I have to admit it. This is an awesome Lila story! And doesn’t she look fabulous on the cover? I always loved her hair. The horse doesn’t look bad either. Oh yeah, that other girl in the riding outfit is our Saint Elizabeth who’s so jealous that Lila has something she doesn’t deserve, it’s enough to make her use (gasp!) foul language!
Hilarious opening as the twins are sitting in their last class of the day, History, struggling to pay attention to Mr. Nydick’s boring lecture on the ancient Greeks. Jessica scribbles furiously in her notebook. Twin sister Elizabeth is suspicious since Jessica is never interested in school. Jess passes her a note about Mr. Nydick which says “He was probably there when it all occurred!” Liz can’t help it, when their eyes meet; both giggle thus distracting the teacher who’s all “Huh? Did someone say something?” then absentmindedly returns to his lecture.
In today’s plot Elizabeth has suddenly turned into a HUGE horse freak, which we all know is just a stage every young girl goes through. I was all into drawing horses when I was eleven but I never fantasized about having one of my own, I was practical, I knew horses cost a lot of money and are a lot of work. I bet my drawings were better than Liz’s, though, who is currently doodling them in her own loose leaf, because Jessica leans over to whisper, “What are those?”
“Horses, can’t you tell?”
“Duh-uh, forces? Did someone ask about forces?” and as Mr. Nydick is about to launch into the fascinating topic of ancient Greek armies, the class is saved by the bell. Whew!
Once outside the classroom door, the twins explode into laughter. Jessica does her impression of Mr. Nydick right down to his squint and stammer making Liz double over again.
Aside from being identical twins, Jessica and Elizabeth are also best friends. Awww.
The twins see AwesomeLila Fowler over at her locker, surrounded by fellow horse-loving 6th grade girls all vying to be AwesomeLila’s next best friend because awesomelyloadedDaddy Fowler, after a causal mention from Lila, went out and bought her a horse of her very own.
Lila’s horse’s name is Thunder and apparently after that one little mention about wanting a horse, now that she’s got one, Lila’s already bored with it! Elizabeth is feeling a just a teeny bit envious of AwesomeLila. Why should Lila have a horse when she doesn’t care about them as much as Elizabeth? We all know Elizabeth is already friend to all whales, spotted owls, and anyone who weighs over 90 pounds in Sweet Valley. Now she can add horses to her list!
Elizabeth has started taking riding lessons so she leaves to go to her first one while Jessica joins Lila and her new “groupies” at her locker. Lila greets Jessica by throwing back her shoulder-length light brown hair and flashing a self-satisfied smile. The “groupies” no doubt trying to score more points with Lila, enthusiastically greet Jessica too but only one girl is today’s winner. Since she let Lila see her math homework last night, Lila suggests she come over this weekend to ride Thunder.
“That’s all.” She dismisses the others. Hopes shattered, they all trudge off, except for the lucky girl, she’s smiling.
Jessica teases Lila about all this attention she’s getting from girls they wouldn’t hang out with even if someone paid them, and all because Lila’s the new owner of her very own horse! She’s Miss Popularity now. AwesomeLila pretends not to care about all this extra attention, “Who, me?” she asks Jessica, and both laugh. Still, Jessica can’t believe Lila’s casual attitude over this new horse after all, her father went to all that trouble to buy it for her.
Now Lila’s all, “Yawn! It’s just so much WORK taking care of a horse! You have to brush them, groom them, clean up after them, and those stable boys are so…CREEPY, they have no class at all!” she says this “in her most snobbish voice.” (Geez, Lila, horses aren’t cheap, you know. Starving kids in China would be happy to have one!)
Lila changes the subject to the new necklace Daddy bought her that was just MADE for her new yellow silk blouse…
That's why I'll be referring to her as AwesomeLila throughout this recap.
At the Wakefield residence, the twins fourteen year old brother, Steven, master of the unneeded comment, calls Elizabeth “bowlegged” when she returns from her riding lesson. Since Steven just got a very short haircut, Liz retorts by calling him “skinhead” thus hitting him right where it hurts. (Woah! Good thing this book was published in 1987, Liz could get arrested for calling someone that today.)
