After supper, Andi rushed out to the barn to check on Taffy. There her worst fears were confirmed. Taffy was not any better than before. She lay in a corner of her stall, cringing every few moments. When Andi called Taffy’s name, her own horse whinnied to her but made no effort to rise. Tears started filling Andi’s eyes.
“I’m sorry about what happened to Taffy.” Andi whirled around and found herself face to face with Cory Blake. “Is she going to be okay?” Cory asked.
“Everyone thinks that she’s going to be okay, but I probably won’t ever get to ride her again.” Was Andi’s solemn reply. “When Rosa found Mitch, Chad and Justin were out riding. By the time that Mitch tracked them down and got them to the spot where Taffy fell Taffy had calmed down. If they had come sooner it would have riled her so much that she would have hurt herself worse. She probably would have had to be shot then. I’m glad that she’s still okay.”
Cory smiled and exclaimed, “I’m glad that worked out in Taffy’s favor. Maybe if you can’t ride her again you could ride Shasta. He’s been trained to carry a rider already hasn’t he?”
Andi pondered that thought. “Shasta is ready to be ridden, but I couldn’t leave Taffy. I just will have to wait until she recovers,” Andi’s voice waivered, “if she recovers. By the way, Cory, how did you know about Taffy’s accident?”
Cory laughed and replied, “Melinda was in town, and she was passing the livery when Mitch went to go find her. I eavesdropped and heard Mitch telling Melinda what had happened. I figured I’d check on Taffy when I had some free time, so I stopped by.”
Cory and Andi talked for an hour as they went around the ranch examining horses and playing with foals. Night came fast in the fall, and Cory had to get back to the Livery, so he left. While Andi was dressing for bed a thought came to her. The entire time that she and Cory were talking she hadn’t worried about what would happen to Taffy. Maybe, just maybe she could live life without riding Taffy. If her beloved horse was still on the ranch she could still groom her, and own her, just not ride her.
As Andi climbed into her bed she made up her mind. Taffy couldn’t carry a rider without hurting herself worse. If she hurt herself worse, she might have to be shot. Andi would just have to give up riding her. Making the right decision, even though it hurt deeply, was rewarding. Andi fell asleep with a clear conscience and a light heart.
Andi enjoyed the exhilarating feeling of riding a galloping horse, the wind whipping in her face; the feeling of flying. Shasta seemed to be soaring, making the world seem like a blur. Although it had only been two weeks since Taffy’s accident, Andi knew that she had made the right decision. It had been tough to let go, but it was the right thing to do. Taffy still walked with a limp that she probably would always have. Riding Taffy after she had hurt herself would have been selfish, and it might have resulted in Taffy’s death. As Andi slowed Shasta, she glanced over her shoulder and saw Cory and Flash, a long way behind them.
Giddy with excitement, Andi leaned over and whispered in Shasta’s ear. “Your mother and I made a great team, but you and I are just unbeatable!” And with that she urged Shasta into a gallop and the two of them went flying across the range.