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Authors: Bonnie Bryant

Horse Trouble

BOOK: Horse Trouble
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Read all the Saddle Club books!

Horse Crazy

Horse Shy

Horse Sense

Horse Power

Trail Mates

Dude Ranch

Horse Play

Horse Show

Hoof Beat

Riding Camp

Horse Wise

Rodeo Rider

Starlight Christmas

Sea Horse

Team Play

Horse Games


Pack Trip

Star Rider

Snow Ride


Fox Hunt

Horse Trouble

Ghost Rider

Copyright © 1992 by Bonnie Bryant Hiller
Cover art copyright © 1992 by George Tsui

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

“The Saddle Club” is a registered trademark of Bonnie Bryant Hiller.

“USPC” and “Pony Club” are registered trademarks of the United States Pony Clubs, Inc., at The Kentucky Horse Park, 4071 Iron Works Pike, Lexington, KY 40511-8462.

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Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at

eISBN: 978-0-307-82504-9
Originally published by Bantam Skylark in August 1992
First Delacorte Ebook Edition 2012



“Mrs. Reg is gone for the week,” Max said. “She had to go visit a sick friend who called her yesterday afternoon. She won’t be back until Friday, and there are a zillion and one things she left me to do. This is a very busy week.… I don’t know how I’ll ever—”

The phone rang. Max picked it up. He barely said a word, but as soon as he hung up, he dashed back out the door.

“This is our chance, girls,” Stevie said. “It gives us a four-day head start on finishing what we started last night. We’re going to run Pine Hollow for Max this week while Mrs. Reg is gone. It’s the perfect opportunity for the three of us to be everywhere, look everywhere, do everything. If that pin is here, anywhere, we’re going to find it.”

“And if we don’t?” Carole asked.

Stevie shrugged. “Well, then, we will have spent the week earning dozens and dozens of brownie points. How could Max and Mrs. Reg want to kill us when we’re indispensable.…”

great. It was a Monday afternoon, and she’d managed to spend almost every minute of the day at Pine Hollow Stable. She’d spent one hour of that time in a jump class and two hours on a trail ride with her Pony Club, Horse Wise. Summer was her favorite time of year because it meant she could spend a lot of time with horses.

It also meant she could spend a lot of time with friends. Her two best friends, Stevie Lake and Carole Hanson, loved horses just as much as she did. The three of them were all so wild about horses that they had formed their own group, The Saddle Club. There were only two requirements for membership. The first
was that the members had to be horse crazy. The second was that they had to be willing to help one another out, no matter what the problem was. When one of the girls got into trouble, two friends were always there to help get her out. Lisa liked that, although she wasn’t usually the one who got into trouble.

Even the fact that the girls had all been given chores to do around the stable after class didn’t dispel Lisa’s happy mood. She knew it was one of the ways Max Regnery, Pine Hollow’s owner and chief instructor, kept his expenses down: All the riders pitched in to take care of the animals. Lisa thought it was one of the best things about riding at Pine Hollow. Although she wasn’t absolutely wild about mucking out stables, she knew that loving horses meant taking care of them, not just riding them. She was glad to do her part.

Mrs. Reg, Max’s mother, was the stable manager. All the young riders adored her, though they weren’t too crazy about her habit of assigning chores. If Mrs. Reg saw two girls chatting, she was sure to give them a job while they chatted. Since girls often liked to chat—most especially Stevie, Lisa, and Carole—they often found themselves doing chores like measuring and mixing grains for feed or soaping saddles. This afternoon
Mrs. Reg had them moving and checking bales of hay for mold and mildew. It was an important job because moldy hay could make horses sick, but it was difficult and sweaty work on a summer day. The good thing about it now was that it was done, and Lisa was ready to report that fact to Mrs. Reg.

She stepped into Mrs. Reg’s office. Mrs. Reg was on the phone, with a serious look on her face. Lisa knew better than to interrupt. Also, from the look on Mrs. Reg’s face, she doubted that she
interrupt. Mrs. Reg was definitely not aware of her presence. She stepped back out of the office until Mrs. Reg hung up, trying hard not to listen. When she heard the phone put back in its cradle, she reentered. Mrs. Reg looked right up at her. Lisa smiled broadly and saluted.

