Friday, April 18, 2008

wild horses

It took me a while to decide on appropriate footwear for my riding lesson today but in the end I opted for wellies - not only because they have the highest heel in my shoe collection - but they also have steel toecaps. Thinking ahead, I decided that the chances of M. Bois having an equestrian helmet that fitted me, or having any kind of helmet at all, were pretty slim, so I took along my motorcycle helmet.

When I arrived just after lunch, M. Bois was drinking la gnole - the local 80% hooch drunk at the end of a meal - and persuaded me to neck a couple, thereby immediately breaking rule #4. In light of what followed, however, it was probably a good thing that my senses (predominantly fear) were slightly dulled.

I needn't have deliberated over my choice of footwear either because when M. Bois brought the horse round, it was missing a vital piece of equipment - a saddle. No stirrups for my feet to slip through then. After donning my crash helmet and some jangly beads (I wouldn't want to be mistaken for a deer) I was given a leg up, which, believe me, was no easy feat considering M. Bois is five feet tall and the horse was about 100 hands.

Once up, I had difficulty getting comfortable because the beast was so huge that my legs practically stuck out at right angles to my body so all I had to hold on to were the 'reins' (substitute 'length of old rope'). When M. Bois suggested that I go for a little trot, it dawned on me that I was (a) not getting a professional lesson and (b) going to be riding alone. After a few tentative steps, M. Bois whacked the horse's ass so hard that it took off at a gallop. What a sight it must have been - me holding on for grim death in a full-faced helmet, Indian beads whipping around my neck as we traversed the open fields stirring up hornets' nests. It was absolutely terrifying.

So, to sum up, pretty much every golden rule of horse riding was broken in one sitting

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