Amy Sutton has already arrived, ready to do homework with her best friend. Liz talks about the piebald she got to ride during today’s lesson and they go up to Elizabeth’s room now completely decked out in all things Horse: a framed picture of Man-of-War adorns one wall, a poster of wild ponies of Chincoteague running on the beach hangs over her bed, and an open copy of National Velvet is beside it.
Jessica finds Liz and Amy hard at work on their book reports (Liz is NATURALLY doing hers on National Velvet!) and mentions she’s been invited by Lila to come see Thunder this Saturday.
HorsefreakLiz is again reminded of her jealousy of AwesomeLila. (You should be jealous Liz, you suck!)
Lunchtime the next day finds Liz stuck trying to think of a good headline for a Sixers story. Overhearing Lila in the lunch line saying to the serving lady “No, take the cream sauce OFF my cutlet, do you want me to develop cellulite at MY age?” inspires Liz to use the words “hot air” in her headline. “Thank you, Lila.” and she smiles to herself.
I love that AwesomeLila, at the innocent age of…twelve? (yep, her birthday slumber party was in book #6, I just checked) actually knows what the word cellulite means!
Lila and “groupies” take seats right next to her and immediately the non-unicorn girls begin hounding Lila for more details about her new horse. Finding it impossible to concentrate, Liz starts to pack up and move to a different table when Lila notices her and suddenly gets all friendly.
She gushes to Liz about how much she just LOVES the school paper, what articles will be in the next one, and does she ever take ideas from students, because Lila just had a fantastic idea, Liz should write a story about Thunder! She even invites Liz to come and see Thunder this Saturday with Jessica. Liz is thinking “No way! You just want to see your name in print, you stuck up snob!”
I’d like to point out AwesomeLila DOES have a good idea here, since so many girls want to know about her new horse, why not print all his vital statistics in a school newspaper where everyone can read it and thus get off AwesomeLila’s back? But Liz is so offended she turns Lila’s invitation down flat and storms out of the cafeteria nearly running into her twin.
Jessica finds Liz in her room later that day and confronts her on what happened. Liz declares she will “never, NEVER write an article about Lila and her crummy horse!” Her face is red with anger, Liz is so offended at Lila, that phony! Jessica puts her arm around her sister, tells her to cheer up, sleep on it and maybe she’ll change her mind. After all, she points out ,now her and AwesomeLila have SOMETHING in common. (Just don’t count on any awesomeness rubbing off on Liz!)
Elizabeth relents and agrees to write the article. She says so to Lila at school on Monday, “Morning, Lila.”
“Another Monday, what a pain in the-Oh hi, Elizabeth!”
So it is that Elizabeth is invited to come see Thunder after school that day and write the article. Liz can’t help but be excited at the prospect of meeting this famous horse. “Is he a quarter horse?” she asks Lila,
“Uh, yeah, I think that’s what they call him at the stable.”
Ha! Lila has no idea what Liz is talking about! (Neither do I. Black Beauty is the only horse book I ever read, sorry)
After school, tired of waiting for Lila who is twenty minutes late, Liz is about to leave when Lila finally shows up and is all, “You said meet by the phones at three o’clock, it’s only twenty after three now. Honestly I don’t know WHY I just spent all time fixing my hair when all I’m going to see are those awful stable boys.”
Direct quote. Isn’t Lila just too awesome for words?
They walk to Carson Stables which are clear across town. Lila complains a few times that they should’ve taken a cab, but Liz loves long walks from the city into the country and when the undeniable pungent aroma of you-know-what, reaches their nostrils Lila says, “Yuck, I can NEVER get this stink out of my clothes.” In order to put up with present company, Liz just makes herself think about what’s waiting for her at the end of this ordeal, the HORSES! Hee.
