It’s hard work being a riding school steed but there are ways of livening things up, as our anonymous equine contributor explains…
1. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my work, it’s just that it distracts me from my true purpose — being a top showjumper, like my idols Hello Sanctos and Hovis. Doing endless rings round a 40x20m school teaching little ‘uns how to do rising trot is demeaning to a horse of my status. Which is why it’s only fair if I ditch them every now and then.
2. Me and my mates Betty, Storm and Duke have a competition going to see who can throw a kid the furthest. Duke is top of the league table, having successfully lobbed one halfway between C and X. Who says horses can’t read dressage markers?
3. I like kids, to be fair. I just couldn’t eat a whole one. Damn my peaceful herbivore disposition.
4. Sometimes, when I’m bored, I pretend to be a unicorn. Look, watch me prance! Watch me dance! And did you know that unicorns are notoriously hard to catch…?
5. At other times, I pretend to be a rock. I like to mix things up.
6. It’s amazing how many times you can force out a poo or wee if you really need to. And I really need to have lots of rests during every riding lesson. Thank goodness for the efficient and hard-working equine digestive system.
7. It’s important that we teach the pupils at our riding school the value of team work. Duke, Betty and I do this by simultaneously spooking at the same thing — could be a pigeon, maybe a gust of wind — and letting our riders work out together how to control a herd of stampeding horses. It’s character-building!
8. Horse-handling is another important lesson for our pupils. Riding, after all, is only one small part of equestrianism (that should still ideally be a lot smaller, if you ask me). And of course, it doesn’t do to make it too easy for the trainees – otherwise, how would they learn? I’m currently top of the ‘how many people’s feet can you stand on?’ league table. I’m not proud of it — actually, forget that, yes I am.
9. I can actually do a perfect flying change. This probably surprises you, seeing as you just spent an entire lesson trying to get me to canter on the right leg. I am, literally, a dark horse.
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10. If you want me to do something, you only have to ask! You just have to ask completely 100% accurately. If not, then forget it.
11. I lied about the Hello Sanctos/Hovis/showjumping thing. My real ambition is to stand around eating hay. Obviously.