Read Team Play Online

Authors: Bonnie Bryant

Team Play

BOOK: Team Play
7.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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 © 1991 by Bonnie Bryant Hiller
Cover art copyright © 1991 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.

Visit us on the Web!
Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at

eISBN: 978-0-307-82496-7
Originally published by Bantam Skylark in September 1991
First Delacorte Ebook Edition 2012



Stevie stared at the calendar in shock.

“What’s the problem?” Carole asked.

“The fourth weekend of the month,” Stevie said. “It’s less than three weeks away.”

“Right, so—”

“The end of the month is when the hospital festival takes place,” Lisa explained.

“Oh, no,” Carole said.

“And that’s not all,” Stevie said, getting her voice back. “It includes the day of the twenty-eighth.”

“So what momentous event happens on the twenty-eighth?” Carole’s father asked.

“Debates for president of the Middle School,” Stevie informed him.

“My dear,” he said. “If you can handle all of these things at once, you don’t need to worry about becoming president of the Middle School. You’ll be qualified to be president of the United States!”

“If,” Stevie said ominously.

For Ginee Seo



some hay, can you bring me a flake?” Stevie Lake asked her best friend Carole Hanson. They were in the stalls at Pine Hollow Stables, where they rode horses and took lessons. Class was over and it was time to groom and feed their horses.

“Oh, sure,” Carole said. “There’s a bale right here.” She leaned over, took a handful of hay, and gave it to Stevie.

Stevie loosened the stalks of hay and put it into Topside’s manger. The horse tugged some strands out with his teeth, worked them into his mouth with his soft lips, and munched contentedly as Stevie continued the grooming. When his coat was shiny, she patted him admiringly. He lifted his head from his manger, glanced at
her as if to give her a hurried thanks, and returned his attention to the food in front of him.

Stevie smiled. Taking care of horses was
as much fun as riding them.

“Almost done?” Lisa Atwood asked. Stevie nodded. Lisa was Stevie’s other best friend. Along with Carole, the three of them had formed a group called The Saddle Club. It was a club with only two rules: All the members had to be horse crazy and they had to be willing to help one another. The first rule was easy. The second rule sometimes led to a lot of work, but as long as it had to do with friends and horses, the work usually seemed like fun.

“Max said he wants to see the whole class in his office after all the chores are done,” Lisa told Stevie. “I’ll go see who needs help.”

Stevie grinned. “Isn’t it funny how everything Max wants is always ‘after all the chores are done’?”

Lisa laughed. Max was the owner of Pine Hollow and a firm believer in horse care as well as horse riding. All of his riders spent a lot of time caring for their horses. They knew that horse care was important, and having riders care for their horses kept costs down at the stables. There were a lot of kids whose parents couldn’t have afforded lessons if that meant also paying for extra Pine Hollow stable hands.

“Well, I’m going to go help Anna,” Lisa said. “She
rode Patch today and he got a lot of mud on him. She’s going to hose him down. I’m his shampoo girl. See you later.”

“Okay. I’ll come help when I’m done,” Stevie said. She picked up a bucket and headed for the supply area where she could get some fresh wood chips for bedding. She filled her bucket and lugged it back to the stall, running through a mental checklist as she walked quickly along the aisle of the stable.

Let’s see
, she thought.
Stow the tack, give him water, clean the stall, pick his hooves, curry his coat, brush it, brush his mane and tail—I have to do all that and then

“—Oooof!” Stevie exclaimed, tripping over something and landing flat on her stomach. The wood chips flew out of the bucket and scattered all over the floor.

“Oh, good,” Veronica diAngelo’s sweet, insincere voice said. “The floor here needed some fresh chips. Thank you, Stevie.”

Veronica was Pine Hollow’s spoiled little rich girl and The Saddle Club’s least favorite person. Unlike the other riders, she never did any work if she could help it.

Stevie rose slowly, knowing nothing was damaged except her patience, never her strongest trait anyway. She looked to see what had tripped her. It was a pitchfork that Veronica had left on the floor. Pitchforks could be dangerous! Stevie glared at Veronica for her carelessness.

