answer to April's logic problem #15 - The Great Horse Race

"Look at all this wide open space. Sure makes you want to race, doesn't it?" Brian Belden challenged the others.

He and the other Bob-Whites, except his brother, Mart, were on vacation again. The Beldens' uncle, Andrew, had invited all the Bob-Whites to visit him at his farm in Iowa. Mart, who loved Iowa the most, not just for the agricultural properties, but also for Mary Gorman's terrific cooking, was unable to join them because of his job back home in Sleepyside, New York. Mary Gorman and her husband still worked for Mr. Belden.

"Do you think it's okay to race on these horses?" Honey asked. She was certainly up to the challenge, but since these weren't their horses, she wanted to be sure racing them would be okay. She gently patted the Appaloosa she was riding, and the mare snorted softly in response.

The horses themselves belonged to one of Andrew Belden's new neighbors, Mr. Elmer Fentich. Mr. Fentich, or El, as he asked everyone to call him, had a large stable full of horses. Andrew had even sold him the few horses he'd had, since he and the Gormans didn't have enough time any more to properly care for them. Once El was convinced that the six teenagers knew how to ride well, he pretty much let them ride whenever and wherever they wanted. El's groom wasn't thrilled with the idea at first, but once he realized that the six teenagers also understood how to take good care of the horses, and that he wouldn't have six tired and sweaty horses to groom all the time, he was okay with it, too.

"I think it'd be fine to race them," Jim said. The Bay he was riding whinnied and nodded his head as if he understood them. "See, Prince really wants a good workout himself."

Brian's Golden Palomino, Blaze, snorted raspberries in response.

Di snickered. "I wonder if Blaze is related to Sunny. Sunny makes raspberry noises, too."

"Well, we could get your horse to count off for us." Trixie grinned, as she and the others lined up their horses. Di's horse was able to count with his hoof by pawing it on the ground. Trixie nudged the white horse she was riding to line up with Brian and Honey. "Come on, Boots."

Dan's horse, a black gelding, took a quick bow in front of Trixie's horse before falling in line beside her. "I think Star wants to dance with Boots." Dan waggled his eyebrows suggestively. "They seem to have a thing for each other. That's three times now that Star has bowed in front of your horse."

Trixie laughed, tossing her head back a bit and causing the curls she'd just pulled out of her eyes to tumble across them once again. "And every time Star bows in front of Boots, Boots does a little dance."

"It is pretty cute how they interact," Honey commented. Her own horse, Papoose, was rather shy. Honey had also found out that the Appaloosa was scared of dogs.

"Come on, Prince," Jim nudged his horse. "Vaya." Jim's horse only understood commands spoken in Spanish.

Di quickly pulled her Paint in beside Jim. "Okay, Sylvan. Count to three, and we'll start the race." Sylvan obliged, pawing the ground three times. On the last count, Di yelled out, "Go!"

"¡Vaya! ¡Vaya!" Jim urged Prince into a fast gallop.

"Come on, Papoose. You can do it!" The Appaloosa was well in the lead as Honey's competitive edge took over. Jim and Di were right behind her, followed by Trixie, Dan, and Brian.

The six teenagers could all be heard shouting commands and pushing their horses on, and the horses were eagerly galloping. All were having a good time. The finish line was in sight, and Honey reached it first. Di came in right behind her, and Jim a few seconds later. Brian had overtaken Trixie and Dan to come in fourth. Trixie was fifth, and Dan was last. Boots and Star had been flirting with each other, which had slowed them down considerably, but Trixie and Dan were laughing so hard at the horses' antics that they didn't mind coming in last at all.

Thank you Beth, Ronda, and Susan for the quick edits. {{hug}}
I thought briefly of putting some Jim/Dot, Trixie/Dan tension in this scene, but decided to let the Bob-Whites just have a fun time. :)
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