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HaRPG EXPO: The Equipage Booth by Prettybold
Training and pleasure
1.2 - A Change Of AirSaturday, September 26th-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In which Raph visits Fire in her pasture to do some ground work with her, but the mare is easily distracted.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Story (word count : 535)“You could at least try and make an effort…”Raph was growing tired of trying to get Fire’s attention, as the mare kept getting distracted by the slightest movements and sounds around her. In a way, it was understandable. The leafs in the trees were changing colors, falling gently on the ground or being carried away by the wind, which also brought new scents of rain mixed with the slow decay of nature. Autumn had arrived, there was no doubt about this.Some leafs were blown by the wind in their direction, and Fire tried to take to a trot as to play with them, but Raph held the lead rope tight to prevent this.“Hey, come on girl, we’re not done here”Begrudgingly, the mare finally turned to face her handler, letting out a short snort to indicate her annoyment.“Don’t give me that” Raph petted Fire between the ears “I wouldn’t be bothering you so much if you’d only listen to me for a minute”Once she finally had the mare’s attention, Raph took a few step back and readied herself.“So I’ve heard that you can rear up on command” she eyed the mare up and down “Let’s see if you remember how to do that”With that, Raph gave the cue that Winston had told her would cause Fire to rear up, but the mare only stared at her handler with a confused expression in her eyes.“Figures…” Raph let out a sigh “Let’s try again, shall we ? I know you can do this”She gave the cue once again, and this time Fire tossed her head in the air, but her hooves didn’t leave the ground. At least she understood that she was supposed to do something from this cue, so Raph petted her between the ears.“If you get these hooves up in the air, I’ll give you a treat” she encouraged the mare as if she could understand her.The cue was given one more time, and Fire curved her neck in the manner of a stallion before tossing her head up and rearing up quite significantly. Raph immediately took a few steps back, surprised and impressed by the mare’s reaction. When Fire touched ground again, she immediately sniffed Raph’s coat for a treat. Maybe she did understand her.“Well, um…” Raph immediately completed her promise by giving the mare a treat “I didn’t expect this much, you truly can rear up on command, and quite beautifully so I might add” she chuckled a bit “Should we try one last time ?”But the mare was already back to getting distracted by the wind. Getting a treat meant end of work in Fire’s language, and now Raph knew there was no way of getting her attention back.“Oh well, I guess I can’t ask too much from you today” she sighed through her smile, and petted her neck “You’re an amazing mare, you know that ?”Fire made a big exagerated nod with her head, probably more to play with the wind than to confirm Raph’s words, but it made the young woman laugh. This season was going to be a good one, she could feel it.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Previous = 1.1 - Welcome to BluehillNext = 1.3a - Starting Line-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Just a little tiny story about Raph and Fire bonding while admiring the change of season. I just wanted to write something short and simple about autumn :)-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Featured in :@The-Equipage (for King’s Fire Heart & Raphaëlle LeBlanc) Blue Squad ID17Story +2p for 500 words
1.1 - Welcome to BluehillMonday, September 7th-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In which Raphaëlle LeBlanc gets hired at Bluehill Stables to become King's Fire Heart's rider.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Story (word count : 2361)The road to Bluehill Stables, Raphaëlle knew it well, driving it at least once a week for the past four years. She had been taking lessons at this stable with a tutor named Pierre Jacquard, burrowing one of the retired horses housed there as her mount for one hour at a time. There had been some rare and cherished special occasions when the owner himself, Winston Griffith, had replaced the normal lessons with eventing-oriented ones, since he was a former eventing rider himself. Those lessons were Raph’s favorite, as they made her feel like she was truly facing her fears, better even, overcoming them.But today, things were different. First of all, it was a Monday, and Raph never went to the stable on a Monday. Second, she wasn’t going there for a lesson or just for a pleasant visit. No, she was going there for business. Grasping the steering wheel of her car in a tense manner, Raph kept nervously eyeing the cardboard folder sitting on the passenger sit, still unsure if she was making a good decision or a big mistake. She took a deep breath to calm herself down as she entered the property’s driveway, and parked the car in front of the guest house as she was used to.Walking with haste in her steps, more out of stress than hurry, Raph made her way to the stables proper to present herself to the welcome office held by her friend Julia Gaudin. She knocked on the door but the receptionist didn’t seem to hear her, instead focused on whatever was on her computer screen. Raph decided that it was better to wait to get noticed rather than risk interrupting something important. Eventually, Julia looked away from her screen and finally noticed Raph standing in the doorway.“Raphy ! Hi, it’s good to see you” she beamed at the sight of her friend “How long have you been standing here ? I didn’t even see you”“Not long, don’t worry” Raph leaned against the doorway “How are you ?”“I’m great, as always, got a nice tan” she laughed at herself “How about you ? How was your summer ?”“Hot. Way too hot. But it was nice to spend some time with my parents”“Ha, I get that” Julia chuckled “Well don’t just stand here, come on in. Is there anything I can help you with ?”“Is Winston around ? Or should I leave this with you ?” she mentioned at her cardboard folder as she entered the room “I don’t know how these things work…”“Oh, what is it ?” Julia leaned forward in her chair.“Uh… My resume…” Raph shyly admitted.“Resume ?! You want to work here ?!” Julia jumped from her chair in excitment, as Raph opened the folder and handed her the paper.“Yeah…I mean I’m sure I don’t have a chance, but working here would be an absolute dream, no matter the exact job” she smiled sheepishly “My closest friends work here already, and I just feel so welcomed and at home whenever I visit… I mean, what more could I ask for ?”“Sounds ideal, indeed ! It’ll be great to have you around on a daily basis, that’s for sure” Julia grinned at her after taking a quick look at the resume.“Not like it’s going to happen of course, but like my mom likes to say, qui ne tente rien n’a rien” [one who tries nothing gets nothing]“Don’t say that, you never know what could happen. You’re good around horses, the team has already adopted you, and Winston says you have a lot of potential. So don’t count yourself out yet”“I guess we’ll see what he has to say about it...”“Although, I don’t think Winston is the one you should see for that. Rebecca is the one dealing with HR here”“Oh…” Raph immediately tensed up at the mention of Winston’s wife, the stables’ big boss.