An Unusual Riding Stable
I was mortified when my parents told me that we were moving to the other side of the country. I was slightly concerned about saying goodbye to my friends, but I was more worried about where I was going to ride. After riding for 18 months and I was keen to continue. My mother assured me that there was a yard close to our new home. I felt much more encouraged but then my mother didn’t know anything about horses!
A New Place to Ride
Once we had settled into the new house, I started my nagging campaign to ensure that it wasn’t too long before I could get back into the saddle. My exasperated parents quickly caved in and I was taken to the nearby stables. We booked a series of lessons and the following week I fetched up for the first of these full of expectation. It was then that I discovered that this yard had some very unusual horses.
A Strange Menagerie
Indeed, it soon became apparent that being quirky, awkward or downright infuriating was an essential qualification for any horse joining the stables. The mounts available for lessons were a motley crew to say the least. To make matters worse, I wouldn’t know which of these bizarre creatures I would be riding until just before the lesson. It was torture standing there as the instructor read out who would be riding which horse.
I dreaded being told to ride Fruitgum, who was more of a fruit loop. This horse had a tendency to roll over without any notice. I would have to spend the entire lesson waiting for the moment when I had to bail out in order to avoid being squashed.
Being allocated Apollo was an even worse fate. He had a pathological hatred of bridles. If you were asked to tack Apollo up, he would go berserk when you entered his stall. He was also terrified of rabbits and the indoor arena was often visited by several bunnies. The third time this horse threw me off when he saw a rabbit, I vowed never to agree to ride him again!
A Plodder and a Maniac
There was Remus an enormous plodder with a propensity to step on your feet in the yard. Then Chubby, a diminutive but maniacal creature that would charge around like a banshee once you were on board. The stable also boasted an unfortunate bay whose name now escapes me. This was an ugly horse which didn’t like open fields and would make a sudden run for the cover of trees when you were out on a hack.
The most notable horse in this strange ensemble, if only for exhibiting the worse behaviour of all, disliked almost every rider. He would throw them off about 3 seconds after they had climbed into the saddle. In the unlikely event that they made it into the arena, this horse would then behave in an appalling fashion and scare the living daylights out of his victims. Most of the young riders were terrified of this horse and flat refused to ride him. But, for whatever reason, he liked me and proved to be a great mount. This might have had something to do with the carrots that I always carried in my jacket pocket!
I grew to love the stables. I invariably ended up being this psycho horse as nobody else wanted to go near him! All of the horses at this ridiculous yard were fatally flawed. However, psycho horse and I had come to an agreement that we offered each other the best available option. We ended up having rather a good time.