Column: Day in the saddle sent me to the knacker's yard
Looking at old holiday snaps, as you do, I came across some early seventies pony trekking ones.
This should be prefaced with the words, ‘long before the days of health and safety!’
My Isle of Arran experiences early this year, saw me clinging for dear life to a hapless pony called Buster, as we cantered along a beach.
Then, la piece de la resistance, my wayward animal helped itself to a picnicker’s sandwich. Che orrore!
I also have a memory I can barely recall of being perched on a hillock with the pony leaning forward, thus rendering me ready to schloop down.
The others were below looking up. It’s fair to say I didn’t have the knack, though bear in mind I had never had a lesson in my entire life.
The other pony trekking memory embossed on my brain was on the west coast of Ireland around 1971.
On this occasion, an old fella with weathered skin cracked a large whip with one almighty thwack on the ground, to set the beasts off.
Thus, my father, brother and I were despatched along a busy road, with neither leader nor hat.
Mother had more sense!
The three ponies then went on their regular jaunt, down a country lane route they clearly knew well, to do their own thing.
Father’s just hung around, my brother’s lunched on hedgerows and mine, as you may have already guessed, headed for a lush garden to enjoy the plants therein.
Unfortunately the owners of said feeding zone, were seated on the grass at the time enjoying another picnic.
Embarrassed would be an understatement!
Luckily they saw the funny side of this possibly daily occurrence, so I hopped off to lead my wilful beast back along the lane, past my brother and father then somehow, the three of us managed to make it back to the old man’s yard in one piece.
On arrival, a second thwack of the ground with the whip saw the beasts homed in their stables.
How times have changed!
Later, health and safety would have squashed the whole thing, on one million counts,yet there we were, chancing our luck and trusting in fate to get us through. Brilliant fun.