“She’s nicer than she looks ! Just…” she let out a sigh “I’ll talk to her, you just stick around in case she’s available today and wants to speak with you. I’ll call you to let you know, okay ?” she smiled at Ralph genuinely to reassure her.“Okay…” her shoulders fell slightly in relaxation “Thank you for this, really”“No problem, I’m here to help” another genuine smile.Damn was Julia good at her job.With that, Raph left the office and started wandering about the stables. She didn’t really know what to do since she didn’t have any lesson planned today, and who knew how long it would take to notify Rebecca and when she would be available to talk about the job prospect, or if she wanted to talk at all. It could very much take all day, so she had to figure out something to do in the mean time. She thought of visiting Echo de Sémilly, the bay stallion assigned to her friend Joseph Wilkinson, who has been an official rider for Bluehill Stables for over three years now. As she moved towards his stall, her eyes caught some movement coming for the stall right next to his. Weird, as no horses she knew was assigned to stay here, and guest horses were usually kept a bit further away. She approached carefully, and as she did, the head of a chestnut horse appeared from behind the stall’s door and stared at Raph as she moved closer.“Well, hello there” she let the horse smell her hand “I’ve never seen you around here, who are you ?”The horse extended its head over the door towards Raph’s chest, seemingly quite interested in her vest.“Looking for a treat already ?” she chuckled “Why, aren’t you a clever one”“A real genius” a voice suddenly came from behind her.Startled, Raph whirled around to find herself face to face with her good friend Maya Alvarez, the residential horse groom. She laughed out loud at Raph’s surprised face.“Geez, May, why did you feel the need to do that ?” she smiled and pushed the groom’s shoulder.“Sorry, sorry” Maya tried to stop herself from laughing “I couldn’t help myself”“Anywaayy” Raph rolled her eyes as she tried to change the subject “Do you know about this horse ? I’ve never seen him around”“Her, actually” she corrected “She arrived last week. King’s Fire Heart is her name”“Woah, such a cool name” Raph turned back to Fireand scratched her between the ears, and the mare leaned into the contact.“Yep, she’s quite the little horse, I wonder what projects Winston has for her” Maya joined in by petting the mare’s neck “But a question I really want an answer to is…” she paused and arched an eyebrow at her friend “What are you doing here on a Monday ?”“Oh, um, well…” Raph was caught off guard by the sudden question “I just, uh, I need to see Rebecca for a potential job interview, I guess. Julia will let me know when sh–”“Hold on, hold on” Maya interrupted her before pausing and arching her second eyebrow “Job interview ?”“Well…yeah I suppose” Raph let out a nervous chuckle “To be honest, I don’t even know if there’s even a tiny chance for me to get hired here, but I need a job now that my studies are over, and I thought just why the hell not try here, you know ?”“Don’t move” Maya barely took the time to say this before darting away.That was quite strange behavior coming from her, and Raph didn’t really know how to interpret it. She kept petting the mare as a way to reassure herself. Not even one minute later, Maya came back with Joe in tow, both making a beeline towards her.“Is it true ?!” Joe grasped Raph by the shoulders “Tell me it’s true !”“I- what ? What is ? Maya !” the poor young woman was completely confused, but Maya only laughed.“You’re going to work here with us ?!” Joe shook her for an answer.“Oh, that” Raph was still a bit confused “Uh, yeah kind of, I mean I hope, maybe”“Victory !” Joe shouted as he released her from his grasp, raising both hands in the air and startling the chestnut mare while doing so. “One of us ! One of us !” he started chanting and Maya joined in.“Wow, wow, hey guys, calm down” Raph backed away from them but she was doing a very bad job at hiding her smile “I’m not in yet, and I might never be. It’s up to the big boss”“Bullshit” Joe dismissed this immediately “If we all vouch for you, she’ll have no choice but to hire you”“No, that’s not how it wor–”“Don’t worry, darling” Maya added with a wink “We have our ways of obtaining what we want”“Guys, seriously” Raph couldn’t help but laugh at this.She was about to keep on with the conversation, but stopped herself when she noticed a silhouette from the corner of her eye. She turned her head to notice Rebecca Reed-Griffith herself, leaning against the wall and visibly enjoying the little scene unfolding in front of her. Both Maya and Joe followed their friend’s gaze and immediately stopped their talking as well.“Um, hi boss” Joe awkwardly greeted her “How long have you been standing here ?”“Long enough” she smiled before turning to Raph “May I have a minute of your time ?”“Yes, yes, of course” Raph lowered her head in respect and followed the other woman to the lounge room.She gave one last nervous look towards her friends who both shot up their thumbs in encouragement.As they entered the room, Raph immediately fixed her attention towards Winston who was sitting on the couch with a piece of paper in his hand, which she quickly realize was more than probably her resume. He smiled at her while his wife sat down next to him.“Come sit with us” the older man invited her, so Raph sat down on the opposite hand of the couch, trying her best to not look too stressed out.“Your application couldn’t have had a better timing” Rebecca started “I saw you met our new mare ?”“Ah, yes, the little chestnut one” Raph answered, visibly nervous “She seems smart”“She is indeed. You see, we acquired her about a week ago with hopes of turning her into an eventing horse” the boss handed Raph some papers showcasing the mare’s lineage “Our only problem is, we need a rider for her”“What about Joe ? He’s already an eventing rider, isn’t he ?”“He has already much on his plate with Echo” Winston explained “He’s almost ready to get back to competitions after his leg injury, so he needs all the attention he can get”“And our newcomer needs just as much attention, that is why we need someone who could be dedicated to her” Rebecca continued “And just as we were about to start our search to hire someone new…” she shared a smile with her husband before turning back to Raph “You show up with a perfect job application”Raph stood there bewilded and in great confusion. It almost sounded like the couple wanted to hire her on the spot, and not just as a regular stable-hand, but as a fully wedged official eventing rider. She started to think that this was some sort of misunderstanding, that she didn’t hear properly.“Um…I’m sorry, what ?” were the only words she could think of.The couple chuckled lightly at Raph’s visible confusion.“I know it appears to be quite out of the blue, but we’re sure of this” Winston smiled at her “I’ve seen you ride and I’ve given you lessons for years now, you’ve made so much progress and have so a lot of potential. I know you well enough that I don’t even need your resume to know that you’ll do great with this mare”“You can’t be serious…” Raph barely said, out of breath from the surprise, but the smile on her face was unmistakable “But… Are you sure ? It’s just so fast, I don’t know… Did you even discuss this ?” she started to worry.