Cory saw a flush spread from Vee’s collar up along her jawline as her eyes bored into this Gretchen woman. Even Cory knew better than to stick Vee’s nose in the fact that someone else would be riding the horse she fixed and trained for over a year.
Gretchen sighed and shook her head. “Vee, this thing with Angela, I don’t know. You need to move past it. She’s a very successful rider—”
“Because she rides horses other people have brought along and trained? She ruins them, or worse yet, she cripples them. Then what happens? She buys another one. Is that what you wanted for Prophet?”
“What I wanted for Prophet was to be shown.”
Cory noted the emphasis on the word shown and the condescension in Gretchen’s tone.
“And that wasn’t going to happen with you in charge of him, was it, Vee? I was going to judge for myself, but like everyone says about you, you’ve lost—”
“No, you’re right, Gretchen. I wouldn’t have shown him. And that’s the end goal of all of this, isn’t it?” Vee swept her arm out and gestured to the arena, the trailers, the shed row. “That’s what matters, to win at the Garden or at Washington or Tampa. It doesn’t matter what you have to do to the horse to get there, does it? And, hey, if one horse’s spirit is broken pushing him too fast and too soon to the big fences or you cripple him, why, just get another.”
Vee’s voice rose. People watching moved closer.
“Vee, you’ve lost it. So what if we want to have a horse that competes at the big shows? That is the point, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Just because you lost your nerve, you turn on everyone else who’s still out there competing.”
Vee’s fists clenched into tight balls, jammed into the pockets of her coat. Cory had seen her upset, but not like this. She held her breath, wondering what would happen, what she should do if Vee hit Gretchen. The two women stood staring at each other. Vee’s nostrils flared as she took in a deep breath. “You own a one-of-a-kind talented horse. You handed him over to a butcher. You live with it.”
Vee brushed by Gretchen and kept walking to the trailer. Her hand reached up to her eye and brushed something away.
Gretchen called after her, “A bit dramatic, aren’t you, Vee? I guess that hasn’t changed.”
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