Riding without a Handbrake

I love animals. This is no secret but some are more disconcerting than others. Stroking a Lion, though not impossible, would fill me with unease, and I would be careful not to have a bottle of ketchup on my person in case it drove him over the edge. My attitude to horses is a bit similar. I love them, but prefer to conduct my conversations with them when protected by a fence. It is therefore surprising that a few years ago I was persuaded to go to a riding stable  for a supervised ride.

My host was well-known to the stable owner, a women who looked hardened by many hours spent outdoors,  was dressed for the weather and not to impress,  and with hair held efficiently in place by what looked like a collection of rubber bands. As she gazed at me her admiration was well masked. “He’s very little riding experience” said my host, referring to a couple of walks I had as boy. “Ah” said Miss Rubber Band. We’ll give him Blossom: she’s bomb proof”

. It was a pleasant winter’s afternoon, with the air crisp and refreshing. I climbed onto Blossom who  seemed to be in full working order. There is a natural pecking order among the horses, so off we set with rubber band leading the way and Blossom firmly at the rear. Up the path we went and then onto the road. I sat on Blossom who moved steadily enough and  began to feel myself relax. In front of us a lone car headed in our direction but on the other side of the road. Blossom, without discussing the options, moved up onto the pavement but continued walking. “He’s gone onto the pavement” I shouted out, just to confirm that this was normal. “Ah, she doesn’t much like cars”. said Miss Rubber Band.  “Oh I see,” I said, thinking to myself, “bomb-proof but doesn’t much like cars” Interesting.

Soon we turned left down a track leading to some fields and  reached a gate set on the right side of the track. As our leader skillfully leant out of her saddle to release the lock, Blossom decided the time was ripe for a  snack and began eating the hedge on the other side of the path. I wasn’t too concerned but then I heard the bark, “Come along” and saw that the other two riders were already in the field. Tugging on her reign I managed to get her facing towards the gate.

I’m not skilled in the subject of horse psychology but it appears that horses who spend most of their walking lives looking at other horses bottoms are not used to a sight of a wide open space. Seeing the green field before her, Blossom decided to investigate  and set off at a brisk canter across the field. As I caraeered passed at speed  I saw Mrs RB’s mouth fall open, but I was now moving too swiftly to make any comment. Pulling on the reins in a desperate manner I finally managed to get Blossom to stop. The slackers behind me eventually caught up and we proceeded on our way without comment. The rest of the walk was without incident and I looked around me at the lovely view now shaded as the early evening dusk took hold of the day.

At last we returned to the road. We clip clopped along pleasantly enough till we neared the stables. A car approached us, again on the other side of the road,but now with headlamps on, and then I heard the sound of a lorry approaching from the rear. Blossom quickly grasped the situation, and again without discussing the options, decided to take a short cut home through the nearest hedge. Her movement propelled me through the air and I landed, surprised but unhurt in the ditch leaving Blossom tangled in the undergrowth.  Mrs RB was swiftly on the scene and grabbed at Blossom’s reigns. We decided to walk the rest of the way back. “I should take some lessons before you ride again” said Mrs RB. Wise words indeed. There has never been a next time. Not counting the sheep, of course. And that was without a saddle.

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in creative writing, Health, horse-riding, Life, recreation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Riding without a Handbrake

  1. Jeanna says:

    LOL! How scary that had to have been! I am proud of you for facing a fear like that though, well done!! 🙂


  2. Miss Emm says:

    Scary indeed. But I must admit this was a funny story.


  3. Wow What an adventure 🙂 hahahaha


  4. OMG I had the same experience the first time I rode a horse only I fell off at a trott 🙂 Nightmare!


  5. Tipsy Lucy says:

    Wow! Mrs. RB should have had more control of the situation.
    Horses make me nervous too. We actually own two, but I’ve only ridden a handful of times. My husband adores them, and often takes his friends out for rides.


  6. Caroline says:

    LOL. My father had very strong views on horses. Most dangerous thing on the planet he felt as you could be attacked from both ends!!


  7. Barbara says:

    “As she gazed at me her admiration was well masked.” LOL!! What a great line!
    I’m not a fan of horses up close… great admiration from afar. Very funny story… loved it!


  8. Horses are perceptive creatures, and they know when they can take advantage of their rider. I know from similar experiences. I was thrown over the head of a big mare just last year. I got right back on because I believe in cliches!

    Great, well-told story.


  9. Cyberian says:

    Great post! For me, your initial comment holds the key: “I love animals”. Your understanding of this horse is clearly greater than your need to acquire conventional riding skills. The image of Blossom “entangled in a hedge” endures, despite Mrs RB’s Freudian need to “grab at the reins”. I used to ride as a kid, but my favourite memories are of falling off.


  10. This story was definitely scary, funny, and great to read all at the same time lol. I’ve never ridden a horse before but I always wanted to


  11. backonmyown says:

    I love horses and I love this post. I’m still laughing. Well told.


  12. Beth says:

    In the words of a friend who is a rancher, you became a “lawn dart,” but at least you weren’t hurt. I particularly enjoyed the description of Miss Rubber Band.


  13. Shonnie says:

    that was funny. I have NEVER ridden a horse. I think I sat on a pony once. I have always wanted to ride one, now I am wondering exactly how I would feel about it if I became a “lawn dart”….


  14. Jillsy Girl says:

    Oh My! That’s sounds like something that would happen to me if I should dare to ride! Glad to hear of no concussions or broken bones.


  15. eof737 says:

    You poor thing… how awful! Perhaps the whole thing was a set-up and mild-mannered Blossom was really a not so friendly decoy… 😆


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.