• Member Since 15th May, 2021
  • offline last seen Sunday

applebatofalltrades


home of rodeo applejack

T

Applejack’s rodeo career is one of the brightest and most promising. She’s good enough to go pro, despite her intense rivalry with Strawberry Sunrise. However after her career takes a turn, Applejack sees a lot more of Strawberry than she’d like.

She also reluctantly finds herself wanting to see her more often.


Cover art: made by me! check it out here on Twitter and Tumblr
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Chapters (14)
Comments ( 74 )

10948923
Apple fritter.

God this is like so so good. You already know I'm 100% in on this concept but you paint the setting so incredibly well! I literally want to live here it sounds incredible and so idyllic and peaceful. I suggested the lasso idea as a joke and yet you pulled it off seamlessly here, it's absolutely incredible. The chemistry between Strawberry and Applejack is also incredible, and you're able to use Applejack's emotions as a driving point of the story which works super well here. Loving this so much! They're so gay!

10967723
Ahh well thank you very much Red! I'm glad you're all in for the story and that you think I'm doing a good job with the setting. And I dunno, the lasso idea was pretty amazing which is why I just had to include it. And aaaaa thanks! They really are gay! This comment made me :)))))))

Seriously though, this has been great so far. Your character interactions are all fantastic, especially AJ and Strawberry. God I love them so much.

10968458
hahaha i love that gif
also thank you aaaa that really means a lot. writing believable interactions is hard for me so its nice to hear that you're enjoying :>

Jay I am such an idiot

I was SO excited to read this fic, and I was waiting and waiting and waiting for you to post it - until Red kindly pointed out to me that you had posted it! On an alt that I had somehow missed you announce!! And here I was, waiting around like a sucker for Applejack rodeo shenanigans to come to ME, when I could have gone to THEM all along. The time I've wasted.....

So like. I don't know anything about rodeo as a sport. I know it involves horses and occasionally rope. Post reading this chapter, I know more about rodeo than I ever, and that's pretty awesome. I love love LOVE the rivalry you set up between Applejack's nd Strawberry (and the seeds of drama you've sown? Does Strawberry have an injury she isn't disclosing?). Your voice for Applejack is impeccable, as usual, and your style has managed to engross me in a sport I know diddly-squat about. Impressive? Yes. Surprising? Of course not. That's why I was so goddamn hype to read this.

Speaking of! I'm going to sign off and hit the next chapter >:3

Apple Fritter. Is so good.

I really like the way you've drawn Apple Fritter into the family a little more. As much as the Apple family is presented as this unimaginably large (yet close-knit) unit, the show rarely brings in other Apples, even as one-offs. I love seeing the other Apples brought into these sorts of things and given a bit more of the spotlight :) it makes everything feel even more lively and warm. I also really enjoy the board game sequence. It's just a great device, and again one that not many authors leverage effectively. I can just feel the coziness and the fun in this chapter.

I'm REALLY dying to know where this rivalry is headed. My brain says this is a sports story, and therefore the defeat of the rival will be the ultimate climax... However, my heart says those are some lesbians right there <3 uhu ladies and gaydies let's get queer in here

Either way, I know it's gonna be super fun!! Yay!!! :D

10981252
advsajfsb MUSH i am sobbing thank you for the comment! i didnt know you were interested (or even knew) about my silly little story idea :0 but im glad you liked the first chapter! aaah!!

10981271
The board game sequence was one of, if not my favourite thing I've written so far :)

And as for Fritter, you can definitely thank Red for that one. I wanted a character to show up in one scene but I had so much fun writing her I decided to keep her in cause damn it, the Apples deserve better.

As for where the story is headed? Well... hah. I'm definitely excited for that. I can't wait to get to it cause there's something I've been planning for a while and i think it'll be something that will have a bit of everything >:)

Your comments have literally boosted my serotonin, thanks!

Math bonding? In this economy?

Fantastic chapter! Annnnd I spy more quality horses on the way! As if this couldn't get any better!

10985840
Aaah thank you Red! and yes! there will be some more horses to come >:)

Ah. It’s not everyday you browse through recently updated fics, catch one that sounds interesting, read it on a whim, and then it winds up being as good as you had hoped! But lo and behold you have done it! I went into reading this yesterday aiming to just read chapter one, but this story managed to stick its stirrups into me, and here I am. All chapters read, “read it later” changed to “favorites” (not something I’d normally do with an incomplete fic) and eagerly waiting for more! Good show! And now some thoughts

Please forgive the awkward, rambl-y nature of this. Commenting on stories is something I am woefully out of practice at. This is going to be a bit long so… sorry haha

There’s a lot to like in this story, but I’m going to break it down into three parts. 

First off, every Apple family story lives or dies (at least in my mind) with the family dynamic, and this story does a better job than most at portraying the family in more “real world” situations (farm upkeep and the financial costs/hardships therein, struggling to fit into new environments as well as to forgive and forget, and of course bondage jokes and incessant sexual tension)  while still having the human counterparts of the Apples feel like the characters from the show. Applejack is at her Applehat-y best. Strong-natured, heart of gold, but still with that stubbornness that fleshes her out. As someone who has been put in those situations where bullies from middle or high school transition to genuinely nice people or even friends as time goes by, I can empathize with Applejack. While I didn’t deal with teasing in such tragic circumstances as AJ did, it is difficult to let go of the past. Are their smiles genuine or two-faced? Are the bribes really good-natured or is this start of the cruelty again? I have my own thoughts on Strawberry I’ll save till later, but regardless I understand AJ. Love your characterization of her so far.