“Too bad something got in your way,” Veronica said.
“You know, the same sort of thing happened to me in class today, when somebody pulled their horse ahead of mine and made her shy.”

Stevie recalled the incident. Veronica and her horse, Garnet, were in front of her and Topside. As usual, Veronica was having difficulty controlling Garnet. Since they were cantering in circles and there was clearly room to pass, Stevie had simply passed Veronica. But Topside had been pretty irritated with the situation, and in spite of Stevie’s genuine effort to control him, he’d cut right in front of Garnet, kicking dirt in the mare’s face. Not surprisingly, Garnet had shied. It had taken Veronica a few minutes to get her back under control. Stevie had felt a little bad about that. It was bad riding form. But if Veronica had controlled her horse properly in the first place, she never would have had the trouble.

Stevie started to try to explain to Veronica, but there wasn’t much point in it. Veronica wasn’t the listening type. She wasn’t interested in anybody but herself.

“Here’s your pitchfork,” Stevie said, finally rising to her feet. She handed it to Veronica.

“Oh, I guess this
mine,” she said, pretending to look surprised. “I wondered what someone had done with it,” she added vaguely.

That was when Stevie realized that Veronica had put it on the floor on purpose. The girl was unbelievably mean—or stupid—or both.

Stevie promised herself she’d get even, but not right then. Right then, she had a bucket to refill and a horse to care for.

When she returned with a fresh bucket full of wood chips, she found Max standing by Garnet’s stable, talking to Veronica and a young girl whom she’d never seen before. Stevie ducked into Topside’s stall, spread the wood chips, and listened.

“Veronica, this is Melanie,” Max said. “She’s going to be taking a lesson in about twenty minutes. I’d like you to show her around and help her saddle up one of the ponies for her first lesson. Let’s put her on Quarter, okay?”

Veronica glared at Max. Everybody knew that one of the chores Max expected his riders to perform was to show new riders the ropes. Inside her stall, Stevie stifled a snort of disbelief. She’d love to see Veronica do anything, let alone teach a new rider!

“And Veronica, when you’re done helping Melanie, you can come to the meeting in my office,” Max continued. “It’ll start in about fifteen minutes. Bring Melanie along, will you?”

“Sure, Max,” Veronica said. As soon as he left, she turned her back on Melanie and began hugging Garnet.

“That’s a really pretty horse,” Melanie said.

“Of course she is,” Veronica responded. “She’s a purebred Arabian. She’s mine, you know.”

“Your very own?” The awe was clear in the younger girl’s voice. “Do you take care of her all by yourself?” Melanie asked.

“Yes,” Veronica replied. “And it’s a lot of work.”

Stevie could hardly believe what she was hearing. Veronica’s idea of a lot of work was putting the pitchfork where somebody was going to trip on it!

“How did you learn it all?” Melanie asked.

Stevie wanted to hear the answer to that one, too, because as nearly as she could tell, Veronica hadn’t learned
of it yet!

“Oh, you’ll see,” Veronica said.

Melanie probably will, Stevie thought. She’ll see what a lazy, spoiled, good-for-nothing, bratty

“Oh, Re–ed!” Veronica called out sweetly. Red was Red O’Malley, Pine Hollow’s chief stable hand and occasional instructor. Veronica tended to view him as her personal groom.

“Yes, Veronica,” he said, sighing as he spoke. He knew he was about to be given a job Veronica was supposed to do herself.

“Would you please saddle up Quarter for this girl, uh, Melodie?”

“Melanie,” Stevie called out over her stall, surprising Veronica. Veronica had apparently forgotten how close Topside’s stall was and that Stevie could overhear everything.

BOOK: Team Play
7.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale
For Your Arms Only by Linden, Caroline
In the Night Season by Richard Bausch
Ash & Flame: Season One by Geiger, Wilson
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout
Taken by Adam Light
The Roughest Riders by Jerome Tuccille