“Not much” Rebecca admitted “There will be a lot to go over before we make this official, but my husband trusts you and I trust my husband, so I have no doubt we will have no problem figuring things out from here” she smiled genuinely.Raph’s grin grew even more, she had no idea what to say or how to react, simply overwhelmed by the surprising news. So overwhelmed in fact that she could feel tears forming at the corners of her eyes.“Now now, no need to cry” Winston rubbed her back “You will do great here, I’m sure. Fire is a good egg, just like you. Her fierceness mixed with your serenity, you’d make a very balanced pair with potential for a great relationship”“You are free to test-ride her later in the week, under supervision of course” Rebecca stood up and mention towards the door, her husband followed the movement and so did Raph “We’ll deal with the details of your job application this afternoon, but in the mean time, why don’t you go tell the good news to your friends ?”She walked to the door and opened it, revealing both Maya and Joe who had been waiting there the entire time.“Do I pay you to do nothing ?” the boss teased, earning a sheepish smile from both of them.Raph immediately ran to her friends and jumped in Maya’s arms, letting the tears fall down her cheeks. Joe let out a cry of victory before starting chanting ‘One of us !’ once again. As Winston walked past, he put his hand on Raph’s shoulder to get her attention.“Welcome to Bluehill” he smiled, before leaving the room.A new life was beginning, and Raph was more than ready for it.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Next = 1.2 - A Change Of Air-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------People seemingly love sneaking up on one another around these stables apparently ^^’Also, that’s not how job applications work in real life, but this is not real life so I can write fantasy stuff that make me happy, such as someone who gets her dream job on first try right away, effective immediately Ah man, if only that could be real…My sister says it makes her think of the horse games Alexandra Ledermann because of how corny it is, and I take it as a compliment because I loved playing these games as a kid -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Featured in :@The-Equipage (for Raphaëlle LeBlanc) Blue Squad ID17Story +9p for 2250 words
Early Bird by BaileyOaks
She Keeps Me Warm by SolaceStables
Competition
1.3b-Take This Seriously|CT Autumn Schooling ShowThursday, October 22nd and Friday, October 23rd-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In which Echo takes part of his first show in a year, after recovering from a leg injury.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------CT Autumn Schooling ShowClass Entering : Show JumpingHorse : Echo de SemillyAge : 11 yearsGender : StallionBreed : Selle FrançaisTack used : Bluehill TackStable : Bluehill StablesRider : Joseph WilkinsonAge : 29 years-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Story (word count : 1501)Rattled by the irregularities of the road, the trailer made an unpleasant sound, and Echo let out a heavy sigh. The bay stallion was growing tired of being locked up in a box for who-knew-how-many hours, wishing he could finally breathe some fresh air. The unsettled mare next to him didn’t help with this at all, as Fire kept moving about, aggressively chewing at her hay net and occasionally trying to take a peek at him passed the divider. Echo was just doing his best to ignore her. Suddenly, the vehicle slowed down to eventually come to a stop, and the door of the trailer was opened by a man he recognized as Winston, the owner of Bluehill Stables. While Fire immediately tried to back out of the trailer despite still being tied up, Echo patiently waited to get untied and lead outside the vehicle by his handler Joe, the one he called his partner. As he stepped out, the stallion was immediately taken aback by the surroundings, huge and unknown. Large buildings, cars and trucks arriving, lots people walking around, scents of distant horses mixed with that of rain and other things he couldn’t identify… A leaf fell on his nose, so he shook his head and snorted loudly to get it off. From the corner of his eye, he caught Fire trotting in a tiny cercle around her handler Raph, and it all became too much information for him to handle. He decided instead to focus on the things he knew, such as his handler, and he gave Joe a slight push to the shoulder with his nose to get his attention.“Hey mate, what’s the matter ?” Joe petted the stallion on the neck “Don’t like it here ?”Echo sighed heavily once again. Even though he had been standing still for hours, he still felt incredibly tired, and only wished for a comfortable place to lay down and rest. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for his wish to come true, as both him and Fire were brought across the property to the guest stables and installed into comfortable stalls next to one another. Once the humans had taken care of them and left, Fire still seemed to be quite unsettled by this new environment, so Echo stood close to the bars that separated their stalls to reassure her with his presence. He himself still had no idea what was going on, but it was certainly not going to be an easy night.The next day, Echo finally started to catch on the reason of their presence in this new place, as he witnessed Fire getting pampered and tacked up with care in the morning. There was a show taking place here. He didn’t know how he hadn’t think of this possibility before, probably because it had been so long since he participated in an event of the like. He looked down at his front leg, remembering the pain that had caused him to feel so left out for so long, before looking back up at Fire as she was lead outside the stables and he was left alone in his stall. Was he to be left out again ? Or maybe today was the day he could rise up to the challenge once more ?The second option proved to be the right one, as in the afternoon, it was his turn to get groomed to perfection by Maya the groom, also known as ‘the one with the treats’. Black jumping saddle and flash bridle, white saddle pad with the Bluehill logo and matching blue tendon boots, not forgetting perfectly braided mane and tail, Echo knew it was time for him to get back into the game. His partner too was wearing impeccable clothes, from his dark blue vest to his bright white breeches and polished black boots.