• Published 21st Aug 2021
  • 709 Views, 97 Comments

Letting Go Of The Reins - applebatofalltrades

Applejack's rodeo career takes a turn. She must learn to adapt to her new life and the challenges that come with it.

  • ...

Why Intercept

"Say, d'ya wanna check out the stables, cuz?"

Applejack gazed overtop Dory's brilliant near-gold coat at Apple Fritter. With a smile she nodded. "Sure. Might as well come so I can bring the transport myself an' it don't become a problem later."

They ushered the mare into the trailer and made sure she was calm before closing the door with a lock. Dory sputtered as she was left alone, but began to simply paw at the loose hay at her hooves. Applejack grinned and turned to the front of the truck. Apple Fritter did the same on the other side.

"Got the stables all nice an' fixed now?" Applejack asked as she climbed into the driver's seat of the vehicle. It was actually Fritter's car, but she had insisted that Applejack drive due to her better ability. Applejack wondered if that was just an excuse so Fritter wouldn't have to drive, but decided she didn't mind anyway. Apple Fritter climbed in next to her, buckling her seat belt with a click.

"Yup!" Apple Fritter's smile widened even further as she tightened the ribbon that kept her green braids together. "All thanks to y'all. Thanks again, cuz."

With a wave of her hand, Applejack dismissed the grateful sentence. "Nothin' doin', Fritter," Applejack reminded her. "Just what family's for."

Apple Fritter made her gratitude known once more, but soon they were preoccupied with switching between two radio stations as they rode along the highway.

The music clicked back and forth between country rock and folk music, Applejack needing to keep one hand off the wheel just to switch the knob back. She had half a mind to keep her hand there, but decided to just let Fritter keep the station on country rock. It wasn't like Applejack didn't like it. Plus, she could always listen to her preferred genre of music on the way back.

She pulled into that familiar gravel road once more and eased to a slow drive so the transport attached to the car wouldn't bounce and agitate the horse. This time, a cat the colour of a bright bonfire ran across the road, though it was far away enough so that Applejack didn't have to slam on the brakes. She gave out a short chuckle. "Still with the cats?"

Apple Fritter put a hand on her forehead and smiled. "Yeah. Goldie loves her cats, that's for sure, cuz."

Setting the car to park, Applejack continued with the jovial tune of the conversation. The radio clicked off as she took the key out of the ignition. "Does she still want to live in the woods?"

Both girls exited the car. "Hah, yeah. Course, we'd never let 'er. What kinda crazy people would let an old lady live in the woods by herself with cats?"

Laughing about it, Apple Fritter and Applejack took Dory out of the trailer and walked her to the newly renovated stables. Applejack whistled in appreciation. Gone was the old, dingy stable, and in was a new-looking one. In retrospect, she knew it was the same (save for the wood that was replaced) but the fresh coat of paint and new roof job really made it look like something new. Even Dory seemed pleased as she whinnied happily and pranced into her stall.

Apple Fritter's grin grew. She reached out to rub Dory's muzzle. "It's great, right?"

"That doesn't even begin to describe it," Applejack gaped. "I'm real happy for y'all. Are ya gettin' the horses back soon?"

Apple Fritter nodded. "Yeah, Bumpkin and Split went to go get 'em." She snorted a bit. "Split was up all night cryin' about havin' to loan out Theo. Oh, how he loves that horse. But I ain't tell you that, cuz."

Applejack placed her hands on her belt, admiring the fresh coat of paint. "Well, glad to see everythin' holdin' up."

"Strong as the legs on a horse," Apple Fritter replied with a goofy smile. "At least, the ones on your horse. He's got a good pair'a legs under'im, don't he?"

“Just like his owner,” Applejack boasted, though it was a joke. A half joke.

Apple Fritter snorted and rolled her eyes. “Alright, we get it, cuz, you can leg press a bull.”

“Well, I wouldn’t say that,” Applejack shot back with a teasing smirk. “I’m strong, but I ain’t that strong.”

“I know, I know. Just teasin’,” Apple Fritter responded with a stuck out tongue. “Anyway, I’m gonna take Dory out for a ride in a li’l bit. Ya wanna stay for lunch?”

