November 08, 2004

equestrian follies, inglorious downfalls

Your father, pumpkin, was in his youth a fair to middling horseman. He used to be capable of not only remaining seated on a galloping steed, pumpkin, but of looking good doing it.

It became apparent on the weekend that this is no longer the case.

After substantial and sustained cajoling from your aunt Liz, your dad, who's not very clever, agreed to go horse riding on the weekend, at a place we used to go many years ago on the other side of Healesville.

Of course, never ones to do things by halves, your aunt and I decided that a two hour ride was out of the question, and that we would be far better off going on a 'half day' extravaganza. After arising at an ungodly hour on Saturday morning, I loaded up the blönk and made my way down the freeway to your aunt's house in the middle of a torrential downpour.

Our cousin Minka was also in attendance, and after stopping for a quick bowl of porridge, we hit the road. Thornton, where the ride took place, is on the other side of the Dandenongs, and so it was my theory that the weather should have been different once we got over the mountains.

I was wrong.

Once we arrived at our destination (slightly late, due to some roadworks halfway up Black Spur), the sky remained dark and forbidding, but remained dry for the moment. We saddled up and mounted up and set off on our way.

As we began, it became obvious to me fairly quickly that I was not the horseman I had been in my youth. A rising trot seemed to be utterly beyond my capabilities, and it was all I could muster to remain seated while I bounced about in a decidedly unglamorous manner. A short halt and the lengthening of my stirrups helped matters somewhat, but it was still obvious that I had No Business being in charge of a large, old, crotchety, cantankerous animal.

Once the cantering began in earnest, I was forced to ask the ride's leader for some advice in "how to feel like I'm in charge of what's going on". Adam, who was lovely, offered some advice that helped somewhat, but there was nonetheless a voice in my brain saying loudly "ow, this hurts, you used to be able to do this, ow, ow, ow, make the stupid horse stop ow, what do you mean you can't make it stop ow ow ow"

Fast forward through about two more hours of this running commentary.

As we began our journey back towards the farm, Liz decided that her back was beginning to hurt. After much urging, she was convinced to get off her horse and walk around a bit. This, pumpkin, was a mistake. On remounting, she slipped on some wet grass, and hurt her ankle. We told her that she didn't have to get back on the horse, and that we could get a car to come and get her out, but she was a real trooper and got back on.

Her ankle, however, was very painful, so she couldn't manage much more than a walk. Adam, who was, it should be said, lovely, said that he would stay back with her if I wanted to go for a bit of a canter. This was also a mistake. On deciding that the horse was going a little bit too quickly, I tried to convince it to slow down. It did so, a tad more quickly than I had anticipated, and your father, as the common phrase would have it, went arse over tit.

Your father now has a large, painful bruise on his bot-bot.

Hearing the ancient phrase running through my head, I knew that my primary goal was to get back on the horse. Of course, said horse was condescendingly walking up the track at a pace only slightly faster than my bruised bum could manage. After catching up with said mount, I regained my seat, and my composure, for long enough to catch up with the main group.

That's when it started to rain.


It was a long walk back.

Sufficient, pumpkin, to say that neither I nor your Aunt Liz will be taking you horseriding anytime in the near future.

Love you.


Anonymous said...

pumpkin, its your aunty Liz here, well your dad and I did have a interesting Saturday, let me just tell you that we where much better at horse riding 4years ago. i had forgotten how long it really had been. I not really enjoying my time post horse riding on crutches, however pumpkin it has taught that I really dont need to go horse riding when there are many oter modes of transportation on this earth many being a lot more body strain friendly. And that maybe if its raining that indoors is the best place to be.

E in Oz said...

Ok, I'm sorry, but I laughed at your pain. I know the area you were in and I know how the weather can turn bad quickly (and cold!).

I always thought I was some sort of closet supreme equestrienne and prided myself on my ability to actually stay on something mobile and without brakes. However, in the hope of not having to tell my own similar story, I don't think I'll be taking a horse for a spin any time soon.

Hope you're both recovering well.

Eve :-)