“Ready to do this, mate ?” Joe petted the stallion’s neck before getting on his back “Let’s go get ‘em !”They moved to the warm-up area with conviction, Echo paying close attention to the people and horses going about to avoid getting too close to anyone. He did his best to ignore the leafs that were occasionally blown in his direction by the wind, even when some came close enough to gently slap his legs. The few jumps they tried during the warm-up session seemed a bit low to him compared to what he was used to jump last year, but he figured they would be bigger once in the real show arena. After a bit of practice, Joe lead him to a secondary arena on the other side of the stands, where the public could actually see them, and the scenery was much more pleasant, with colorful jumps and beautiful pieces of greenery. So this was the show arena, Echo figured. He was letting himself get a bit distracted by his surroundings before his attention suddenly shifted to one of the jumps as they walked past it. It was just as low as the ones in the warm-up area, and with a closer look, all of the other jumps were too. Why were they so low ? Was this the real show or was this still warm-up in a way ? The stallion didn’t have much time to be confused, as he heard a bell ring followed by Joe’s cue to take to canter. The first element of the course was presented to him, and Echo felt annoyed that he wasn’t taken seriously. Oh well, at least he didn’t have to make much effort. His strides got sloppy and heavy, barely lifting his weight over the jumps, it all just seemed too easy for him. At least until the pair reached the one oxer of the course. ‘Just another low jump’ Echo thought, but his hooves touched both the front and back poles, and he tripped on the landing. Nothing bad, as he recollected himself and the poles remained in place, but the stallion was surprised by this. There was no way he was going to fail in such an easy challenge, if that can even be called a challenge. He picked up his gait, whipping his tail around in frustration, and rushed the next jump that was presented to him, not paying attention to Joe who was trying to hold him back. He made a bold jump over the vertical, to show everyone what he was capable of, only to realize in mid-air that it was actually the first element of a combination, and that there was another vertical just a few meters away. Short on two strides, he had to make an awkward leap over that second element, lightly touching the pole with his front leg. Once again, the pole didn’t budge, but Echo was now quite confused. Doing too little could cause him to fail, but apparently, doing too much had also the potential of being detrimental. Maybe he was the one who wasn’t taking this seriously… Clearly out of practice and not really knowing how to handle the rest of the course, he reverted to listen to his rider more intently. Joe let out a sigh of relief as he felt his stallion reconnecting with him.“Come on, boy, just a few more” the stallion heard his partner encouraging him.The pair managed to cross the finish line just in time before they would have been penalized, and they slowly walked out of the arena to join the rest of the team. Although he accepted the treat given by Maya and everyone around him was petting his neck and head, Echo was not satisfied with his performance and he felt troubled by what had just transpired. Was he not good enough anymore ? Did he lose all his jumping aptitude within the year he had done almost nothing ? Was this the end of his career and partnership with Joe ? The stallion leaned his head onto his partner’s chest to look for comfort, and received a gentle hug in return.“You’re okay, mate” Joe said softly “You did really good for your first time back in the game, and you’ll do even better in the next one”Echo let out a sigh and started relaxing a bit. Even though he couldn’t understand a word the man was saying, he knew these were comforting words coming out of his mouth, and really, all he truly needed was to hear his voice to calm him down.After being brought back to the stables and untacked, Echo stood calmly in his stall. He took a look at Fire through the bars separating their stalls, and the mare returned the look with a confused expression in her eyes, clearly not used to not being ignored by the stallion. Even though she looked calmer than when they first arrived, Echo figured it would be nice to stand near her like he had done last night to reassure her. Or maybe it was him who needed to be reassured…-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Previous = 1.3a – Starting LineNext = somewhere over the rainbow...-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Second entry to this little cool show, shorter and from the horse’s perspective to change things up a bit :)Echo is a pretty chill dude, but he can get frustrated by challenges, especially when he underestimated them. He already has a bit of an eventing career behind him, under Joe’s saddle mostly, so he has a pretty clear definition in his head of what is a real challenge and what isn’t.Joe and Echo (Team Jericho) have known each other for years, so I tried to pictured their relationship here the best I could. I found it to be a nice contrast with Raph and Fire (Team Rapphire) who still barely know each other.(I have exactly one too many word, otherwise the story would have had a word count of 1500 precisely ! However, it is exactly 8000 characters, so at least there’s that… Yes OCD is a thing that I have)-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Featured in :@Selle-Francais (for Echo de Semilly)Place +? ISOVarious (other discipline) +2 ICC@The-Equipage (for Echo de Semilly & Joseph Wilkinson) Blue Squad ID17Story +6 pts for 1500 wordsPlace +? pts
1.3a - Starting Line | CT Autumn Schooling ShowThursday, October 22nd to Sunday, October 25th-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In which Raph and Fire (Team Rapphire) participate in their very first show together. Let’s hope it goes well.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------CT Autumn Schooling ShowClass Entering : 3DECross Course UsedHorse : King’s Fire HeartAge : 8 yearsGender : MareBreed : Irish Sport HorseTack used : Bluehill TackStable : Bluehill StablesRider : Raphaëlle LeBlancAge : 22 years-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Story (word count : 5018)Looking outside the window of the car, Raph let her mind drift away, guided by the soothing music coming out of her headphones. She was trying her best not to think about her destination as to not stress too much, but the thought of participating in her first ever show kept creeping back into her mind no matter how hard she tried to forget about it.“Hey” the sudden voice snapped her out of it, and she whirled her head around to face her friend Maya, who was driving the car.“Uh, sorry, did you say something ?” Raph lowered her headphones around her neck.“Are you alright ?” Maya looked concerned.“I’m… I’m fine” Raph was a bit confused by the sudden question. “Why ?”“Really ? ‘Fine’ ?” Maya raised an eyebrow at her, before turning her gaze back to the road. “Then why are you biting your nails ?”Raph looked down at her fingers, noticing the signs of biting on some of her nails. She hadn’t even noticed she was doing that.“Just a bit nervous, it’s nothing” she started to put her headphones back on but Maya stopped her.“So you’re just going to ignore me for the rest of the trip ?” she made her words sound like she was offended, but the smile on her face was unmistakable.“Well, if you don’t have anything interesting to say…” Raph teased, starting to smile as well.“Why, excuuuse me madam !” Maya took an exagerated British accent “I happen to be an extremely interesting person, as a matter of fact !”