Ponyhood Part 2

Once again we are on the cross-country course, but this time, I am not on trusty old Apollo. This time I am atop a very tall, strong-headed thoroughbred – ‘Cathedral Song’, Cathy for short. She was a tall bay with lanky, slender legs, and a delicate, long face with a beautiful stripe down the front. Apollo had been passed on to look after another nervous child, and since the stables were out of ponies, I was teamed up with Cathy. I don’t know how that came about, I was one of the most timid students and she was one of the tallest horses, known to have a mind of her own. I fell off her often, got run-away with at least once in every lesson, but that didn’t stop me adoring her – she was magnificent. I also felt very proud to be the only girl in the stables to be riding a ‘horse’, while everyone else was on ‘ponies’. At my first show the officials had to make an exception for me, children were not allowed to ride horses past a certain height, but I was given a special allowance and did reasonably well. She ran away with me once during the show and turned out of a jump, but had that not happened, we would have had the best round. That’s a story for another day, getting back to today’s story…

We had another lesson in the cross-country field with our excellent trainer making sure us and our horses were doing our best. When we had finished warming up, we lined up again at the start of the course. I was nervous with a tight knot in my stomach – Cathy was known not to like the cross-country jumps, and she was too strong for me to control completely, most of the time I just hoped on her good will and willingness to play along. (Bribery with carrots beforehand was also an order.) We were trying out a new jump – a tall wooden A-frame jump made of planks. It was a smooth surface and the angle was rather gentle. It was a formidable jump to my young eyes, and presumably too much trouble for Cathy to bother as she next decided. We had a good approach, a smooth rolling canter and then rising in the saddle and stretching my arms out, I prepared for the jump. We approached but I crossed the jump by myself…

Cathy had skidded to a halt directly in front of the jump, her hooves hitting the base as they slid to a stop. I kept on going right over her head and sliding down the opposite side of the A-frame I landed on the ground, surprised at the turn of events. The other students started laughing hysterically, and I couldn’t decide if I wished to laugh or cry, so I stood up and took the reins from Eric. He dusted me off and asked me if I was alright, and looking up at him, I realized that he was trying as hard as possible not to laugh. I gave up and began laughing too – it is not every day someone uses a cross-country jump as a slide, and I am sure Cathy was having a wicked chuckle too.

At our first show - Cathy not looking too chuffed

 

 

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About Shemer

Author who loves reading, writing, horse riding, archery, books, dancing and many other things. Fulltime Soldier and part-time wildlife management student who loves to do adventurous things and explore the real world or books in her spare time.
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