Feet to Fancy

Once there was a 9 year old girl who loved soccer (but she loved horses more). For two years she played on a great team, went to a championship, and learned that sometimes a single kick can change the entire game. 

One day her parents told her she could go to soccer camp, and she looked forward to the week right up until she got a bad cold. Instead of a week of sports she faced a week of misery, and the only thing she felt like playing was her Nintendo

She assumed she’d lost her chance to attend camp that summer, but one day her parents came to her with news.

“We’re sorry you missed soccer camp,” they said. “Would you like to go to pony camp instead?”

“Oh, yes!” the little girl exclaimed. She didn’t know there were pony camps with live ponies, and the thought made her giddy.

A few days later, her mother took her to the pony school for an introductory lesson.

Bonnie the instructor was nice, but she was very outgoing. Her frank personality scared the young girl a little, but she didn’t dare say anything because this nice lady had all the ponies. Bonnie told the girl which camp to attend, and she the went home feeling like Sprenkil’s wings were under her.

Pony week came, and the little girl met her mount: Fancy. She was white and tall with a push-button personality, and she loved her because for one week the pony was hers. Fancy taught the girl to balance, she taught her to post and canter, and she taught her to jump over poles.

The little girl could scarcely believe her biggest dream was coming true–she was riding!

After pony week ended, the young rider admitted she’d never been happier to be sick than that cold before soccer camp. It was a point of major change, one that she didn’t hesitate to make. 

She traded a soccer ball for a saddle, and there was no looking back.

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L.J. and Fancy

Fancy’s story didn’t stop with pony camp. When the young rider broke her arm falling off a different pony a year later (that’s a tale for another blog post), Fancy was the one who eased her back into riding and restored her confidence.

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Captain, the Horse Who Wouldn’t Walk

wp-1473284576708.jpgMy first memories of horses comes in the form of a buckskin pinto named Captain. He was my mother’s horse, and he held all my dreams behind his blue eyes. I loved him from the moment I realized I could love, and I wanted to be on his back long before I knew how to ride.

Sometimes after riding my mom would set me in her Western saddle and lead Captain around, or sometimes she would swing up behind me and we’d ride double around the pasture. I was pretty sure I was as close to heaven on earth as I could possibly be.

I grew a little older, and my budding confidence around horses took on an edge of boldness. I was sure I could ride by myself, and I remember clearly the first time my mom unhooked the lead rope.

Captain promptly stopped walking.

I clicked. I kicked. I kicked harder. I commanded him to move. I even smacked his back end with the reins.

He sighed hugely and didn’t lift a hoof, and that’s when I learned my first important lesson:

The horse knows you better than you do.

He knew I didn’t have the confidence, the will, or the know-how. I understood the motions, but he knew I didn’t understand the language.

I tried a few more times over the next year or so, but every time I got on, he refused to move. The times my mom held onto his bridle to get him going, he came to a halt the moment she let go.

I considered myself a failure and doomed to love an animal who would never love me back. I remember crying over it at least once. Having a dream die is hard on an 8-year-old.tmp_5926-img_20160907_140543-1286490898

I was 9 when I attended Pony Camp at a nearby stables, and after a week of “training,” I returned to Captain with something new: determination. Combined with greater confidence and increased knowledge, it meant I felt ready to ride anything.

Thus came the day when I sat on his back by myself, and I kicked. He stood still, but I noticed a flick of his ear, and I knew for the first time he was listening. I kicked again, told him to move, and I think I called him a Big Lug.

And Captain walked.

It was the beginning of a complicated relationship, but that day was all victory. He walked!

In that moment, my dreams returned to life.

Pinterest Reveal

L.J. Potters is now on Pinterest!

There you will see photos that inspire the setting and characters within the Sprenkil Adventures. You will find learning resources for kids related to elements within the books (currently this means a board on nature learning and a board on the solar system).

As I write more books, more Pinterest boards will develop. Already there are two new character boards secretly waiting to be revealed!

Curious? I suggest you begin by checking out the character board for Sprenkil!