Elizabeth can hardly take it all in. Carson Stables is HUGE. Liz exclaims, “It’s nothing like where I take lessons!” (Um, I think Sweet Valley only has ONE equestrian stable. In following books Elizabeth is always returning from riding lessons at Carson Stables! So I dunno which one she’s talking about.) Anyway, there’s white fences, lush pastures, beautiful buildings with redwood planking, sloping roofs and raised midsections. There’s a paddock, an outdoor grooming area, and competition rings with white bleachers and jumps. Inside the stable, the smell of hey and leather is intoxicating to Elizabeth and when a stable hand presents them with Thunder, Liz’s jaw drops.
For all horse and equestrian lovers out there, here is the word for word description of Thunder the Wonder Horse:
His sorrel coat glowed like the embers of a waning fire, and his broad chest heaved evenly with his footsteps. He gave a regal nod, and Elizabeth admired the perfect slope of his neck, rising like a tree trunk from his forequarters. His long shoulder muscles glistened as they stretched tightly up to the withers. And his legs, which tapered beautifully to their hooves, seemed graceful yet powerful. With one glance of his steady brown eyes, he seemed to peer into Elizabeth’s soul. “Yes, you’re the one.” He seemed to be saying to her.
“Stunning” is the only word to describe him.
For Elizabeth, it was love at first sight!
Lila offers to let her ride him.
“Would I!” Elizabeth says with gleaming eyes and a huge smile.
Elizabeth changes into borrowed riding clothes, courtesy of Lila, even though she’s only ridden English, the riding outfit still seems a bit over-the-top to me. It consists of “a Stetson, a wool-challis shirt with a matching silk bandana, riding pants, a belt with mother-of –pearl buckle, a buckskin vest, shotgun chaps, and custom-made calfskin polo boots, all of it hardly ever worn.”
I don’t care how wonderful your horse is, I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that getup.
Her ride is exhilarating. It seems Liz and Thunder were made for each other as she squeezes her legs and makes clicking noises all the while mentally reviewing everything she’s learned after just one week of riding lessons: shoulders back and open, weight on heels, toes up, fingers closed on the reins, thumbs to the sky, separate the hands, bend the elbows, carry the forearms, knees in, tuck the seat under, have positive rein contact and drive with the lower leg…so much to remember!
(Yeah, I just did a lot of direct book quoting here because I don’t know beans about horses or riding so please feel free to insert your own snarks in the comment area below. Thank you for your patience.)
Elizabeth trots Thunder around the pasture. With encouragement from one of the stable boys she takes him into a canter even though she’s never done it before. Only from watching another riding class do it does she remember it’s easier to go into a canter from a walk so she slows Thunder down, gives him a good hard kick and off they go!
As they approach the bend in the pasture Liz frantically tries to remember what the instructor had said about taking a turn, “Outside leg, inside rein!” Thunder performs the move gracefully and Elizabeth dismounts feeling like she’s ten feet off the ground and declares it to have been wonderful!
Walking back to Lila’s house, Elizabeth is bored already with Lila’s chatter about their classmates. She decides she can tolerate Lila’s gossiping, it would be worth it if only so she’ll be invited to see Thunder again. Then Lila mentions how she just can’t let ANYONE ride her new horse, some of the grossest, nerdiest girls at school have already asked her, I mean, the NERVE of them! Lila says, “Before you know it, people like Lois Waller and Amy Sutton will be on my back.”
“Um, Lila, Amy IS a friend of mine.”
“Well, excu-u-u-se ME! You have to admit, she IS kind of strange.” Actual quote! It still makes me laugh! HA! Liz is pissed but instead of blowing up at Lila for talking that way about her best friend, Liz clams up, she REALLY wants to see that horse again…
And so, Lila and Elizabeth begin spending more and more time together. The Unicorns notice this and mention it to Jessica, Jessica tries to just blow it off saying it’s nothing, Liz is just really into horses right now, that’s all. But inside she’s beginning to get suspicious too and she’s feeling a bit hurt. Lila’s supposed to be her best friend!
I mean, one week later, Liz is even going so far as to get together with Lila so they can do their math homework together (that is, so LIZ can do the homework for them!) Elizabeth invites Jess to join them.