But where would AJ be without her family? Well, I love how you have portrayed Apple Bloom, Big Mac, and Granny. You can see why AJ needs each one of them in her life--they’re the pillars that hold her up when she needs a boost and ground her in reality and tells it as it is. While I understand AJ’s doubts with Strawberry, how she’s acting is doing nothing to help anything, and thank goodness Mac and Apple Fritter are there to try to keep her stubbornness from taking over. Likewise, Apple Fritter is an Apple I honestly was not familiar with at all before reading this, but I have decided two things: I love her, and there needs to be more of her. Definitely does a great way of showing how strong the Apples familial bond is. 

Moving onto the second thing, we have Strawberry Sunrise. Strawberry is just wonderful here. I will admit the constant “good-natured” ribbing in her first couple appearances were a little off-putting. I think that works fine because, at the moment, you’re supposed to be in AJ’s boots: completely and utterly annoyed with this chick. Chapter 4 does a great job of showing that good side that Apple Fritter insisted Strawberry has. I think she truly is sorry for what she did to Applejack. I am unsure if we’ll get flashbacks to those bullying days of high school but part of me thinks that AJ might have a small bit of confirmation bias when looking back. Maybe Strawberry made jokes back then to try to lighten the mood, and they wound up backfiring and hurting AJ. Applejack’s anger at this is justified, but I hope we hear more of Strawberry’s side. If you remember that great Nickelodeon show Hey Arnold! You’ll know what I mean when I say Strawberry’s giving me heavy Helga Pitaki vibes. That is a good thing!

The third part which is a bit strange to point out is the description of the story. I don’t know why but I actually like how the short description hangs (Literally if you’re reading on a computer) over the story like a foreboding cloud. Times seem good for AJ right now: she’s got an awesome family, her rodeo career is thriving, and she’s starting to forgive someone who she hates (and maybe start having feelings for in a subconscious sort of way). But sometime in the future there will be an accident that “threatens to permanently end Applejack’s rodeo career.” This adds a small bit of tension to scenes from the action-y ones like Applejack chasing/racing Stawberry to simple tasks like driving to pick up Apple Bloom. “Is the accident about to happen?” you wonder. It has not happened yet, but it will. How will said accident threaten to end AJ’s career? I feel I might have a pretty good idea due to some of the lines in a few chapters. Not going to bluntly say what I think is going to happen but I’ll just say lines like “Applejack’d rather lose her legs than imagine Strawberry actually being nice” makes me think that AJ's walking days may be numbered. :ajsleepy:
Anyway, I have rambled enough. All this adds together to simply say: Great job on this story and I can’t wait to read more! :ajsmug:

10987649
Holy heck. Your comment made me smile so much! I really should check this account more often. I wasn’t expecting to get a really long comment, but it really made my day. I’m glad you enjoyed all these aspects of the story, I’ve been having a lot of fun writing them :>

As for the description, I really need to get the ball rolling haha. I fear I’ve been dragging it out too long but it certainly won’t be long til we get to the meat of the story, so to say. I like your theory. That’s all I will say about that.

Thanks for giving the story a chance and then saying some really nice things about it! All the more incentive to write more frequently :>

10993092
Hey, keep the good words coming and I'll keep commenting. :ajsmug: Though future comments probably won't be quite as long (Had 5 chapters of quality apple to comment on so I might have rambled a bit :applejackconfused:). I would not say it's dragged (you had several characters to establish) but it is good to hear we're not far from the plot ratcheting up. Very curious to see where this goes!

10993657
Aw thanks! Hopefully you’ll continue to enjoy it

Sputtering Applejack is best Applejack.

And after reading this story, I will probably never see the episode with Strawberry Sunrise quite the same way ever again

EDIT: typo

11018512
Hahah! That’s the plan! :>

Great to see this updated! And a good chapter to bring us back into this appley universe. A bit of a set-up chapter more than event heavy as you said, so my comment won't be as long as the last one but I still have some thoughts to share.

The family dynamic is strong as ever. Apple Bloom is, once again, just adorable. Braeburn is a treat as always and it was good to see him! He has a fun dynamic with AJ and Big Mac. I really liked how he is trying to get AJ to come out of her shell a little bit and make some friends. The trip to the bar sounds like a fun time... provided they even make it there. Something tells me we are close to the looming "accident."

As I said great to see this back! Looking forward to future chapters!

11046151
Yay thanks for the comment! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the chapter and the dynamic going on. I will say they do make it to the bar, but whatever happens next happens hehe.
I hope to write some more faster! I kinda pushed on through my twenty pounds of work that I was neglecting so now I think I can manage my time more appropriately to allow me to write some more. Keeps me motivated knowing that there are people looking forward to reading more :>

11047269
I understand. I have a long fic that hasn't been updated in over a year because of work getting in the way.

Ah. Them making it to the bar changes my theory a little. Though I still feel I have a good idea what the end result for AJ will be. We'll see soon, I reckon! Looking forward to it.

New chapter! Huzzah. Lots of good moments in this one, so I guess I'll just go scene by scene.

The start with Braeburn was great. Applejack and him have good chemistry, and no doubt his easy-going way of going about things sits well with AJ. She's all about the adrenaline that comes from racing (a coping mechanism she picked up around Apple Bloom's age if that's around the time her parents died in this universe? Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but AJ seems to take every opportunity she can to ride Barley as fast as she can--even when there's a competition on the horizon and being rested is probably for the best. Also that last line of scene one

“Bad jumpers rely on their arms to balance. Good jumpin’s all in the legs.”

