Ashleigh #11: Ashleigh's Promise

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Before Thoughbred, Ashleigh Griffen lived at Edgardale, her family's farm in Kentucky. Nothing could be more perfect than life on the farm with her family, her favorite horses, and her best friend, Mona. Ashleigh loves helping with the horses — and dreaming of becoming a jockey someday...

Ashleigh needs help with Promise.

Ashleigh Griffen has a mysterious new neighbor, a teenage boy with a natural talent for ...

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Overview

Before Thoughbred, Ashleigh Griffen lived at Edgardale, her family's farm in Kentucky. Nothing could be more perfect than life on the farm with her family, her favorite horses, and her best friend, Mona. Ashleigh loves helping with the horses — and dreaming of becoming a jockey someday...

Ashleigh needs help with Promise.

Ashleigh Griffen has a mysterious new neighbor, a teenage boy with a natural talent for understanding horses. Ashleigh has watched him work, but the rumors flying around town about the boy keep her from speaking to him.

When Ashleigh bids at auction on a neglected racehorse named Majestic Promise, her parents are furious. Promise is distrustful of humans and in terrible physical shape. Ashleigh knows she can't keep Promise, but if she can win his trust and get him fit again, she can sell him to a loving home.

Ashleigh needs help, and if anyone can help her, her new neighbor can.

"Ashleigh Griffen has a mysterious new neighbor, a teenage boy with a natural talent for understanding horses. Ashleigh has watched him work, but the rumors flying around town about the boy keep her from speaking to him..."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061068270
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Series: Ashleigh Series , #11
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Hurry up, Ashleigh!" Mona Gardener called from outside Edgardale's large brown barn.

Eleven-year-old Ashleigh Griffen snapped her chestnut mare into the crossties and reached for her saddle pad.

"It's not even nine O'clock," she hollered to her best friend. "You're early." Working quickly, she placed the English saddle on her mare's back and tightened the girth, smiling as Stardust bobbed her head and blew through her lips. She looked just as eager to go for a ride as Ashleigh was.

"Open up," Ashleigh said as she slipped the bit into the mare's mouth and pulled the bridle over her ears.

"It's about time" Mona teased when Ashleigh walked Stardust out of the barn. Mona's bay Thoroughbred mare, Frisky, snorted and tugged at the bit. "Looks like the horses are ready to run."

Ashleigh paused by the mounting block and took a deep breath of clean Kentucky air.

"Just think, Mona," she said. "It's only the beginning of July. We've still got a whole summer of riding ahead of us!" She gathered her reins and put her foot into the stirrup. Stardust stepped forward as Ashleigh settled herself into the saddle. "Oh, no, you don't," Ashleigh warned, asking the mare to halt. She waited for several seconds, until she had Stardust's fun attention, then asked for a walk.

Mona rode Frisky alongside Stardust. "Where do you want to go today?" she asked.

Ashleigh shrugged. "We can't be gone very long," she cautioned. "The vet's coming by in a little while to look at Slewette. We weaned her foal a few days ago, but her bag isn't drying up. My dad's afraid she's got an infection, maybe milk fever. Plus we're going to the locallivestock auction today to buy Rory a lamb."

Rory was Ashleigh's six-year-old brother. He'd been begging to go to the auction for weeks.

Mona laughed. "What's he going to do with a lamb?" she asked.

Ashleigh shrugged. "He has a friend in the local livestock club who's going to show his steer at the fairs this summer," she explained. "Rory's been bugging our parents to get him a calf so he can go to the shows, too.

But my mom and dad were worried that a calf might be too much for Rory to handle. They decided a lamb would be just the right size."

"But Ashleigh, Edgardale is a Thoroughbred farm," Mona said with a laugh. "Now you're going to raise sheep?"

Ashleigh chuckled. "It's only one little lamb, and we'll only keep him for a few months. One of the neighbors down the road said he'd buy him at the end of the show season. She reached forward and combed Stardust's mane with her fingers. "Do you want to go to the auction with us?"

Mona nodded. "That would be great. It's always fun to see all the different animals that go through the sale. I'll ask my parents as soon as we get home."

Ashleigh glanced at her watch. It was a few minutes past nine O'clock. "The vet will be here at eleven, and we have to leave for the auction at noon. We'd better get going."

They guided the horses toward the trail, riding down the long, white-fenced paddock that held Edgardale's ten broodmares and their new foals. Moe, Rory's molasses-colored pony, was turned out with the yearlings. Ashleigh laughed as he pinned his ears, warning Go Gen's filly not to get too close to his patch of Kentucky bluegrass.

She turned in the saddle and looked back at her home. Edgardale, with its white two-story farmhouse and old brown broodmare barn, was the perfect place to grow up. They had plenty of grass-covered acres to raise champion Thoroughbred foals, and lots of space to ride. The only thing that would make Edgardale more perfect, Ashleigh thought, was if they owned a racehorse that could run in prestigious races such as the Kentucky Derby or the Breeders' Cup -- a racehorse that Ashleigh could ride and learn how to race on. And when she grew up, she would become a famous jockey. That was her dream.

Ash took one last look at the sleek horses grazing in the fields and turned her attention back to the trail. "How 'bout if we ride to the forest and cut back on the trail that runs along the old logging road?"

Mona nodded. "Great idea. I heard my mom and dad talking about some new neighbors who moved into that area, and I wanted to check them out."

Ashleigh raised her eyebrows in surprise. "We have new neighbors? Which house did they move into?"

"I don't know," Mona said. "My parents were whispering, and I didn't catch everything they said. It was kind of strange. I wonder why they were whispering"

Ashleigh frowned. "Jamie called me yesterday. She and Lynne were at the feed store, and they saw this new kid who's supposed to be going to my sister's school in the fall. Jamie's mother wouldn't let her talk to the guy because she said he got into trouble with the law up north. That's why his family moved here. Do you think he's our new neighbor?"

"Could be," Mona said. "He sounds kind of creepy."

Ashleigh nodded. "Jamie said the boy was with a man who was old enough to be his grandpa, and they were ordering a lot of feed, so they must have horses. She said the boy was kind of scary-looking, though. He was tall and skinny with shaggy brown hair."

Mona grinned. "Sounds Re one of those rock stars Caroline is always going crazy over in those magazines she reads...

Ashleigh #11: Ashleigh's Promise. Copyright © by Joanna Campbell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2001

    A fun read

    Ashleigh finds an underfed, abused Thoroughbred at a local livestock auction and buys it when her parents leave to check on another purchase they made. Her parents are really mad, but they can't turn their backs on the poor horse. Ashleigh needs to nurse Promise back to health and train him so somebody will give him a good home. A mysterious new neighbor boy who's good with horses might be the key to training the head-strong horse.

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