Brushie brushie brushie

7 04 2012
I’m tired from another day of horsey fun!This one was rather unexpected. I went along expecting it to be a demonstration for the new starters (which was what I was told it would be) and only expecting it to last an hour or so. It’s a good job I didn’t make any other plans for the rest of the day, as it ended up being considerably longer than that!

On arrival, myself and the two other girls who turned up were womanhandled into the girl’s changing room and given some jodhpurs, socks, a polo-shirt and a fleece to change into, and then offered a selection of yard boots (that’s really just a snobbish way of saying ‘wellies’) to try on. I’m glad no-one was taking pictures, as I ended up in an ensemble that was maroon with polka dots on the top half and navy blue on the bottom half finished with brown sock-tops visible above pastel-pink boots. I shall be buying all my own equivalents in black as soon as I have the cash. Hah. Thank God for Uniqlo!

From there, we gave a round of self-introductions (again) and were then ushered out to the practice ground to watch a couple of experienced riders demonstrating the differences between walking, trotting and cantering while the captain explained it to us and answered our questions. It was here that we were each handed a helmet and told to play Janken (Scissors, paper, stone) to decide who got to ride first, which I wasn’t expecting. I won! I only got twenty minutes to go around in circles on a lead, but it was still a pleasant surprise, and I impressed myself with the ease with which I was able to mount this time – although I got my foot stuck getting back down again, which was less graceful. Heh.

After that we watched the experienced riders a little more, and then, when one of them dismounted and lead her horse back into the stables, and we were beckoned to follow. I thought we were going to just put her back in her stall then and that that would be our lot and we’d be told to go home, but no… they lead her through the stable, tethered her outside the front, fetched a hose and some tools and told myself and one of the other girls that we were going to give her a wash. The way they organised it so we both got to have a go at doing everything was that they’d explain how to do something and then give one of us the tools to do one side, and then we’d pass them over so the other could do the opposite side. Then we lead her out to the yard, dried her off properly, gave her face a wash (which she didn’t like very much, but put up with admirably) and gave her a good groom. The experienced girls overseeing this told me I was good at it and asked me if I’d done it before, which I found especially flattering as I have never washed or groomed a horse before at all. I suppose they might just have been being kind. I was certainly enjoying myself, anyway, even if the horse in question was something on an uncooperative wriggler. Heh.

After that we got to watch jumping practice for a while. Apparently this is the main activity on Saturdays, when the club meets for the longest time due to few of its members having academic commitments on that day at least not after lunchtime. The riders all seem to be very calm and confident and have very good control of the horses, although there was one horse everyone seemed to be having real trouble getting to actually jump. It did eventually, though. Another amusing sight was a big white horse who was beautifully well-behaved in everything it was asked to do… until the saddle came off and they tried to load it into a horse box. In spite of the patience of the boys who were trying to get it to go in there, it really didn’t want to play, and no amount of sugar cubes could tempt it all the way up the ramp.

I got to play with the two ponies as well. They were let out to have a frolic together, which essentially ended up with the two of them chasing each other around in circles and play fighting. They both got covered in grit, and I was invited to help brush it out of their coats afterwards. I began to wonder if my enthusiasm for doing anything if it means I get to touch the horses is something that’s going to get exploited by the other members of the club. Heh. Both ponies seemed to like being groomed, but wanted to bite me! I assume they were frisking me for treats; I was later given apple slices to feed to them, which they graciously took from my hand, before they were put back in their stall.

At the end of the day, the young lady who seemed to have taken charge of looking after myself and the two other new girls throughout the day insisted on walking us back to the station from the stables. I know my way there on foot from the station I usually get off at to go to school now so I insisted it was unnecessary and I’d find my own way back, but upon my saying that I was walking there she went back to the stables, found one of the sempai and insisted that she walk with me. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful, but I admit that her being taken out of her way in this manner made me a bit uncomfortable when I could have found my way by myself. Still, I take it as a sign that they’re pleased to have us, and will take good care of us now.

ION: Tight trousers and tall leather boots is a really good look. Once I am rich enough to refit my wardrobe, I might start dressing like that all the time.

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