... yeah, this is one of those lines I'm thinking is hinting at something...

Scene two has some nice moments between Mac, Bloom, and AJ. I'm hoping this isn't the last moments of her and AB's happy and wholesome scenes but with the comment about retiring early... yeah... And Big Mac is, once again, the most logical of the family. AJ definitely wore down Barley while racing Braeburn bareback and Mac knew it. Also at the end when AJ and Brae teasing Mac as he walked along behind them towards the competition center, I pictured them they prancing and circling around him on their horses, trolling the poor guy. Might not be an accurate image, but it was a funny image.

Then we have scene three, the competition. I loved the callbacks to the opening chapter with AJ repeating those same calming lines to Barley as they ran the barrels. And Mac was vindicated when AJ got thrown off. Probably shouldn't have worn him down and what a costly mistake. At least she made it out of this spill with all her limbs functional and intact (Well for now...) I'm wondering though if this spill was more serious than let on and AJ's going to do something to make the effects significantly worse. She seems like she's concussed but I'm wondering if the fall did a number on her spine. A bar is probably the last place she should be headed, and combined with her possibly resorting to overdoing her drinking to forget about the fall/blowing her "shot" this coming chapter will probably not be a fun one for AJ. Though if Strawberry shows up maybe she can get some kisses to cheer her up. Though who knows whether that'd lift or sink AJ's spirits further.

So a great chapter and the plot is about to kick in. Brae and AJ and the gang are heading to the bar for... who knows what shenanigans. Will she get to day two of competition? I'm not sure. It sounds like the next chapter is where the shoe drops and the plot hinted at in the description kicks in. And the next chapter title that you said you were considering but decided would be more appropriate next chapter... again I'm curious. Considering where I feel this is heading, I have a feeling like it has something to do with legs, walking or crashing. I just hope Apple Bloom isn't around to witness whatever happens. She's too pure to witness something bad happen to her big sister :applecry:. Guess she's safe if it happens at the bar, but if it happens in the competition...

Anyway I've rambled on long enough. Glad this updated and with the plot ramping up I'm hoping the next chapter isn't too far off. Looking forward regardless! Keep up the great work! :ajsmug:

11065721
Always a pleasure to read your comments and hear your thoughts :)
I really like how introspective you are haha, it’s fun to read how you read between the lines! And I’m not gonna say anything, but I like your predictions haha.

Next chapter is definitely a doozy. I’m definitely really excited to get to upload it. Again, thanks for the comment! It means a lot to me :)

11065822
No problem. Comments are new to me--most of my fimfic career I've been more of a passive reader who reads a lot of horsewords but is too riddled with anxiety to actually comment, so I'm glad they're coming across clear.

Now I just have to wonder in what ways my predictions are correct haha. Hopefully (... maybe not the best choice of words considering said predictions) the answers will become clear soon!

The lean, young man flicked his cigarette between his fingers, then pointed it to the steed. “He’s a horse.”

Hehe, classic Braeburn

3am chapter? That's fine. Let's see if I can get this entire comment typed out before I need to head to work in 30 minutes.

First off, love the chapter title. Splattlejack really should avoid bars when she's trying to forget everything. It seems it only makes her dwell on it more. Something I have a bit too much familiarity with, but this isn't my story. It's AJ's and this chapter was definitely a doozy, so my comment this time is probably gonna be a long one. Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle while the ride is in motion.

So, the Salt Lick Saloon definitely has that southern dive bar feel. While I tend to avoid said bars in favor of breweries, I could definitely recognize the atmosphere of a small town saloon. Braeburn being a player fits him all too well, and I honestly expected AJ to have more passing sightings of him flirting it up with various girls (and maybe some guys; Braeburn doesn't seem the picky type) throughout the night, but this isn't his story, it's AJ's.

And boy howdy, what a night for AJ.

Your portrayl of Applejack's descent into inebriation was very well done. The way time seems to cut at random and she winds up talking to herself is, at least from my own experience, accurate. I made sure to note that simple line of "One Star's pretty good" that she says to herself while sitting alone because I have had similar moments several lonely drinks deep into a night. That's the other thing that stood out about AJ's escapades from a mental standpoint. AJ in this universe is definitely a loner, and this chapter shows it. She's in a crowded bar and yet she is constantly alone, pushing away or walking away from any company she comes across--granted that one guy is definitely one she should push away. I was hoping AJ would actually rip his arm off and start beating him with it, but in her condition, she's probably just wind up splatting earlier than she did. That was a tense moment, and I was honestly scared that guy would be waiting with buddies in the parking lot. Luckily that wasn't the case.

About the only lucky thing in this chapter for AJ.

Fritter seemed to get a lot luckier. I gotta say, in my notes for this chapter (for my comments, I have a notebook out and write stream of consciousness thoughts on each chapter) , I wrote that Rusty Nail was a complete creep at the start. And he definitely seemed a bit pushy to get AJ and Fritter's attention, but as time went on I realized he was probably just a young barkeep working the saloon to make ends meet and pay for college or something rather than just being there to hit on girls. By the end of the chapter, I found myself full on team RustyxFritter--so long as Rusty isn't a slimeball and Strawberry has the wrong read on him but this chapter I found myself trusting Strawberry's read on folks/situations. He probably should have cut AJ off -- I mean, she never even opened a tab for her drinks or paid for them haha-- but his shift was ending soon so he likely just wanted to get through the night with as little drama as possible. Not a fan of him not checking ID's though--always check ID's, Rusty; Fritter could have been a plant to catch you serving minors. I was also really worried when Fritter accepted the whiskey that this chapter would be going in a completely different direction with a much more tragic ending, but it seems she was reasonable and only had one drink. Maybe. Hopefully. Still a single whiskey can do a number on a palate that hasn't built up tolerance. Still, at least she found love.

