Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Horseback Riding

In deference to my American hosts, I have labeled this post "horseback riding," although of course the "back" part is redundant as there isn't anywhere else to ride the damned animal.  But I digress.  S.W.M.B.O. used to be a champion rider.  She was a show jumper and has the cups and ribbons to prove it.  She gave it up many years ago but she had a brief flurry on horses at the stables in Playa del Rey some 20 years back.  And her favorite equine beast was Kirkland; an ex-race horse and a handsome fellow too.
This isn't Kirkland, but it looks a bit like him.

My riding experience was in my mid-twenties where a friend and I use to rent the odd hack and thrash them around the Surrey countryside until they got lathered up a bit.  Great sport, but not the disciplined type of dressage that She Who Must Be Obeyed exhibited.

However, Kirkland and I had built a sort of relationship and one day I asked if I could take him round the ring for a little trot.  It was quite a large ring too.  I moved old Kirkie from first gear up into second, but he took that to mean shifting to third and then into fourth and rapidly into overdrive - a full stretch gallop.  I had no way to stop him and it was quite the most terrifying experience of my life.  I eventually tried to turn him round into smaller and smaller circles and Kirkie realized that the fun was over, so he just dropped his shoulder and shoved me off.  He then trotted over to my dear lady to tell her what fun it had been, and could she bring me back again soon. 

It was several days before I could rid myself of the image of his powerful shoulders churning away beneath me, but worse was to follow.  Soon afterwards the situation came up in conversation among others and S.W.M.B.O. said in her best Worthing tone: "Well, I thought you could ride, but Kirkland proved otherwise!"  Dear oh dear!

P.S.  S.W.M.B.O. has just loooked at the photo above and told me once again in chilling tones: "That's not a bit like Kirkland. Kirkland was a pure bred chestnut.  That is a bay!"  She also called me a wanker.  Dear oh dear, again!

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