By Xaltatun of Acheron (A pseudonym)

This work is copyright 2000 by Xaltatun of Acheron (A Pseudonym). It may be posted on the Internet to any free forum, provided it is not modified in any way, and provided that this notice is included in its entirety. It may not be sold, or included in any compilation that is sold, or posted on any forum that requires a fee for access, without my written permission. My permission will require payment, terms to be negotiated. For purposes of this notice, sites guarded by Adult Check or similar packages are considered pay sites. Posting on any site must include this copyright notice.

Adult Content Warning - this story contains adult themes, including non-consensual bondage/slavery and forced sexual acts. If you are under the lawful age for such materials (18 in most jurisdictions) or if you would find such material offensive, please go elsewhere.

This is one of twelve stories in the series entitled “Ponygirl Transformation.” I may write others later, but twelve is it for now.

1. Ponygirl Finds Her Place

2. Kinder and Gentler

3. The Sorceress’ Apprentice

4. Raw Material

5. Ponygirl by Choice

6. The Politics of Ponygirls

7. Ponygirls on Vacation

8. Bluebird Grows Up

9. Unregistered Ponygirls

10. Suzie’s Ponygirl

11. Driver

12. PonyGIRL?

Acknowledgements. The setting and several of the characters are taken from two works by Sir Thomas (A pseudonym). “Adventures on the Hoof” and “Ponygirls, Inc” are both copyright by the Academy Club. Used by permission of Sir Thomas. These works are commercially available, and should not be on any web site on the internet, except for a short excerpt on Sir Jeff’s ponygirl web site. They may be ordered in the US from Quality SM, and in the UK from the Academy Club.

The character of the lobo-ra has been changed substantially. This is partially to motivate the biotechnology theme beginning in Sorceress’ Apprentice, and partially for other reasons.

In neither case should you infer anything about the prior stories from this one. The authors named above have substantially different objectives for their stories.

There are a number of hidden references throughout to obscure (and some not so obscure) science fiction and fantasy stories. This is a game that some authors play. Should you care to look, have fun finding them.

Safety Warning. This story may contain descriptions of practices that are decidedly unsafe, either in general, or if performed by someone without adequate training. There are a number of good books available on safety in the BDSM scene. Most large cities, and some not so large ones, have organized BDSM groups that will usually welcome a newcomer. I’m not going to point out which practices are safe, and which aren’t. Any practice is unsafe if performed by someone with inadequate training and experience, or if performed when not paying attention. Please think before you act. Don’t make yourself a candidate for a Darwin award.

OK - now on to the story -------

Chapter 1. A Bit of a Disagreement

“Timmy. How many times do I have to tell you that you can’t become a ponygirl? That’s just crazy!” I looked at my son in exasperation. He looked back at me likewise. At 5’10, close cropped sandy hair, blue eyes and a wiry build, he looks like a normal boy just turned 18. Except. His voice hadn’t really changed. He had no interest in girls. And the only way you could get him into any sport was in front of a shotgun.

“Maybe until I believe you and go crazy?” He wasn’t giving an inch.

“Look, idiot. It’s ponyGIRL. Look at yourself in a mirror sometime.”

“I should have been a girl. How many times do I have to tell you that?”

“Well, you aren’t. You’re going to the men’s trainer school when it starts. Get used to it.”

“NO I’M NOT. And if you try to get a security goon to make me go, guess who’s going to follow him?” He flounced out.

Only boy I ever knew who could flounce decently. That was one of the few ways he behaved like a girl. He didn’t like shopping, and pretty clothes bored him. And he didn’t do housework, either. Not that I could blame him for that. The pressure to be more of a boy from his friends must have been incredible.

Trouble is, he was right. If he refused, and I forced the issue, Alice would be on my case. And there was no way I wanted to deal with the Sorceress.

Much as it stuck in my craw, asking for help was marginally better than having it forced down my throat. I reached for the cell phone.

Chapter 2. Counseling

The counselor’s offices were in with the rest of services. The receptionist was a plump little brunette. “Hi, Mrs. Stevens. You’re right on time. They can see you now.” She waved at the wood paneled door that said “Katie Smyth, Counselor.”

They? I had a bad feeling about this. I twisted the doorknob and pushed.

At first glance, it looked like a comfortable little room, just right for a chat. A couple of small couches, a lightly stuffed chair, a desk, a couple of lamps, bookcases, flowers. The usual. Katie was sitting in the chair.

The redhead on the couch was the last person I wanted to see. The Sorceress is only about 5’6”, but her reputation is about 10’11”. If she was here for a first meeting, something was drastically wrong. The other woman on the couch looked vaguely familiar. The pony cut and her size said she was an active ponygirl. The fact she was here said she was probably with Leprechaun Genetics. The bad feeling intensified.

Alice opened it. “I expect you’re wondering why I’m here.”

“I screwed up?”

“Only by not yelling for help sooner. Don’t feel too bad about that. It took me a long time to realize that finding an expert when I was out of my depth was the only policy that worked. It took even longer to recognize when I was out of my depth. That’s why I brought Black ThunderBolt along.”

“So Timmy isn’t normal?”

Katie said, “Well, normal isn’t a word I like to use a lot. It brings up abnormal, and that gets in the way of defining the situation, and figuring out what to do about it.”

“Riiiggghhttt.” I can recognize the lead-in to bad news when I hear it. “So, what’s up?”

Black ThunderBolt said, “Let’s follow up that notion of ‘normal.’ You can think of sex and gender as a lot of switches and dials. There isn’t one ‘standard’ configuration. There isn’t even one ‘standard’ configuration for what we think of as male or female. But there is a recognizable pattern for each. Also for the recognized variations, like sissy or tomboy or gay or lesbian. There are also a number of other clusters that don’t have names.”

“Huh?” Now I was both confused and intrigued.

“In your son’s case, it looks like the switches and dials were set by an overly creative two year old. There’s some of this and some of that. I have to give him high marks for how well he’s integrated the resulting hodge-podge.”

“The tip of the iceberg is that he thinks he should have been a woman,” she continued. “There’s a small section that is responsible for sexual identity. In his case, it is saying, ‘I’m a woman.’ Whenever he looks down, he sees a penis. This is a major conflict.”

“I thought he was just being difficult when he told me that.”

“Well, it certainly could seem that way. You’re both fairly dominant, and you do get into power struggles. He’s been telling you this for what? Ten years?”

“About that.”

Katie weighed in, “that’s a major conflict. Most people with that kind of conflict seek a sex change. We could do that. We could regenerate the brain structure so it says, “I’m male”. Or we could let it alone. It’s really his choice, and I expect he’s made up his mind.”

“He’s certainly seems to. He’s been saying he wants to become a ponygirl.”

“Which implies that he wants a sex change,” the Thunderbolt said. “We could do that. The thing to realize is that the male to female sex change program is still being modified each time it’s used. We’ve gotten about a dozen a year for the last decade. Each time we use it is a bit of an adventure. What this means is that if he does that, he gets what we can deliver. We can’t do designer sex changes yet.”

“What about changing him into a more normal male?” I was grasping at straws.

“The female to male sex change program is still highly experimental. If he really, really wanted it, we’d do it. One of us would have to monitor it, and we’d probably wind up doing substantial fixes on the fly. Don’t think that is an imposition on our time. At this stage, we’d have to do the same for each subject. And we do have to get the program working, sooner or later.”

“So, do we have to do the ponygirl thing if we change him into a woman?”

“It’s not absolutely necessary,” Alice said. “But if we didn’t, he couldn’t stay here. Much as I’ve grown to like this place over the past years, it’s got its problems. I have the impression he’s holding his situation together by pure force of personality driven by desperation. Adding the social reaction to a sex change would probably drive him over the edge. He wouldn’t be able to stay here.”

“The ponygirl solution solves a number of problems,” the Sorceress continued. “For one thing, it has the behavioral retraining all set up. For another, she would be leaving. Even if we did her as a community trainee, she’d be placed with one of the owners, not here. And if she had any idea of staying, not doing her stint as a ponygirl and trainer would simply make the social reaction worse.”

“What’s the next step?”

“Well, that depends on him. I’ve left word with Orientation Planning that if he shows up demanding to be made a ponygirl; they should do it. Otherwise, tell him that he’s going to get his wish, he just has to talk to one of the counselors first so we know exactly what he has in mind.”

“That’s awfully ... fast.”

“Well, I am known as a high handed bitch, right?”

We all laughed.

Chapter 3. Talk

Shit. Why couldn’t mom see reason? I knew I made a real poor excuse for a guy, even if I did have a dick instead of tits. But no, she knew what she knew, and nobody was going to change her mind for her.

I laughed. That made two of us. Well, one of us was going to have to break the impasse.

Now that I was out of my funk, I could pay a bit of attention to where I was going. The tunnel entrance to the main dome was just ahead, framed in marble, lights going off into the distance. I fell in behind a pony going clip clop, her legs moving in a perfect march step, the muscles of her ass cheeks expanding and contracting, her tail swaying slightly side to side in time with her rhythm. The lobo-ra in the saddle was gently swaying, keeping counter time to maintain balance. At 2’6”, the lobo-ra wasn’t much heavier than a field pack.

That tail was fascinating. I’d seen ponygirls all my life, but up until a year or so ago their tails had been attached to the ass plugs. Then they suddenly switched to being attached to the tailbone, where they belonged. Recently, I’d even seen a couple swishing their tails.

The latest version of tail seemed to be a compromise between a monkey’s tail and a horse’s tail. It came down to just about the floor behind her. The top was adorned with long, thick blonde hair that matched the pony’s mane. The hair got progressively shorter the farther down the tail, until it ended just about where the actual tail ended. The end of the tail had short blonde fur, although you had to look closely to see it.

I’d heard rumors about that new style tail. It was supposed to be prehensile, just like a monkey’s. It was also supposed to be detachable. How Leprechaun Genetics did that was totally beyond me; I had enough trouble with the computer system. I’d also heard rumors that it had almost caused a revolution. The conservatives wanted a real pony’s tail. The ponygirls weren’t going to put up with anything that affected their ability to take their days off and vacations. It seemed that one of the geneticists had a thing about tails, and had done some incredible things to make it work.

Was that going to be me in a few weeks? That was what I had just told mom I wanted. I needed to think. The main dome opened out in front of me, fake sunlight bright on the buildings. When they put it in, the shadows had confused everyone for a couple of weeks; I’d lived my entire life without seeing a moving shadow on a building. Sunlight just seemed so much more cheerful.

The track complex was done up in light brown sandstone, just a two story blank fašade. I hung a right on the street, and went into the stands. Today, there were rows of empty yellow seats; people didn’t usually come out to watch practice. I found a place, and plopped my butt in the seat.

Practice looked more disorganized than it was. One end had a starting line. Ponies marched up and knelt on the line. CRAAAK. The starters pistol boomed. Up they came, driving forward for a few steps. Then they stopped, circled back, and came up to the line again. Lobo-ra would pull them out, move their limbs around, and then put them back on the line.

The other end had a finish line. They’d get the ponies lined up down the track, and start them off. They crossed the line, and then turned left to the judge’s stand. Back, and repeat. The lobo-ra pulling them out and moving them around. Sometimes they were pulling the drivers out and moving them around.

Well, time to think. The options seemed clear enough. Either I could swallow my pride, and be miserable the rest of my life, a woman trapped in a man’s body, or I could get someone to turn me into a real woman. I’d heard references on shows, but mom kept insisting that I was nuts to even think about it. If I got someone to turn me into a woman, then what?

Back and forth, back and forth, just like those ponies being trained on the starting line. I felt like the donkey caught between two haystacks. I could be miserable one way, or I could be miserable the other way. The story never said how the donkey got a bite to eat. He always died of starvation.

When I came up for air again, there was a woman sitting next to me. Leather jacket. Leather skirt. Boots. Red belt. Oh, shit. She was one of the senior trainers.

“Hi, Timmy. I think you need to talk to me.”

I’m still not sure how it happened. I started spilling my guts. Then she held me while I sobbed for a while. When I came up again, the fake sun had moved against the cavern roof. I was feeling, well, empty. Like something that had been there hurting for a long time was gone. A missing tooth. A hole where something familiar used to be.

“So. I think you’ve got some questions.”

“Huh? What?” Not very original.

She laughed. “Well, let me cover the options. I’m afraid this is going to be a bit of a lecture. First, you still feel like a woman in a man’s body. Correct?”

I checked. “Yes.”

“Thought so. That’s due to a little chunk of brain that got built for a woman, not for a man. So it keeps telling you “I’m a woman,” and you can look down and see a penis. Not a real fun conflict, right?”

“No fun at all.” She really understood.

“You need to make a set of decisions. There are layers. On the first layer, we can change you into a woman. We can change that chunk of brain tissue so it thinks you are a man. Maybe. Or we can ignore the problem, and let you continue being miserable. Questions so far?”

“You can make me quit thinking I’m a woman? But you’re not sure?”

“Well, yes. The male to female program is real stable. They don’t have the female to male program working. Yet. And the brain change is part of that. So it’s real experimental. If you feel like taking a chance, go for it.”

“So what you’re saying is that the sex change is the best shot for happiness? But once I’m a woman, I can’t back out? What if I don’t like it?”

