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George runs eagerly to the schoolyard to celebrate the Fourth of July. He is wearing new shoes and can hardly wait to show them to his classmates. George has never before had new shoes and is surprised that his father bought them for him. Shortly after arriving at the school grounds, a few boys invite him to join them. George is pleases to be invited . The boys talk about George’s news shoes and say they are sure his is going to win the foot race. Two of the boys, Calvin and Tom, are the town bullies, and George is surprised that they are being so nice to him. One of the bullies suggests they all have a practice race. George agrees, but as soon as he begins to run, something hard hits his legs and he falls. When he falls, the nickels he is holding fly from his hand. The boys laugh and call him a dumb immigrant. Though he begs for his nickels, they laugh and toss the coins back and forth to each other. George runs from the schoolyard and follows a dry wash (gully) bed back to the family ranch. He climbs a small hill where he can look down at the valley below. As he sobs and prays, his sobs are interrupted by the whinny of a horse. George looks up and sees a herd of wild horses grazing in the valley. He notices a little black horse that seems to be looking right at George. “Are you lonely like me?” Do you need a friend?” George whispers to himself. Instantly the horses begin to gallop away and soon disappear in a nearby canyon. From that day forward, George often thinks about the little black horse. One morning when he hides behind a big rock to watch the wild horses drink at the creek, he does not see the little black horse. A terrible, empty feeling fills his heart. Suddenly, he hears a snorting sound and turning carefully around, he see the beautiful, black horse standing behind him. George and the horse stare quietly at one another until the leader of the herd calls and the little horse races off to join his companions. A few weeks later, George and his brothers are asked help their father’s friends, the Johansens, catch some wild horses. “You’re too young to be catching a wild horse,” his dad warns. “You can only go along to keep the horses from running west.” After the roundup, George looks for the little black horse and sees him walking very slowly and alone toward Coal Canyon. George runs to the canyon and finds the horse standing quietly on a side hill. The horse is exhausted and allows George to herd him down the canyon and into the family corral. With Dad’s help, George trains the little horse, and on his eleventh birthday he rides the horse triumphantly out of the corral. The following year, George rides his horse in the Fourth-of-July horse race. Before the race begins, he sits nervously on his horse. Calvin and Tom Meens point at George and laugh. The race starts and George’s horse runs so fast that George feels like he is flying. When the race ends, George hears a lot of cheering. However, until the mayor runs toward him shouting, “You won,” George doesn’t realize his horse is the winner. That day, George decides to name his horse Little Shot because the mayor says the horse runs like a bullet out of a 30-30 rifle. Winning the horse race was the start of many exciting experiences, challenges and adventures George has with his wonderful horse. The third year of riding Little Shot in the Fourth of July horse race, the running horses are startled when a motor car honks its horn. Frightened, the horses rear and bumped into each other. Angry people shout at the driver. Trying to get away from the commotion, Little Shot runs off the road. Sadly, he bangs his shoulder against a tree. The tree has a limb that has been cut but is sticking out like a knife. The sharp point of the limb stabs Little Shot. Blood immediately oozes out of the horse’s shoulder and down his front leg. In the meantime, another horse has calmed and is running down the
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About the Author
Carol Partner Holmes grew up beneath the Escalante Mountain, which rises high above myriad sandstones formations of white, pink, and orange. While Carol has lived an many areas throughout the United States, she still considers the Escalante Mountain and Bryce Canyon valleys her home. After rearing four children, Carol returned to college at California State University, Bakersfield where she received a bachelor’s degree in communication with emphasis in journalism. In 1999, she began working as a freelance reporter for the Bakersfield Californian, then in 2001 she became the editor of the Tehachapi News. Today she lives in West Virginia with her husband, Bill, and enjoys creating stories based on real-life events.