Angela stood outside The Journal’s tent wearing soft gray breeches, even though she was still banned from riding at Maryland horse shows. Cory tried to pull Epi away when Angela spotted them and strode over.
“This is the famous Epiphany, is it not?” Smiling, she looked up at the horse, shading her eyes against the glare.
“Yeah.” Cory looked off toward the secretary’s tent, hoping Jack or Vee would appear.
“Good-looking mare.” Angela ran her hand along Epi’s side, causing the horse’s skin to flinch as if a big bug were crawling along it. “She’s doing well this year, I hear.”
Cory nodded. Over Angela’s shoulder, she saw a group in The Journal’s tent look over her way. Their heads came together momentarily. Nods. Sly smiles.
Angela noticed, too. Her voice rose a bit louder. “So, it’s even more impressive what you’ve done with the mare considering where she came from.” Angela’s eyes darted to the crowd, checking to be sure she had their attention. “Not too many horses go from the kill pen to the Grand Prix circuit, after all.” She gave Epi a resounding slap, smiled toward the crowd outside the tent, and walked off in the opposite direction. She turned back with a little three-finger wave. “Good luck today, hon.” She smiled.
A chill ran down the back of Cory’s arms. Epi lifted her tail and deposited a steaming pile of manure.
“Hey! Get that horse outta here.” A man from the show staff waved at her, his face red. “Horses aren’t allowed in this area.” He pointed at a sign. “Pedestrians only.”
Cory tugged on Epi’s lead and pulled the mare away with her at a run. A dark-haired woman stepped out of the tent and pushed her way through the crowd after her.
“Wait!” she called breathlessly, holding up her press card. “Moriah Hennisey, from The Journal . . .”
Cory looked behind her. The woman, closely followed by a photographer, was headed in her direction. She didn’t want anyone else asking a lot of questions about where they got Epi, and she didn’t need everyone on the show circuit, especially these people, laughing at her and Vee because she was riding a horse that came from a cheap auction. She dived into a dense crowd, which opened up to allow the girl and the big, silver horse to pass, then miraculously closed behind her like the Red Sea, shutting them off from “Moriah of The Journal” and her nosy questions.
At the trailer, Jack lent a hand and soon they had Epi tacked up. Cory mounted and rode into the warm-up area. She tugged at the bottom of her dark gray show coat. It was snug across her chest, but it had never seemed to bother her before. She considered it her lucky coat because it was the one Vee had always worn on the Grand Prix circuit. Besides feeling tight, she now wondered if it was out of style.
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