“Certainly seems like it. You may or may not be able to back out. Depends on whether they get female to male working. Don’t plan on it in the near future. As far as liking it, you won’t have much of a choice there. We fix all of those pesky little brain areas that define sex and gender instincts so they match. So you’ll be comfortable.”

“So my becoming a ponygirl is ok?”

“I assume that means you want the sex change. Remember I said there were layers? We can do the sex change without putting you in the ponygirl program. That’s done all the time on the outside. But.”

“Uh, but?”

“Yes. Leprechaun Genetics can wave their magic wand, and you’ll change sex. It starts in a day, and takes about three months for all the changes to finish. However. That won’t teach you how to live as a woman. It also won’t adjust everyone around you to accept it. And you’ll have to pay for it.”

“On the other hand, the ponygirl program will be a bed of roses. Thorns included. If you tried to enter it from outside, we’d reject you. The sex change will go to the passive end of tomboy, so the athletics will be taken care of, but you’re simply not the type to enjoy the level of submission required.”

“I’d been wondering. It sure didn’t look all that attractive, it just looked like the only available option.”

“Well, you could handle the community trainee program. Two years and then come out wouldn’t be much worse than what you’ve been going through. Facing a lifetime of that, no way. You’d bolt the first chance you got. And in the trainee program, you’d still face the adjustment problems.”

“Looks like a miserable set of options.”

“Exactly. There’s one option that’s less miserable. We’ve got a few owners that are intrigued by owning a ponygirl that used to be a stallion. And one owner that might accept you as a community trainee, so you could bail out and come back here at the end of two years. The others would want a solid commitment for a number of years. In any case, they would handle the how to live as a woman issues, and the acceptance issue simply doesn’t exist if you don’t come back.”

Sigh. “Lets set up the ponygirl solution. Not coming back sounds best.”

“Sure. That’s probably the best resolution for you. It’s certainly the easiest for us.”

“Let’s do it.” She got up, and I followed. If I ever saw this stadium again, it would be from the track below.

Chapter 4. Orientation.

This time we went toward the warehouse tunnel. It was the same as any other tunnel, square, fluorescents in the ceiling. Two beefy guards standing behind a desk built into a niche in the wall. The elevator doors opened and she pushed a destination. Creak. This needed maintenance. The doors opened onto another corridor. It stretched off into the distance. We headed down it. “Orientation 1.” The next door was “Orientation 2.” Then “Orientation 3.” The light spilled out of the next door onto the floor.

“We go in here.” I went.

The stand dominated the room. Well, probably not, it wasn’t that big. But it sure seemed to. It was just a four foot square leather covered platform on casters with a metal pole sticking up out of the center. There were two men and two women in the room.

One of the men said, “Oh, hey. A stallion. We don’t get a whole lot of them.”

The other guy said, “Ok, kid. Arms out and hold them there.”

I stuck my arms out. He unbuckled my belt and took it off. Then he picked up a rectangular leather thing with straps and rings from the table.

“Pull in your stomach.” I pulled in my stomach, while he wrapped it around my waist and fastened the straps. Snick. The other guy had fastened some kind of cuff on my right wrist. Snick. Another one on my left wrist.

“Hands behind you, now. That’s a good girl. Oops, you’re still a boy.” The other guy chuckled. “Not for long.”

I stuck my hands behind me. He moved them around, snick, snick. One of them was welded to the belt. Another two snicks and the other one couldn’t move.

“Get on the platform, back to the pole.” I got. “Now, squat.” I squatted. He did something behind me.

“That’s about right. Now put your weight on your left leg, and bring your right leg back. Knee on the platform. That’s right.”

I felt him take my shoe and sock off. Snick. I felt something cool on my ankle. An experimental wiggle showed it only had a little slack.

“Now the other leg. That’s a good boy.” He’d remembered this time. He took my other shoe and sock off. Snick. I definitely wasn’t going anywhere.

“OK, Molly. He’s all yours.”

“Thanks, Dave. Kelly, you do this one.”

The younger woman walked over. “Would you like some water?”

I was parched. “Yes, please.”

She got a plastic cup and straw from the table, and held it to my mouth. God, that felt good. I hadn’t realized how much time I had spent since breakfast.


“No, thanks.”

She unclipped a wand like thing with a handle from her belt. “You know what this is, right?”

“Yes, it’s the hypersonic prod.” I eyed it very cautiously. I’d seen it used on ponygirls. They didn’t seem like they enjoyed the experience.

“You need to know what it feels like.” A low buzzing filled the room. “This is level one.” She ran it down my arm.

“Yipe. That smarts.”

“Well, it’s supposed to. It’s not a punishment, it’s simply to attract your attention to what you’re supposed to be doing.” The buzzing increased to a whine. “This is level two.” She ran it down my leg.

It felt like liquid fire. YAAAAAAHHHH! I screamed.

“I’m sorry I had to do that, but you do need to know how it feels. That’s a punishment.”

I looked at that rod with a lot more respect. I didn’t want that repeated.

The whine increased again. “This is level three. I’m not going to demonstrate; it will just about send you into convulsions. Understand?”

“Yes.” I’m afraid I was beginning to be scared.

“The next step is to gag you.” She looked behind me.

Molly said, “Go ahead and give him the option. He’s been good.”

“At this point, I can give you an option. Once I gag you, you will not talk for the next two to four months. In fact, you won’t talk at all in pony mode as long as you remain here. If you promise me to be good, I can leave the gag off until the end. OK?”

“I’ll be good. I’d like a couple more minutes of talk time.”

“Then the next step is to take off your clothes.” She held up a tool. “Dressmaker’s powered sheers. Works wonders.”

Kelly pulled my pants out from under the leather belt. She worked the sheers cautiously up my leg from the bottom, all the way to the top of my pants. Then she did the other side. The front part fell down and she pulled it out from under my knees and tossed it into a wastebasket. Then she pulled the back part from between me and the pole, and tossed it out.

“Damn.” My shorts were dangling from one side. Another pass of the sheers, and they fell off.

She pulled my shirt out. Another four passes of the sheers, and it was history. Or maybe it was material for rag rugs.

“Well, kid, your ear tags are next.” She picked up a swab, and proceeded to massage some red stuff onto my earlobes. “Antibiotic.”

“Hold still, this is going to hurt.” So saying, she waved a punch like instrument in front of my ears.

“Yeeeouch.” That did hurt.

“Well, let’s finish it up.” She picked up some little metal things from the table, and proceeded to stick them in my ears. “Now to clamp them.” So saying, she picked up another tool, and squeezed. My earlobes now felt pressured.

“Now, let’s see. Some decoration. How about pearl earrings?” She picked up a pair of little pearl earrings, and popped them in.

Next was a red ball and a bunch of leather straps. “Well, kid. Talk time is over.” She held it in front of my mouth. Well, I’d asked for it. Open wide. God, did that feel huge. She buckled the straps behind me and under my chin.

“Headrest.” She held up what looked like a dentist’s headrest and a bolt. Clank. It was now attached to the pole behind me. “Head back, that’s a good girl.” I let my head settle back. She did something behind me. Suddenly, I couldn’t move my head; my bridle had been attached to the headrest.

Kelly turned to the table again. Then she twirled, blackness billowing out in front of her. “Bye-bye,” she said, as darkness settled.

Chapter 5. First lessons.

The blanket muffled corridor noises, but didn’t eliminate them. The clip-clop of horseshoes, occasional muttered phrases, the tic-tic of spike heels, and the rumble and squeak of carts came and went. Suddenly I felt myself jerk into motion. Someone was pushing my stand.

I was pulled against my waistband a number of times. We turned, and we went up and down elevators. Eventually, the stand stopped, and stayed stopped. I could hear the tic-tic of spike heels, and the low murmur of voices as people moved around me.

“Let’s get started.” I heard that fairly clearly. Then the blanket came up and over, and got tossed somewhere. I blinked. The first sight of the corner between the back wall and the ceiling wasn’t all that enlightening. I brought my eyes down, and saw the same woman I had talked to in the stands, not that many hours ago.

“Introductions first. I’m Linda. You’re pony. You don’t have a name until we give you one.” That shook me a moment. I wasn’t Timothy any more? Then I giggled, which isn’t all that easy when you’re gagged. It came out more like a snort. Timothy wasn’t a girl’s name; of course it had to change.

Tammy was a medium tall brunette with a pageboy bob. She was my trainer. Dina was a slightly taller blonde who wore her hair loose to the bottom of her shoulders. Alex was a stocky blonde with a puckish smile. Jeff was another brunette with a buzz cut. Pete was the token redhead.

Tammy said, “Boots next.” Jeff grabbed a short chain with two cuffs, and wrapped it between my legs, just above the knee. Click. Click. My ankles were free. Tammy pulled the bolt on my headrest, and my head came up. Then Alex and Pete grabbed me by the shoulders and waist, picked me up and set me face down on the mat.

The pulled my legs up at the knee, and stuffed my feet into the boots. That was a real stretch; my feet didn’t want to bend that far until they massaged them a bit. Zip. Click. My calves were now encased in a stretchy tightness. Then I got swung around again and set on my feet.

I almost didn’t stay there. “Pretend you’re on tip-toes.” I tried it, and it worked. I was more or less stable. Tammy had me walk back and forth for a little while, until I got the hang of staying on my toes, and letting the clip-clop of the horseshoes handle things. A tick of heels meant I was doing it wrong.

“Next lesson,” Linda said. “You know the foot taping code, right?”

I tapped my right hoof twice, and almost fell over. “Pay attention to your balance, pony! Again.”

This time I shifted balance. It still wasn’t good, but at least I didn’t fall over. The next half hour was confusing, to say the least. She worked me on foot tapping. I already knew foot tapping, but she worked me on it anyway. Somewhere in there, she had me tapping without asking a question. Then my head quit nodding. By the end, I was just standing aside, and feeling my foot do its thing as she asked questions. And I was feeling enormously good about the entire thing.

“Chair next,” Tammy said. I could feel my foot do three taps for NO. Scree SCREEEE WHIIINNNEEE! A prod swiftly made its way to level 3.

“Is that a balk?” Tammy said, a little too sweetly.

I heard the triple clop-clop-clop for another no. I walked to the chair, turned around, and sat down. I suppose I was scared shitless; in any case I let go as soon as I was seated. That’s not as strange as it sounds; the chair was actually a fully functional toilet, and I hadn’t gone for several hours.

Alex and Jeff came up on the sides, and tied my arms and legs to the arms and legs of the chair. When they were done, I had about an inch of movement. Tammy was behind Jeff, getting the reins set to her satisfaction. When she was done, she clipped them to my bridle.

She held up a funnel with a tail. “You know what this is, right?” My clip-clop was kind of hesitant. I hadn’t been around ponygirls all that much; we couldn’t afford one of our own, and mother didn’t want to go in with several other families to get one jointly. So I really didn’t know the routine.

“It’s called the funnel. This is how you are fed. I attach it to your bridle like so.” She inserted the tail into my ball gag. My eyes threatened to cross; the thing gave new meaning to “in your face.”

She held up a bottle of white goop. “This is mash. It’s a perfectly balanced mixture of everything the active ponygirl needs to keep going practically forever. It even tastes good; we use it for snacks when we’re too busy to take a break. It’s all you will eat. Staff varies the taste. Today’s is prime rib.”

She held up a bottle of brown goop. “This is slop. It’s the same as mash, except that it’s got a taste only a masochist could love. It’s used as a punishment for talking out of turn.”

“You know what the rule is on talking, right?” Another hesitant clip-clop.

“Basically, it’s NO. As in never, or not even if all hell freezes over. Understand?”

This time the clip-clop was definite.

“I’m going to expand on that. No talking applies to pony mode. You’re not going to get to girl mode for a while. And your owner can let you do anything he wants. Linda can tell you to talk if she wants. But if you even think of talking at one of us, you get fed slop. Got it?”

Clip-Clop. I got it.

“One more clue. She’s going to set it up so you can’t talk in pony mode. So there’s no real reason to give you a taste of this stuff when you won’t be able to violate the talk rule. But remember one thing. Linda is not God. Neither is Alice. If you really, truly want to find out what slop tastes like, you’ll find a way around her programming. It’s possible. It’s even been done. The ponies that did it regretted it. Got it?”

Another Clip-Clop. I got it.

“Then we won’t need this.” She handed the bottle back to Alex.

“Now to feed you.” She poured some mash in the funnel up to one of the marks on the side. “Twelve ounces. You’re still a stallion, you might finish that much. Now, suck on it.”

I sucked on it. After a while, I got the trick, and some squirted into my mouth. It did taste like prime rib.

They left, and a door came up out of the floor. I saw a naked young man tied to a chair, with a funnel stuck in his mouth. I lay back, and sucked on my mash.

About the time I finished, the door came down and Alex walked in.

“All done, kid?”

Clip Clop. It was kind of obvious. He splashed in a couple of ounces of water, and I sucked it down. Then he removed the funnel.

He set a switch. A display sprang to life. It said 80:00.

“Now, here’s the drill. Bring your head up. Good. Now I’m going to put this little headrest in behind it.” He moved my head. “You’ve got about an inch of slack. If you go to sleep, your head will fall forward, and it will tug on the reins. Then you get a shock that will wake you up.” He shoved my head forward. OUTCH. That stung.

