It was always going to be a day of ups and downs. The ups because we have achieved a week with orses and not been kicked or trampled to death. The downs because another course has come to an end with new friendships and acquaintances “bomb bursting” as soon as they could. Morning stretches as per usual with the added bonus of Jay doing what he has been waiting to do all week. He was asked to put his left leg in, so he undid his prosthetic and threw it in the middle! Well that set the tone for the rest of the day. Fun was what was required, and fun was what we got. Fetching our “Horses” proved a bit of a lick out at first as mine was attached at the hip with her friend “Pinky”, a part albino animal (yes part, because there are NO full albino horses (so I’m led to believe)). Where we went, she went. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but no one was riding her today! I felt like a bloody horse rustler! Groomed, fed and saddled we were asked to “walk” the course first (our ride out wasn’t going to happen because of a multitude of cows in the area with calves) so a full(ish) day in the arena was arranged.
When I say we were asked to”Walk” the course, I mean WALK, as in NO orses, just us. Horse Drill as it was explained, horse drill with music! OMG! I haven’t walked in formation since leaving the army, and this was going to prove no different. You’ve seen the sort of thing on TV with riders in their best uniforms, horses looking perfect and all in line. Well think of that then take it down a peg or two…….hundred. Even walking the course ourselves proved difficult (and some of the guys have done it loads of times before). The arena was cleared after our rehearsals so it could be set up for a relay race or two on horseback.
As we were asked to volunteer a person from our group, Jock, the boss was nominated before we knew what it was for. Again he was covered in water as we were tasked to ride with a full glass again, emptying it into a potty on Jocks head, well, I nearly made it. To be honest I just threw it at him….again. Then a few more races, getting quicker and more confident. It was time for our drill. Now leading orses (on their back, riding them obviously) around a course that includes crossovers, parallel riding, holding hands and general niceness proved easier than walking on our own. Honestly if I can get hold of the video, I will post it on my Facebook page.
This week has been a blinder if I’m honest. The bond between the staff the students and the horses grew and grew from the first minute. I will miss Red over the next few months of course I will, but I know we are all back together again in March for phase two. It will be cold, the orses will be wild, the staff will be rusty (Jays leg shouldn’t be, it’s carbon) and we will be fatter. I for one can’t wait (and I’m not even away from here yet). Mr Darcy will have to get some more coloured breeches, a waistcoat and a flat cap! (I even got to do some real work this afternoon, a bit of electrician work on a trailer to get the lights working again) it’s been a blast. Cheers to the guys involved, thanks to the staff and the veterans, thanks to the horses (they won’t be reading this) and thanks to the gods of the sun (it’s not rained all week)