At the Fowler mansion, Lila has a surprise, she shipped Thunder over from Carson Stables for the afternoon, which is incredibly expensive but AwesomeLila just charged it to Daddy’s account and he never says anything!
Liz is thrilled seeing her favorite horse again. She feeds Thunder carrots and picks up a currycomb and begins grooming him. Lila sighs, if only she had someone who could be her “Horse Nanny” you know, take care of Thunder on a daily basis for her, take him out for his workouts, groom him…Liz immediately pipes up, “I’ll do it!”
Elizabeth has just unknowingly walked right into Lila’s trap.
In the house, Elizabeth patiently helps Lila and Jess work their math problems. They’re just finishing up when the doorbell rings. It’s Ellen Riteman. Elizabeth hears urgent whispering and it dawns on her, Ellen had come for the math homework! Lila had this all planned out but since Liz is still here Lila can’t let Ellen copy her answers yet.
Liz decides going outside to visit Thunder might make her feel better about all this dishonesty. She’s surprised to find a strange boy quietly untying Thunder from his tree and cries “Thief” but the boy is just Ted Rogers, the new Carson Stable hand. Jessica thinks he’s cute, AwesomeLila is her usual snotty self and sensing Ted’s nervousness around all these girls does her best to make Ted feel uncomfortable since everyone thought he was trying to "steal" Thunder. Ted awkwardly invites them to come to the stable so they can watch him return Thunder but AwesomeLila, with her nose in the air, says, “No, I must return to my Sexy Stableboy magazine.” And she and Ellen prance back into the mansion, snickering.
Oh, Lila, you’re just too much!
Jessica would LOVE to go see Carson Stables with him while Ted assumes Liz is Thunder’s owner. Ned Wakefield pulls up in the maroon van and the twins talk him into a quick trip to the stables before going home for dinner. Steven is in the van, too.
At Carson Stables, they discover Ted is also a freshman at SVH and he and Steven hit it right off. Ted is invited to come over for dinner sometime. Jessica, still fawning over the blue eyed, handsome freshman, follows Ted for what she hopes will be an intimate tour of the tack room but all Ted wants to do is talk about how pretty and nice Elizabeth is!
Feeling like chopped liver Jessica says, “We’re identical twins, dork, can’t you tell?” (OK, I added the “dork”) and Ted knowing he just said the wrong thing is so flustered he backs right into some equipment and everything comes crashing down. Unhurt, Ted and Jess start to giggle which turns into uncontrollable laughter but when Elizabeth pokes her head in to see what’s going on in here, Ted gets all serious and Jessica is jealous. How DARE Ted prefer Elizabeth over HER?
Almost a month passes here. Elizabeth sprints across town almost every day after school to Carson Stables to ride Thunder, (she probably keeps a horse in her locker!) and soon all the employees at the stable are stopping to watch their daily workout. All, like Ted, have assumed Thunder is Liz’s horse. When Liz sees the sign for an equestrian jumping competition with prize money for the winner, she’s tempted! Already she’s been taking Thunder out on some jumps, her seat with him is picture perfect and Thunder obeys her every cue, almost as if he were her own horse! They make the perfect team. She could enter him and no one would have to know. Not even Miss Lila Fowler.
One morning before school, the phone rings. Jess answers it and is dismayed when Lila immediately asks for Elizabeth and doesn’t even want to talk to HER. At school Jessica runs into Lila who promises to make it all up to Jess by inviting her to an exclusive slumber party she’s throwing. Jess is starting to feel better now about her former jealousy to Liz and her best friend’s budding relationship when everyone knows they have nothing in common and Lila is only using Liz as a horse nanny!
Little does Jess know her own twin has also been invited to said slumber party! She finds out during dinner in the presence of dinner guest, Ted, and she loses it. Forgetting all about making a good impression on her current crush, Jessica storms upstairs to her room. Alice talks to her giving some good counsel that if AwesomeLila wants to be friends with BOTH twins, that’s Lila’s business and Jessica should be a good sport about it and not be so jealous of her twin’s new friendship. Jess agrees to try and understand.