“That’s the shock. It’s not very much, but it will keep you awake. You may or may not spend the full eighty hours in here. When you come out, you’re going to be the most obedient pony that ever existed. Got it?”

I tapped yes.

He left. The mirror came up, and I watched the clock as it said 79:59.

I won’t say it was the worst experience of my life. At some point, bad goes off the scale, and then it just joins the rest of the worst experiences. The first few hours weren’t too bad. I found myself drifting off, and I caught myself. Time passed. Slowly. I nodded off a few times, and I got shocked for it. My arms started aching, and I couldn’t move them enough to flex them.

I even found the space I had been in at the end of the foot tapping. That was real nice; I was totally unaware of time passing. But I still drifted off. And my muscles still kept cramping.

At around the five hour mark, someone I hadn’t seen before came in and swung the little headrest out of the way, and fed me. He came back in fifteen minutes, took the funnel off, and put the little headrest back. By the time the clock had counted down to 70:00, I was beginning to hallucinate. At 65:00, I was having real problems. My entire world had shrunk to staying awake.

Then Tammy and Linda came in.

“Are you going to be the most obedient pony I’ve ever seen?”

That clop-clop had the sound of desperation in it.

“If you so much as think of misbehaving, you’re going to be back here for the full eighty hours. Got it?”

I managed to respond again. She threw the arming switch so the chair was off.

“When we release you, you’re going to go to the grooming room on your hands and knees. Understand?”

I managed another yes.

They untied me. I practically fell onto the floor. “Hands and knees, remember?” I scrambled up on them, and started crawling.

“I’m going to take that bridle off, but I’m going to leave the ball in your mouth. Keep it there. You will really regret it if you drop it. Go to the shower, and wash down. Soap and washcloths are in the cabinet. Stay on your hands and knees or sit. Don’t stand.” The showerhead was only four feet off the floor. I turned it on, and washed.

“Over here. Stay on your hands and knees, stretch out.” She dried me off with terrycloth towels. “Crawl to the mat, and lie down, spread eagle.”

“In a moment, you’re going to drop that ball into my hand. Then I’m going to replace it. If I hear one sound, you’re going to find out what slop tastes like. Understand?”

I tapped twice. She held out her hand. I shoved the ball out with my tongue. She picked up a ball on a strap, put it into my mouth, and buckled the strap behind me. Then she put my arms into an arm binder, and my legs into a single boot arrangement. She bent my legs up my back, and hooked the feet to the gloves. Then she added four straps to keep me on the mat. For a final touch, she put a hood on me, and put a pillow under my head. The lights went out, and I followed.

Chapter 6. Day 2. Grooming.

I woke up to the feeling of my legs being moved. “Spread those legs out a bit,” Tammy said. I did. Then she took the arm binder off. “Arms out, spread eagle.” Yesterday was coming back. I moved my arms. “I’m going to take the strap off. Hold the ball in your mouth, or you’ll really regret it.” I tapped my foot. The lights came back on.

“Hands and knees, crawl into the grooming room,” she said.

I scrambled to hands and knees and crawled forward. “Up on the toilet. Get it out. Keep that ball in your mouth.” I got up. It was a good thing she reminded me. My penis was gone! So were my balls. Pissing felt different. “Wipe from the front.” That felt different too.

“Back down on hands and knees. Ass over the bowl, back straight. Good girl. You may not like this next part. Tough, just get to like it, it’s part of your morning routine.”

I felt her finger on my asshole, and then something slid in. Water gurgled as it filled me. I’d had an enema before, so it wasn’t entirely a new experience. She slid the nozzle out. “Hold it.”

I held it, teeth and asshole clenched tight. “Let it go.” Oops. I almost dropped the ball. The water rushed out, mixed with turds.

“Shower next.” I crawled to the shower area, and started in. Gobs of hair came off the side of my head. What little body hair I had came off, too.

“Kneel in front of me. Good girl.” She took a hair drier to my hair, my armpits and my newly remodeled crotch. Then she got the rest of me with large, fluffy towels. She took her time and made it a most sensuous experience. I’d never known that being dried off could feel this good.

Finally, it was over. “Crawl onto the mat, spread eagle.” I headed to the mat on hands and knees. She pulled each of my legs up, and installed the boots. “Legs together and up a couple.” I brought my legs up. She slid something over them. “Ass up.” I brought myself up, and she slid the bustier up over my hips, onto my torso. “Back down.” I lay down, and she proceeded to lace it up. God, that was tight. Zip. Click. It felt like a zipper in back. “Bring your chest up.” She brought straps up from in front, over my shoulders and buckled them behind.

She put the gloves on me next. First, my hand fit into the mitten, then she zipped it up to my shoulder. “Hand to your shoulder.” Click. It locked with my elbows closed. “Elbow to your waist.” Another click. My arm felt like it was glued to the side.

Then she did the other side.

“Head back.” She pulled a leather collar around my neck. Snap. My bridle came next.

“Remember. No noise or you’ll regret it. Drop the ball into my hand.” I let the ball go. She slammed another one into my mouth so fast I couldn’t have made any noise even if I had wanted to. “Good pony.”

“Pull your knees under you. Ass in the air.” I did.

“You may not like this next. Get used to it.” I felt her finger slide something smooth and cool into my asshole. Lube? Then something else penetrated me. She worked it in for a ways. Then I felt something expand in my guts at the same time something else nestled between my ass cheeks. She pulled something between my ass cheeks. “Done.”

“Up on your knees.” I brought myself back and up. Two brunettes loomed above me: Tammy and Linda. “She’s all yours, Linda.” Tammy walked out with a whisper of well oiled hinges.

“Up on the stand with your back to the pole, pony,” Linda said. That was easy enough. “Squat.” She brought me down the same way they had in Orientation yesterday. Click. Click. Thump. Ah, as I let my head nestle on the rest.

She did something; I watched myself suck in my morning mash, and luxuriate in the feeling of it filling my stomach. The funnel got put away.

“Can you do this, pony?” She whinnied at me. I tried to whinny back.

“Lets try that again.” She whinnied again. I whinnied back. This time, whatever I did seemed to satisfy her better. She worked my whinny for some time, asking questions, saying stuff. Suddenly, she took the ball gag out of my mouth.

I whinnied. That got me totally flustered. I’d been sure I was going to say something, and find out what slop tasted like. Then I whinnied again. Get a hold of yourself, boy. No, girl. Whatever. In my confusion, I whinnied again. Then I took a deep breath.

“Good. Open wide, now,” she said. I opened, and she popped the ball gag back into my mouth. I went back to watching myself watch the corridor. She left.

Tammy came back with one of the lobo-ra. She waved. “Hi, pony. I’m Terry.” I whinnied back. Click. Click. Clank. The ankle chains and headrest came off. “Up.” I pulled my leg forward.

“Stop.” Huh? I stopped. Terry (at least I presume it was Terry, it wasn’t Tammy) grabbed my leg and pushed it where she wanted it. Then she guided it with gentle pressure.

We spent time on “up” and “down.” How long, I have no idea. By the time they were done, I came on and off the stand on command, without thinking about it.

They gave me a rest period, and then taught me to “march.” This involved bringing my leg up so the thigh was exactly parallel to the ground, the calf exactly vertical. Tammy marched me around the room until she was satisfied with how I reacted to the reins.

“Down.” I was back on my stand. Tammy fed me, and I watched time go by, unremarked, as my mash filled my stomach with contentment.

“Up.” I came up. “March to the trotting booth.” I marched. She maneuvered me into the trotting booth. This was a mechanical marvel in the back right corner of the cell, kind of like a treadmill. She positioned me in the center, and hooked straps around my bustier so I was fastened in the center, unable to move. Reins came out the back, and got hooked to my bridle. I saw myself in a mirror, a smooth, sexless blond with short hair, head bridled and tilted back. There were indicators next to the mirror; one for each thigh, one for each leg. A green dot went up and down as my legs were supposed to go up and down. If my leg wasn’t where it was supposed to be, a red dot showed up. If that stayed there too long, I got a jolt from a prod.

A red light flashed when I was supposed to whinny. The booth was completely automatic. The reins would twitch, the indicators start moving, and the floor move under me. Then some time later, the reins would twitch again, it would bring me to a stop, and a seat would come up for me to rest on. Repeat.

This was my day. Every day. Sometimes I was present in my body; sometimes I was floating off somewhere watching myself. I noticed rather quickly that my body performed better when I wasn’t in it. Or something.

I watched my body turn itself into a woman. First the slit developed, then a vagina opened. My breasts grew. So did my hair. My waist shrunk, my hips widened. My tail began to grow. The men on my training team began to look interesting in ways that caused a stirring in my crotch. So did the women.

The film began to jerk. I’d be on my stand, and then suddenly I’d be in the trotting booth. Or Terry would be riding me in one of the arenas. Somewhere in there, my breasts suddenly acquired rings. Then I lost any awareness of being in my body; I was only the disembodied watcher.

Chapter 7. Girl Mode

I came to facing a wall filled with polished walnut drawers and cabinets. My arms were free at my sides; I couldn’t feel my bustier. But I still had my bridle, ball gag, collar and boots. Not to mention my two dildos and my tail.

“Hey, kid. It’s girl mode time.” That had to be Linda. It was.

“Here’s the drill. You get to take off the rest of the bondage. Then you get dressed, and we’ll talk.” The collar came off first. She showed me how to take off the bridle and ball gag. I couldn’t see my pony boots; my breasts were in the way. Another difference to get used to. The boots unzipped easily.

Talk? Oh, yes. Talk. It was ok in girl mode. “How do I take off my tail?” My voice sounded a bit higher.

“Now, that tail is interesting. It’s really a part of you, but it detaches. How they did it, I have no idea. You do need to wear it a couple of hours a day for it to survive. Just slide your finger and thumb up on top and bottom, and then press and hold it.”

It felt warm and furry. After about a minute, it seemed to squirm slightly, and then it fell out. It looked like a rope with hair. It had a bone on one end.

“Just hang it up there.” She pointed. “They tell me it can survive for about a month, but it’s not a real good idea to let it go that long without wearing it.”

“Uh, I’ve never dressed in girl’s clothes.”

“I’m surprised. Most transsexuals at least experiment. But then, your mother seemed awfully dominant.”

“I was scared shitless at what would happen if she found out.”

“Let’s start out on the basics. Underwear drawer here. You need a bra, panties, fishnet stockings and garters. That’s standard for ponygirls in girl mode.”

The panties were obvious. The bra wasn’t too bad once I got the idea that I let my breasts fall into the cups. I fumbled around getting it hooked in back. She had to show me how to do the stockings. Once I got them on, the garters were obvious.

“Next layer.” She showed me where the leather miniskirts were hung, and the blouses. The only surprise was how to get the blouse straight under the skirt. Once she showed me the trick, it was obvious.

The pumps took some more effort. Horseshoes had a wider footprint (hoofprint?), and so I wobbled a bit before I adjusted.

“That’s awful,” she said.


“Posture, movement. We’ll start dealing with that tomorrow. For today, we’ve got a couple of things to discuss, and one major exercise.”

She pulled a folding chair out of one of the cabinets. “Sit.”

I sat.

“A bit of a lecture. You’ve noticed that you haven’t been here for a while?”

“Not here? Oh, yes. I seem to be missing some time.”

“Quite a lot of it. I put everything that wasn’t the pony aside for a while. That was to let the pony develop without the rest of you. She’s done that, and turned into quite a feisty filly. Terry thinks she can get some racing wins before you leave, both riding and heavy sulky. That’s pretty unusual.”

“Now it’s time to put you back together. Hold out your hands, shoulder width apart, palms up like you were holding something.”

I did. “Now, pretend one hand is the pony, and the other hand is the girl. OK?”

I looked at them kind of doubtfully. Well, maybe she knew what she was doing.

“Have the pony say hello to the girl.”

This was getting weirder. Well, pretend.

She had me go back and forth. Pretty soon, I was feeling something in the left side of my body. Words and answers were coming that I had never put there.

Linda had a list of things to talk about. After a while, some things became real clear. Understanding locked in.

She liked being a pony. She knew there were other things possible; that was my job. She liked racing. Being driven, being ridden and winning were what she was about. She had a lot of drive. I knew exactly where it came from. I’d never have been able to survive without it.

According to her, my job was to handle everything else so she could be herself. Something about that felt totally right. Like if I didn’t, I’d be cutting off a part of myself.

“Good girl.” I jumped. “Now, just bring your two hands closer together, slowly, very slowly.” I eased them together a small bit.

It was like we now overlapped. She was no longer separate; she was a part of me. I kept easing my hands together; we joined even more. Then it felt like my hands hit a brick wall. Thus far and no further.

“Good. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Another. Come back. How do you feel?”

I shook myself and stretched. That had been ... intense? My inner arrangements seemed to have been altered completely. They made sense, but I had no idea how to describe them.

“That’s quite enough for today,” Linda said. I had to agree. I could feel a pony stamping her hoof. Where are my stand and my mash?

“The next thing is to get you back into pony mode. It goes like this. Get undressed.” I stripped, and dumped the clothes in the recycle bin. “Tail first. Just slide it in and hold it by the sides this time.” It took a little maneuvering before I felt it slide in. After a minute or so, it seemed to come to life. It felt like my awareness expanded into it, sort of like when an arm goes to sleep and then comes back, but without the pins and needles. I swirled it around me for a moment.