And speaking of love... Strawberry. The tension between her and AJ is so thick that you could cut through it with a knife. She is at her snarky best here, but not too snarky. In fact, while at first in this story I thought Strawberry couldn't "read the room" at all, this chapter shows that she is quite good at it. She keeps the snarky comments down when she first approaches AJ and while comments like "You got thrown off. Not exactly the right way to beat you" can be interpreted as snark by AJ, they come across as fair and almost an attempt at comforting to me. However, once AJ reveals she dashed off after her fall without getting tended to by medical personnel... this line says it best . “What? Applejack, no offence, but that’s… so stupid.” And really it is. AJ is definitely banged up, and acting up is only going to make it worse for her. But I do love Strawberry and AJ's banter and interactions in this chapter. I look forward to many more interactions between these two in future chapters.

Before I give my ending thoughts, I'd like to take a moment to share, for the first time, a list of "Lines and Thoughts That Probably Won't End Well." In the past, I've noted lines of dialogue or inner monologue that likely hint at where this story is going (at least as far as my predictions) and this chapter had enough that I figured I'd just list them off in one swoop. If anyone has not read this chapter yet... well, why are you in the comments for it :ajsmug: Go and read this awesome chapter, y'all

Lines/Thoughts that Won't End Well
- "I'm just havin' the one... Don't you trust me, cuz?" (though upon completing the chapter, this one might have not ended badly)
- "Ya said you were fine... Ran off before the medics could come check you."
- 'Another drink would help with that.'
- 'Her entire back protested in pain, but she ignored it.'
- "... Acting as if your life is over cause you fell off your stupid horse."
- "it's not like it was the final barrel race ever"
- "It' ain't like I spend my time sitting on my a** on a chair all day."

Those last three definitely have that foreboding feel, alongside AJ's soreness, lack of focus, sudden numbness in her legs/difficulty balancing. With a hangover being likely in her future morning and that determination to win the next day's contests to make up for her fall/show up Strawberry cause she can't let her win, I feel that the previous chapter's fall will not be her last. And this coming one, I don't think she will be getting up from anytime soon. While that final line might not be true in the bar, it might be true soon. And then Strawberry's line of "Last time I try to help you" will probably be proven wrong as well.

And that's my thoughts. Took more like an hour to get them typed out than 30 minutes, but I wanted to type them out while they were fresh in my mind. Luckily won't make me late for work. Great job as always! Hoping the next chapter will be ready by next week as well. This feels like a "Part I" with a "Part II" following soon behind. Feel free to give me a shout if you need anything. Will next chapter be "Applejack Goes Splat Part II"? I guess we'll see soon. :ajsmug:

P.S One noted typo: You have "blond ]e" typed out near the start of the chapter rather than "blonde" Also there are a couple times early in Fritter and AJ's convo with Rusty that Fritter is called Strawberry. That's all I noticed. Great job again!!!

11074955
Aahh thank you for the comment once again!
I really enjoyed this particular comment because your thoughts are pretty amazing haha. I enjoy seeing some of the stuff you manage to notice, it makes me glad I put it in.

I will keep this brief so I don’t say too much, but heheh so interesting... your thoughts... they’re good.

I can’t to get the next chapter up cause I especially wanna know what you'll say about that one :P

Thanks again :D

11075236
So tempting to ask how my thoughts are good as far as the future of the fic is concerned, but I'll be good. That way I can yell "No, AJ, you idiot!" in various ways in real time with everyone else haha. Looking forward to it! The story's finally getting rolling and I'm excited to see where it goes. Hopefully next time I won't try and rush out a comment and leave said comment riddled with typos. Even now, I'm finding ones I need to fix heh.

11075726
Haha, you’ll just have to wait and see I suppose. Even I find myself yelling about how much of an idiot AJ can be and I’m the one writing this!
And hey, typos are fine. I mean, you pointed out a few I had made that I somehow didn’t catch (which I fixed, so thank you so much for pointing out my stupidity haha).

Interesting story. Added to my read list. :twilightsmile:

Finally here. Ya had me thinkin' the last chapter was going to be the one, what with the chapter title and all that, but damn, you got me good there. I guess we finally move on to what would be the next arc of the story. I'll be waiting for the next chapter.

Posting chapters at 2am again? It's like you want me to be late for work or something :twilightsheepish: Well, this time around I was able to get it read earlier at least. Now instead of a half-hour window to type out a novel-length comment, I have an hour window to say all that I'd like to say. And, boy howdy, do I have a lot to say about this chapter.

So, typically, I take notes as I read through the chapter the first time to get my spur-of-the-moment thoughts and organize any comments in an understandable way. While I was able to take plenty of notes for the first few scenes, I must admit my comments on the final scene of the chapter will probably be a bit muddled just 'cause the story sunk its spurs deep enough that I read the final 2,000 words or so without lifting my pen. That's when you know a story's good; when it grips you hard enough that you watch thousands of words play out without realizing how much scrolling you've actually done.

Now onto my thoughts.

