Carole was very proud of her skill in riding and her knowledge. She loved it when people asked her questions and she knew the answer. She knew she had a tendency to give them more answer than they might want. It was something her friends liked to tease her about, but she didn’t mind. She still liked just plain knowing.
So now, how were people going to feel about her when they saw that her father, her wonderful father who could do so many other things, was a total ignoramuswhen it came to horses? And how was that going to make Carole feel?
“Dad?” she said, interrupting “Heartbreak Hotel”
“I have a couple of books you might want to look at about horses,” she said.
“That’s okay, sweetheart,” he said. “I’m sure that whatever I need to know, you can tell me.”
Carole sighed. That was what she was afraid of.
A FTER THE MEETING , Lisa’s parents were more enthusiastic than ever about buying a horse for her. Lisa suspected it was because they had seen how few of the riders there actually did own their horses. She didn’t think that was a very good reason for buying a horse, certainly no better than buying one because Veronica diAngelo had one. Still, she herself wanted to own one very much, and as long as her parents wanted to buy a horse, she didn’t really care why.
The very next day, they picked her up after school again. The secretary from the vice-principal’s office had given Lisa a strange look when she’d given her the second note about meeting her parents after school in less than a week, but that was another thing Lisa decided not to worry about.
This time, the farm was really a horse farm, not just a farm with a horse for sale. Lisa liked the place immediately. It had big, airy, light stalls for its horses. They all opened onto individual outdoor paddock areas.Those areas, in turn, opened to a large field. The horses had plenty of room to move, but their movements were controlled. The place seemed like a good combination of stabling and pasturing.
The owner, Mr. Jenrette, greeted the Atwoods. He explained that he’d just acquired a horse, Brinker, as part of a package deal, but he wasn’t a breeding horse so Mr. Jenrette wanted to sell him right away.
“He’s a real beauty,” Mr. Jenrette said. “I know you’ll love him. I’ve already had three other phone calls about him. You’re lucky that you called first.” Mr. Jenrette led them over to the paddock. Brinker was a bay, which meant he was brown with a black mane and tail. Brinker’s nose and ankles were black as well—that was called having black points—and he had a white blaze on his forehead.
Brinker was in his paddock. Lisa approached him slowly. He looked up and walked over toward her. It was as if they were already friends. The horse gazed at her curiously, and she patted his forehead. He seemed to like it, so she did it some more. Then she patted his neck.
“Here are some carrots,” Mr. Jenrette said, offering her a handful. Lisa took one and gave it to Brinker. She loved the sound of a horse crunching on carrots. Brinker loved the carrot.
“He’s not a purebred or anything,” Mr. Jenrette said. “But he’s got good lines. You’ll love riding him for a long time to come.”
“What does that mean?” Mrs. Atwood asked. Lisa explained that calling a horse purebred meant that it was registered as part of a breed, such as Thoroughbred, Arabian, or Quarter Horse. Both of its parents had to be registered and had to have the papers to prove it. It was a guarantee of quality breeding, though not necessarily of a good horse, and it was a guarantee of cost.
“You know something about horses, don’t you?” Mr. Jenrette asked.
“A bit,” Lisa said. “And I read a lot, too.”
“I can tell,” he said. Then he turned to her parents. “So, do you want him?” he asked.
“Oh, I think so,” Mr. Atwood said, and he turned to Lisa for confirmation. “Is this the right