“Oh my, I am terribly sorry m’lady, I had no idea !” Raph imitated her accent “Why, please, feel free to demonstrate your oh-so-interesting personality right away”They both laughed together, and kept talking and making jokes throughout the rest of the drive. Raph was finally starting to relax, it always feels good to have someone you like and trust by your side when facing a new scary challenge.The feeling of relaxation quickly went away to only leave anxiety in Raph’s mind, as Maya pulled the car onto the property of CT Dutch Equine, and parked in the guest parking lot. They got out of the car, but Raph stopped for a second to look around and take in the surroundings. The place was absolutely huge, so much so that she couldn’t even tell where the arenas or the stables were from where she stood. Back at Bluehill, if she stood in the middle of the property, she would be able to almost see the entirety of it. Here at CT Dutch Equine, she could tell that what she was seeing was not even a tenth of the whole thing.“Come on” Maya interrupted her thoughts once again “Let’s go join the men” she said in a playful tone.They walked towards the truck that had been following them for the trip since the airport, and that was holding the two horses that would take part in the show. Winston, the owner of Bluehill Stables, had insisted on accompagnying them here and driving the truck himself. He exited the vehicle alongside Joe, who was more than excited to get into the arena already.“This is going to be great !” the young man exclamed while jumping slightly in place “Echo and I are going to crash the competition !”“Easy there, cowboy” Winston put his hand on Joe’s shoulder to tell him to settle down “Remember that you need to take it easy, it’s been over a year since that horse has been in a show”Joe pretended to pout, which made Maya laugh.The team opened the doors to the trailer, and Fire immediately tried to back out of it, despite still being tied up. That was not surprising coming from her, as the young mare was known to hate standing still for too long. Echo on the other hand, was as calm as ever, the bay stallion completely unmoved by the whole procedure. Once out, both horses took the time to look around and analyse their new surroundings. While Echo quickly got disinterested, instead deciding to focus on his handler, Fire was alert to the slightest sound and movement around her, spooking a bit at the falling leafs flying away with the wind. She was holding her head high, stepping side to side, stopping for no reason before taking to a trot. The poor chestnut lady was obviouly uncomfortable.They took the horses to the guest stables where they would be staying, walking past the massive main arena with two beautiful horse statues in its center. Raph wondered if these statues represented real horses, but mainly, she was simply overwhelmed by the immensity of the facilities. Bluehill paled in comparison to all of this.After registering their arrival with the staff and getting the horses settled in their stalls, the team retreated to the bungalow where they would be staying for the week. Tomorrow, the show would finally be underway, but for tonight, they just needed some rest.And so the big day finally arrived. Or rather the first of the big days, as Raph and Fire were entering the 3DE class, which started this morning with the dressage test. The mare seemed a bit calmer than the day prior, but only slightly. Braided mane and tail, coat shining like polished copper pieces, Maya groomed the mare to perfection. Completed with a black dressage saddle and matching cavesson bridle, not forgetting the white saddle pad that bore the logo of their home stables, Fire was ready to go. Maya also arranged bandages around the mare’s legs, as well as some bell boots, just for the warm-up.On the other hand, Raph was busy fidgeting with the collar of her midnight blue vest, trying her best to adjust the knot of her light blue tie. Winston wordlessly intervened and helped her, also making sure her boots were correctly polished and the strap under her chin was properly secured. Raph nodded to him as a way to say ‘thank you’ before turning her attention to the beautiful mare standing next to her. Maya handed her the reins and hugged her before she got on the horse. Winston gave her some advice concerning the mare’s strange mood as the team accompanied them to the warm-up arena.The arena’s ground was covered in black sand, which seemed to bother Fire quite a bit as she refused to walk normally, instead hopping about in what almost looked like passage. The wind didn’t help, as Fire occasionally either shook her head in displeasure or spooked at little leaf whirlwinds forming outside the arena. The mare typically wasn’t so easily scared, so Raph figured out it was just her way of letting out all the energy she had accumulated and hadn’t been able to let out until now. With much effort, the mare eventually started to listen to her rider, and even accepted to walk normally on the weird colored sand. After a little while of practice, Raph made Fire step outside and dismounted to help Maya remove the bandages aroung the mare’s legs.“Remember to watch that head toss when you transition to canter” Winston helped the ladies with the tack “The judges will not appreciate it”Raph simply nodded, already entering her ‘focus mode’ as Joe liked to call it. She steeled herself and her emotions, adorning a perfect poker face with eyes burning with intensity. Time to shine.With a few last words of encouragement from the team, Raph and Fire made their way towards the main arena, both focusing so much on the task at hand that they stopped paying attention to their surroundings. As their turn to enter the dressage box arrived, they did so in a trot, before stopping in the center to salute the judges. Fire had a habit of leaving one of her hind legs trail behind, but this time Raph let out a sigh of relief when she felt the mare placing her hoof correctly. It might not be a perfect halt, but it was definetily better than usual. The pair trotted around the arena in total concentration, and although the trot wasn’t particularly expressive, it still had some nice rebound in the strides. When the time came to canter, Fire didn’t miss the opportunity to throw her head up, although it wasn’t as dramatic as Raph expected it to be. Fire’s left lead being the one she was most comfortable with, the pair glided around the arena with confidence. After a few maneuvers, time came for the walk. Raph’s cue for the transition was a tiny bit too late, but the mare reacted quickly enough to not miss the letter by much. She let the reins go a bit loose so that Fire could extend her neck and stretch her strides to a gorgeous walk. Or at least that was how Raph pictured it, she had no real idea how it looked from the outside. Fire shook her head slightly a couple of times, the slower rhythm giving her time to get a bit distracted by the wind, so Raph tightened the reins to prepare the transition to canter once again. The mare tossed her head up again, but this time it was on the right lead with which Fire was a little less comfortable. Eventually, it was time again for a trot that would then bring the last halt marking the end of the test, and Raph prayed for it to come soon as she could feel her mare and herself starting to slowly lose their focus. They finally made their way back to the center of the arena for the final halt, which Fire executed well once again. After the salute, Raph released the reins and petted Fire on the neck, as they walked towards the exit.Once out of the main arena, they joined the rest of their team who were waiting impatiently. Out of sight from other people, Raph started breathing heavily and a couple of tears rolled down her cheeks, her friends immediately rushing to her side to inquire what was wrong. Maya took Fire’s reins so that Raph wouldn’t have to worry about controlling the mare.