Upon completing the chapter, I skimmed through it once again (and will no doubt listen to it on the long commute to work to see if I notice anything I missed), and that made a lot of the earlier moments in the chapter hit harder. First, I like how AJ doesn't really remember the night before. Honestly, I'm shocked AJ didn't come to with her stomach being pumped after all the booze she consumed. It does suck that she doesn't remember the conversation she had with Strawberry all that well--despite the ending of last chapter, I felt that there were some moments where AJ was starting to warm up to Strawberry a little, but with the blackout ending to the night, it's gone straight back to. "Well, Strawberry was involved so obviously things sucked." I'm sure they'll have some future talks that don't get forgotten, but those will take a while for a multitude of reasons which I'll get to later when I get to the end of this way-too-long comment.

I both loved and hated the scenes with the Apple family both during and after Apple Bloom's victory. Loved because of how well-done the sibling and familial bonds carry out, and hated because... well, they were present when AJ falls at the end of the chapter so... not really the "Best Day Ever" for Apple Bloom and company. Lots of lines sprinkled thorugh that, with the ending in mind, hit a lot harder. Instead of listing them off one-by-one and making this comment longer than Project Horizons, I'll point out my favorite of these moments. Loved the symbolism of Applejack sitting in the stands while the rest of the family stands near the railing to cheer on Apple Bloom. That was some good visualization of the future. To what extent it's symbolic --i.e. literal vs figurative-- is one of dozen things that are going to keep me reined into this story (that and your great portrayal of AJ). Honestly, Apple Bloom's excitement and joy hurts to think back to because all those potentially good memories of the day were no doubt tarnished at the end. I have some more of my trademark silly predictions later on in this comment but we're still a ways from those yet.

First we have to get to "that" ending. First off: called it :ajsmug: The accident didn't fully happen like I expected it to, but I feel this was the perfect way for things to happen. Honestly, I was scared that Barley would be involved in AJ getting hurt--just to add more baggage--but it's definitely better that it wasn't Barley. And you played the whole scene out perfectly. The tension from AJ resting up before the competition all the way to her eyes closing were engrossing enough that I felt like I was watching it play out. I loved how you sprinkled in a bit of Apple family history (AB's age when her parents died. That in itself confirmed a prediction I haven't gone fully in depth over, but will no doubt go into in the future. Bronc riding, while I have no experience with, is by all accounts extremely intense. Each buck is felt by the rider and each toss seems like the one that will throw them off. I was amazed, given her hungover and bruised condition, that AJ was able to get 8 seconds in--essentially winning the competition. Which makes the price she pays hit even harder.

This is when I'll get into spoilers so anyone who hasn't read the entire chapter stop here. Now, I'll get into the final moments of the chapter. The reveal of Applejack's paralysis (well, potential paralysis. Nothing has been confirmed per se) is done very well. A lesser writer would have made the scene melodramatic with screaming and cliche lines, but how you wrote it feels so... real. AJ being more interested in the scoring and wanting to get up (after all, she told Bloom that you always get up when you fall) than listening to the medic's advice after her fall. Then, when she realizes she can't get up, the imagery of shock... you can almost feel AJ's heart racing as she realizes something's very wrong with her legs. Though she can't focus on that. Or anything. A great portrayal of shock.

Of course this chapter led to many thoughts and/or predictions on my part as always. This will be long, but as always my head is full of thoughts and questions I need to let out. First off, despite AJ getting literally crippled, I found myself worried about how this accident might cripple Apple Bloom from a mental standpoint. Having her get that offer to join the best rodeo prospect team in the country only to witness her sister's career potentially end not an hour later was just cruel (though a great way of adding weight to the later moments). There's so many ways this can go. Will this accident shatter Bloom's desire to compete in rodeo? I don't know if I see her moving to Manehattan now both due to financial means related to AJ's injury as well as not wanting to leave her sister to deal with all this without her. I could see AJ insisting she go, but likewise... going back to the symbolism I pointed to earlier of AJ sitting back while the rest of the family stands at the fence... I wonder if AJ will start resenting Bloom if she does go forward with the offer. It wouldn't be fair to AJ to hold such a thing against Bloom, but I could see AJ feeling this way. It's why I adore how you write Applejack: she feels like a real person--warts and all.

One thing I noted that does worry me a bit as far as AJ's mental state is concerned is that brief moment of her taking over the counter painkillers midway through the chapter. We already saw last chapter how AJ will turn to vices to numb and forget about her pain. While I'm not sure exactly how dark this story is going to get, I do worry that AJ might turn to those vices after what happened and possibly descend quite deeply into them. Someone may need to pull her out of that. And that somebody will likely be.... Strawberry!

I can see Strawberry feeling a mix of guilt and anger at AJ at first after all that's happened. Anger because AJ is being stupid again. And possibly guilt because I could see her wonder if her pushing Applejack played a part in leading to AJ's spinal injury. I'm curious how soon after all this Strawberry will appear and try to comfort AJ through this like the description suggests. I think she is just what AJ needs now, personally. Her family will no doubt provide love and comfort to her, but with this AJ... I could see her become extremely despondent, distant, and depressed after this fall. Understandably so. Depending on the prognosis of her injury (i.e. likelihood of recovery; we don't know yet if AJ's SCI is complete or incomplete), I could see AJ refuse to even partake in physical therapy. Her career may be over. To AJ, it probably already is in her mind. And Strawberry while sweet and comforting, will also likely be the first to get tough love with AJ over all this and pull her kicking (well... AJ can't really kick anymore) and screaming out of the dark.

I do wonder what Aj's career prospects are after this. Regardless of the severity of her injury, her riding days might not be over. There's a movie on Netflix (at least here in the States) about a rodeo star who suffers a similar injury but is able to compete in specialized rodeo events with a custom saddle. She could also become a cheerleader for Bloom. Or she could make a solid enough recovery to be able to complete fully again, though that last one is, in my mind at least, the least likely to occur. Really, at the moment, I'm not sure how well I expect AJ to recover from this physically. I guess we've got a ways to go to see if AJ ends this fic walking or in a wheelchair. Either way, I think Strawberry and her family will be able to help her through it and I look forward to the ride.