The thought was tempting, but Applejack shook her head. “Can’t. I gotta go grab Apple Bloom from school, then we’re gonna spend some quality sister bondin’ time.”

“Ooh, have fun! Tell Apple Bloom I wish’er the best of luck.”

“Shut up, Fritter.”

“I’ll see you in Appleoosa!”


Days like that always felt like time was being dragged out from under Applejack’s feet. The ride to and from Apple Fritter’s home, and then to and from Apple Bloom’s school already took most of her day out. It was no secret, or surprise, that Applejack often wished there were more hours in the day. She had always heard adults saying that, and she figured that as an adult, it would make sense for her to think so.

Applejack sighed heavily as she finished getting Barley’s saddle off of his barrel and on the hanger. Apple Bloom struggled a bit, but was able to hoist hers up as well. It had been a good session; both horses were now left outside in the field so they could stretch their legs and socialize rather than be cooped up in the stable. Applejack put a hand on Apple Bloom’s shoulder and patted her back. “Good stuff, Bloom. You an’ Megan are really lookin’ good. And yer ropin’s been gettin’ real quick! I don’t think anyone else’s got a chance against you.”

Apple Bloom’s face lit up like a candle. “Thanks! I just wanna get better at barrel racin’ like you,” she admitted. “But I am gettin’ better, I think. Maybe one day I’ll be as good as you are.”

“I’ve got no doubt in my mind, Bloom.” With a smile, she led Apple Bloom out of the stable and toward the house. “I’ll bet you can become even better’n I am.”

“Aw, that ain’t true, sis,” Apple Bloom replied with a soft blush. “You’ll only keep gettin’ better! But I think we’ll both give everyone a run for their money when we get to compete together.”

Applejack ruffled Apple Bloom’s hair, now approaching the house. “You bet we will, Bloom. I’ll train you up real good ‘til then. Still got a few more years ‘til ya move up to my age group.”

As they opened the door, a loud barking interrupted their conversation as Winona ran up to them and jumped on each of them panting heavily. Apple Bloom giggled and bent down to scratch the dog’s head. “Aw, an’ Winona’s been nothin’ but helpful, too! Haven’t you, girl?”

Winona barked and jumped up to lick Apple Bloom’s face in response. Apple Bloom pulled away from the dog and pushed her off. “Ew! Gross! Winnie, I told ya not to do that!”

Applejack rolled her eyes and made her way fully into the house. Winona yipped and followed behind her, leaving Apple Bloom to wipe the sticky dog spit off her face. “C’mon, Bloom,” Applejack called. “Gotta do yer homework, I know ya’ve been havin’ trouble with some of the subjects. Maybe I can help.”

Apple Bloom groaned and shut the door behind her, still wiping her face on her sleeve. “Yeah, mostly math an’ science. I tried to get Mac to help me, but he said he couldn’t remember how to do all the stuff I’m learnin’.”

Taking a seat at the kitchen table, Applejack put a hand on her chin. “I dunno if I’ll remember that much, but it’s only been a year since I graduated, so I hope it’ll come back to me. Then again, I haven’t done any’a that fancy math since I was a junior,” she recalled with a blush.

A thud on the table brought Applejack’s attention back in front of her. Apple Bloom set down her heavy school bag on top and sat next to Applejack, pulling out a pencil from her bag. “I hope you remember, too. Or else I think I’m screwed.”

Snorting, Applejack waited for Apple Bloom to fish out her homework. She gazed at the thick looking math textbook and wondered how they could expect anyone to really remember how to do any of it. “So, whaddya need help with first?”

Apple Bloom opened the book about halfway through and then showed her the questions. “I only got math homework today, so this. It ain’t too hard, but I keep gettin’ em wrong.”

Applejack squinted. She always hated when math had letters thrown into the mix, but if she remembered correctly, these wouldn’t be so hard. “Nothin’ to worry ‘bout. I always had to ask Pa for help when I was your age. Just functions, do ya remember the equation of a line?”

Apple Bloom nodded, writing it down on the paper. Y= mx+b. “Yup. That part’s easy. I just can’t get the graph to look like the one the teacher has.”
The equation in the book was in a different form, which Applejack assumed might have been what was confusing her sister. “How would you go about solvin’ this?”

“Well, I gotta get the equation from standard form to slope y intercept form, right?”

