Wednesday, 19 December 2012

In which I commit to the horsey project

I’ve said it before, but it’s true. Horses are like crack. They make you feel brilliant, are expensive, and thoroughly addictive.

With both of us having a day off after my extended birthday weekend in Edinburgh, I dragged The Writer to the local stables and cajoled him into joining me for a riding less – his first ever.

Despite his protestations that he was almost certainly going to fall off and die, he was actually rather proficient considering it was his first time in the saddle. Instead, considering his complete novice status, there was some excellent progression with the rising trot and a generally thoroughly successful lesson (give or take an incident with the descent from rising trot and the pommel. Ouch). There were even a few strides of canter that didn’t shift him. All of which was executed remarkably well given it must be rather harder when one’s so tall one’s lower legs dangle rather below the belly of one’s 15hh steed.

“It was fun,” TW said afterwards, a lingering note of surprise in his voice. “I think the horse and I were friends by the end of it.” Half a packet of Polos will do that, of course, but I didn’t have the heart to tell him that ponies are easily bribed. There has even been some talk of “next time”, which I’m taking as the best sign possible that there is the potential for TW to become as addicted as I am.

Of course, that’s when the expense kicks in. I’m now fully committed to the equine project, with my next outing being a long hack on the morning of Christmas Eve at the stables where I spent many formative childhood years. Of course, if Monday’s ride is anything like the experiences of my childhood, it’ll see me haring across the countryside, Thelwell fashion, yelling “He’s bolted! I can’t stop him!” (Of course, back then, the reality was usually that I’d dug in my teeny heels and relished the surprisingly swift top speed of Fred, Welsh Section B cross and approximately 13hh).

Which necessitates proper get up.

Best Mate has recently put me onto “full seat” breeches, which come complete with synthetic material over the bum which adds friction and, I quote, “helps you stick on in a crisis”. Snapped up a pair of those prontissimo, I can tell you. And rather than riding in ancient old boots that have seen a few Edinburgh winters and more than one hike up Arthur’s Seat which don’t give too much flexibility, I’m going to be investing in a proper pair of riding boots too.

And, given the possibility of a crisis across the flat Home County countryside, a new hat is most certainly in order, given that mine is somewhere in the region of an aeon old and would probably do as much to protect me if I fell off as a tea cosy. “Oh, don’t worry too much,” The Equestrienne said over lunch when I told her. “They’ll only do a quarter of mile flat out before they stop, so you won’t go too far.”

So actually, maybe horses are less like crack than they are Walter White-style blue meth. Make you feel brilliant; expensive; addictive. Comes with the faintest possibility of a violent death.


Sean Fleming said...

The horse is strong in this one...

(I've been looking for an excuse to use that pun on you for AGES!!) :)

Blonde said...

Sean: Hah! Very good. Glad I could oblige with an opportunity.

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