As soon as the school bell rang, Samantha and her younger brother Robby ran out the doors, jumped on their bicycles, and raced through the town to the Riding Stable.
Samantha wheeled into the stable driveway, and skidded to a stop under the huge live oak tree. Robby, peddling as fast as his little legs would go, came puffing into the stable yard behind Sam, and plopped off his bicycle out of breath.
Uncle Charlie sat as usual under the live oak on his old worn cane chair. Scooter, his black and white border collie lay in the cool dirt beside the chair.
Uncle Charlie looked up from the bridle he was mending, and smiled his big twinkley-eyed smile when he saw Sam and Robby. “Hello Youngins,” he said. “Hi Uncle Charlie,” answered Sam and Robby. Scooter opened his eyes, and thumped his tail twice on the ground as a greeting, and rolled over on his side trying to get back to his nap.
Uncle Charlie wasn’t anyone’s uncle, but everyone in the town called him Uncle Charlie all the same. It just seemed to fit him. Uncle Charlie was very bowlegged because he used to be a real cowboy in the West. He always wore a plaid shirt and red suspenders, and knew everything there was to know about horses.
These days there was only one thing on Samantha’s mind. Which explained why she raced so fast to the Riding Stable every afternoon when school let out. “How is Dolly today, Uncle Charlie?” Sam asked eagerly.
Dolly was a beautiful little chestnut mare, with gentle brown eyes. When Sam heard that Dolly was going to have a foal, she could think of little else. “Did she have her foal yet?” Asked Sam hardly able to contain her excitement. “Not yet,” answered Uncle Charlie. “She’s due any day now, but you can’t rush these things you know, no matter how eager you are,” Uncle Charlie said to Sam, teasing her.
Samantha daydreamed about Dolly and her foal so much Mrs. Hastings, her schoolteacher, had to keep reminding Sam to pay attention in class. Sam had a dream that somehow Dolly’s foal would be her very own. She even had a name already picked out for it.
The Riding Stable was part of a natural Florida hammock. When the stable was built years ago it had been at the edge of the City. With the passing years the City had grown, surrounding the Riding Stable and its bridle paths.
The Stable and the land were owned by the City. So were the horses, except for a few horses that were boarded. All the horses, except the boarded ones, could be rented to ride in the two big training rings, and on the acres of trails in the hammock.
Flesch Reading Ease 81.5
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 4.9