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Pony Riding

by Arthur Cox

This is an extract from my holiday notes.

October 1990. Friday 19th. Kettlewell, Yorkshire.

 We lunched on soup, toast and beans and then drove to Conistone for our booked pony rides. We thought that ponies were small horses but we found that the ponies here were very much bigger than the poor things we’d ridden on Corfu earlier this same year. Sylvia had a pony called “Rosie” and Arthur had “Mouse”. Nobody else was with us except the leader and a very small girl whose job it was to open and close the gates. We set off along the main road and then up a track rising into the hills.

The ponies seemed very quiet until near the top where there was a lot of noise from a mechanical saw in a yard. This appeared to alarm the horses. We reached the open fell and then “Rosie” suddenly shot off at a very fast pace with Sylvia desperately hanging on for dear life. It was dangerous ground full of rocks and rabbit holes. “Mouse” decided to follow and it was hard to stop either of them despite lots of shouting of “Whoa!” and pulling on the reins. At last they stopped and the leader came up and said that we’d been clever to have kept in the saddles.

Thus we learnt how to hold the reins properly. We had been told to pull on the reins to stop but we had not been told that you must pull so the horse’s head was pulled downwards. That way, the horse cannot see ahead and will stop. Then off down the hill, slowly again and back to the stables. Sylvia then found that her boot was firmly wedged in the stirrup so if she had fallen off she would have been dragged along the ground. We were actually out from 2.10pm until 3.40pm and it cost us £6.00 each.

We have not ventured on horses or ponies since then.

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