Horses I have known (and fallen off) – Part 1
I was going to do a short run today with the dog, but my back was painful so I thought I could just get away with going out on the bike. Sometimes all that thudding about is not what a creaky body needs. In the wind and the rain on the seafront I had plenty of time to wonder about the niggles and twinges I get. They are definitely worse when the weather closes in and although they mainly wear off as the day wears on, I think the joints are crying out for a little glucosamine. I wonder if a lot of it has been caused by my tumbles from horses over the years. If you have come off a horse a few times you can understand how the jockeys, say at Aintree today, hop back on their next ride with seemingly not a bother on them and you can also understand how poor Timmy Murphy came to be carted off to hospital with concussion 😦
I have ridden too many horses to remember and have fallen off too many times! There have been so many falls I couldn’t actually say how many but there are some memorable ones that I have decided to record for posterity. Posterity needs to be in no particular hurry because when I had finished typing the post was too long. So there follows one fall now and the rest during the week. It’s an occupational hazard with horses but it doesn’t stop me wincing when someone hits the deck at the races.
First up – Peggy Sue – a bison thinly diguised as a horse. She had neck muscles that she was determined to use to her advantage, namely carting her rider off in any given direction. I was out on Salisbury Plain to investigate the general unacceptableness or otherwise of fox-hunting and Peggy was a hireling for the day. They knew what she was like and had fitted her with a bit assembled out of barbed wire and broken glass to aid her rider in their vain attempts to hold her (actually it was called a cherry roller bit but my idea would $have been better). This was the only time that I have been “hunting”. I didn’t see a fox all day and I could only crawl on all fours myself by the next morning.
The two falls were jumping a ditch (understandable) and then when she was (as she tried to all day) leaning on my hands and tanking along only to come upon the inconveniently placed rear end of another horse. Undeterred from her raison d’etre – to get IN FRONT – she simply jumped sideways and carried on. Presumably the horse in front had had the sense to slow for a bit of gravelled road we were crossing, something of no consequence to a real bison. I travelled across the road at speed, and minus my horse, on my very own arse – the burning pain of which has yet to be equalled.
Now of course, when you are being tortured and humiliated in this manner the last thing you want to do is get back on the beast, but 10 miles from civilisation atop a windy plain you have no choice. Sadly neither of these spills were the most frightening thing she did that day. That honour belonged to the occasion when she charged down a vertical cliff with an enormous flood at the bottom and a tree that resembled a redwood. I got the feeling (and I had little time to think about this) that her dastardly plan was to fire me headfirst into the giant tree trunk and then hold my head under the water with her hoof until help arrived, preferably too late. When I asked her about her behaviour, as we loaded the buggers onto the box at the end of the day, she said she just having a bit of a laugh. A more inappropriately named animal it is hard to imagine.