“One thing to watch out for when you put your tail in. It’s going to dump accumulated wastes and recharge its food supply. You need to plan some kind of a rest period for a few minutes until it finishes.”

“Put on your boots, bridle and ball gag.” The boots, bridle and gag were easy. When I did, I could feel the pony stir a bit. “Go lie down on the mat like you had just come from grooming.”

Somehow, a couple of steps on hands and knees before lying down felt right. As I lay down, I felt myself become the pony. This time, I was there, and I stayed there. Linda came over, and put the rest of my pony bondage on. Bustier, puppy paws, collar. “To the stand. Down.” Two clicks as she secured my ankles, a thump as she put up the headrest. Relax into it. Suck down my mash.

Someone I don’t remember ever seeing before came and unhooked the funnel. Linda came back.

“I’ll bet you’re frustrated.” She sat down in front of me and drew her finger along my crack. Ooohhhhh. Nice crackles all over. “You’re ready.” Clank. Then something began easing into me. Ohhhhh again. She got up. “Have fun, pony.”

Fun didn’t describe it. It brought me up and then let me come down. It did it again. Then it did it again. I discovered what else my tail was good for. It built slowly to a climax. When I came to, I was still a pony, but I was hanging on the stand, wiped out.

The next day, when she said “girl mode” I was ready. She took off the puppy paws. I shifted as the bustier slithered over my hips on the way to the floor. Girl mode was daily. The transition got easier; the modes became more sharply defined. It was like my body was a car. Either pony or I was driving. When pony was driving, I was a passenger. I had this impression I could drive pony while she was driving my body, but I didn’t follow up on it.

Every day either Terry or Linda drilled me on some aspect of women’s behavior. I had no idea women behaved that differently than men, it was one of the many pieces of my life I had never examined.

Carla looked me over critically as I preened from my grooming. “It’s your day off. Girl mode.”

“Huh?” Like I had a choice. The magic words, and I was in girl mode, on hands and knees in front of her. Well, silly. Get up and get dressed.

“I just love that expression the first time I pull girl mode in the grooming room.”

I scrambled to my feet and headed for the cabinets. “Terry would just love that movement. You’d be here for the next hour redoing it.” I froze. “Well, I won’t tell her. Today. Linda is taking you outside, so the uniform is a little different.”

Panties and bra were the same. “Pantyhose. Sheer is in this season.” Pantyhose weren’t that different from the fishnet stockings I had been wearing.

“Makeup next.”

I froze. Makeup? I’d never worn any. She laughed again.

“Get out the chair, and I’ll do you this morning. I know you haven’t been drilled on it yet. Too much to do first.” One of the cabinets opened out to reveal a makeup table, complete with mirror and lights. I sat, and she did my face. Very light and understated for daytime. Foundation, a light powdering, eye shadow, eyebrows, lipstick.

“Skirts are down to the knee this season.” Again, not a whole lot of difference. The blouse was a green and blue plaid. “This is actually the training block’s racing colors. They’re back in fashion this season, otherwise, you don’t see them a lot.” High-heeled boots. “Boots are in this season, even though it’s summer. You can run in these if you have to.”

“No white?”

“Not for outside wear.” She backed up and looked at me. “Some jewelry next.” We picked a bracelet and a neat little choker necklace.

“Purse.” She handed it to me. “Look at the wallet.” There was an ID and a credit card. The ID said I was Flower Coves. “That’s not actually your name. Your owner gets to name you. That’s really just a pretty form of your IPC registration number. They convert each digit to a consonant, and then add vowels to make words. Linda can show you the code if you’re interested.”

Linda walked in. She was wearing a totally different outfit today; long skirt, silk blouse and jacket, and two-inch pumps. The scheme seemed to be little girls, flowers and centaurs. “Didn’t know I could dress up, did you? We’re going to Chicago today; it’s not all that conservative, but it’s a weekday.”

We walked out. I looked at the nameplate. It said: “Name: Flower Coves.” This was the first time I had ever looked at the cell as a girl. This was home. Somehow, I belonged here. I used to joke with the guys about girl’s nesting instinct. Now I had one.

Linda let me look. Then we walked down the corridor, past the other cells with their ponies on their stands; each with its nameplate with her name. Another turn. Linda stopped so I could look back. The sign said “350 - 359.” Then there was a list of cell numbers and names. Mine was 358. Cool, I even had an address. Another turn through a door and down a corridor. This time the sign said “Cellblock 350 - 399.” I’d been this way before countless times, but as a pony. I was either being ridden, or being led by my reins. The signs had meant nothing.

We came to a blank wall with two corridors. Right turn. The first door said ‘Orientation.’

“I thought that was back by the warehouse.”

“Kelly insisted on moving it. Both Security and Alice agreed with her.”

The end of the corridor had a desk, two rooms and a line of ponygirls dressed like me, with a few trainers for spice. We added ourselves to the end of the line.

“Hi, Linda. Another new girl?”

“Yep. Chicago this time. Will you check her for teleport fugue?”

“Sure. Just stand next to the door while I finish the line.”

We stood aside. “Teleport fugue?”

“Yes. The thing to know about teleports is that most people can’t handle them awake. They go stark, raving mad. Fortunately, it’s temporary. Usually. About one in fifty can handle it, and it’s useful to know which ones. I’m one of the ones that can, which is one of the reasons I shepherd new ponygirls on their first days off.”

The line ended. “OK, go on in. Stand on the target and face the end of the corridor. Each time the light flashes, tell us what you see or feel.”

Somebody had a bizarre sense of humor. Did they have to make the target look like a dartboard?

The first few times I didn’t feel anything when something popped out of the air and dropped to the ground. Then I saw a kind of shimmer just before they appeared. As they got closer, the shimmer got more pronounced. I had to admit I was getting real curious about it. For the last one, I held out my hand, and whoever was doing the test dropped a little weight in it.

“Oh, good. We don’t have to muss your makeup with a gas mask.” Linda walked over and stood next to me.

Suddenly, it seemed like we were in two places, and we didn’t quite know whether we were here or there. Then here and there reversed, and we were still here, except that it was now there. There vanished, and we were in a different room.

This target looked like the crosshairs on a telescopic gun sight. Some people carry creativity a bit too far. We walked out the door. There was a girl with bright green hair behind a desk. The chain on her collar tinkled as she moved. “Hi, Linda. New girl?”

I’m afraid I stared.

“Sure is, Betty. This is Flower Coves. Isn’t that a new arrangement?”

“Larry decided he wanted to try the collar to ankle cuffs thing one more time.”

“It complements your vacant expression.” She stuck out her tongue. “Enjoy.”

The next door led into a white, sterile waiting room. The magazines on the table were covered with dust. The skeleton in the nurse’s cap behind the desk had artistically arranged cobwebs decorated with spiders. Fortunately, I noticed that they weren’t moving just before I leaped into Linda’s arms. One of the doors on the other end said “Dr. Kevorkian.” The other said “YogThuthThuthThuth The Ancient One.” The path through the dust on the floor led to both doors.

“Somebody needs a better outlet for their sense of humor.”

“I know what you mean. Betty enjoys keeping this up. The way out is behind us.”

When I turned, there were two doors. One had a naked lady with a collar riding a tiger. The tiger didn’t look all that happy about the saddle, bridle and bit. The other had a tiger licking its chops over a well gnawed skeleton. It still wore the saddle. The skeleton still wore the collar.

The satiated tiger door lead to another corridor. This one ended in a more normal door. In turn, that lead into what looked like a normal business office. Linda waved to one of the office workers, and we went out the front door into another corridor. When I looked back, the sign on the office said, “Doncaster Industrial Linens.”

This corridor had lots of people. We went around a few turns, and eventually went up a wide set of stairs into the light. The statue at the top was the familiar joke Picasso had fobbed off on the City of Chicago.

Apparently, I had a well developed sightseeing gene that had never had a chance to express itself. Linda had picked Chicago because she hadn’t been back for a while. I gradually got over my self-consciousness. By the end of a day of museum hopping, Linda was ready to drop, and I was sufficiently overloaded to look forward to my nice, roomy cell. Betty had changed the sign on one of the doors from “YogThuthThuthThuth” to “Seezalia - talk with the departed, $350.00 per hour.”

Chapter 8. Racing

Terry had my daily schedule filled with three work sessions, one each on riding, heavy sulky and cart, four hours on the running machine, sex, girl practice and somewhere in there, enough display rack time to suck down my mash and digest. When I asked her about it, she said she wanted to try to get in a couple of real races in the main dome arena before I was sold. She seemed to think it was possible.

Riding practice always started with Terry saddling me. “Up.” I came off of my stand. “Sit.” I marched over to the left wall, and sat back on my heels. The saddle pad was a very lightweight carbon fiber plate that fit over my back and shoulders. It buckled to the bustier. The saddle went on top. Then she brought my arms back so they crossed behind me. It looked like they were holding up the saddle, which wasn’t the case. Then she put another plate below the saddle and over my arms, so they disappeared from view.

When she was done, she put her foot into the stirrup, and swung into the saddle. I had to shift my weight to compensate, or I would have gone right over. Once she settled, the next step was getting up. I bent forward so that our weight was as close to vertical over the knees as possible, and then got to a kneeling position. From there, I brought my left leg up, with the foot planted next to my right knee. This left me in the same position as the “take a leg” or the race starting and ending. That leg took the strain of coming back upright.

A tug on the reins brought me over to the cell door. She reached over to release it, and we marched through. Then she maneuvered me back to where she could swing it shut. The whole series of maneuvers demonstrated precision control.

She rode me down the corridor, guiding me with subtle touches of reins and knees. Then we turned right at the main corridor, and kept on going. The clip-clop of my hooves on the stone, the feeling of my muscles shifting in my hips and legs, my tail swishing as I walked, the weight of my rider on my back, all added up to a feeling of rightness; this was what I had been born to do.

She guided me as the corridor turned, and eventually came out into a wide space, with sunlight rather than the artificial light I was used to. This had to be the main dome. I’d never been here before as a pony.

We eventually got to the track. I went down on one knee in the ready circle. When it was time for our race, she pulled on the reins, and I came up and marched down to the starting line. Lining up for the start was one of those things she had been drilling into me from before I’d come awake again; not that it mattered. The starting positions were carefully marked off; all she had to do was guide me toward the one she wanted. Once I had it figured out, I adjusted my stride so that I hit the line with my left boot, and then came down so my right kneecap was on it.

CRAAAKKK! The starter’s pistol started me up off of my knee. The action was so ingrained that I didn’t come to until my right hoof came down on the turf. After that, Terry was in charge, more so than she was when we were simply going down a corridor. The entire race is total focus; I have absolutely no idea what any other pony or rider is doing. I don’t even know how far we are; the end is whenever Terry signals me to go straight to the finish line rather than left around the curve.

At the finish line, I take over. It’s my job to slow down, make the curve to the judges’ stand, and get to the judges’ line with good form. Terry’s part comes when I go down on one leg on the line; she has to look good when she jumps down from the stirrup. And she has to avoid fouling the next pony that is coming up to the line at the same time.

We came in fourth. I wasn’t going to know whether that was good or bad until we did the postmortem, if we did one. To be more precise, the girl part of me would know. The pony part was simply on a high.

When we came back up and marched out, Terry turned me back to the ready area and rode me toward a young woman standing near a sulky. “Make a knee.” I dropped to one knee. The young woman walked over.

“Hi, Flower Coves. I’m Melissa. I’m going to be driving you in the next race.” I must have started a bit. She wasn’t one of the trainers that usually drove me. She looked at me. “Do you want to go for it?” I stamped my hoof twice.

She got my saddle off, and then harnessed me between the shafts of the sulky. On the way to the starting line, I learned one thing. She was an expert driver. The difference is subtle, but it’s there. This was the first time she’d worked me, but she was not only in control, but it felt like we had known each other for years.

CRAAAKKK! The starter’s pistol got me moving again. The start for sulky looks like the same as the start for riding; but don’t you believe it. You’ll be in the hospital if you try to handle it the same way. For riding, you’ve got to do a vertical lift for sixty pounds; the forward motion is just like walking, only more so. For sulky, the vertical lift is usually less than twenty pounds. If it’s more than that, the sulky isn’t balanced properly. However, you’ve got a sulky and up to 150 pounds of rider to get moving horizontally, and you have to keep them moving against friction.

We got off successfully. Then I felt the flick of the reins that meant “go faster.” I piled on the speed. She twitched my left rein, and I moved over promptly. Another twitch, and another lane. She got us over to the rail smoothly. Then she gave the reins a longer tug; this meant, “Slow down.” I slowed to my distance pace. She had me speed up a couple of times, and then slow down. About half way down the home stretch, she gave the “all out” twitch. I piled it on again. We crossed the finish line at a sprint.

That’s a difficult maneuver. Not the sprint itself, but the final slowdown from a sprint to the judge’s line. You’ve got to slow down and turn close to two hundred pounds of sulky plus driver. Without turning the sulky out of control, or deviating from the perfect curve between where you crossed the finish line and the judge’s line. Terry’s training paid off, I made it in good order.