“You did amazing out there ! Why are you crying ?” Joe helped her off of her horse.“Nerves ?” Winston stepped closer and inspected her, before smiling lightly.“Had everything bottled up, just letting it all out now” she chuckled and smiled to reassure her friends.The team all let out a sigh of relief and went on to compliment the pair’s performance, while Fire was sniffing everyone for a treat, which Maya happily gave her.“One down, two to go !” Joe exclamed “But first… It’s now my time to shine !”Indeed, this afternoon was the show jumping class which Joe and Echo were taking part of, and it would give time for Raph to breathe as well as discover the arena setup for her own test the next day.Second day of the trial, Raph had her eyes fixed on the sky since the moment she woke up. The grim clouds threatened to let rain pour down on the stable grounds later in the afternoon, and although it shouldn’t bother her today since her show jumping test took place in the morning, she couldn’t help but worry about tomorrow. Indeed, going out to a cross course on damp grounds was one of her worst fears. Winston interrupted her thoughts when he asked her to join the others inside the stables where Fire was getting ready. She took a deep breath. They had to focus on the task at hand, they would have to worry about tomorrow later.Fire was even calmer than the day before, almost too calm compared to her usual temperament, but everyone in the team knew that this attitude would change the second the mare would spot an obstacle ready to be jumped. Raph was wearing a similar attire as the day before, although her vest was of a slightly ligher shade of blue, with the collar matching the sky blue of her tie, and her polished boots were more adapted to jumping. Fire, however, looked completely different. Her black flash bridle was linked to matching reins that went through a loose martingale, properly secured to a black jumping saddle. Under it, a white saddle pad with light blue borders bore the logo of Bluehill Stables, and the mare’s legs were protected with dark blue and white tendon boots. Her tail was braided, and her mane was banded so that it would stay to one side of her neck. Fire shook her head after a dark blue ear bonnet was placed on her head, but stopped when she realized that there was no way of getting rid of it.“Won’t that bother her ?” Raph inquired, nervousness creeping in her voice.“Maybe” Maya replied while analyzing the mare’s behavior. “It’s a test, see how she behaves with it. If it truly bothers her too much, we’ll remove it”Raph grimaced before heaving herself onto the mare’s back, and they all walked to the warm-up arena behind the stands. Just like they all expected, Fire immediately gave everyone a demonstration of why she was named that way, as she pranced and cantered with high energy, charging at any jumps her rider would present her. Neither the black sand nor the bonnet even seemed to bother her anymore at all. While Raph still had control over the mare, she could feel that she was getting impatient. Thankfully, it didn’t take long before it was their turn to go.As they walked into the show jumping arena, Fire visibly couldn’t contain her excitement as she refused to walk normally, opting to trot very slowly instead. The pieces of greenery around the arena made it look outstanding in beautiful autumn colors, and they made for easy markers to remember the course. The pair ‘walked’ around a tree, and Raph took the time to admire it (as the good biology nerd that she is) before the bell rang, making her panic a bit as she realized that she had let herself get distracted by the scenery. Fire, however, was on it. She rushed the first jump with fierce, throwing her rider out of balance at the landing, but Raph managed to readjust herself in time for the second jump. Unable to focus properly, the young woman let her mare do most of the work, taking advantage of the small height of the jumps. It seemed to work well for them, until they reached the one oxer of the course. Fire rushed it in the same way as any other obstacles, and Raph didn’t think about making the necessary adjustments until it was too late. As the mare landed, a clear sound of hoof against wood was heard, and Raph silently cursed at herself. She didn’t turn around to confirm her suspicions, although she was almost certain that the pole had fallen. She tightened her grip on the reins and attempted to regain more control over her horse for the end of the course, and Fire showed her displeasure by throwing her head up in the air a couple of times before calming down and starting to listen to her rider. As the pair went around a tree to approach the last vertical, Fire took a bold stride and could have launched Raph in the air if she hadn’t been prepared for it. They crossed the finish line with a reasonable time, and Raph let her reins go loose to allow Fire to extend her neck while trotting towards the exit. Before they joined the rest of their team, Raph took one last look behind to see if the oxer’s pole was being put back in place, but to her surprise, it had actually remained intact. She let out a loud sigh of relief as she regrouped with the team.“Please don’t cry this time” Joe immediately went to her side with a worried look, while Maya gave Fire a treat.But it was too late, and tears streaked down the rider’s face, which bore no smile this time around.“It’s alright, come on” Winston helped her off of the horse. “You got scared, didn’t you ?”Raph nodded, trying to hold back her sobs. She knew it was stupid to cry so much for just a little scare, and she hated being so emotional all of the time, but she couldn’t help herself. Maya offered her a hug, and they stayed that way for a couple of minutes, until Fire decided that it was enough time spent standing still and that she deserved more treats. Raph let out a small chuckle as the mare gripped the egde of her vest with her teeth.“Sorry girl, that’s not exactly edible” she petted her between the ears, which made the horse shake her head as she was seemingly reminded that she was wearing an ear bonnet. It made everyone laugh a bit.“You did great” Winston reassured the young woman “I won’t lie by saying that it was perfect, there is still much to work on, but a clear round was more than what we hoped, so take this as a victory” he smiled genuinely.Raph smiled back and they all started to walk back to the stables. One more gaze towards the sky reminded her that her trial was far from over, and that tomorrow might be her and Fire’s toughest challenge yet to come.Last day, last test. The hardest one. The entire team went to test the grounds when they walked the cross course, judging how slippery it might be after yesterday’s showers. Thankfully, it appeared that the grounds were dryer than expected, the sun visibly having worked well on the rare occasions it peaked through the clouds.Raph was trying her best to remain calm, controlling her breathing and being overly cautious with her movements as she checked that her body protector was correctly secured on her. Despite the long sleeves of her blue polo and the warmer temperatures compared to the previous days, a powerful shiver shook her entire body.