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U.S. Independence Day
An Unstable Fourth, Part 1



An Unstable Fourth, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.45

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    gelding, headstall, MacCaffrey, shire-cross, unflappable, unstable, venue, beginner, entertainment, determination, yearly, altogether, sneaking, stiff, grudge, strands
     content words:    Ruby Tuesday, Then Terry


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An Unstable Fourth, Part 1
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     Terry worked the stiff, bristle brush over the bay mare's back. He worked quickly but thoroughly. When he was satisfied with the mare's grooming, he picked up her saddle and saddle pad and carefully tacked her up. Gracie was one of the gentlest horses for beginner riders. She deserved to be carefully cared for.
 
2     Terry glanced at his watch. He hoped the others had their horses about ready. The beginning riders' class was supposed to start in another fifteen minutes. He glanced down the stable aisle. His friend, Martin, was saddling the chestnut gelding Ruby Tuesday. Sandy was already leading Hiccup and Samwise out to the arena. Jambo, an unflappable shire-cross, waited patiently in his stall to be led out. He was absently pulling strands of hay from the net when Terry went in to fetch him.
 
3     Terry pulled a couple of pieces of hay from the corner of the horse's mouth and expertly slipped the bit in, pulling the headstall smoothly over the animal's ears. "There's a boy, Jambo," he said, patting the heavy neck and leading him out of the stall. "It's time for you and Gracie to earn your keep."
 
4     Outside, Danny and Ross were touching up sections of the fences with fresh white paint. "It's better to have them out there than in here," said a voice behind him.
 
5     Terry smiled at Sandy. "Yeah, but can Mrs. Mac trust them to even do a good job out there?"
 
6     "I hope so," said Mrs. MacCaffrey after approaching silently. "Still, there isn't much I'd put past either one of them. Perhaps I should separate them."
 
7     "Or just get rid of them altogether," muttered Terry behind his hand to Sandy.
 
8     "What was that, Terry?" asked Mrs. MacCaffrey pointedly.

Paragraphs 9 to 17:
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U.S. Independence Day
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