Ms. Bianchi, are you ready?” A judge spoke softly into the microphone and Antonia realized that her unsteady mount had taken more than the usual time. She blushed and nodded, then remembered that no one could tell that her head was moving beneath her black velvet helmet and performed the standard salute instead. She reached up to adjust her helmet and breathed in sharply, remembering that Phillip hadn’t been wearing his when he-
The horn blew. Antonia was off. She had done this course enough times with Phillip to know instinctively what to do, and Bruno had ridden it twice today already with other Pleasant Valley Stables students. Still, it was the hardest course at the competition, and Antonia knew she needed to concentrate. Heels down, back straight, bring Bruno into a working trot- her muscles did the motions for her. She trotted once around the course, passing her mother on the way, who stood staring at her from over the fence. Bruno’s steady circle wavered as Antonia’s heartbeat sped up.