Great ending of this arc. While I'd love to see the story continue soon due to the sorta cliffhanger ending, I also feel that you've earned a rest. Three chapters (including the longest one yet), combined with finals... yeah, you deserve a break :ajsmug: Wherever this goes, I'm glad that I can tag along for the ride. While it took awhile to get there (and honestly I can't think of any moments where the fic dragged all that much, so there's no issue there), it's finally--as you said--where it's supposed to be, and I can't wait to read more!

Only real noted POSSIBLE typo that might be worth checking out that I noticed on the first read through is that Toola Roola's time in the barrel race is faster than Apple Bloom's. This was a bit confusing as Bloom one the competition, but at the same time I'm not sure if the scoring of barrel racing in this particular competition was based off one time or an average of multiple times.

Also, love the art. So serene, peaceful. The exact opposite of where the next few chapters will likely be, haha

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I punk’d ya! But yes we are finally here :> Hopefully the wait won’t be too long, I’ll have a lot of time on my hands for a lil bit, just gotta get some other things done first.


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Ah, always a pleasure to see your essays in my comment section haha! Literally the highlight of my morning today. I’m glad this chapter was able to hook ya there at the end, I was actually very unsure of it when I wrote it and almost deleted that entire section and started over but I couldn’t even think of a better way to write it so haha it’s good that it worked I suppose! Y’know it’s actually quite... I dunno, quite amazing that you read this story with such fervour haha. I thought nobody aside from a few of my friends was gonna end up reading it so its always a cool moment to see you so interested!

Yeah, was very cruel of me to have some great stuff happen to Apple Bloom (by the way to address what you mentioned at the very end of your comment, I think I must have gotten their times mixed up while writing because in the very brief notes I wrote before writing the chapter, their times are switched so I’ll have to fix that now thank you for pointing it out) only to have literally the worst thing ever happen at the end. And yes you did call it! Haha I was actually kind of worried that it’d be a letdown to have the thing you were predicting actually happen but judging by your reaction I think it turned out fine.

Y’know, from the very beginning I was kind of distraught about how to have Applejack’s accident happen. I actually considered having Barley be a part of it for a really long time, but I decided against it for some reasons that I’ll get to eventually. And I have so many notes for the Apple family as a whole in this fic I don’t even think I’ll get to use, but yeah there’s definitely gonna be some more hints of stuff that happened in the past throughout because I like writing like that :P. I almost had AJ fall off right before the 8 seconds were up but I figured she needed at least one win in writing that weekend... But was it worth it? I mean, just ‘cause she got the 8 seconds don’t mean she won... Heh.

I am so glad you thought that final scene went off well. As I mentioned in the author’s note, that was particularly hard cause, well, it’s not like i’ve ever been paralyzed (thank god), so I had to do a lot of reading and googling (and I still have like 4 relevant tabs open) as well as watch a lot of bronc riding wrecks to make sure what I wanted to happen was at least a bit realistic. I definitely know what you mean, and it’s very kind of you to insinuate that I’m a good writer!

I’ll definitely get to Apple Bloom and her offer very soon, and what AJ has to think about that. I really enjoy writing Applejack in general (not just in this fic) because I feel like she’s the most... realistic of them all. Plus, I like giving her flaws ‘cause she’s a person, too. So it makes me real happy to hear that you think the way I write her is good! And about her little coping mechanisms, well, I write things for a reason. We’ll see how that goes. I have a tendency to write things to a kind of dark low point, and I’ll try to avoid doing that too much in this story, but honestly I can’t make any promises. Though, AJ has lots of support so not to worry. And Strawberry definitely will have a more prominent role starting sometime soon. Very excited for that.

Oh and do you mean Walk, Ride, Rodeo? If you do, I actually saw that movie the other day while stumbling around trying to find something to watch :O. Netfix somehow knows about this fic. They HAVE to. It might be one of my favourite movies ever now lmao, I can’t believe the absolute willpower that some people have. I was actually looking into people who have gone through similar things, so Amberley Snyder was definitely a gem to research on, but I was also looking into people like Braxton Nielsen and J.R Vezain (who actually was one of the bigger inspirations for what happened here, plus he has an amazing story). I already know what’s in the future for Applejack, but obviously I won’t disclose any details. I love to hear your little theories, they’re actually like, the best part of uploading chapters haha!

And yeah, I accidentally mixed up their times while riding. I’ll get to fixing that now along with another typo someone pointed out to me. And don’t worry, I don’t plan to break from this for too long! Just a week or so at most, then I’ll actually get back to writing. I’ll have lots of free time once finals are up! Thanks for your kind words bout the art, I hope i made up for the absolute buffoonery that I just put AJ through :> Thanks for tagging along for the ride

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I tend to read to help wake my brain up in the morning, so whenever a story in my faves updates, well, what better way to spend the morning with some coffee. I suppose the timing of the updates just works perfectly with my somewhat-odd schedule. Probably also explains why my comments are so in-depth; I kinda, sorta chose this fic (after gaining interest in it while browsing randomly a while back) as a way to get over some of my anxieties about expressing my thoughts, and it's helped a lot! I hope to move on to commenting more on other stories. Maybe I'll be leaving an essay or two in the comments of one of the fics on your main soon :ajsmug: It's also helping my speed as a typer a little typing these essays.