Arriving at the slumber party with her twin, Elizabeth is a bit nervous. All she sees are Unicorns. “Well duh,” says Jessica, “most of Lila’s friends ARE Unicorns. But don’t worry, you and Lila have common interests now so you’ll have LOTS to talk about, I’m sure!” Hee.
For Elizabeth, the Unicorn slumber party is pure torture. All the others want to do is watch boring (to Liz) rock music videos with screaming skinny men who wear too much makeup, clutch their guitars and stick their tongues out at the camera. (*sigh* I miss the 80’s and MTV!) All the girls squeal over their favorite singers who have names like Zeke Paranoia who plays in Frontal Lobe, and who can forget that great 80’s band, Hyper Ventilation? I love all these names the ghostwriter came up with.
Elizabeth (the party pooper) is so bored she’s not sure if she can take much more of this iniquity. She tries to make polite conversation and act interested but the other Unicorns just look at her as if she were from Mars and go back to fawning over their rock idols.
Later, Liz is relieved when TV time finally over but, just as Elizabeth suspects, quiet time is gossip time for the Unicorns. They all adjourn to Lila’s room and promptly begin raking all their nerdiest classmates over the gossip coals and shriek with laughter. One Unicorn suggests they fix Amy Sutton up with one of them. Janet cries, “No, he might think Amy’s hair is mop and dunk her in a bucket!”
“She’d probably clobber him first with her field-hockey stick!”
Like a fly on the wall, Liz burns inside as the girls all shriek with laughter and make fun of her best friend.
“Poor Amy,” gasps one Unicorn, “You think ANY guy will ever like her?”
Liz finally explodes, “Well, someone DOES! You all weren’t at Julie Porter’s party where Ken Matthews KISSED HER!”
Oops, shouldn’t have said that.
Elizabeth begs the Unicorns not to let that juicy bit of gossip ever get out of this room. All nod their heads and agree to keep Amy’s secret. Liz is doubtful of their sincerity.
So am I.
Lila suggests to Elizabeth she make some changes to her article before submission. Liz thinks its fine just as she’s written it. Lila threatens, “Write it how I want, or no more Thunder.” Horsefreak Liz gives in. See, I told you, Liz’ll do anything to keep Lila’s friendship just so she can keep riding Thunder.
Amy finds Elizabeth and makes her feel worse by mentioning how GLAD she is to have a best friend to share her deepest, darkest secrets with because if anyone knew about her and Ken’s make out session…well, she’d just DIE!
Ted comes over to Casa Wakefield again for dinner. When Jessica tries to flirt, (again unsuccessfully) with Ted he quickly changes the subject to Liz, what a great rider she is and how he feels she should seriously consider entering the owner’s competition being held at the stables. Jessica, unaware of anything amiss, blurts that Liz isn’t Thunder’s owner, Lila is! Liz wants to slide under the table in humiliation.
Strangely it isn’t until the next day at Carson Stables that Ted and Elizabeth clear up this little misunderstanding with each other. Liz enters the stall and begins her confession to...THE HORSE! “I felt so proud when everyone thought you were mine!” Ted eavesdrops and nearly scares Liz out of her shotgun chaps. She can't believe he just caught her baring her soul to a horse!
Ted understands why she did it. He isn’t angry at her for letting him believe she was the owner and he offers to coach Liz in preparation for entering the beginners’ event in the competition this Friday, behind Lila’s back. But, hey, she can make it up to Lila by presenting her with the prize money. Liz thinks this is a great idea. The competition is this Friday. They have about a week to prepare Thunder.
Liz is just bursting with her secret so she takes Amy into her confidence. She’s feeling much better about everything now. A few days have passed, Amy doesn’t appear to suspect anything so it looks like the Unicorns really ARE going to keep a promise for once!
