Friday, 30 November 2012

In which I am joined in the saddle



The things you relish in life bring far more joy if you’re able to share them with the people you love: food, wine, delightfully bad 90s pop music – all are much better when you can share them.

The Shetland Pony Grand National at Olympia
Photo from Horse and Hound magazine
To say that The Writer has nowhere near the interest that I do in horses is something of an understatement. He was, I think, rather taken aback at the slightly obsessive way in which I followed the equestrian disciplines during the summer’s Olympics (to my Twitter followers, I can only apologise). But, to his enormous credit, he made an excellent go at seeing what all the fuss was about, and even looked up Laura Bechtolsheimer’s bronze medal-winning dressage test on YouTube (admittedly, only once I’d told him she’d performed her Freestyle to music from the Lion King, but I count it as a win).

He’s since listened to me prattle on about various things horsey, along with the weeks of deliberating as to whether to take it up again. But not once has he made any noises that suggested he was interested in getting involved. Rather, the contrary.

“No, it’s dangerous,” he said as we discussed it one evening. “They’re huge animals, and they have their own brains. There’s no way of knowing what they’re going to do next.” Which, to a certain extent I suppose, is true. And when you’re the size of the average NBA player, it’s probably quite unusual to be faced with a living being larger than oneself. It’s rather the opposite when you’re the wrong side of 5’4”.

But then, he seemed to thaw slightly.

“I’m sure it is fun, if you’re into it.”

And then, some while later melting a little further still: “yes, I’d come and watch you at your next lesson if you wanted me to.”

Until, after I’d been raving for days after my lesson about how brilliant the whole thing is, and how I was sure, actually, if TW gave it a try, he’d love it, there was a faint, if still less-than-enthusiastic, “well, maybe I’ll give it a go one day.”

“Would you?!”

“Er, yes?” he said uncertainly, as if he’d made a horrible and irreparable mistake.

“So you’d come for a lesson too, when I have my next one?”

“Um, if I’m free, sure.”

And so, standing outside my office one cold Tuesday morning, I was on the phone to a nice lady who sounded like she was sure I had fallen out of the nearest tree given the overwhelming and not entirely explicable enthusiasm in changing my private lesson to a semi-private so that my riding novice boyfriend could join me.

“He is quite tall,” I explained, hoping that if 6’5” William Fox-Pitt can ride little horses, then my even taller boyfriend would be fine.

“That’s fine,” she said. “So long as he’s not over 16 stone, it’s not a problem. There you go, that’s all booked for you.”

Thus begins The Writer’s foray into horsemanship. Although if he turns out to be better than me, it might be something I regret.

4 comments:

Foodycat said...

Do Shetland ponies get clipped except for their legwarmers? How cute!

nuttycow said...

Oh my, he's going to ache after that first lesson! Hope you had fun :)

Brennig said...

Excellent news. I'm already looking forward to the forthcoming update.

Tania Kindersley said...

Have been so hopeless lately about reading blogs that I completely missed your return to horses. Hurrah, HURRAH! Now I am not the only grown woman who has reverted to a pony-mad Pullein-Thompson Janet Must Ride state. Had exact same thing of complete rustiness and utter familiarity, even after thirty years of not doing it seriously. Red the Mare sends wild neighs of encouragement. Will you keep us updated on your progress? And that of The Writer too?

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