Sample text for Skye's final test / by Marsha Hubler.
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Grand Rapids, MI 49530
Skye's Final Test
Copyright © 2005 by Marsha Hubler
Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zonderkidz, 5300 Patterson Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hubler, Marsha, 1947-
Skye's final test / Marsha Hubler.- 1st ed.
p. cm. - (Keystone Stables)
Summary: One of the special-needs children riding horses at Keystone Stables during the
summer has Down-syndrome and when his affection for Skye embarrasses her, she begins to
treat him harshly.
ISBN 10: 0-310-70799-4 (softcover)
ISBN 13: 978-0-310-70799-8
[1. Foster home care--Fiction. 2. Down syndrome--Fiction. 3. People with mental disabilities
--Fiction. 4. Horses--Fiction. 5. Christian life--Fiction.] I. Title.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW
INTERNATIONAL VERSION (r). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
Used by permission of Zondervan. All Rights Reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in
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except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Zonderkidz is a trademark of Zondervan.
Special thanks to the Glupker family for use of their ranch.
Interior design: Susan Ambs
Interior illustrations: Lyn Boyer
Art direction: Laura Maitner-Mason
Cover design: Gayle Raymer
Photography: Synergy Photographic
Printed in the United States of America
05 06 07 08/DCI/5 4 3 2 1
Ishould've gone to Aunt Dot's in Charleston for the
summer!" Skye made her point perfectly clear as she
shampooed her horse in the Keystone Stables paddock.
"I'm really not looking forward to a summer with
Joey Klingerman again."
"Well, why didn't you go to Charleston?" Morgan
shot back. "I'm sure Champ would've had a simply marvelous
time here without you." From her wheelchair,
Skye's foster sister busied herself polishing a saddle on a
sawhorse just outside the barn door.
Skye threw her arms around Champ's drenched neck
and clung to him like a wet rag. "But I can't get along without
him, Morgan. Not for a whole summer. I'd just die!"
The sorrel quarter horse nickered and nodded as though
in agreement with Skye's dramatic words.
Skye kissed Champ on the nose and then sighed as she
wiped his neck with a dry cloth. "I know Joey can't help
it that he has Down syndrome, but he just won't leave
me alone. Mom's been helping me to try and understand,
and I found a neat website that explains all about kids like
"And, Skye," Morgan teased, flipping back her long
red locks, "what about Chad? You'd die without him too,
Skye's face flushed red-hot and she giggled. "Cut it
out. You know I'm going nowhere but here for the whole
summer. Mom and Dad need both of us, I guess. And
Chad? Well . . . I . . ."
"Did I hear my name?" A teenager in a dark brown
Stetson, plaid shirt, and jeans led a buckskin horse out of
the barn. "What can I do for you ladies?" Brown eyes
flashed in Skye's direction.
Although Skye was soaked and fairly cool from
Champ's bath, her cheeks flushed hotter than ever. She
threw a quick glance at Chad and returned to her hosing
job. "Oh--ah--nothing," she stammered. "We're just
discussing the summer."
"Yeah," Morgan added, "and all the work that's ahead
"But working with the horses is fun--most of the time."
Skye positioned herself so she could eye Chad.
Chad led the buckskin into the paddock, tied him to
a fence post, and started to brush his shiny tan coat.
"Yeah, even though Mr. C. pays me for helping, it is a
lot of fun. The money goes into my college fund, and
I get to play with horses and kids all summer. Now in
my book that's one super job. Are all the summer
Skye peeked over her horse's withers, watching Chad's
every move. "Yeah. All four of them are here, bag and
baggage. Sorry to say, Mom and Dad picked up Joey at
the bus station right after church."
Leaning over the horse's back, Chad poked back his
Stetson, revealing a clump of blond curls. "Joey
Klingerman's coming again? Why are you sorry?"
"'Cause I have a slight problem with him, that's all,"
she said weakly.
"A problem?" Chad asked.
Ignoring Chad's question, Skye busied herself with
water and bubbles. Me and my big mouth.
"Joey bugs her to death!" Morgan put in her two
Another big mouth! Skye fumed. Shielding herself
behind Champ, she shot a piercing glare at Morgan and
shook her head.
A fake Cheshire grin masked Morgan's freckles. Sorry!
Her lips formed the word as she resumed soaping the
"Joey bugs you?" Chad boomed right behind Skye.
"Yikes!" Skye squeaked as she jumped to attention like
a soldier called to arms.
Chad and Morgan burst out laughing.
Skye faced Chad in mock anger. "Very funny, Chad
Chad's twin dimples highlighted his devilish smile.
"Sorry. Didn't mean to scare you--much."
"Yeah, right!" Skye said. But you can scare me anytime!
Chad picked up a cloth and started drying Champ's
head. "Seriously, what's wrong with Joey? He was here
last year, and I didn't notice any problem with him. He
listened and followed all the rules, as far as I can
That wasn't the problem! Skye didn't need to remind
Morgan leaned forward on the padded saddle seat.
"Well, problem or not, he's up at the house with the
others right now getting the whole nine yards from Mr.
and Mrs. C. 'Do this! Don't do that!' The kids probably
feel like they're in some kind of prison!"
"It mustn't seem like prison to Joey, or he wouldn't
have come back," Chad said.
Skye turned the hose nozzle off and started to dry the
back part of Champ. Out of the corner of her eye, she
watched Chad's every move.
Time to change the subject--and fast, she told herself.
"Well, I sure remember how I felt when I first came here
as a know-it-all foster kid. I thought a straitjacket would
have been better. But it didn't take me long to get used
to all the rules."
"Me neither," Morgan said, relaxing into her chair.
"The cool stuff about bein' a foster kid here far outweighs
"Negatories?" Skye giggled as she slid her fingers
through her long brown hair. "Is that a word?"
"Not sure." Morgan giggled too. "But it sounded
"I think it's 'negatives'!" Chad finished wiping off
the front of Champ. He pulled a hoof pick out of his
back pocket, headed to the buckskin, and lifted one of
its front legs.
He is so-o-o smart! Skye concluded.
"Easy, Bucky," Chad said, carefully examining the
triangular pad on the bottom of the horse's hoof. "We've
gotta clean your frogs out--and good. Skye," he said in
his next breath, "speaking of problems, how'd Bucky's
thrush do over the winter?"
"Every once in a while it'd flare up, especially if we
didn't keep his stall clean and dry. Dad said once a horse
tangles with that nasty infection, he can get it again in a
"Yeah," Morgan said, "I remember when we got him
at auction. Auction horses are risky any way you look
at it. Even then, he had a real bad case of thrush in that
front right hoof."
"And ever since then we've had to keep an eye on it,"
Skye studied Chad as he cleaned both of the horse's
front hooves. "Uh-oh," he said, still bent over with one
hoof resting on his knee, "I think we have a touch of it right
here on each side of this frog, Skye. Come here and look."
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Foster home care -- Fiction.
Down syndrome -- Fiction.
People with mental disabilities -- Fiction.
Horses -- Fiction.
Christian life -- Fiction.