When we came off the line, Melissa led me back to the ready area. She unhitched me, and saddled me. Then Terry rode me back to my cell.

That was my first day in a real race.

After that, Terry raced me every day. I had a number of different drivers, young women named Kathy, Suzy, and Anna. Melissa again. An older woman named Fran.

Chapter 9. Exit Interview

It felt like my time in training was ending. The usual six months was up, I was handling myself adequately on my days off without supervision, and both Linda and Terry were very happy with my racing performance. Then why did it feel like there was something wrong?

“Girl mode, pet.” Linda sounded a bit strained. “We’ve got a dinner engagement with Leo tonight.”

“What does the managing director want with us?” The girl mode drill was ingrained enough that I was getting rid of the rest of the pony bondage even as I spoke. I still sounded a bit shrill. I hadn’t expected to ever speak with him, let alone have dinner with him.

“Darned if I know, girl,” Linda said. “It means something’s happened. The only thing I can guess is that none of the options I outlined works, and he’s got something up that Byzantine maze he calls his sleeve.”

Dinner with Leo turned out to mean getting cleaned up, a good hairstyle and evening makeup. She also gave me a quick refresher on which fork to use. “The one on the outside, silly. If you really don’t know, watch Alice.”

“The Sorceress?” I squeaked again.

“Well, they are married. To each other. Dinner with one means with the other.”

Before dinner conversation left me floundering. The only consolation is that Mother was floundering even worse; she had more of a sense of place than I did. Fran and Suzie were also there, making seven of us in all.

Alice’s two ponies cum housekeepers served dinner. The meal was excellent, my pony side’s natural optimism made everything go well. She thought she was going to get her recognition.

“Trite as the phrase is, I suspect you’re all wondering why I’ve called you here.” Leo broke the ice over drinks. “The fact is; all of our nice plans for what to do with Flower Coves have broken down. None of the owners want to take a chance on buying her, and none of them want her as a community trainee. We suspected that might happen, she’s simply too dominant to make a good pony slave. She makes a very good ponygirl, however. Terry is overjoyed at how well she’s developing.”

He turned to Mother. “I expect you know the feeling.”

“Well, yes. Twenty-five years later, I can laugh about it. Then, I was absolutely miserable.”

“Exactly,” Leo continued. “We select our sale ponies for a high level of submissiveness. We don’t have that choice with the community trainees. So we did something unusual with Flower, we tried to transfer the dominance and drive to the pony side. It worked very well. We’re looking at it strongly for the community trainee program. However, that still leaves us with what to do with Flower.”

“Much as I regret having to say it, she can’t stay here. The environment is simply too hostile for her to thrive. Unless you’d like to be point person for forcing a saner attitude toward transsexuals?” He looked at me.

I shuddered.

“I thought not. If you were interested in that, you wouldn’t have taken the ponygirl route.”

“Here’s the plan. First, Flower, we’re going to give you a trust fund. It will put you on the senior technical or lower executive income level, so you’ll be able to do just about anything you want, as long as it’s not really expensive.”

“The second point assumes you want to continue racing as a ponygirl?” I nodded.

“We thought so. The problem with that is that you won’t have an owner. There’s a category of “free ponygirls” here in the community; Pretty Lemon acts as owner for things they can’t handle themselves. We’ve gotten Fran and Suzie to agree to do that for you.”

Fran laughed. “There are a number of things I want in return. First, I want you to be stabled at my place. You’ll have to pay the standard stabling fee, as well as your own racing entry fees, senior trainer’s fees and driver’s fees. At your income level, you can afford it, and you’d have to pay something similar to someone in order to stay in the game.”

Suzie commented, “We also expect you to work on integrating yourself into the community outside here. That’s going to take you quite a bit of work.”

“Why?” I asked. “The way my pony side has developed, she’s expecting me to stay a ponygirl until she drops.”

“It won’t work that way. Trust me on that,” Alice said. “A racing ponygirl is good for maybe twenty years before the body can’t handle the strain any more. No difference from any athlete, really. There’s no particular reason why you couldn’t stay a ponygirl after that, but it wouldn’t be racing, and your competitive streak wouldn’t have anywhere to go. Racers have to win. There’s nothing like crossing that finish line first.”

“Twenty years is long enough. Once she’s had her wins, she’ll let herself be put out to pasture. That’s the natural end to a pony’s life. Then you’ll have to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. And that’s likely to be quite a while. With the anti-aging treatments, there’s no reason you can’t live to 150.”

“The second major thing I want is wins,” Fran added. “I like championship ponygirls. I don’t think you’ll have any problem there; all of my drivers like your attitude.”

“I sure hope so,” I commented. “I’d hate to think I became a ponygirl just to be mediocre.” I heard a snort in the back of my mind.

“The last thing I expect is that you learn the stable routine. Within a couple of years, you should be able to do whatever my trainers do, and be able to do a credible job of driving in a race.”

“Should be able to, although I’m a bit on the heavy side for heavy sulky.”

“That’s true,” Fran said. “The extra weight won’t hurt in training, though.”

“You’ve got a deal,” I said.

“I guess that about wraps it up, then,” Leo said. “I’ll be calling you to do odd jobs for us at some time or other. I’d appreciate it if you looked at some sales and biotech training. Enough to handle things for us when we need an agent; I don’t expect you to become a geneticist.”

I laughed. “Somehow, I didn’t expect you to hand me a trust fund, and then tell me ‘get lost, kid, I don’t want to hear from you again.’ You’ve got a deal.”

We all laughed.

Fran said, “The timing on all of this couldn’t be worse. Or maybe better, depending on your point of view. There’s no time for choices if you’re going to start college this term. You’ll move in with Suzie and Dione, and start at her college. You can transfer later if you want.”

The dinner eventually broke up, and I went back to my cell.

Chapter 10. School Daze.

The next morning Linda, Suzie and Tammy piled into my cell, towing a plumpish 5’6” brunette and a box. The brunette stepped up to my stand. “Hi, Flower Coves. I’m Dione, your new senior trainer.” She walked behind me. Clank. My headrest came off. “Up.” I came off the stand.

Click. Click. Click. Click. Zip. Zip. The gloves came off. Zip. She unfastened the bustier. “Girl mode, kid.” It slithered over my hips on the way to the floor. I got rid of the rest of the bondage, beginning with the collar.

“Hit the bathroom, I want to get rid of those two dildos. They stay here, Fran’s uses a slightly different system.” I walked to the bathroom and bent over. Tammy put on her rubber gloves, and took out the two plugs. Then I relieved myself; no telling when I’d next have the chance.

Meanwhile, Tammy and Linda had all the drawers open, and were packing tack and clothes into the box. They’d left a change out for me. I got myself into uniform, and we were ready to go. Almost.

I grabbed Tammy and Linda for a big three way hug. I had no idea when I’d see them again, if ever. I didn’t want them to just vanish on me.

Linda held me at arms length. “You know, this is the first time we’ve ever said goodbye to one of our girls? It could get to be a habit. A nice habit. Be good and have fun.”

Dione pushed the stand with the boxes out the door. Clang! went the door, punctuating the end of one part of my life.

“I expect this is a little sudden, what?” Suzie said as we proceeded down the corridor.

“Sudden? Fran did say that time was very short, but this? My head’s spinning.”

“Well, let me put you into some of the picture. I’m Suzie. Kind of obvious. I’m one of the owners that stable her ponies at Fran’s. Actually, one pony, named Gold Streak. Dione is my senior trainer. She’s also my roommate at college. I drive the Streak. The three of us are very closely bonded.”

“You’ll be racing under my colors. You won’t have your own colors; the stewards don’t really want to deal with free ponygirls, and I can’t blame them. They’ve agreed to ignore the situation as long as we don’t shove it in their faces. My colors are a solid, sparkly blue. Fran’s colors are red, shadowed blocks. They’re also the stable colors.”

“We’ll hit Fran’s first, and then get you settled into our apartment at college. It starts tomorrow for you. They want to get new students a week before returning students.”

Fran’s track was huge. I should have expected it, but I didn’t. On reflection, it wasn’t that surprising; this was the first time I had seen a track from the inside as a girl; before I had only seen it as a pony, or from the stands as a boy. Girders criss-crossed high above my head; the door in the wall looked tiny in the distance. We’d arrived in the middle of a race; two ponygirls and drivers in sulkies were rounding the far turn as we arrived. I stared; I’d never seen a race from this perspective before.

The door spilled golden light from the corridor. Suzie led us right, and then right again. The steel bars down the center looked like old home week, except that there were more of them. Fran had twenty cells in a single corridor; the training block had shorter corridors of ten cells each, off of a longer corridor, like fingers off of a hand.

A woman in a solid blue tunic hurried towards us, with a man in an open shirt and slacks right behind. They both wore collars and boots. “Hi, I’m Karen, I’m the head trainer. Danny’s your trainer for now. You’re Flower Coves, right?”

“I guess so, unless Suzie wants to change it?”

“What’s Suzie got to do with it? I thought you didn’t have an owner, or did I miss something?”

“Oh, right. I’m still adjusting. I get to pick my name?”

“Can if you want, but do it quickly, please.”

“Flower Coves will do fine, I’m used to it.”

“Just as well,” Danny said, “That’s what your nameplate says.”

We’d gotten there. My nameplate indeed said “Name: Flower Coves” Then it got weird. “Agent: Suzie. Trainer: Danny. Senior Trainer: Dione.” It had a background of sparkly blue behind the lettering.

Danny opened the cell, and Dione pushed the platform inside. Home. It didn’t look that different from my last one.

“Any differences?”

“How should I know?” Danny said. “I’ve never been in the community training block. You tell me.”

“Doesn’t look like it. Everything looks like it’s in the same place.”

Danny got to work unpacking the boxes. Dione pulled a disk out of her bag, and stuck it into the trotting machine. “Transfer your programs, makes it simpler to keep going on your conditioning.”

“What’s the schedule from here?” Karen asked.

“We need to show Flower the rest of the setup here, and then we go get her into my apartment at school. The rest of the week is going to be hectic until we get the school schedule settled.”

“Yeah, I know,” Karen said. “We went through it with Gold Streak until she came here full time. We still do it with Sharon, but she’s fairly consistent.”

“Let’s do it that way, then,” Suzie said. “Flower needs sulky daily and four hours of trotting machine time. She only needs enough cart work to handle the owner’s parade. Sharon’s schedule sounds just about right. We’ve got a trotting machine at the apartment.”

“So she should block two hours or so daily for sulky training. Scheduling that is more between Dione and the drivers. Then if she spends the night here, that’s a trotting session at night and one in the morning.”

I was trying to work out the schedule in my head. “So what you’re saying is that if I spend the night here, I should start the trotting booth at about 7:00, and I’ll be back in girl mode around 9:00 or so the next morning?”

“Sounds about right,” Danny said. “Just let us know which nights you want to be here, and which you’ll be at your apartment. Should work.”

The office and workroom were down the corridor. There were round tables and chairs in the center. The right wall had a big fridge, sink, washer, drier and table space. One of the guys was doing laundry. The left wall had offices. Fran Donaldson, Owner. Sharon Samuels, Compliance. Dreammaker, Senior Trainer. Karen, Training Team Leader. Melissa, Senior Driver.

We went out a door on the office side, and turned right. The next door said “Girl Mode Lounge.”

“What’s that?”

“Just what it says. It’s for our ponygirls when they’re in girl mode. Some of them do two or three hours of girl mode every day, to keep up with class work, or whatever. Some of them keep party clothes here.”

The next door was unmarked. “The trainers are all indentured. They live here. These are their apartments. You don’t normally go in here unless you’re invited.”

The next door said simply, “Teleport Room.” It had a big red and green signal outside. “This is the teleport room for the garage. The garage is next. We use this room to teleport from if it’s just us, no carts or stands. It’s easier. You’ll come back here tonight; you’re going to need to spend two or three nights a week here to keep focus.”

The center of the floor had a painting of a big, round, black bomb with a lit fuse. A white arrow pointed at the fuse. Suzie and Dione picked up breather masks. We went to the center, and then space did its confused act. When it made up its mind whether we were here or there, we were standing in a circular room. Arched windows opened onto empty space. A handrail introduced a circular staircase around the inside of the wall. The view from the windows was awesome: the tops of trees. Lots of trees. Also houses, streets, people. I’d never seen anything from this high up. Get used to it, girl. This is now your life.

“Daddy liked Melissa’s condo, so he had this one built for me. The teleport tower is handy. We have the entire top floor. The second floor’s like the top, the first floor is split between a smaller condo and a garage.” She looked out the window. “Doesn’t look like James has arrived yet.”

She made with the cell phone. “About another fifteen minutes. I should warn you. James is an acquired taste. Unfortunately, he’s one mother has acquired. He likes to play a 19th century butler-coachman, and he can be quite insufferable if you pitch in to help when he thinks it’s beneath your station. Or vice versa. So I’m just going to stand here and watch him sweat. Also Nancy and Dione. He absolutely won’t know what to make of you, so suit yourself.”

“Or, rather, don’t. I’m afraid I’m going to be insufferable and keep you busy while he’s here.”

We came out into a utility room. I identified a washer and dryer. The vertical cylinder with the pipes must have been for hot water. I figured the rest of it would come.

