Chapter 26

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Mel's POV

I woke up early the next day. I checked my watch. 5:45. 15 more minutes until we have to get up. I decided to cherish the last 15 minutes by snuggling deeper in my sleeping bag, and closing my eyes.

All too soon, Mom came in and woke us up. Ugh, I'm so tired. It's strange, usually I'm the first one up ready to go, but so tired today. Oh well. I got out of my warm sleeping bag and pulled on my riding pants and a long sleeved shirt. I braided my hair into two, single braids, then brushed my teeth. I had to spit in a bush since there is no sink.

Once I was ready, I ate the eggs Mom had scrambled over a fire, and I had a biscuit, too.

As I was eating the last bit of my biscuit, I walked over to the horses' area where most of the campers were feeding their horses. I mixed Pippa's feed, and put a flake of hay in her hay net.

While Pippa was eating, I chatted with Cadee about the trail we were getting ready to go on.

"Are you excited for cross country?" I asked her.

"Yeah, I am. I think Knight is going to like it," Cadee said.

"I think so, too. I know Pippa will love it," I said.

"How much longer until Cowboy comes home?" Cadee asked softly. Everyone knows it's a hard thing for me to talk about; Cowboy's accident.

"He comes back on Wednesday, in 3 days!" I said excitedly.

"I'm happy for you, Mel!" Cadee said. I looked at her. Something was off.

"Is everything alright, Cadee?" I asked softly.

"Yes," she snapped, then looked away. Then she looked back at me. "Sorry,"she said. "It's just, I don't know, I'm gonna miss Knight when camp ends. He's changed my whole life, and I don't want to lose him," she said.

"I understand. Have you asked your parents about adopting him?" I asked.

"Yes, but they said no. We can't afford it. They said they would if they could, but we just don't have the money. Gee, it always comes down to money," Cadee said.

"I'm sorry. If Knight doesn't get adopted at the show, you can come over anytime and visit him. I'm pretty sure my mom is even going to start letting people volunteer at Century Farms. You could volunteer and see him!" I suggested.

"Yeah, I guess so. And maybe I'll still get to work with Knight," she said, but she didn't sound convinced.

"Well, I think the horses are almost done eating, so we should get them ready for the trail," I said, changing the subject. Immediately, a smile lit Cadee's face.

"Yeah, see you on the trail!"she chirped, then headed off towards Knight.

I walked back over to Pippa, and checked to see if she had finished her breakfast yet. To my delight, she had finished, so I could start grooming and tacking her up.

I hurried through grooming her, and when I finished I grabbed her saddle pad, and smoothed it over Pippa's back. Next, I grabbed her black all-purpose saddle and placed it gently on the saddle pad. Finally, I slipped the bit into her mouth, and the bridle over her head. I snapped on my black, velvet covered helmet, and then checked Pippa's tack. Everything was good, nothing was pinching her. I nodded my head at my work, then led her over to a log so I could use it to mount her.

I stepped up onto the mossy log, then stuck my left foot in the stirrup and swung my right leg over her to her right side. I settled myself in the saddle, and adjusted my feet in the stirrups. Everything feels right.

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