Adam let Swag loose in the arena, intending to work on some Dressage moves while at Liberty. But the moment the stallion was loose in the arena he was trotting off to sniff the poles left on the ground from Alex's training session. A three foot six was set up on one side of the arena, so Adam knew one of 'the boys' as Carmen affectionately called them, had been training earlier and left their mess for their female friend to clean up.
Swag spotted the jump from the other side of the arena and his ears pricked. He walked over to it an snorted. Someone had taken some of the English Ivy the climbed up the lattice leading to the bridge and draped it over the poles to create a more intimidating face. Strings of green plant hung lazily of the poles like miniature hammocks.
"It's jump boy. But I don't think you're ready for that quite yet." Adam smiled, patting the horses neck affectionately as he dropped the bars of the jump. Sighing he stepped back and clicked at the stallion. Swag picked up a canter and circled back around the ring until he camp to the jump. His leap was early and awkward, and one of the poles fell from the jump cup. Adam laughed slightly.
"Not a jumper are we?" Adam said as he readjusted the pole. Swag snorted, pawing the ground impatiently. Adam walked over towards the gray intending on slipping his bridle on and working on his trot. But Swag had different ideas. With a snort he spun around on his back legs and charged madly to the other side of the arena. As he drew closer to the jump on the far side he slowly from a headlong gallop into a smooth canter. With the grace of a gazelle running along the savannah and the speed of a deer leaping through the underbrush he cleared the jump by feet.
He galloped away, pulling up to a stop a few meters away and smiling proudly at himself. Adam stood a little lost for words. Oh, yeah, here were a few: Oh my giddy aunt. That horse could jump. Already Adam's mind was racing. They'd have to be careful, bringing him back into his job slowly, but his hock shouldn't bother him with proper care. Adam wondered absently if he'd like cross country.
He got his answer days later, when a loud crash and yelling brought him rushing out of the stall he was cleaning in time to see Swag clear the fence of his pasture. Oh. Holy. Crap.He tried to see what horse was in the next pasture over but it looked empty. Instead, Swag cantered around for a bit, whinnying. After no one answered he contented himself with leaping the fallen logs left from a recent autumn storm. His attempts were just as clean and effortless as the one Adam had seen in the arena and Swag seemed to enjoy having a breeze running through his mane again. After a bit, Ivory trotted out of the trees and herd Swag back to the gate, snapping and biting at him whenever he tried anything.
Adam watched the two horses. Both were unlikely eventers, Ivory a classic baroque horse who just happened to love jumping more than classical dressage, and Swag. The six year old thoroughbred with a hock injury and no training. And then there were their riders... standing over by the fence, laughing at the stallions attempts to control the snarky mare. Yes, Adam had every intend of getting Cain to ride Swag in a couple shows. Adam certainly had no intention of stepping foot outside an arena. At least, on horseback. But Cain... He needed a job to distract him from Shy's untimely demise. And this... this could be perfect.
Of course, after Adam had seen Swag's talent with jumps the next logical step had been to find Swag someone who could teach him Eventing. The three eventers at LRS were special in their own ways. But out of all of them Cain was undoubtedly the most equipped to deal with Swag's situation. The only question that meant Swag was still standing in his stall, bored and untrained, was this: Was Cain ready?
Things had changed a lot in the aftermath of that crash. The old barn had been torn down and the new one was being built. Everyone had collectively decided to start bringing dogs to the barn, as the next step in training their animals. Even the website was going through a makeover. The biggest change of all though was noticeable in the people. Even if you ignored the fact that Cain and Carmen were acting like friends you couldn't ignore the facts that the rest of the barn was... relaxed. Usually the time between explosions everyone at the barn held their breath, betting on how long it would last. Now it was a quiet silence.
Cain was leaning against the back of his chair, his long black hair in his face. If he was completely truthful with himself, he was hiding. From what exactly he wasn't sure. But he was hiding. Everyone seemed to be respecting his space as of late, but he figured that had something to do with Carmen. Carmen. From his window he could see a piece of the cross country course which Carmen had been schooling Ivory over for the past hour. The back of the house lent a view to acres of open fields and behind that a wide forest, like something out of a fairytale.
He pulled himself up and trudged downstairs. He needed company, before he got lost so far inside himself that he couldn't find the surface again. He walked down to the barn, hoping to pass Carmen on the way. When he finally got to the temporary stalls that everyone was housed in Carmen was smiling slightly as she groomed Ivory. She looked... not happy, but content.
"Incoming." He said quietly as he opened Ivory's door and slipped in. The mare whickered at him, pricking her ears forward and stretching her head forward until he stroked her face, his hands brushing over her vibrant eyes.
"Hey pretty girl." He whispered in her ear, picking up a small face curry comb and rubbing it in circles on her wide forehead. The mare relaxed, closing her eyes, her head sagging slightly. Carmen looked over at Cain and ave him a small smile.
"I wanted to talk to you about something." She said, stepping back from Ivory. Cain flinched. Nothing good ever came of anyone saying 'I want to talk to you'. Announcing you needed to talk to someone, instead of just starting the conversation implied a topic that would not be popular and therefore required delicacy. Cain had faith that Carmen could archive the diplomacy to discuss whatever was bothering her. What was wasn't sure of was himself. If he could maintain his carefully constructed wall so that his temper didn't seep through.
"It's nothing big, I just wanted to share something with you." She said, sending him a reassuring smile. He did a slight double take. There was this... fear in her eyes. Just for a second but it was unnerving. Carmen didn't show fear, and in the time Cain had spent with her he'd begun to believe her incapable of the emotion. He was saved by Adam though.
"There you are!" Adam called out. All three occupants of the stall swung their head to look at the intruder. Adam smiled at them through the jail bars and the door. Swag peeked his nose out from behind Adam's head and made a small wuffing sound at his favorite mare. Carmen opened the door and stepped into the isle, Cain at her side.
"Adam." Carmen said, stiffly. Cain almost laughed. If he didn't know better he would say the woman was pissed at Adam. Adam looked at the woman and smiled conspiratorially.
"If you think you can." Adam said, grinning as he deposited the reins of Swag's bridle into Cain's hand. Cain knew what Adam was asking. Ride Swag, train Swag, Show Swag, groom Swag. Cain would, It meant he could stop 'stealing' Ivory from Carmen and let the girl train her own horse for the early winter show. But Swag wasn't his. Swag was Adam's. Swag had chosen Adam, Cain knew and accepted that. But there was a difference between caring for a horse and caring for your horse. Cain caught Carmen's eyes and he sighed. She'd meddled again.
"If you're going to actively become someone who controls my life could you at least screw up once so I can hate you?" Cain grumbled. Carmen just smiled and shook her head, walking back into Ivory's stall and tossing a thick blanket over the mare's body.
"You're a nosy posh brat, you know that?" He called after her before leading Swag to the tack room to retrieve his helmet. Thirty seconds later he stood in front of Black's stall the brutish stallion's bridle over his shoulder, the saddle and girth under his arm. Carmen stopped skipping the stall and looked at Cain.
"Well, you coming?" He asked. Carmen smirked wickedly.
"Give me five minutes." She said, already snatching the grooming tote from out of Cain's hands.