The utility room opened onto a corridor. “Living spaces on the right, function spaces on the left. Your room is right back here.” We went in. A queen-sized bed adorned one corner, the trotting machine adorned another. A dresser, makeup table with a mirror and a chair finished the furnishings. Lots of empty closet space. “Not much here yet. We had to clear Gold Streak’s stuff out quickly.”

Dione walked over to the trotting machine, and put in the disk. “Let’s get the programs in now, then we won’t have to remember them.”

“We’ll do shopping tomorrow,” said Suzie. “None of us have our fall outfits yet.”

There was a huge bathroom next door; it had doors from my bedroom, the hall, and the master bedroom. Suzie and Dione shared the master bedroom, there were two makeup tables, otherwise, you couldn’t tell. Unless the king sized bed was a clue. I had a suspicion this room had seen more than one orgy.

The bathroom next door duplicated the one we had just seen.

The room on the end was the workroom. The side facing the street was one long table. There were three office chairs at the table, and three recliners scattered around the rest of the room. The walls were done in old library; bookcases and electronics everywhere, with the bookcases slightly in the majority.

The other side of the central corridor started out with an entrance foyer. A coat rack adorned one wall; the outside door was set on an angle in the corner. I stared at it a moment; oh, right, a tower. Next to it was a big, comfortable room with couches and chairs along the walls. I could see this as a party room.

A formal dining room was next, and then the kitchen rounded out the apartment. Three girls would rattle around here, unless Suzie did a lot of entertaining.

BRIIINNNGGG. James had arrived. Dione headed downstairs to help with the unloading. It turned out that the entrance tower was an elevator; everything came up with no fuss at all. Most of it went into the master bedroom; Suzie hadn’t seen any point in hauling the entire apartment home for two months across summer vacation. James finally left; it wasn’t part of his persona to actually unpack anything or put it away.

BRIINNNGGG. Another delivery. This one was from a local computer outfit, shepherded by a cute guy. He made noises like he wanted to stay and help install it. Suzie firmly shooed him out while Dione checked the boxes against the list. Then Suzie got onto her workstation and started checking us in.

“Teleport Incoming,” The house system had a pleasantly neutral female voice. A few minutes later another young woman walked in. I thought I recognized Kathy.

“So that’s what you look like in girl mode,” Kathy gushed. “Pretty. Well, lets get this stuff set up.”

Kathy turned out to be Fran’s computer wizard, as well as one of her drivers. Stuff came out of boxes, went into equipment racks. Cables went from here to there. Eventually, there was a third workstation sitting on the bench. I found the entire process fascinating. Kathy noticed, and got me involved in running cables through the ducts. Suzie looked on, a bemused expression on her face.

About the time Kathy came up for air, Dione came in with lunch. A nice, thick soup, a light salad, and sandwiches. Delicious.

“I take it you were into computers before you became a ponygirl,” Kathy said.

“Actually, not. I found them mildly bewildering,” I replied. “Now, I find them fascinating.”

“That’s strange. I wouldn’t think becoming a ponygirl would do that,” Kathy commented.

“I don’t know; it just might. They had to reorganize me quite a bit to make it work; dominant ponygirls aren’t the usual thing. When pony is driving, the rest of me is more analytical than I’m used to.”

“Could it be the sex change?” Suzie asked.

I thought a moment. “Might be. My sexuality was fairly chaotic before.”

“I didn’t know they could do something like that,” Kathy said.

“It might not be too healthy to ask, either.” I added. “Leprechaun Genetics has a reputation. There was a rumor once that they had a genetic program to turn someone into a toad.”

Kathy choked on her sandwich. We pounded her on the back, and she recovered.

“If it holds up, you’ve got a major,” Suzie noted.

The rest of the day went in a whirlwind. Suzie handed me a map, and then we walked around campus. Everything went smooth as silk. The registrar was a nice older lady; she had our student ID cards ready. She spotted the ear tags immediately.

“You’re a ponygirl? That wasn’t on the application. But then, the application just came through yesterday.”

“Yes and no,” Suzie said. “She is a ponygirl, but she isn’t indentured. We just haven’t gotten rid of the ear tags yet. We need the same accommodation with the athletic department, however.”

“I’ll have to talk to the athletic director. Don’t want the same mess as last year.”

“Do tell. That was amusing. Afterwards,” Suzie said.

She looked at me. “It says here you’re a transsexual,” she said, doubtfully.

“Yes, I was a boy named Timothy six months ago,” I said. “Mother pointed out that ponygirl meant girl, not boy. Rather forcefully. At some length. They did the sex change as part of ponygirl training. The training team drilled me on how to behave as a woman an hour a day for two months.”

“So you’re adjusted?”

“Not hardly,” Suzie said. “They only dealt with what an indentured ponygirl needs to know to handle a day off. She still hasn’t had to deal with boys, cleaning, cooking, laundry, mending or shopping. Just for starters.”

“You need to drop by Student Services; they’re expecting you,” the registrar said.

“Might as well get it over today,” Suzie said. “Clear the day for shopping tomorrow.”

The walkway curled between nicely manicured green lawns to another ivy covered red brick building. The sign said, “Student Services.” Inside was a waiting room with a professional looking nurse behind a desk. I handed her my ID card. She stuck it into her terminal. “What can I do for you today?”

BEEP. Her terminal told her. “Oh, yes. You’re Flower Coves? Interesting name, what? We were expecting you, just not so soon.”

She stuck her head around the corner. “Hey, Shelly. Can you see Flower Coves now?”

“Go on in. You want Dr. Shelly Davis. She handles transsexuals.”

Dr. Davis was a thirtish blonde. “Hello, Flower. How soon can you get the medical records on your operation here?”

“Leprechaun Genetics did it. No surgery.”

She stared. “Leprechaun Genetics? I’ve heard they could do sex changes, but I’ve never heard details.”

“They did whatever it is they do, and my body just changed itself. No fuss, no muss, no surgery. They tell me I’m a completely functional woman now, including children if I want them.”

“They can do that? This, I am going to have to find out about.”

“I’ll see if I can get you a briefing. I think the Managing Director wants me to do some sales work for them.”

“Do that. I’d love to get rid of the surgery and hormones. By the way, do you need hormones, or did they fix that, too?”

“They fixed it. At least, I assume so. I’m certainly not taking anything that I know of.”

“So, what can we do for you? Or what did they do?”

“Well, beside the sex change, they drilled me on behaviors for an hour a day for two months. What they didn’t do was anything about living independently. As Suzie put it, boys, cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping, and so forth. Figure I’m the most naive person you’ve ever met. This is the ninth day I’ve spent outside of a cave complex in my life. The other eight were mostly museum hopping.”

She stared. “OK, I’ll schedule you for some sessions with our therapist. She takes care of all of that. She’ll just have to handle the Real Life Test afterwards, rather than before. Now, what is this ponygirl thing? I assume it’s intense running?”

“Yes. I do four hours a day on a running machine, and another hour or so practice pulling a sulky. Shouldn’t be any problems there; all the other ponygirls I’m with have no problem for years at a time.”

“I’ll bet. Let’s just try some stretching exercises.” She had me attempt several exercises I’d never encountered before. I was totally surprised; I couldn’t do them.

“I’ll schedule you for Hatha Yoga class; that’ll take care of the flexibility. That does your Phys Ed requirement.”

That took care of the medical interview. I got back to Suzie’s condo ok, and then teleported to Fran’s. Danny put me back into pony mode. That trotting machine looked awfully inviting.

They pulled a switch on me the next morning. Instead of coming out after the trotting booth session, they fed me and then went right into a sulky training session. Just as well, it took some adjusting for pony to realize that the big trainer was doing all the movement work; she wanted Tammy, darn it. We came out about 11:00, and had a conference while I showered and dressed.

Dione and Dreammaker both agreed that I was more than ready for local competition. In fact, they thought I was ready for the nationals, but wanted to wait until the Winter Nationals in January. It looked like I had my Saturdays lined up for a while.

Then I went shopping with Suzie and Dione. Another major change; I’d always hated shopping as a boy. Now, poking around and trying things on to see how they looked was the most natural thing in the world. Suzie had to pull me out of the stores. Fortunately, she kept me on target; my fall outfit only needed to be college student, plus high heels. I wasn’t going to need anything more for a while.

Chapter 11. Racing

Friday rolled around with its planning meeting for Saturday, which was the usual local racing date. Several of the larger owners hosted them at their facilities. Karen usually comes as the trainer; one of the drivers comes. Karen takes a work sulky; each driver takes a racing sulky. The stands are stacked behind one of the sulkies. Any extra ponies are tied behind Karen’s sulky. If we only had one pony, we took the work sulky and an extra pony anyway.

There are only three ponygirl tracks that have the facilities to host one of the monthly regionals, the fall nationals or the international. There are over a dozen that can do a local, however, and most of them are in use every weekend. All a local really requires is a regulation track, and somewhere to put spectators. The ponygirls are put inside the track, lined up on their stands. There’s over 60’ of clearance between the two sides of the track; that’s enough for five rows the long way. They do try to keep it down to two rows, however. Five makes the lanes so tight that you need ‘one way’ signs.

The other end of the inside is reserved for the teleport pad. The storage area for sulkies and carts is between the two areas.

A typical racing day is four hours, with one race every fifteen minutes or so, for a total of sixteen races. Local tracks can accommodate fields of from four to eight ponies; the three big tracks handle fields of twelve ponygirls. Most locals don’t have an owner’s parade at the end; the logistics are just too much of a nightmare. It takes around two hours to teleport the ponygirls and their trainers, drivers and equipment in. Then it takes another two hours to teleport them back home. If you’re unlucky, that’s a good ten hour day, cell door to cell door. Ten hours on your stand, with one break for a race, will put a strain on any ponygirl’s ability to stay in pony space. Karen took care of it by having one or two girls hitched to her sulky at all times so they would have something to do.

We had five ponygirls entered in this race. Karen had two ponies hitched to her sulky; she also had all five stands stacked behind it. Kathy had the racing sulky with the extra two ponygirls hitched on behind by their reins. When we came off the pad, they simply drove the sulkies up the line to our assigned slots, assembled the stands, and popped us onto them. Well, they popped two of us onto them, the other three they kept harnessed to the cart and sulky. Karen swapped which ones she was using during the day so that we all got our turn as work ponies. They insured that our five slots were well separated, so that using us as work ponies seemed reasonable.

My race was one of the early ones. Kathy drove her sulky up to my stand, unhitched her pony, harnessed me and hitched me to her sulky. Then she hitched her pony to the back, and drove me to her original pony’s stand, and put her onto it. Then she drove me to the starting circle for the track. I went down on one knee, and waited. When the race was called, she got back into the sulky, and twitched the reins. Up I came, and marched to the starting line. They’d given us pole position six for this race.

BANG! The sound of the starter’s pistol merged into my push up and forward. Kathy called for more speed, I hauled ass. Then she called for a move left, then another. Her signals flowed into my actions easily and simply. We got into first, and stayed there. Her eventual twitch on the right rein at the end both came as a surprise, and as no surprise at all. We crossed the line, and I concentrated on slowing the sulky down into the final turn to the judge’s line. The final nicety of coming to a dead stop exactly when I dropped to one knee on the line, so that the judges couldn’t tell if the sulky stopped me, or if I stopped the sulky. I felt Kathy get out of the sulky and stand behind me on the left.

We peeled off the judge’s line on the flag, and went back to the ready circle. Kathy drove me back to the waiting ponies, where she unhitched me and harnessed our next pony. I went back on my stand.

Eventually, Karen came by and gave me my mash. I drank it down, and drowsed as it digested. When she came back, she popped me off of my stand, and took me to a changing area. I changed into girl mode. This was something of a surprise; I wasn’t expecting it. The uniform was Suzie’s racing colors. It was basically the same girl mode uniform I had been wearing, but this time the leather skirt had Fran’s red shadowed blocks, and the blouse was Suzie’s sparkly blue. What I didn’t expect was the gold belt. Or Fran.

“How’s your win feel, Flower?” Fran asked.

“Great. But also something of an anticlimax? Like there should be something more?”

“I thought that might happen. That’s why you weren’t sold. Also why I didn’t want you as a community trainee. We weren’t sure how long it would be before the pony side of your personality would take before she wanted to go out to pasture. For what it’s worth, both Alice and Linda think she’ll keep running until she gets a win at the international; then she’ll lose interest.”

“But where does that leave me?”

“Hanging loose. I’ll tell you what I’d like. The other owners have been after me to host races. I’ve been resisting them for some time. I can build stands, but I don’t have staff. I’d like you to take a look at it, see if you want to handle that for me.”

“Huh? But...”

“Not tomorrow, obviously. Just hang out with the owners here, check out what the staff is doing, and see how it works. Get a feel for it. Then tell me if you’re interested in organizing it. If you are, we’ll look at it for after pony goes out to pasture.”

As it turned out, there weren’t any stands. There was a big, long room up at the top of the space, with a floor to ceiling glass front. I hadn’t noticed it because it was some kind of specialty high-tech one-way glass. Also, of course, I hadn’t been looking in pony mode, either. The ends were some kind of projection screen so we could see the far end of the track. Several people stood at the bar. A couple of uniformed waitresses circulated.