“The hay-bale task force has completed its inspection, ma’am,” she joked. “I’m pleased to report that all of the hay appears to be fresh and mold free!”

Normally Mrs. Reg would like that kind of joking. This time she didn’t seem to get it. “Are you sure?” she asked.

Lisa dropped her saluting arm and her pretense. “Of course I’m sure,” she said. “We looked over all the bales and everything’s fine. No sign of anything amiss. You can trust us, you know.”

Mrs. Reg smiled at her then. “I’m sorry, Lisa. I know you know what you’re doing. I think I’m sort of distracted.…”

Lisa realized it had to be the phone call. Mrs. Reg seemed a little embarrassed, but didn’t want to talk about it. That made Lisa feel a little embarrassed, too. She wanted to say something, but she wasn’t sure what. Her eyes went to Mrs. Reg’s desk, where there was something shining in the afternoon sunlight, and she was very surprised by what she saw.

“What’s that?” she asked, looking at a beautiful gold pin.

Mrs. Reg smiled again. “Pretty, isn’t it? Go ahead, pick it up.”

Lisa did. The pin was of a horse, galloping full out, its tail sailing dramatically behind. It was gold with a brush finish that made the horse seem silky and sleek. And the horse’s eye was a diamond that sparkled brightly even in the dim indoor light of Mrs. Reg’s office.

“It’s not just pretty,” Lisa said. “It’s

“Max gave it to me,” Mrs. Reg said. “My Max, I mean.” Lisa knew that meant her husband, who had died long ago, not her son, who now ran the stable. “It would be our fortieth wedding anniversary this week. It was his wedding present for me.”

Lisa held the pin carefully, turning it, admiring the art and the artistry. She’d seen lots of horse jewelry. The Saddle Club even had its own pin, and she always thought that was pretty, too. But she’d never seen anything as beautiful as this.

“Have Stevie and Carole seen it?” she asked.

“I doubt it,” Mrs. Reg said. “I don’t usually wear it around here.”

Lisa could understand why. A stable was no place for valuables—except horses, of course. “Can I show it to them?”

“Sure,” Mrs. Reg said. “I have to talk with Max—
Max—about something now. If I’m not here when you bring it back, just put it in my center drawer, okay?”

“Okay, thanks,” Lisa said, glad that Mrs. Reg knew she could trust her. That was one advantage to being reliable. People trusted you when it really mattered.

Holding the pin carefully, but not too tightly, she left Mrs. Reg’s office and returned to the locker area, where her friends were already changing into their street clothes. They’d made a plan to have a Saddle Club meeting at their favorite hangout, an ice-cream parlor called TD’s, right after class. Stevie had said she thought it was a really good idea because she had heard her mother was serving calves’ liver for dinner, and she wanted to ruin her appetite.

Stevie was like that. She was fun-loving and mischievous. Carole, on the other hand, was the most serious horsewoman of the three of them. She had been riding since she was a very little girl and had long since decided that when she grew up, she would work with horses. All that remained was to decide exactly how she would work with them—whether she’d be a rider, trainer, breeder, veterinarian, instructor, or all of them. When the subject was horses, Carole was all business. On any other subject, she could sometimes be a little flaky.

Lisa was the newest rider of the three, but she’d learned fast, and Max already said she was very good. She was earnest, logical, and methodical about everything she did. She was also a straight-A student and rarely got into trouble, unless dragged there by Stevie.

It always amazed Lisa and her friends how different the three of them were and how much they liked one another in spite of—or perhaps because of—their differences. Of course they had being horse crazy in common, and another thing they shared was an intense dislike of one Veronica diAngelo—a member of their riding class. Veronica was a snooty rich girl who mistakenly believed that because she was rich, she was better than everybody else. The Saddle Club girls thought that she was worse than everybody else, and it
had nothing whatsoever to do with her money. It was her basic rotten personality. Lisa wasn’t particularly pleased to see that Veronica was in the locker area when she entered to show her friends Mrs. Reg’s pin. She held it so that Veronica couldn’t see it and sashayed past the girl to her friends. Veronica didn’t seem to notice. She was too busy studying her reflection in her compact to see anything but herself. For once Lisa was glad for Veronica’s incredible vanity.

BOOK: Horse Trouble
12.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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