School on Friday is torture for Elizabeth, the hands of the clock move so slowly! By the time the last bell rings, Liz seems to be in a state of shock as she walks down the hall. It’s like she’s underwater, the voices around her are muffled as she seems to just float down the hall until Amy snaps her out of it. She leads Liz outside to some bushes, takes her by the shoulders and they have a moment (Are they about to have a prayer meeting?)
Looking her in the eye Amy tells her she’s rooting for her and to go out there and show ‘em who’s best! They hug and Liz takes off for the stables. Amy returns inside for a quick visit to her locker before she has to leave.
Looking her in the eye Amy tells her she’s rooting for her and to go out there and show ‘em who’s best! They hug and Liz takes off for the stables. Amy returns inside for a quick visit to her locker before she has to leave.
Lila and the other Unicorns are waiting for her. They snicker, point and make slurpy kissing noises. Amy tells them off good, “You think you’re so special because all you do is talk about boys and gossip but you’re NOT! “Why don’t you guys GROW UP?” she says.
“Guess you’re WAY past the stage of just TALKING about them.”
“Oh, it’s so hard to be as grown-up as Hot-Lips Sutton.”
“Excuse me? What are you idiots talking about?”
Lila steps forward and announces they can’t all be as cool as Amy who actually KISSED Ken Matthews, the midget! Oh, yes, don’t look so innocent, Amy,
“Elizabeth told us all about it at my slumber party, hee hee!”
Amy’s jaw drops. Oh, yeah? Well you’re too stupid to know that Elizabeth is about to ride YOUR horse in a competition today AND she’s gonna win it too!
Oops, shouldn’t have said that.
Lila’s all “What? I don’t think so!”
And the race is on to Carson Stable. Who will reach Liz first?
Amy will. Elizabeth is just finishing Thunder’s last grooming and prepping when a breathless and furious Amy arrives to warn her of Lila’s coming to stop her from entering and to confront her on what Lila just revealed. Liz hangs her head in shame. It was an accident.
Before any more can be said, AwesomeLila arrives on the scene, righteous indignation and all. Elizabeth can hardly speak. Meeting Amy’s eyes, she gathers her courage and finally tells Lila exactly what she thinks of her in a passionate speech, she’s tired of playing Lila's games, pretending to like her and be her friend and stay on her good side because now she’s dropping out of the competition despite Thunder being a winning horse. It’s Lila who should ride Thunder!
AwesomeLila’s eyes nearly pop out of her head.
“Ok,” Awesome Lila tries to laugh it off, “you’re right, maybe I HAVE been unfair to you, Elizabeth, but I’ll make it up to you. Go ahead, ride Thunder in the competition, I insist!”
Liz just throws her head back and LAUGHS! "You phony! You just want that blue ribbon and all the credit as the owner! Nope, won’t do it, sorry."
Score one for Elizabeth! Exit stage right as Lila calls weakly after her that she’ll never get to ride Thunder again and Amy follows going “Wow! Who are you and what have you done with the real Elizabeth?” They have a tearful make up and are best friends again but…
“It’s just such a damn shame that Thunder won’t be in that show.” Says Liz.
*twelve year old me does double take and clutches her pearls*
Was that Elizabeth, MY Saint Elizabeth, who just said a BAD WORD????!!!!!
It took me years to get over that line. How could you, Elizabeth? Cussing in a Sweet Valley Twins book! Oh, the horror! Sadly, such blatant profanity in SVT hasn’t occurred since.
Luckily Ted has been secretly practicing the advanced jumps with Thunder (behind both Liz and Lila’s backs no less!) and is ready to step in and take Elizabeth’s place as rider. Lila agrees to this, the judges are apparently Ok with these last minute changes and Thunder will compete after all.
The event’s about to start and Elizabeth hurries to the payphones to tell Jessica to get her butt over here for the biggest, most exciting event Sweet Valley has ever seen! The boy Jessica loves is about to ride Thunder in the advanced competition and could win the biggest prize of the event!