“Fran!” a handsome man exclaimed. “Good to see you. What brings you here?”

“Stephen,” Fran replied. “I’m showing Flower Coves, here, around. I want her to get acquainted with how the tracks work during a race.”

“So you’re Flower Coves,” Stephen said. “Didn’t you just run away from the field in the second?”

“Did I do that?” I laughed. “I only know I came in first, I have no idea how far ahead I was.”

“Quite far. You belong in intermediate, at least.”

“She’ll be there next week,” Fran said. “She only finished training last week.”

Stephen looked a bit puzzled. “Just a minute. You’re the one they couldn’t sell?”

“That’s her,” Fran jumped in. “She’s running without an owner. No indenture. The stewards are not really happy, but so far, they’re not complaining.”

“I can imagine. So you want her to learn how we operate. Any possibility...?”

“You’re asking if I’m going to host races? I’m thinking about it. Strongly. Flower may be part of it, it’s really her call.”

“Great!” Stephen said. “We need more tracks, especially on the local level. Let’s circulate a bit.”

“OK. Oh, my. Where are my manners?” Fran exclaimed. “Stephen owns this track. He’s got four ponies of his own here.”

We both laughed. “Consider us introduced.”

We circulated. The people became a blur. Fortunately, most of the owners there were interested in Fran possibly opening her track to racing. My win in the second took second place, and my being a free ponygirl came in a distant third. I suspect Fran planned it that way. We met Stephen’s track manager on his way from somewhere to somewhere else. When we got down to the track level, I could tell why he was definitely a man in motion. It seemed like everyone had a crisis. Right now. Reminded me of some of my own parties from when I was a boy. Only bigger. Lots bigger.

The next several weeks were a blur. Between a full college load, and at least half of my time as a ponygirl, things got intense. I think I had time to breathe. At least, I must have; I lived through it. The only way I survived it was because Suzie organized my schedule for me. Next Saturday, I was at another track in the Intermediate class. I came in second in that race, and got to see another track. The next Saturday, I was in the September Eastern Regional, again in the Intermediate class. I won that race. One of the national stewards located me and told me, point blank, that either I competed in the national on the senior level, or I wasn’t to show up. By the way, how did I manage to do so well so fast?

Fran explained. It seemed that most ponies weren’t trained in heavy sulky at all before sale; there weren’t enough drivers in the community to do it across the board. I’d had two months of heavy sulky training, and several weeks of competition, including experience with Fran’s drivers, all before I ever showed up on Fran’s doorstep. The fact that Fran had most of the senior trainers didn’t hurt either. Nor did the fact that I was living with one. He seemed to accept the explanation. Still, it was fast; most ponies didn’t get to senior level for a year or more.

I was in three more locals and the October Eastern Regional, all on the senior level. I won a couple of the locals, and did credibly in the regional. Then it was time for the Fall Nationals. One thing I should mention here; the regionals and the nationals were held at one of the three tracks that had permanent accommodations for visiting ponygirls. The regionals ran two days, and the nationals ran three. On site ponygirl cells went to ponies that would be racing more than one day, otherwise, they came in for the day and stayed in the center of the track, just like at the local meets. Only the locals had junior level races; the regionals and nationals were intermediate and senior only. The international was senior only, of course.

Fran and Suzie had me in three races. I think they were determined that I was going to get my device. We had to skip one day of class; this wasn’t a real problem. That was truly an interesting experience. Not the racing. That was the same as usual, except that one of the races was a distance endurance race. I won that one handily; I’m not certain why. It just seems like my distance speed is slightly faster than most other ponies. The interesting part is that I was in pony mode from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon. I hadn’t been in pony mode full time for four months. On reflection, the only complaint I had was too much stand time; pony wanted to be worked by a trainer or a driver!

I got my device. It was a picture of a flowered meadow going down to a shore between two hills. The sky was Suzie’s sparkly blue, the water was a darker blue. My racing device was a buttercup against Suzie’s blue. It matched my hair nicely.

By this time, I was settling into college adequately. The chaos had sorted itself into order. All of my classes were making sense.

Chapter 12. Real Life Tested

Well, almost all of my classes were making sense. The one that wasn’t was the Real Life Test seminar. This was a discussion group for the pre-op transsexuals who were trying to live as women to find out if they could hack it. Part of the problem was that I had already had the sex change. Another part was that I didn’t have a lot of the pre change experiences they had, like electrolysis. No hormone treatments. No mastectomy forms. And I was simply too good; I couldn’t be clocked as a transsexual because I was now a full-fledged woman, with all the plumbing and instincts in place.

I could relate to the experiences leading up to that point; knowing you’re the wrong sex is no fun at all. Especially when you can’t get your parents to support you. And when you’re afraid of what your neighbors will say or do if they find out. Some of the experiences these kids had been through appalled me. Regardless of what you can say about our community business, that level of cruelty is not tolerated.

The essential gap was that their miserable choice was a sex change operation that could almost be classified as a cruel joke, except that there was no alternative. I got a real sex change; my miserable choice was that I had to become a ponygirl to get it. And I was reasonably happy with the result. So I decided to do something about it.

The next session, I came in wearing my tail. This wasn’t quite as easy as it sounds. Fortunately, the style had gotten somewhat popular back in the community among ponygirls on their day off, so I could get some clothes professionally altered.

Sometimes the best way of getting someone to think out of the box is to nuke the box. The tail did that wonderfully. Especially when I used it to hold a glass of water while my hands were otherwise occupied. The whole frame changed from ‘oh, misery’ to ‘what can Leprechaun Genetics do for me, and how much is it going to cost.’ I’d brought the presentation and the price list.

Leprechaun Genetics has radically different prices for most things, depending on whether it’s for ponygirl support (cheapest), community (next cheapest), medical (fairly cheap) or cosmetic (if you have to ask, you can’t afford it). The sex change was priced to undercut surgery, but not by much. Total cost was incredibly cheap by comparison: no electrolysis, no hormones. It didn’t include behavioral training, but then, that was required either way a person went.

Attitudes varied from hope to outright skepticism, even with my tail waving in their face. The next day, I got two firm orders. The two guys had called home, and their parents had known someone who knew someone who owned ponygirls. The network operated, and the word was: it’s for real. At the next seminar meeting, the difference was obvious. Their skin looked like they had never had facial or body hair. Frankly, I had to admire their guts. I’d had my transition in the privacy of a ponygirl cell.

When you nuke the box, sometimes there’s unanticipated fallout. In this case, the tale of the tail spread. In it’s spread, it collected all kinds of flotsam. Like TV reporters. And various kinds of fanatic. Security had a field day.

The first I knew about it was when someone stuck a microphone in front of my face and started asking idiotic questions. Of course, I pushed the panic button. Whoever was monitoring it for security had a brainstorm. The microphone wilted. I mean; it just fell over like it couldn’t sustain an erection. I had no idea that security could do that!

The newsie reacted appropriately. “What?”

I tried to suppress the giggles. “I’m sorry. I’m afraid my poltergeist is having a vanGogh day. Things melt when that happens.”

He tried to back away and fell down. That will happen when your shoelaces are tied together. “Oh, my. I’m afraid my poltergeist really is out of control.”

The backup newswoman fell out of her shoes trying to recover the situation. I simply turned around and left. My tail waved goodbye. The last I saw, the TV camera and the satellite dish both looked kind of melted. The incident didn’t make the news. I suspect that wiser heads had looked at the wreckage and decided they really didn’t want to know what would happen if my poltergeist had a vanGogh day around their studio.

The religious nuts were next. Whoever was monitoring the situation thought that they might look better without clothes. Somehow, they managed to get the threads holding the seams. Their clothes just fell off. The cops didn’t agree about the fashion statement; they went to jail for indecent exposure. That made the news; a story about the defenders of the public morality being caught in the nude was just too good to pass up.

The real nutcases followed. The ones with guns. Security did them up proud. As soon as they pointed any kind of a weapon at me, it melted around their hand. The local emergency rooms had a bitch of a time getting them off; they had to use power tools to cut the metal. And they had to be very careful, because the metal still contained live ammunition. The TV news had another field day with that one. This time they managed to get the psychics and the skeptics involved. Much fun was had by all.

Like all sensations, eventually it became yesterday’s news. Security put me up for a pick of the herd award; they claimed they hadn’t had so much fun in ages. Surprisingly, the board agreed. I now had a ponygirl of my own if I wanted one. I had to take a rain check; I simply didn’t have the time or the money.

Chapter 13. Tempus Fugits

Time passed. With the fall nationals over, and the attack of the crazies past, things settled down to their normal hectic pace. Frankly, I liked wearing my tail. I only took it off when I left the campus, mostly to go shopping. Thanksgiving vacation occurred on schedule. I took the opportunity to go back home and test the water. The water turned out to be fine; Security had put together excerpts of the surveillance shots from the attack of the crazies. They had some great shots of startled faces when microphones melted, clothes fell off, and guns laminated themselves around hands. The nightly excerpts had eclipsed the Wolf and Ponygirl Show for a while. The line about “I’m afraid my poltergeist is having a vanGogh day” still cracked people up a month later.

The attack of the crazies had been a real headache. I mean, really. The headache started the day after the incident with the newsman, and continued for several weeks. By Thanksgiving, it was gone. I found out why the day I arrived back. I was scheduled for a meeting with Alice. The news that the Sorceress wants to see you tends to be a religious experience; it inspires a good deal of soul searching for exactly what you’ve done to screw up that badly. I’m still not sure if I screwed up or not, but boy, did I learn about what those headaches had been.

I met her in a complex labeled ‘1d12.’ It had a picture of a pentagonal dodecahedron with numbers on the sides.

“Well, Flower, you’re looking good.”

“I’m feeling lots better since that headache quit, thank you.” I waved my tail perkily.

“You certainly seem to be attached to that tail.”

“Originally it was attached to me. Now, the feeling is mutual.” I giggled a bit.

“Well, this meeting is connected to the tail, sort of. At least, it’s connected to your penchant for wearing it all the time. We can’t really afford to have security people watching you 24x7. So you’re going to learn how to do the security thing yourself.”

I must have looked sandbagged. I certainly felt like it.

“You must have wondered how the security guy reacted that fast, now, didn’t you?”

“Well, yes. It was awfully fast. One moment I had punched the panic button, the next the microphone fell over. Somebody must be on steroids.”

“Not quite. We’ve got several of our security monitor people hooked up directly to the computer. They don’t sit at a terminal with a keyboard, mouse and joystick. If they want to look at something, it’s as if they’re right there. When they want to do something, they think about it, and it happens.”

“Oh, wow.” Weakly. “I had no idea.”

“Well, you weren’t supposed to. Most of our people only know about teleportation and Leprechaun Genetics. Also that the Lemon and I can do other odd things, but they have no idea that Security has access to most of them.”

“And you want to hand them to me?” I still must have been in shock.

“Well, if you want to live outside, we’d better. Otherwise, you have to come back here, which still isn’t a real good idea, or sooner or later, someone gets to you before Security can react.”

“Oh. I guess I hadn’t thought it through.”

“True. But frankly, we’re just as happy. I’m not going to explain why yet. The immediate thing is you need some training. We’ll get you started today.”

She meant it. We started right away. By the end of the first session, I could tap directly into the entertainment channels. Vision was still TV quality, but the audio was better than the best headphones I had ever used.

The next day, she covered how to use the surveillance system. That was a trip and a half. It was like I was hanging there in space, just watching. I could go anywhere and look at anything.

“How far can I go with this?”

“You might try looking at Pluto sometime. So far, we haven’t managed to get out to the Kupier belt. And don’t try looking into the Sun or more than a few dozen miles down into a planet. Things get too intense for the equipment to make sense out of them.”

“This is kind of overwhelming.”

“That it is. We’ve barely started, but it’s enough for now. Practice, and I’ll see you again over Christmas.”

I spent a day with my family over Christmas, but frankly, the Community didn’t interest me that much any more. While it’s possibly the weirdest small town in America, it’s still basically a small town. Even beyond that, it’s a company town, organized around the company business. I’d been there and done that. It was high time to leave.

Suzie and Dione spent the holidays at home; I spent most of it at the stables learning how the ponygirl training business worked from the trainer’s side. Much of it was just getting to know the ponies. Three different training teams had handled me; I already knew the routine from the pony’s side. Like everything else, there was more to it than I had imagined.

A ponygirl’s day is structured for sixteen hours awake, eight hours asleep. Sixteen hours seems like a lot to fill. Actually, it works out like this:

Depending on the pony, the fifth feeding and running machine session can be replaced by girl mode time, usually spent in the Girl Mode room studying, playing games, reading or surfing the net. Or the fifth feeding can be dropped for a longer working session. There are lots of variations. The constants are the start of day and end of day routines, and at least four hours on the running machine.

Formally, there is one trainer for every two ponygirls. Actually, the effective ratio is more like one trainer for three girls. One of the trainers is on night duty, and another does cleaning. That duty rotates on a daily basis, everybody mucks out the stables. Also, the trainers are usually on for twelve hours a day, they get four hours off, plus their days off. Only two trainers, including the trainer on the night shift, handle the final block of four hours.

This gives each trainer about three hours to work with each girl, plus three hours for breaks, lunch, and general stuff.

