The trials and tribulations of being mum to a pony rider

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Lap of Honour

It was one year ago to the day that we paid for Clyde and he became ours: I remember trooping en famille into his stable and looking unenthusiastically at our purchase. Clyde, shabbier than I’d hoped, had his nose stuck down into his pile of hay and barely glanced up. I think it's safe to say that none of us was impressed. “Reckon I got anuvver rider, Tils. Whaddya fink?” “You mark my words mah son, that one’ll never amount to much.” One aging, all-but-forgotten pony, a has-been; one nervous novice rider, a never-was. It didn’t look promising. So in some sense this year has been a rags to riches story, and even, dare I say it, a touch Jill-and-her-pony-like, wherein Jill buys a showjumper, dislikes him from the start – “He jumps like a rocking-horse and eats his buckets!” – but ends up winning the Under-16 Jumping at Chatton Show, Rapide leaping 4’6” without brushing a pole, and Jill modestly throwing in a few half-passes and the odd piaffe in her lap of honour. Though, unlike Jill, I’m still looking for that stable she handily unearthed at the bottom of her garden and the rich mentor “Come and practice anytime in my 600ft menage Jill, and take any saddle you like from my extensively-stocked tackroom, I am so rich I will never miss it!”

You see, before the jumping began on Sunday, Clyde’s Anniversary Day, I was waylaid by Mrs Blade who oh-so-casually said to me:
“What size, ahem, rug would Darkest Braveheart take, then?” For the umpteenth time I turned my head to look for this Darkest Braveheart and then remembered we were talking about our pony, Clyde, and then - realisation dawned: the prize for Blade’s Best Pony is …..a rug. Oh heaven - ! Oh joy - !

Sweaty-palmed, I stayed cool, very cool, as I equally casually replied: “Oh, haha, rug? 6’6, as it happens.”
She looked staggered. “Are you sure?”
“Oh yes, quite sure, we bought him quite a few lately what with his anti-fly rug and his extra cooler and – “ oh heck, that sounds like we’ve got too many to care, when really for our brave little Clyde to win, to actually win, a rug for being Best Pony would be the most exciting thing that ever happened to us! “Not that we’ve got many of course, and they’re all pretty old and – “
“And his size is definitely, hmmm, 6’6?”
“Oh yes,” I prattled, “Only the other day I ordered another one so I do know his exact size – well I know I just said they were all old, but this was just a cheap one – off eBay you know – and – well you can never have too many rugs can you – not that he has got many – hardly any in fact!”

She was definitely looking at me a bit oddly as she wrote down “6’6”’ and as I left her I was thinking maybe that hadn’t gone too well but ohhh! My heart was singing!.
Pony-girl could hardly decipher the excited words tumbling from my lips but when she took it in her eyes went wide and starry, her hand reaching down to pat the treasured one’s shaven neck: “Oh! Mummy! Is he really - ? Blade’s Best Pony 2005?”
“It looks like he might be,” I whispered, patting his soft ginger nose in awe, “Why else would she ask his rug size?”
PG recovered enough to ask “And what size did you ask for - ?”
“6’6” of course.”
Five foot six you mean?” she queried, and that’s when I realised I had made a little slip-up.
PG could hardly believe it – “You’ll have to go back and tell her! You’ll have to! Oh Mummy you are such an idiot!”
“Well how can I,” I snapped, aghast, “We were both pretending it was just a casual making-conversation type of question! I can hardly say, ‘Coo-ee, Mrs Blade, you know you were casually asking what size rug Clyde, I mean Darkest Braveheart, took? Well silly old me, I was a teeny bit out, well actually a whole foot out, not that it matters in the slightest since we were just having a very casual chat about rugs in general, haha, but just to put the record straight and all that..”

We both realised the impossibility of this, so now I have to live forever with the knowledge that our pony may have earned himself, by his own skill and courage, a Champion’s Rug, and it’s only idiot Pony-mum's fault that it’s cut for an elephant and will swamp him to the ground, just his ears and tail poking out as he staggers along in a sort of big tent to the floor.

It was time to jump then, and, this being a fairy-tale sort of day, Clyde jumped as if inspired, ridden by an equally inspired PG making him turn on a sixpence and spring from a standstill, gaining 2nd place in two classes on his time alone and 5th in the last, against a very strong field of over 30 determined riders young and old. For the first time he got to do a victory lap of honour – three times – cantering in fine style around the arena in a convoy of the Chosen Six, and Pony-girl was looking at the world through a sparkle of tears and love for the Best Pony of our hearts, 2005 and forever.

"Anuvver lap of honour - yeah yeah"


  • At 12:19 AM, Heather said…

    If it is gigantic you can use it as a bedspread or wallpaper or something. Anything other than putting it on a pony who would just roll in the mud with it on. Something that important can't get dirty, can it?

  • At 3:30 AM, Kris said…

    Well done again, Clyde--or rather, Darkest Braveheart. Wish I could watch him jump a round or two!


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