Applejack half shrugged. “Sure, but I think it’s easier if ya do this.” She grabbed the pencil from Apple Bloom and showed her how to find the slope, then the x and y intercepts from the standard form. “From there, ya can graph the first few points usin’ the slope ta help ya. Remember, rise and run like the sun and wind, then yer sure to win,” she told her, repeating the rhyme that her Pa had shown her when she had first been learning.

Apple Bloom took the pencil back and started roughly drawing a graph. She finished it up, then wrote the equation that she had now converted to the form the teacher asked for on top. She looked eagerly at her work. “Oh, that was a lot easier’n what I had been doin’!”

“Now, remember that I basically did half the work for you, Bloom,” Applejack reminded her. “Do the next one on yer own an’ I’ll make sure ya know what’s goin’ on.”

Nodding, Apple Bloom set to work. The next one was a bit more complicated, but with a bit of guidance, she was able to do it mostly on her own. Applejack watched proudly as Apple Bloom started gaining speed and whizzed past her homework with very few complications and less and less interference from Applejack. She certainly picked it up faster than Applejack remembered herself doing, even with her Pa’s help.

After a quick check over Apple Bloom’s work, she confirmed that all her answers were right and Apple Bloom whooped victoriously. Applejack shook her head in amusement, noting that they had just spent an hour and a half doing math equations. Apple Bloom groaned upon discovering this, complaining that she had just wasted her time.

“It ain’t a waste of time if it’s somethin’ important,” Applejack pointed out as she helped Apple Bloom repack her bag. “An’ school’s important.”

With a skeptical raise of her eyebrow, Apple Bloom crossed her arms. “Oh yeah? How many times have ya had to use function equations after high school?”

Applejack scratched the back of her neck sheepishly. “Well…”

“Exactly,” Apple Bloom interrupted.

“Okay, well maybe it’s been a while, but the important thing is that ya need to graduate high school, Bloom. I dunno what ya wanna do once ya grow up, but ya need good marks for whatever ya wanna do,” Applejack explained. “I didn’t go to college or university ‘cause I didn’t have the marks, an’ I wanna stay here on the ranch anyway, but you’re smart, sugarcube. Ya gotta take advantage of that. Even if ya decide ya don’t wanna go to college, I think ya should do well in high school.”

Mulling it over, Apple Bloom sighed. “I guess you’re right, sis. I ain’t that bad at all this stuff once I get a hold of it, an’ I definitely don’t wanna disappoint y’all. Plus, I’d like to go to college. Not sure for what just yet, but I do. Maybe somewhere closeby, though, so we can still compete together.” Her lips curved up into a smile, her entire body perking up. “Hey, ya think we can form a ropin’ duo? Like Betty n’ Appleby!”

“Course we can,” Applejack responded with a quaint smile. Hearing Apple Bloom be so eager to be on a team with her made her glad. She just hoped she still felt that way when she was old enough. “An’ no matter what ya decide to do after high school, all the Apples’ll always have yer back. ‘Specially me, Mac, n’ Granny. Don’t forget it.”

Apple Bloom wrapped her arms around her sister’s waist in a tight hug. “I know, Applejack! Just like we’ll always be there for you and how we’re there for the rest o’ the family.”

Applejack smiled and returned the hug. “Exactly. Family above all else, right Bloom?”

“Right!” Apple Bloom replied with a grin. She finally released Applejack, though kept her arms around her torso and looked up. “I love you sis, I know I don’t say it as much as I oughta, but I do.”

Tears fought behind Applejack’s eyes. She hadn’t been expecting a homework session to turn into something so sweet, yet there she was. Blinking the tears back, she adjusted Apple Bloom’s bow. “I love ya too, Bloom.”

Author's Note:

Never thought I’d write math and turn it into a bonding moment. Anyway, I really gotta speed things up. It’s been too good for too long.

Sidenote, I don’t remember any math. I almost failed last time I had math class.

Side sidenote.... I FINALLY made a cover for this fic. I think it turned out pretty snazzy. If ya wanna check it out in its glory, check it out on Twitter or on Tumblr!

Side side sidenote, sorry I took so long to write this chapter! It actually only took me like two days to write but idk I was just busy the weeks prior lol anyway woo new chapter!