45 minutes for grooming seems like a lot. In fact, it usually takes less, but taking your time grooming her is mandatory. It’s the time when you really should leave her purring. It helps cement the trainer/pony bond, and it helps keep her in the mood to stay a ponygirl.

By the end of New Years, I had gotten the hang of the routine, including the scheduling program. I also was pretty good on driving one of the girls around in a work sulky.

Chapter 14. International

More time passed. Fran and Suzie had me in three races in the Winter Nationals. I won one of them, and came in second and third in the other two. Pony was definitely getting a bit restive. I suggested we might want to try solo. Pony put her hoof down solidly on that one. She wanted to be driven or ridden. She didn’t want to run by herself, even with me ‘driving’ from the metaphorical back seat.

The middle of January, Fran called. She’d gotten a call from my old trainer, Linda. Linda was relaying a request from Tammy. Tammy wanted to ride me at the International. I hadn’t been ridden in five months; I had no idea if I could get into shape to do well. Pony stuck her hoof into it. She wanted her rider back. I got the point; she liked being ridden more than pulling a sulky.

Tammy decided to come out to our place for a while. Tammy is kind of a force of nature. She moved in with Suzie, Dione and me. This wasn’t impossible; lots of the lobo-ra lived with their host mothers, at least until they were in their mid thirties or longer. The community had experience in how to put an apartment together so that 2’6” adults could live with 5’6” adults comfortably.

Fortunately, she wanted to spend most of her time at the track. I’m not certain I could have handled the fallout from a lobo-ra wandering around either the campus or the town. My tail was bad enough.

Needless to say, everybody at the track had a workout. The first thing she did was appropriate the two worst ponies as her riding ponies. She used them on alternate days to get back and forth between the cellblocks and the track area. Those ponies got a workout; we usually had four and sometimes five ponies being worked in the track area at a time. She wandered between them observing and doing touchup.

It took a while for the training staff and the drivers to get used to it. They hadn’t lived in the community. Lobo-ra were a totally new experience for them. I had and so had the senior trainers.

She worked me on riding daily. To create the time, she unilaterally cancelled one of my trotting machine workouts. As far as she was concerned, I was in top condition and the extra workout wasn’t doing anything but occupying time. So I got two workouts, one on riding and one on heavy sulky. Then it went to three. She had me going back to the main dome in the community for daily riding competitions. This turned out to be fairly simple - for her. She had me saddled at Fran’s, and just rode me into the teleport spot in the track. Then presto, I was at the main dome’s track; all she had to do was ride me to the ready circle. We raced and then came back.

For the international, I was in two riding and two heavy sulky races. She’d managed to get all four races on the same day. At least, I wouldn’t be bored out of my mind on my stand for ten hours at a time.

Those races were fantastic. I thought I knew how much drive pony had. She went into overdrive. We won one of the riding and one of the heavy sulky races. We came in second in the other riding race, and third in the other heavy sulky race. Pony was so hot she was practically glowing.

After the last race, I changed back to girl mode and fell over. I must have gone into a trance, or something. The colors were brighter, the edges sharper. I was back in the stadium the day I had met Linda. Pony was standing next to me, big and black as the ace of spades, with white stockings and a white blaze. I got onto her bareback, and we galloped on a path in the air out of the stadium through the rock into the sky. Pony thundered along the sky trail, below the azure bowl of the heavens, with her tail and my hair streaming out behind us. She came back to earth in Fran’s track. I got off, and she turned her head and looked me in the face. Suddenly, I was back at the track in the Community, but this time I was riding in a cart in the owner’s parade, with my own ponygirl pulling it.

I came out of that one to see pony still standing next to me. Then she whinnied, turned and galloped off through the roof into the distance.

When I came to, Suzie and Dione were standing over me. I’m afraid I was incoherent for a little bit, until the reality sunk in. Pony was gone; I could no longer feel her in my mind. I’d ridden her for a year. She was gone. I had this feeling that I wouldn’t be able to go into pony mode again, even if I tried.

Suzie was incredulous. Dione tested; all of the conditioned reactions that should have been available even in girl mode were gone. All I had left was the tail. I decided to keep that; it was too much a part of me.

Chapter 15. Post Ponygirl.

Now that I was no longer a ponygirl, my schedule opened up considerably. That image pony had left me of my own ponygirl stuck. It felt like a done deal, both inevitable and right, but in it’s own time. I arranged with Fran to keep working at her place both as a trainer and as a driver.

I also had to do the coming out routine. This was fairly simple, actually. The student medical center took the ear tags out as outpatient surgery. Technically, I should have had them out when I left training as a free ponygirl, but I didn’t want to irritate the stewards. Truth to tell, I was just too busy, and let it go.

Then Leprechaun Genetics got into the act with both hair regeneration and ear regeneration programs. The hair regeneration allowed the hair on the sides to grow; the ear regeneration fixed the holes in my ears left by the ear tags. The doctors at the clinic were fascinated by the results. I got to keep the tail.

Leo and the school’s athletic director got to me at just about the same time. Leo wanted me to get oriented to what Leprechaun Genetics had to offer. The athletic director wanted me in his program.

I dealt with Leo first. Leo wanted to make several of Leprechaun Genetics’ medical packages publicly available. This was going to be a first; what he needed was a technical sales person. We set up a series of classes for me in what Leprechaun Genetics had to offer, and on the background behind the entire deal. I’d been a baby when the Sorceress had hit the community like a runaway nuke, and was in early grade school when the major changes hit. I didn’t really remember ponygirls that couldn’t talk and didn’t have days off. The fact that we used to kidnap them and we put them down when they couldn’t run simply wasn’t mentioned to children.

I knew about the group of outsiders that hung out around the Old Heidelberg Rathskeller, but like most people, I didn’t know why they were there and what they did. I already knew where the technology came from, but the rest was an eye-opener.

There is an old saying, “He who rides the tiger cannot dismount.” I had this sudden image of those two doors outside of the teleport station under Chicago. I’d just been given a free ride on the tiger.

The athletic director was easier to handle. He’d heard that I’d quit being a ponygirl, and had this image of mopping up the conference. I had to disillusion him; I still had the genetic mods that made me ineligible for competition. We struck a deal. I got to ride herd on his marathon runners on their conditioning runs. In return, he agreed not to bring up my athletic schedule.

The first day I went with the runners was amusing. He had asked me to come in ponygirl uniform. Well, that’s X rated and I was no longer entitled to it, so I came in a toned down version of the Community trainer’s uniform, with full accouterments. And my tail, of course.

I suspect he regretted the decision as soon as he saw me. The black leather miniskirt had been modified for a tail. That meant it was more than usually tight around the waist and hips. The zipper came up the back from just above where the tail came through. The rest of the skirt flared just enough to give me enough legroom to move and sit without having it hike up. The green trainer’s belt had the usual whip, prod and cell phone. The whip was probably overkill, but he had said to come in uniform, and that’s part of the uniform. I’d never used it, even for dressage training, which is what it was normally used for.

I’d toned down the blouse slightly by wearing an athletic bra underneath it. It was Suzie’s sparkly blue, with a single cut buttercup flower on both the front and back. I’d considered using the full device, but I’m afraid that the design might distract the poor boys too much, since the hills by the sides of the cove are strategically placed so they emphasize my breasts.

Other than that, my hair was in a conservative French braid, and I was wearing my public running boots. They were the black leather knee-highs with the 5” heels and the rubber grip soles. I’d brought what else I thought I’d need in a backpack.

The reaction ranged from stunned to appreciative. The athletic director asked if I really thought that was appropriate for a long run. Frankly, I had to agree that it was sexier than was really in good taste here, but then, the Community was heavily male dominant. If a woman wasn’t dressed to give every male in sight an erection, she wasn’t dressed appropriately. Needless to say, while the males all enjoyed it, they were also more than somewhat habituated to it, so it took some effort. I’d toned it down by leaving the fishnet stockings at home.

In any group of guys, someone always has to play the asshole with an inappropriate show of dominance. This one was over before it started. He tried to tackle me to show me who was boss. I moved out of the way and let him trip over his own feet. He hit the floor with a most satisfactory thud. All of that security training from Alice certainly helped.

He eventually pulled himself together, and we got started. After that demonstration, nobody mentioned my bare arms and legs. March isn’t the warmest month in the northern U.S., and some kind of full body protection would have been appropriate. Except for me.

All I knew originally was that I wasn’t very sensitive to temperature. That is, until I got the orientation from Leprechaun Genetics. They’d been at it again. One of the things the conservatives would have liked would be to keep their ponygirls in regular stalls in an outside barn. Frankly, half of the ponygirls would have liked a stall in a barn; that’s one of the reasons they’d become ponygirls in the first place. However, they weren’t about to stand for full body fur or hair to compensate for the weather.

My skin was no longer even close to normal. The top layer was enhanced with some kind of novel biological material with a strictly incredible thermal coefficient. It had come out of a materials research lab with Army funding, and was still too expensive to manufacture, at least for civilian use. They told me I should be quite comfortable at 20 below zero, Fahrenheit. They also asked me to call first before I tried that extreme; it was still experimental.

After that start, the actual run was an anti-climax. Treadmills are all very well, but sooner or later, you have to face actual running conditions.

Chapter 16. Racetrack

Fran turned out to be serious about opening her track to racing. She liked the viewing area in that first track we visited, and had her builders run a similar one up for her. The problem was what it had always been; staff. While Fran was very dominant, oddly enough, she wasn’t a starter. She was a maintainer and improver. She’d inherited the track and the training staff from her parents, and had made a very nice go of it, with improvements.

Suzie jumped into the gap. As she put it, her parents were expecting her to inherit a reasonably sized industrial empire. She’d better get some managerial experience in there somewhere.

Fran called a major staff meeting, including all of the ponygirls, to thrash out organization. The biggest issue was that the track wouldn’t be available for training on racing days, what did the girls want to do about it? Fran pointed out that she didn’t want them just kneeling on their stands all day; there was enough of that when we took them out racing that we knew it wasn’t a real good idea. One of the girls said she’d like to serve as staff in girl mode, as long as it didn’t count as a day off. Several of the others wanted to be used as work ponies; it fit what they wanted as ponygirls. A few of them decided to take their day off when we had a race.

What we came up with was a list of girls that wanted to be staff, another list that wanted to be work ponies, and some that wanted to be both. With most of the ponies either off, or in girl mode, we could convert some of the trainers to staff as well. That solved our staffing problem.

Work ponies were the next problem. We really didn’t need that many on an ongoing basis. It took a couple of hours for a pony and a trainer to smooth down the dirt track in the morning. Another pony hauled equipment around when the trainers cleaned out the arenas, but this was a weekly chore. Otherwise, there just wasn’t a need.

What we wanted was riding ponies. During a race, staff would have to be all over the place. Again, we didn’t need too many, but a ponygirl track isn’t that small. Riding ponygirls would add to the local color. The problem was, we didn’t have any. The Community didn’t train ponygirls to be ridden by big people, only by lobo-ra. Some of the owners did, but Fran wasn’t one of them.

The problem with riding ponygirls was that they tended to have back problems. The complex of bone, cartilage, ligaments, disks and muscle in the spinal column was adapted to vertical load bearing, not load bearing at an angle. The lobo-ra could get away with it because the extra weight came in on the shoulders, not the lower back.

Leprechaun Genetics had a solution that they had been trying out with the owners that wanted to be able to ride their ponies. This time, the problem was pure engineering; most of the girls had no objection to being ridden. They wouldn’t have become ponygirls if they had. The adaptations to the lower back weren’t at all obvious except to a real medical expert. We asked for volunteers. Half of the girls volunteered on the spot. The genetics program took about a week to run.

The saddles looked like they fit over the hips. However, the harnesses were designed to focus as much of the weight as possible on the shoulders. The girls were bent over at about a 45 degree angle when there was someone in the saddle; that brought the resultant weight down vertically on their hips, which minimized balance problems.

Riding a ponygirl was absolutely the most satisfying experience I had ever had. There was something about seeing her head and torso jutting out from under the saddle, with the reins on either side, that screamed ‘horse’. It scratched an itch in a way that driving a pony in a cart never had. The feel of her moving under the saddle, and of her responding to pressure from my legs and my balance, just made it work. Even the collar pitched her head at exactly the right angle.

The big day finally dawned. Suzie and I were all over the place. Fran stayed upstairs with the owners. All of the saddle ponygirls were absolute dears. We rode them in two hour shifts, and then gave them an hour of stand time for mash and digest. Then we rotated, so we all got different girls during the day. I’d drawn track supervision. We had a mounted trainer in the ponygirl holding area, and another in the ready circle. A third mounted trainer handled arrivals and departures. Another mounted trainer drew the start lines between races, and supervised the start. I cycled among them, checking on things, solving problems and giving well dones.


Well, I’m still on top of the tiger, and it’s behaving itself. When I faced down Mother a year and a half ago, I had no idea I would end up here. That year as a ponygirl was totally different from what I anticipated. Since then, I’ve developed into a fair saleslady. It helps that the product is Leprechaun Genetics’ medical miracles. They’re always in demand; the product sells itself. My job is mostly training.

The only real question now is one the purveyors of old saws never quite got to: is the lady or the tiger going to quit first? I like living in interesting times. I had no idea how interesting the times were going to become.