“I know you’re scared, but you will be alright” Winston appeared next to her “Stay calm, focus on balancing Fire’s energy, don’t take unnecessary risks. Just like practice back at home” he then put his hand on her shoulder and offered a genuine smile “Do your best, and don’t worry about the results. We believe in you”Raph returned the smile to the best of her ability, but quickly looked away to instead focus on Fire who was getting groomed and tacked up by Maya, with the help of Joe. The brilliant mare seemingly knew what was coming, unable to contain her excitement as she couldn’t seem to stay in place, which made it hard for Maya to secure her eventing boots and bell boots around her legs. The black mexican bridle matched the eventing saddle which was held in place by a wide breastplate, with a saddle pad similar to the one from the previous day, only with the addition of a sheepskin under the saddle seat. Her mane and tail were let loose this time around, and the team decided against using an ear bonnet. Joe added the last touch to the tack, a leather ring around Fire’s neck.“I know we said you wouldn’t use it because this is a show and not practice” Maya talked to Raph while checking the last details “But I thought it would be bad to break your habit without any prior training, so…”“Neck rope !” Joe jumped in as she trailed off “So you’ll have something to grab onto, even if you don’t actually need it” he patted Raph’s shoulder as she approached.“Okay, yeah, thanks” Raph nodded almost too much “Good call, I definetily need it”With that, the team moved to the warm-up grounds. The grass was barely visible under the fallen leaves, and Raph felt relieved that there was no strong wind like on the first day. The warm-up was tense for the pair, as Fire wanted to go run wild in the open field but her rider kept her in check. They tested the grounds with a few jumps, Raph imposing herself over Fire unlike the previous day, since rushing the jumps here would be too dangerous. Stress and fear threatening to take over, Raph closed herself up, entering her ‘focus mode’. Her heartbeats resonated in her head, numbing her to surrounding sounds, to the point that she almost didn’t hear their names being called when their turn came to present themselves in the starting box. The signal was given, the beast was unleashed, as Fire immediately sprinted towards the first jump and Raph had to assert her authority right away. She knew that if she allowed a jump to be rushed even just once, the mare would become uncontrollable for the rest of the course. With the first jump completed, the pair went down a sort of earth bridge, and Raph took the time to keep the mare in check and focused during the long gallop before the next jump. On their way there, they passed next to the water element and Fire eyed it a bit, more out of curiosity than anything. The next jump was a downward bank which made the mare hesitate slightly, as her rider made sure they went slow enough to not take any risks. A few easy jumps later, although taken with great care, the next difficulty arised in the form of the body of water that they had to go through. There were no obstacle that lead into it, but Fire still made a long jump into the water. Raph grabbed the neck rope as the mare’s strides were big and bouncy, and they approached the first of two elements placed in the water. Fire made a big deal of it, throwing her rider out of balance, but she caught herself just in time for the second element that lead out of the water. Taking the time to gather herself and her mare, Raph took Fire into a wide turn before coming up to the next jump. They had a bit of breathing space next, as the two next jumps after this one were relatively easy and were followed by a long period of gallop. After these were cleared, the pair made their way to the last real difficulty of the course, a loop of three jumps with the third one being a small dip. Raph knew that Fire would be confused by it and how to handle it, so when they approached it, she made sure to take a slow wide turn to give the mare enough time to figure out the problem she was facing. Raph grabbed the neck rope to ready herself, but thankfully, Fire was careful in her approach and only made an awkward leap over the gap. It wasn’t pretty, but at least they passed it. They gallopped to the end of the course, two last relatively easy jumps before dashing to the finish line.Raph couldn’t even make sense of her time watch, but in all honesty, she didn’t really care. All she could think about was that she and Fire had done it, this had been their last test of the event and they had survived it, better even, they had completed it. Once the rest of the team was in sight as they trotted to the cool-off area, Raph let herself flop over Fire’s neck, hugging her lovely mare with great gratitude. The mare instinctively joined Maya, knowing that the groom would have plenty of treats to give her, and she was right.“That. Was. Amazing !” Joe jumped up and down next to the mare. “You made it look so easy, no one could tell it was your first cross ever !”“It was impressive indeed” Winston rubbed Raph’s shoulder “It went even better than yesterday, and this was supposed to be more difficult. Congratulations” he smiled genuinely.A huge grin on her face, Raph couldn’t hold back her tears once again, but this time it wasn’t only because of the release of all the tension and stress she had accumulated. These were tears of joy and tears of pride, for she had just essentially crossed the starting line of her career. She let herself slide off of Fire’s back, and was immediately greeted with a hug from Maya.“I’m so proud of you” she said softly before stepping back “We all are. And you should be proud too”“I’m proud of her” Raph answered as she turned to Fire and petted her neck “She did so good, I don’t… I don’t even have words” she chuckled as she wiped a tear from her cheek.“The future is bright for both of you” Winston added “But for now, let’s get you and your mare some well deserved rest”The team all walked back to the stables, everyone taking turns at petting Fire and congratulating the pair for their efforts. Although it was normally Maya’s job as a groom, Raph insisted on helping her taking care of the chestnut mare, and they both made sure that Fire was well pampered, while Joe went to take care of his own horse Echo. Winston, on the other hand, had disapearred to who-knows-where as soon as they had reached Fire’s stall, and was gone for the entire time that the horses were groomed. After a while, horses fully taken care of, the older man returned to the rest of the team.“Come with me” he said with a grin on his face “We have a surprise for you” and he started walking away.“We ?” Maya wondered out loud.“A surprise ?” Raph’s eyes suddenly lit up.“Where are we going ?” Joe followed with a light jump in his steps.But there was no response. Winston kept walking in silence while the three young equestrians speculated on what the surprise might be. Around them, it was visible that the show had come to an end, as there was way less people going about than previously, and the sponsors banners were already starting to get taken down. The orange and yellow leafs kept falling gently from the trees as they had done from the beginning, and the sun shyly peeked through the clouds to warm up the grounds and dry the bit of wet that remained in it. Raph let out a sigh. Although she was happy that she show was over and that she could finally relax, she didn’t feel ready to leave and go back home just yet.They reached the guest’s parking lot within a few minutes, and immediately recognized a familiar light grey van parked near the entrance. Isabelle Moncoeur, Bluehill’s lead stable-hand, was standing next to her vehicle with a broad smile on her face. As the team approached, she opened her arms wide to invite them into a big group hug.