businessman.”
“I can’t believe you said that,” Caroline chuckled. There had been some of those people before, but not as many as Walter’s comment implied. “I like Rex Taylor. He’s a plain ol’ cowboy. I think he’s a nice man too. Maybe next year will work out for him to step in. I was looking forward to having dinner with him and his wife, Robin, at the President’s Ball. They are both a lot of fun to be around. I guess we let Becky ride her horse in the parade. We can tell her at dinner.”
The minute Caroline told Becky over dinner that the parade committee asked Prince Ali to be the Grand Marshall this year, Becky interrupted her.
“Mom, Dad, can I please, please, PLEASE ride him?”
Caroline looked down at her plate. “Becky, you are pretty young to ride a stallion down the street in a crowd like we usually get. Maybe I should call Chris to fly out for that. You can sit with us and watch.”
Walter had to turn his head away from the table as if something in the other room caught his attention. He was struggling not to laugh out loud and spoil Caroline’s fun.
Becky began to plead. “Mom, Dad, I promise to get all my homework assignments in on time for this whole year if you let me ride Ali. Okay, I’ll keep my room spotless too. Uh, and I’ll clean the bathroom after I use it, so I don’t leave a mess for Espi. I’ll…I’ll…I’ll do anything you want, just please, PLEASE let me ride Ali.”
Caroline couldn’t hold back any longer and burst out laughing. “Of course, you’re going to ride him. We’ve talked to Chris and Aunt Ginny. They say you are ready. So now we have to figure out what you two are going to wear. You’re probably going to have to go with the Western stuff. That fits in with the entire parade. Everyone in it shows off the heritage of the Old West, including the Native Americans in our community. I don’t think you have a costume for Western Pleasure, do you?”
“Mom, I have a great idea! Since everyone else is supposed to show off the Old Western heritage of our area, why don’t we have Prince Ali show off his heritage? It’s very different, but his Native Costume is so beautiful.”
“I’d have to run that by the Parade Committee,” Caroline told her. “But, that might be a great idea. We have the Grand Marshall placed right behind the Capistrano Valley High School Marching Band. I wonder if they have time or could find the score for the theme song from Lawrence of Arabia? That would certainly show you two off.”
“Oh, Mom, that’s a great idea. I watched that movie with you and Dad that one time. I loved that music. It fit with the camels walking. Why not a beautiful Arabian horse?”
“I’d better get right on that tomorrow, then,” Caroline said. “If we use Ali’s Native Costume, I’m going to have to have one made for you. I don’t think you’d fit in the one Chris wears, and we need a different head covering for a female rider.”
Caroline called Toni the next day and accepted the invitation for Prince Ali and Becky. She sent Toni one of the photos of Ali and Chris in his native costume. Telephone wires and computer lines burned up all over town. Volunteers passed around the photos and shared the good news about the new Grand Marshall. They talked about the costume and agreed it would feel right to have Prince Ali share his heritage in the parade that celebrated theirs.
Walter called the principal of the high school. He was also a member of the Rotary Club. Walter talked to him about the music his students planned to use during the parade and suggested changing it as an introduction for Prince Ali. The principal thought it was a fantastic idea after he saw the photo of Ali in his costume. He talked to the music teacher who managed the marching band. The music teacher was able to locate the score for the movie. While burning the midnight oil for a couple of nights, he put together pieces of the score for the different instruments in the band. He shared the music idea with the students and showed them the photo of Prince Ali in costume. They accepted the challenge of learning the new music with enthusiasm. They scheduled band practice every weekday, plus Saturdays, until the day of the parade.
Caroline phoned the costume maker in Temecula about Becky’s costume. The woman still had swatches of the material and suggested she order silver slippers for Becky to wear. Caroline had no idea where to get something like that. The best part was she could get the entire costume done on time for the parade.
Becky spent the next several weeks in a dither. She was going to ride Prince Ali in the Swallows Day Parade in her hometown. What could be better than that?