Crushed Diaries

A blog for Young Adults

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hunting

I used to be mad about horses before I discovered boys. I learned how to ride at a riding school just outside London (the Hyde Park stables was too expensive). Mum thought she had gone to heaven when she discovered it. In my school holidays, she used to dump me there every morning and go off and play golf nearby. She also insisted on giving me a packed lunch, consisting of Cordon Bleu grub. I used to beg her to make me sandwiches like the other kids at the riding school had, but oh no! She had just completed her Cordon Bleu cookery class and refused to cook anything else. Naturally, I fed her muck to the horses as soon as she drove off. They seemed to appreciate it, but not my horse. On every riding course I did, I landed up with Nicholas, the slowest beast in the world. But, after I discovered he loved Turkish Delight, he would get lively and gallop along without my having to whip him on his big heavy flanks. Sometimes, I used to think that fat slob Nicholas was a reincarnation of Edmund in “The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe” – the boy who was corrupted by the Wicked Witch with Turkish Delight. Soon, Nicholas grew to love me. Every time he saw me, he threw back his head and whinnied loudly, Wendy, the butch riding instructor who shouted all the time, thought he was ill and never suspected I was feeding him Turkish Delight instead of carrots or sugar lumps.

Soon, I was judged an experienced enough rider to go hunting with The Pony Club. Naturally, Mum was terrified I would fall off and break my neck, but I persuaded her to let me go after I asked her to pack me a lunch of chicken Cordon bleu burgers, which she had just discovered how to make. On the great day, Mum dropped me off at the riding stables and I was glad I had bought along a box of Turkish Delight, as I was dumped with Nicholas again. We all got on our horses and followed Wendy on her Palomino pony – she was so heavy – it was a miracle the elegant beast didn’t collapse underneath her – to the nearest pub. All the braying grownups were dressed in red jackets, and the hounds were barking and yapping round the horses’ ankles. It was all quite exciting, especially when I was given a glass of sherry by one of the waitresses who was running around with little glasses of the stuff on a silver tray. I had never drunk alcohol before and immediately felt very happy, even though I was stuck with Nicholas. However, after I gave him a square of Turkish Delight, he perked up a bit and swished his long tail.

After we followed the Master, a grim looking man into the nearest field and started to hunt the poor little fox, Nicholas actually sailed over some high stone walls without tossing me off. But, I got carried away and fed him the rest of the chocolate all at once. Nicholas went bonkers and started to bolt – and with me clinging onto his neck for dear life, raced past the Master. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the most serious crime a rider can committ in the sport of hunting. ‘Stop!’ I heard Wendy bellow, but there was nothing I could do. Nicholas was bolting and whinnying, but I was unable to enjoy the ride. What would Mum say if I fell off and became paralysed, I kept thinking? Luckily, Nicholas slowed down after the effects of the Turkish Delight wore off, and although I didn’t have a clue where I was by this time, he seemed to follow the sound of the hunt’s bugles and made his way slowly back to the stables with me still on top. I felt exhausted by my ordeal, but at least I didn’t have to see the fox being torn apart into little pieces by the hounds.



Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2006

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