How did we ever survive without cell phones? The Wakefield’s phone rings TEN TIMES and no one picks up! Liz decides to try again; maybe she dialed the wrong number. (Yeah right. Her own HOME NUMBER? The same one they made you memorize in kindergarten? Come on!) She dials again and it rings and rings until FINALLY Jessica answers. She just got home from a Unicorn meeting but no one showed up! Liz breathlessly explains why, tells her to get her butt over here and hangs up before Jessica can respond.
Apparently everyone in Sweet Valley (except the other Wakefields) is at this event. The bleachers are all packed with the owners’ family, extended family, (even all the horses’ extended family!) and all their friends. Somehow, Elizabeth finds a seat just as the beginners’ event is about to begin!
Elizabeth watches the other owners take their horses through all the routines she’d been practicing Thunder with: walk, trot, and canter. They all try jumping the cavaletti (gee, this ghostwriter really knows her equestrian lingo; cavaletti isn’t recognized by my Microsoft Word spell check! I wonder if Joanna Campbell helped write this?) Then all beginners take their turns jumping the post-and-rail.
Elizabeth heart sinks as the winner is announced. She and Thunder could’ve easily won it (yeah, considering Ted was giving Thunder extra practice sessions all this time!).
Halfway through the intermediate competition Liz is worried that Jessica and family STILL haven’t arrived. She dashes to the phones to call home for the third time. Jessica regrets to inform her Alice is working late that night and Ned is stuck in meeting with a client. No one will bring her. She can’t ride her bike over because Dad insists she stay home and help with dinner and he doesn’t understand! Elizabeth promises to tell Ted Jess is at least rooting for him in spirit.
Ted looks worriedly at the front gate, he catches sight of Liz in the crowd who signals Jessica isn’t coming. Ted looks downright crushed that Jess isn’t there to share in all the excitement. AW!
The advanced event begins. Thunder has a rocky start clearing all jumps except a knock-down on the chicken-coop jump. The jumps are raised and all horses do it again but, Oh noes! Thunder has another knock-down.
Now it’s down to Thunder and a bay named Chester. Chester clears the post-and-rail, sails over the brick wall, brush fence and the chicken coop but as he’s approaching the in-and-out jump HE BALKS nearly throwing his rider off! Since this was the second time Chester balked, he’s eliminated. Now it’s up to Thunder to make all the jumps, if he can’t do it, then, according to stable rules, they’d have to do it all over again to determine a winner. Sweat drips down Elizabeth’s forehead while fear is written all over Ted’s face. Can Thunder do it? Is there any hope?
Suddenly a maroon van pulls up and out jumps Jessica and family. Her parents relented and she made it after all! Ted’s grin looked as if it would split his face. Actual quote. Aw!
Thunder takes all the jumps beautifully clearing them with inches to spare until he comes to the dreaded in-and-out tjump the same one Chester wouldn’t take. The double jumps seems to scare him and he refuses, TWICE! Only one more chance to get it right or it’s all over!
But not to worry, Jessica’s here now and her presence spurs Ted’s incredible strength and confidence. Ted kicks Thunder, snaps the riding crop, and like a beautiful brown bird, Thunder glides over the first rail, takes one powerful stride and majestically takes the second. The stone silent crowd suddenly goes wild and Thunder wins the blue ribbon!
AwesomeLila softly congratulates Ted on his win. Ted graciously comments on Thunder and suggests Lila may want to give him a rubdown now (no, not Ted, the HORSE!)
Lila’s all “Ewwww” when Liz tells her what a rubdown is and Lila begs her to do it for her but Liz has learned her lesson and is all “No way,” then Ted offers a $700 down payment to take Thunder off her hands. Lila accepts saying, “I was getting pretty tired of horses and was thinking of selling him anyway.” Ted is so thrilled he jumps in the air and promises Liz she can come and ride Thunder any time she wants.
Jessica shares a joke she probably got off a Laffy Taffy, “What room did the Black Stallion check into when he went to a hotel? The bridle suite!
THE END (except for trashy Sophia Rizzo and her VCR stealing juvenile delinquent brother whom you can read all about in the next SVT book
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