Phew! I was glad to wake up this morning before I broke my neck! It was this dream, you see. No sailing on The Black Pearl for me, me ‘earties, or lazily walking along some quietly lapping shoreline. Oh no. I was going racing. And not as a spectator. I was RIDING in the race. And not only that, I was riding the worst combination known to man – a chestnut mare!
I had to struggle to fasten the old Jodhpurs, obviously a subconscious realisation that I need to diet – and the ‘colours’ were a bit tight around the chest area. I also had to rummage around for another pair of reins because the ones I had appeared like two withered pieces of string – again my subconscious panicking that I’ve run out of garden twine. These things get into my brain you know, with nightmare effects.
I chose a new pair of reins, some lovely thick ones with rubber hand-grips. I was pretty terrified because the forthcoming race was over ‘fences’ and I’d never ridden over National Hunt fences before. I was overly concerned, that if I didn’t break my neck, the punters who had bet on me would actually jeer and ridicule me when I fell at the first fence. I woke from the dream just as I was applying mascara to my upper lashes.
There was no way back from that. It was four in the morning, I’d had a lucky escape, so I got up.
Years ago, when a friend and I took our BHSAI exam (British Horse Society Assistant Instructor Exam) we had this pact. If I ever fell off a horse and was rushed to hospital she promised faithfully to remove my hair net. Lord above! Could you imagine anything worse than having some blue-eyed Adonis type doctor peering into your smashed up mush whilst wearing a hair-net – me, silly, not the doctor.
A week before our exam the instructor decided to put me on his ‘show jumper’ which hadn’t been out of the box for four days. Can’t remember the name of the beast but it was probably something like, ‘Evil’ or ‘Killer’. We entered the indoor school looking like next years answer to the British Olympic team and headed to the first fence in a line of three. Number one went well, number two lurched me up the animal’s neck and number three …? At fence three the stupid animal leapt for the stars. The saddle hit me up the bum, threw me over its head, where I hit the indoor school wall upside down, like a starfish, before sliding down it and lying in a crumpled heap in the sand.
My best friend and everyone else rushed over. The instructor seemed massively concerned. I don’t know why because back then we weren’t in a ‘sue-the-pants-off-everyone-for-everything’ frame of mind. I staggered to my feet and limped off. Later, in the car, my friend said, ‘That was a really nasty fall … but I knew you were OK because as I came running over I saw your hand sneak up and pull off the hair net[!’
I could barely walk for the next week let alone ride. My effort in the ‘theory’ part of the exam was exemplary ( I can bull-shit with the best) and my effort in the ‘ridden’ part of the exam was ‘a little stiff but acceptable’.
Acceptable? You hit a wall upside down from the back of a maniac horse and see if you are a little stiff, sunshine! Blood examiners. But here is the irony – I had to ride the same bloody killer horse in the show jumping phase of the exam. I sat well back this time.
I fell off a horse in a field of corn once. It veered off the track and fell into the tyre track made by the farmer’s tractor. The horse galloped off and my friend took chase. I just giggled, burped very unattractively and rose slowly out of the corn – much to the surprise of a family who were walking past at the time. Well, I guess you don’t expect to see a red-faced woman in tight Jodhpurs rising up out of a cornfield do you? I’d had a little sherry (or three) before we’d ventured out and the fall hadn’t hurt one little bit! Obviously I don’t recommend getting bladdered before horse antics but … I was young. Shoot me. Actually, thinking about it, I wasn’t that young. OK, young at heart. It has always been my cross to bear.
So, I think I woke from my dream just at the right moment, although, it would have been nice to know if I’d jumped the first fence or if it had been another ‘ hair net’ moment. I guess some things are better not known?
Take care my lovelies x