“Isa ! What are you doing here ?” Joe beamed and hugged her one more time after everyone else stepped back.“Did you just drive all the way to the US with your own car ?” Maya humored.“Well I needed a big place to store all the equipment” Isa started to explain, earning some quizzical looks from the others “Here, let me show you”She opened the back doors of her van, which held a lot of plastic boxes of different sizes.“Boxes ?” Maya raised an eyebrow at the sight of all this.“What’s in them ?” Joe opened one and gasped at the sight of a plastic replica of a helmet from a medieval full plate armor.“CT Dutch Equine is hosting a Halloween show next week” Winston explained with a smile “We figured it would be a nice way to relax and have fun, as well as a nice reward for your efforts this weekend”“Halloween ?! I love Halloween !” Raph jumped in place in excitement.“This. Is. Epic !” Joe joined her, and Maya only laughed.“Now, an important thing to remember” Winston interrupted them, immediately getting their full attention “Forget that this is a show, it’s only for fun, alright ? No pressure on the horses either, just a halter class for you” he handed Raph a red halter adorned with fake fangs and horns “And a peaceful trail ride for you” he gave Joe a folded grim reaper costume.The two riders started getting excited again, and went to rummage through the rest of the boxes, but Maya focused her attention back on Isa.“Did you make all these ?” she asked the stable-hand.“I did, with a lot of help of course” she humbly answered “They were really fun to make, so I hope you guys can have fun with them as well”“Well, thank you very much, it’s really impressive !” she patted her on she shoulder “And forgive these two for their rudeness, they’re just kids, you know ?” Maya chuckled as she mentioned to Joe and Raph who were too busy to hear their conversation.It made both Isa and Winston chuckle.“Kids, say thank you to Isa for the costumes” the older man fakely reprimanded the two riders.“Thank you to Isa for the costumes !” both of them exclamed at the same time before bursting into laughter, and everyone else joined in.They all started digging into different boxes to discover the extend of the equipment Isa had brought along, and they were all impressed by the quality of craftmanship that was put in each piece of costume. Raph tried on the helmet, which fitted her to perfection, while Joe wondered what was all that special white fur paint for. One thing was certain, even though the main show had passed for team Bluehill, the fun had only just begun.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Previous = 1.2 - A Change Of AirNext = 1.3b - Take This Seriously-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Kids will be kids ;)Is it that obvious that I have so little talent in writing stories ? Who cares ! It’s fun :)Before starting training in eventing at Bluehill Stables, Raph almost exclusively rode for dressage stuff. That’s why she’s a bit more comfortable on the first day than on the following ones.Also, since I’ll be participating in the CT Spooky Halloween Show 2020, I thought I’d link the two events :)-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Featured in :@The-Equipage (for King’s Fire Heart & Raphaëlle LeBlanc) Blue Squad ID17Story +20 pts for 5000 wordsPlace +? pts
All The Red Ponies by FreckledRaven
Summertime Fun by Jessa-bee
All horses
Echo de Semilly by NameOfAMoon
King's Fire Heart by NameOfAMoon
Fossegrimen PL by Prettybold
Unlimited slot YCH | open by Allen-Veidt
All staff
Alexandri Zyon by SassyFluff
Balder Aasheim by Prettybold
Julie Johanssen by Prettybold
Hedvig Dahl-Lyngen by Prettybold
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Too Much YCH | [closed] by Allen-Veidt
Daydream YCH | closed by Allen-Veidt
Unlimited slot YCH N2 | open by Allen-Veidt
{Tack adopt} [Open] by SpxceSushi

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WELCOME TO THE EQUIPAGE!


So you have stumbled upon yet another registry group!

Do you have a stable full of riders and other staff, but only your horses earn points and get ranks? Do you wish to change that? Then you're in the right place! The Equipage was made to put focus on the entire team, while also aiming to have an easy point system open for interpretation. Anything goes here!


:bulletblack: All info you need: :bulletblack:
About the Equipage
How to register
Point system



:bulletblack: We are currently sponsoring these events :bulletblack:
If you would like the group to sponsor your event, send us a note!

CT Youngsters Show 2020
[Deadline: 18. oct. 2020] +2p for entries and extras, 800 :points:
CT Spooky Halloween Show 2020
[Deadline: 7. nov. 2020] +2p for entries and extras, 800 :points:



The Equipage is a permanent sponsor of
:iconnorwegianiec: :iconause-olympics:

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Affiliates

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Comments


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:iconnameofamoon:
NameOfAMoon Featured By Owner Edited 6 days ago  New Deviant Hobbyist Writer
Hello there :) I sent a note to the group about a week ago asking if I could register a team, and I haven't had any answer. I was wondering if the note had correctly been received or if I somehow messed up in any way ? If this is just because no one had the time to take care of that, then I apologize for this message :)
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:iconprincessleeya:
PrincessLeeya Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2020
Is this group still active?
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:iconprettybold:
Prettybold Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2020  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It is!
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:iconfjordess:
Fjordess Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm so glad to finally see a group that recognizes riders and offer them points/ranks to aim for! The teams seem lik an interesting mechanic, too.

Can we have multipel teams and individual characters be in multiple teams? IE. your stable's team, then maybe a team specifically for one sport perhaps, like a hunter club or something.
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:iconprettybold:
Prettybold Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad you think so!

Of course! You can use the system however it fits you.
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:iconfjordess:
Fjordess Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Alright, thanks, this is awesome!
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:iconroxafox:
Roxafox Featured By Owner May 29, 2018
Are you guys active? because this is perfect.
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:iconprettybold:
Prettybold Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
We are active! :la:
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