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Meghan felt that the pony was meant for her. Then she went to finish some last minute chores and wait for the ride to begin.

Ann arrived back at the barn as others began to come for the ride. The girls mounted their horses and started out on the trail ride. They were all dressed in layer after layer of clothing, because it was nippy and the air smelled like snow. Meghan just dreamed about the black pony as she walked along on Steppin Out. Meghan wondered what Karen was going to do with her. A week had gone by, and no one had claimed her.

The Christmas Eve ride was great. They all had a merry time. When they returned, they drank hot cocoa heaped with sweet whipped cream and sang Christmas carols.

At about 8:15 p.m., Meghan's mother arrived to pick her up.

"Just let me say goodbye to the pony, Mom," said Meghan. "Would you like to see her?"

"I'd love to. This pony is all I've heard about for the past week," her mother said as she smiled at Karen.

As they came upon the stall, her mother said, "She really is magnificent. No wonder you are so taken with her. I will leave the two of you alone to say your Christmas Eve goodnight."

"Goodnight, sweet girl. I promise I'll come by to see you tomorrow. I couldn't bear not seeing you on Christmas Day."

The pony nickered as Meghan stroked her soft warm face, as if to answer a loving goodnight.


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