ABOUT THE BOOKNot everything that can be caught by another person is a bad thing. As Jacqui, Geordie and Hannah learn about managing the health of their horses and avoiding contagious germs, they learn that their attitudes can be contagious, too.
When Captain and Jaq fall ill, Jacqui questions what else she can do instead of riding. The timing couldn’t be worse – she needs to practice for her upcoming dressage test.
Unexpectedly finding herself spending time with Jared, Jacqui is surprised when he declares he wants to learn to ride. And he wants her to teach him. Should she say yes?
BOOK EXCERPT FROM CONTAGIOUS—FREE REIN BOOK #6
Jacqui wasn’t sure whether to be surprised by the topic at kid’s church on Sunday or amused. She was starting to realise that anything they discussed could be applied to something going on in her life. She wasn’t sure if this was a coincidence, if it was God, or just to be expected.
“So today we’re going to talk about something that’s extremely contagious. Do we all know what contagious means?” their teacher asked them.
Each of the children nodded their head.
“Great! Give me some examples,” he said, wanting to make sure the word was understood.
“Chicken pox!” one said.
“A virus,” Jacqui called out.
“A cold,” another spoke up.
“All good answers. All horrible things. Can we think of something good that can be contagious?”
This was met by silence. Brian looked around at each and every person sitting before him. He grinned and turned his attention to Jacob.
“Jacob! How are you today?” he asked in a gruff voice.
“Umm… good?” Jacob responded, unsure.
“And what about you, Jacqui?” Brian asked her softly.
“I’m well, thank you,” Jacqui replied just as softly.
“Geordie! How has your week been?” Brian asked cheerfully.
“Great!” Geordie responded enthusiastically.
Brian laughed as the students watched him, confused.
“Did you think I was angry with you when I addressed you, Jacob?”
The young boy shrugged.
“I wasn’t sure why you were upset. I was questioning if it was something to do with me or something else.”
“Did everyone notice that the way I asked the question affected the way each person answered me?” he asked slowly.
As the children thought about this, they started to nod their heads.
“I think I would have answered you in my usual cheery tone,” Geordie argued, causing Brian to laugh.
“Wonderful! And that brings me to a point I’d like us to discuss. Firstly, I’d like to point out that our attitudes can be contagious. It is up to us whether they are good or bad.”
He paused for a second to let everyone think about this.
“Geordie has already told us quite convincingly that she would be happy whether or not I spoke to her nicely,” Brian said with a grin, “and this is a good lesson for us to make note of. People can be fickle. We are happy with God as long as things are going well. As soon as we hit a difficulty, then our attitude turns sour. We think God is angry with us, or we get angry with Him! We need to make sure our attitude is positive even when we’re going through negative things. If we don’t, then we’re likely to affect people in a negative manner.”
Jacqui found herself thinking about Friday afternoon with Jared. After he’d asked her to talk about horses she’d stopped talking. He’d copied her and left her alone. Although she was relieved by this, she wondered if it was her negative attitude toward him that had led him to not talking for the rest of the afternoon.
“You’re quiet,” Geordie observed as they headed out of kid’s church.
“I was just thinking about what Brian said. Because the horses have been sick, I’ve only thought about something contagious being a bad thing. I didn’t really think that I could have a good attitude that other people could catch.”
“Me neither! But I like it. I’m going to test it out.”
Jacqui looked at her friend in surprise, pausing.
“By being really happy around people and seeing if it makes them respond in the same way!” she stated simply.
Jacqui thought about this and smiled.
“It sounds so simple when you put it that way.”
“Isn’t it?” Geordie asked, causing Jacqui to laugh.
“I guess it is that easy. I’ll have to test your theory with Jared, then,” she said before thinking.
She put a hand to her mouth, wishing she hadn’t said anything. Geordie looked at her friend in surprise, a smile making its way across her face slowly.
“There’s a story behind what you just said, I can tell! What happened?”
“Because I can’t ride Jaq at the moment I was helping mum plant some trees after school on Friday. You know how Jared helps mum in the garden on Fridays…” Jacqui prompted, earning a nod from Geordie.
“But I thought that was for the veggie garden?” her friend asked.
“Yeah, but when there isn’t anything to do in the veggie garden mum still sets Jared to work,” Jacqui explained, Geordie grinning at the statement.
“So you were both working with your mum?” Geordie guessed.
“And I think I was rude to Jared. He said I didn’t talk much and then when I didn’t continue a conversation with him… well he ended up really quiet, too.”
Geordie thought about this as they headed towards Jacqui’s parents.
“Well if you think Jared’s quiet because of you, then it’s your turn to ask him a question.”
“Like what?” Jacqui asked as she looked for her parents.
“Like… ‘Hey Jared, do you have a girlfriend?’” Geordie asked, causing Jacqui to look at her in surprise.
Geordie laughed as her friend turned red and looked around warily. Jared had come along to church that morning with his two younger brothers. Jacqui hadn’t seen him since they had gone to kid’s church.
“I was joking, Jacqui. But… he is cute; I wouldn’t be surprised if he did,” Geordie caught her attention again.
Jacqui frowned at her friend.
“Well you’ve just proven your own theory wrong,” the young blonde said to her red headed friend.
“How?” Geordie asked curiously.
“Because you’re being positive while talking and it hasn’t had a positive effect on me,” she responded simply, walking over to her parents.
Geordie laughed and followed her friend.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christine has worked at numerous thoroughbred studs in Australia as well as overseas in Ireland for a breeding season. She then gained experience in a couple of Melbourne based horse riding schools, instructing at a basic level before heading off overseas again, this time to South Africa to spend hours in the saddle of endurance and trail horses on the Wild Coast.
She writes a blog about equine education.
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2017 Interview with Christine
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