Yes, that was the exact movie I was referring to. I haven't heard the stories of those other two, so I might need to look into them since they were an inspiration.

I don't wanna leave two essays under the same chapter so I'm gonna stop here before I start rambling again haha. As I said, I still need to work on making my comments more concise and read less like "Apple Bloom having another cutie mark-related rambling". Looking forward to the ride again.

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Hey well I think your comments are pretty great! I’m glad you chose this fic hah. Its been a real pleasure, and heh I dunno why the prospect of you reading my other stuffs makes me so nervous :P but it’d definitely be a real honour

And hey, if you’re interested in Vezain’s story, there’s this little mini-documentary type interview about him called The Will To Walk. It’s really quite amazing. And here’s one about Nielsen that’s also prettt amazing.

Reins and 3 AM updates. Name a more iconic duo!

Really happy to see this updated. Felt nice being able to step back into this universe, even if just briefly, today. Luckily that means my comment this time will be shorter than my usual essays.

I liked being able to take a peek inside another character's head. I'm always a sucker for multiple points of view (probably comes from reading waaaaay too many epic fantasy novels), so getting a short excerpt from Bloom' point of view was nice. I'm curious if we'll be seeing more points of view besides Applejack's in the future as well. Still Applejack's story of course, but other viewpoints always add extra layers of flavor to any story (with all their history, some Strawberry POV in the future would be nice. There's so much of her side of the story of her and Applejack' rivalry I'm curious about)

Poor Bloom though. :applecry: I wanted to reach through the screen and give her a hug. Feels like the conflict of the next arc being set up with her wondering if she should take the rodeo school's offer or stay at the farm with her family--especially if AJ's injury is as severe as it seemed at the end of the last chapter. It'll be tough when Bloom has to inevitably make that decision. And I'll probably find myself wanting to reach through the screen and give her another hug.

As I said, glad to see some new Reins. Looking forward to the new arc! :ajsmug:

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Heh it’s nice to be back for sure. I’m not exactly certain when the next chapter will be ‘cause of school but I mean it’s not like I can’t make time to write >:)

I was planning to have this chapter be a thing since the beginning, and I had some similar things planned, so to satiate your curiosity... yes, there will be some more alternate POV chapters in the future. I enjoy reading multiple POV stories as well, so I like to work it in where I can.

Apple Bloom definitely needs a hug. There are a lot of things I have planned for this next arc coming up, so I am super excited to get to that, but yeah. Definitely gonna be some hugs that are going need to be given out.

As always, thank you for the comment :) See you soon, I hope.

Hey, new chapter. I probably won't be able to give the usual essay on account of feeling a little under the weather, but I must keep up with traditions.

So we've caught up with AJ and things... don't seem to be going so well, obviously. It seems like AJ's in a bit of a war inside herself at moments throughout this chapter, stuck between wanting to break and wanting to hold strong as always. So far the latter is winning, as is to be expected; AJ's a tough girl. But, to answer the question from the author's note, I definitely see her cracking a bit, especially if the physical therapy doesn't go as swimmingly as she hopes or her prospects for recovery are (unfortunately) as dreary as Dr. Steady implies they could be (I'm so used to stories like this where a character is told they'll probably "never walk again" ending with the character walking, but what if this isn't one of those? I'm sure that AJ can power through but man that'd be a tough pill to swallow for her)

The big questions now is, when that break happens, will Applejack be able to climb out? Probably so, with the help of her family and a certain smartmouthed redhead, but something tells me things are gonna be pretty painful in various meanings of the word for AJ in the coming chapters.

(*looks up what hung up means in rodeo terminology* Huh. Interesting. Yeah... that title is fitting, as from this chapter on for several more I have no doubt AJ's gonna fill like she's being flung around out of control by a raging bull)

I liked the little detail of Applejack's mother's ring being almost like a security blanket for her. Wasn't sure where that would fit in this comment so I figured I'd note it here.

Sad we won't be seeing much Strawberry--though much implies we might get a small scene. Haha, what can I say I'm a hopeless romantic. I'm wondering who this "someone else" in the hospital is. I'll keep my guesses to myself for the moment.

Hey, no worries about updates! School comes first, and I know firsthand the challenges of finding time and energy to write under those conditions--both in the past from the student side and currently from the teacher side of the desk. I'd very much be interested in seeing this teaser art you mentioned though... I like teasers, I like your art style, and I like AJ, so of course in my mind it would be worth sharing hehheh.

Great as always. Sorry I couldn't be as in depth as in the past--damn these allergies. Just stay safe and sane out there, mate! I'll be here with (hopefully) an essay at the ready when the next chapter comes :ajsmug:

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Hah, it makes me laugh that you apologize for not being so in-depth, but you still churned out a long comment which i appreciate! Sorry you’re not feeling so well right now though, that really sucks.

Yeah, things aren’t that great for her here, and obviously it won’t be any better any time soon, but Applejack’s tough, as you said. I hope that the way this plays out will be... well... A novel experience that will be enjoyable :P. Regardless, AJ is as AJ does. She’s lucky she has such a great support system, even if she doesn’t want to admit it. They’ll definitely come in handy.

Yeah, there’s a few things that I wanna focus on in the next couple of chapters, and by things I mean things. There’s some merit in assigning emotional value to objects, and AJ’s mother’s ring is one of those things that she occasionally interacts with in the story, but as we see here, it’s definitely something really important to her. It’s the kind of thing that is so subtly there, but she can’t really live without it. As you said, it’s a security blanket, and somewhat of an emotional crutch for her to lean on at times.

