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Racehorses in Training and 'The Giraffe'!

All three racehorses we part-own are in training now.

The two two-year-olds are not at Woodbine Racetrack yet, but It's a Fluke is there (he's four this year). Banach Racing has painted the stalls and smartened up the shedrow. It looks great!

We are looking forward to a visit soon.

Mimi (Prized Spirit is her racing name) is being exercised in a small field. She started her training early because the weather has been wonderful. (There is no arena where she is). She's enjoying being ridden outside and is making good progress. See earlier posts for photos.

Audi (Audi's World) is also training outside. I included a video of him being ridden in the arena in my previous post. (He's at a different farm from Mimi). There is a short video (supplied by the farm) included below the story of him being ridden outside.

The story is another word challenge piece. The words I had to use were cavern, disgruntled, dangerous, giraffe, and breakable.

I hope you enjoy reading it.

The Giraffe

Carter had no desire to visit Benwick’s Cavern near the Devon coast. It was bad enough that he’d allowed himself to be cajoled into a trip to the southwest of England. He considered the area to be backward—what it lacked in culture it made up for with noisy amusement arcades and trashy souvenir shops.

Carter was a city man who loved the world of finance and international business with its busy days and packed schedules. He even liked riding up the lift to the sixtieth floor and striding along the corridor to his corner office. When he sat in his executive leather chair, he could see most of the centre of Toronto.

He did allow himself a seat in the theatre now and again and the occasional ticket to a Toronto Symphony Orchestra concert.

That morning in Devon, he sat in the Palace Hotel and appreciated the white linen tablecloths, the silver cutlery, and the real carnation. The buffet breakfast was pretty decent too. This was better than he’d feared. His room was tolerable, with its large ensuite bathroom and comfortable bed.

But all these satisfactory things weren’t enough to persuade him it was worth his while to dress down—to don jeans and a sweater to visit a dark, dank, dripping cavern.

He’d picked up a pamphlet on Benwick’s Cavern from the display in the hotel lobby. But the poor-quality pictures of stalactites and stalagmites, along with the slimy, shiny walls, just served to make him even more disgruntled. 

Carter folded his linen napkin and placed it with precision parallel to the table’s edge. He finished his strong coffee and replaced the cup onto the saucer without a sound, and prepared to leave. Maggie and John said they would pick him up at ten. They were bound to be late but he needed to be on time.

He stood outside the revolving door and the damp air seeped through his clothes in an instant. He viewed this as an ominous omen for the day. He put his new rain jacket on and told himself if Maggie and John didn’t show up within five minutes, he’d go back to his room.

But they did show up, laughing at some idiotic joke as they waved and came to an abrupt halt in front of the hotel. Maggie had yet to master a manual gearbox so the drive to the cavern was far from smooth, and the space in the back of the car didn’t come close to being enough for Carter’s comfort. It was much more cramped than he was used to. He tried to cross his legs and couldn’t. Maggie’s sparkly eyes caught his in the rear-view mirror and he gave her a weak smile.

There was an introduction to the guided tour with great emphasis placed on how dangerous it was to attempt to go under or over the railing. Children must be supervised at all times. Carter tuned out and looked around him. The predictable gift shop guarded the entrance and notices had been erected in numerous spots. The lawyers would have made a buck or two out of these, Carter thought. His feet were cold. His leather shoes were not a good choice. He noticed a lot of colourful rubber boots.

At last, the guide beckoned the group to follow, but Carter hung back. He planned to trail behind. He’d let others be within earshot of the enthusiastic commentator. The gravel pathway gave way to slimy stone and Carter grew concerned as his shoes failed to grip. Their leather soles gave no pretence at providing any traction. Traction was not something Carter ever needed. His driver would bring the car to the door in the heated garage under the office building, and the same at home.

Carter was glad he was at the back of the group. He could hold onto the railing as they descended the slippery slopes which led further into the hillside. He thought of turning back but hadn’t made note of which way they’d come, or if there were several choices or not—he thought there were. He’d noticed that the lights came on automatically as the group approached them. Would they light up for him if he went back? What if they suddenly turned off? He wasn’t sure his mobile’s flashlight would be enough.

A scream. And it didn’t come from him. It was piercing and followed by sobs. But the guide hadn’t heard it and, if anyone in the group had noticed, they didn’t let on. The lights behind Carter went out, but there was still enough light for him to make out a mother crouched down, holding a child who had an arm outreached towards the railing.

Carter edged towards them. They were in semi-darkness now.

“What’s the matter?” asked Carter.

“My giraffe. My giraffe fell.” The child burst into uncontrollable sobs and the mother, who was crouched down, held him firmly in her arms.

“It’s okay,” the mother said to Carter. “He has other toys.”

“I want giraffe.” The child kicked out and hit his mother. Carter became concerned. What if the child broke loose and got under the railing?

“I’ll get it,” said Carter, before he had a chance to think rationally or develop a plan. He took his mobile out of his pocket, got the flashlight working, and shone it over the railing.

“Please don’t even try,” the mother said as she held onto the child’s writhing body. “It’s not a stuffed toy, it’s made of wood and it’s breakable. It’ll be in pieces, falling on the rocks like that.”

“Ganpa gave it. Ganpa made it.” The child kicked out again.

“I will get it,” Carter said, as he placed a hand on the boy’s head. “But only if you stop kicking and screaming.” His deep, authoritative voice seemed to do the trick. The child turned his flushed face with its swollen eyes towards him and stopped his tantrum.

Carter took off his shoes. To give her credit, the mother didn’t make any comment on his lack of suitable footwear for a visit to the cavern. He rolled off his socks and folded each of them and placed them in his shoes. He could see the giraffe in the gulley and asked the mother to hold his phone so the light would stay focused on the toy.

They were right. It was dangerous to venture past the railing and negotiate the downwards slope of smooth, wet stone. He lost his balance and fell, but only his dignity was damaged. The gulley was about fifteen feet deep, and he’d slipped only about two feet from the bottom.

The giraffe was lodged into a crevice, but Carter was able to remove it and, as far as he could tell, it had just one minor scratch. He crammed it into his pocket and scrambled back up the slope.

The child hugged his legs so hard that Carter thought he might lose his balance, and the mother gave him a peck on the cheek. What was this strange warm tingling sensation unsettling his insides?

“We need to catch up with the group somehow,” the mother said.

Carter said the child could ride on his shoulders, but the mother would have to alert him when they came to low parts and would have to carry his shoes. He’d go barefoot for safety’s sake.

By the time they got back outside, Carter had a sore head from being pummeled by a wooden giraffe, a stiff back, and cold, wet feet, but he’d made a lifetime friend in Annie.

In fact, Annie became his partner and changed his life.


He was so enormously glad he’d visited Benwick’s Cavern that he had the pamphlet framed.

And the giraffe stood proudly under a glass dome. Carter and his stepson talked to it every day.

Vicky Earle Copyright 2024

Video of Audi's World

I hope you enjoyed this post!

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1 Comment

Mar 08

What a great story!!!

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