Oh and Strawberry. Yeah, we won’t see her much for a lil bit, but it’s all part of my master plan. Have to make way for this newcomer, am I right? I’m really excited for that specific plot point to kick up. I made a really messy timeline of the events that roughly happen in this act and let me tell you, there’s gonna be some stuff going on but I think the payoff will be worth it. I’d like to hear your guesses eventually, though. You make pretty good guesses.

And yeah haha I’m currently a few days into very limited sleep and will definitely have to stay up once more tonight but hey... That just means I got more time to write while I take a break from assignments. It’s cool that you’re a teacher! I always find it kind of... I dunno, daunting when like people with actual respectable careers look at my things haha. I’m just a little guy! I’ll share that art sometime before next chapter, though. Maybe I’ll do it sooner rather than later though in a blog post :P

And hey, no worries. This comment is really good! No need to be sorry. I hope your allergies get better soon. See ya next chapter!

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I swear, that comment felt shorter than it was. Then again, going off my own stories, pacing has never been my strong suit haha.

A novel experience, hm? Most interesting... :trixieshiftright: But I'll keep that particular prediction to myself for the moment. Usually takes me a few chaps to formulate my theories/predictions anyway (though I have one prediction forming as I type this... though I won't say it yet :p), but trust me you will hear some whether you want to or not haha. Might even have a few this morning :ajsmug:

Like the things that will be focused on. I have at least one guess that I feel confident in there. Outside of the ring, I'm gonna go ahead and throw a hat in the ring and say... well, AJ's hat. That having an emotional value seems very obvious. The interesting thing is, going off of the interlude, it's an interesting thing in that it seems to hold significant emotional value to two characters--AJ because it symbolizes her tough, hardworking cowgirl side (and maybe is an heirloom from her dad..?), but it also seems to hold value to Bloom as it signifies her sister's "work hard and never give up" mentality. I have a few predictions on the direction this might go that I won't go into too much (at least in the comments section; if need be, I can move my endless theorizing in the future to private messages as those comments tend to be... even more long-winded than last night and this morning's), but I definitely feel there will be "feels" in the future, especially with the mixture of AJ's life-altering injury and Bloom's impending decision on whether to join the rodeo team. I do wonder what other things may be possible, if there are others.

You have me very interested in this newcomer. At first, I was thinking this would be a cameo type role but now I'm thinking it's a much more significant role. That makes me wonder who they are and what effect they will have on AJ. I don't have any guesses for that right now, but in the future I may. As I said, it takes a few chapters for me to start formulating ideas/guesses, and where the story is, there are so many side roads it could take... definitely makes the future exciting!

Sleep, silly. Writing can wait. Knock on wood, so long as nothing happens to me I'll be here ready to read.

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Haha well like I said, I always enjoy hearing your theories. Yeah, I mean there’s definitely something to be said about AJ’s hat. Isn’t there always? And hey, if you want to comment your predictions, feel free! But if you’d prefer to stick em in my DMs, that works too. I just love hearing them regardless haha! Feels is right, there will be feels. I love writing feels :)

There is going to be a cameo type character that honestly I’m going to include solely as kind of a shout out to my friends, but this newcomer is kind of a big part in this act, at least for part of it. Actually, it’s the reason I had to write down the timeline because things get really messy. That’s all I’ll say about that.

And yeah haha hopefully I’ll get my sleep fixed up this or next week. I just had a rough couple of weeks recently and got ... really behind.

Your writing is always something I can't stop reading more of once I start, these two chapters just flew by on account of how fun and real they felt! It's really addictive that way! Moreover, it wasn't so much like I was reading the start of a longfic, rather, it was like I was peering into a window of the Apple family in their day-to-day just as the chain reaction of events happened to create the underlying plot of the story began. I love how you describe the little character actions of Applejack, like her doing her routine before the rodeo show because if she didn't it wouldn't go right.

The way she peeked through the planks of wood at Strawberry, the way you describe Applejack's family play Sorry and swear around Applejack. More than that, I want to highlight something that might go unnoticed by other readers. It's often said that actions speak louder than words, and in that sense, the way you wrote Applejack is incredibly strong. Even though she hates Strawberry, she lets her keep her horse at her farm, and I'd imagine care for it. When Apple Fritter speaks about her financial problem, her first thought is to relieve the burden, and then she goes further to provide her with a ride, but then unflinchingly lets her stay in her room when that plan changes. She even lets Fritter use her phone and spare toothbrush. And while you accomplish this beautiful, charming image of family life, you also hit the reader with a blunt, sudden hit about Applejack's dead parents. The bluntness with that implies two things: Applejack is hurting and not being subtle about it, and that she's been carrying this weight while simultaneously managing the long list of duties she has as a farmer, as a rodeo performer, and as a firm, helpful hand to her family. Even though she's got immense weight on her shoulders, she'll also bear the weight of others on her back too. It's wordless, but it's fantastic all the same.

Monumental work, Jay! I can't wait to read this whole thing!

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Ruby…. your comments….. never fail to disappoint….. seriously, you manage to lift my spirits instantly with every passing word. yeah, applejack is real selfless here, and i am glad that it reads that way. theres a lot of stuff to explore and a lot of stuff to touch on again in later chapters and even now as im writing that thought always remains. i take a lot of creative liberties with applejacks character in this story, but at her core, shes still that stubborn, prideful, selfless person she is in canon. or at least, i try to keep her that way. i hope you like fritter, she shows up a whole bunch

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That phrase... "Never fail to disappoint".
How is it being used in a positive context?
I am very confused.

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