DAY 151: Riding Ralph ragged

29 Jan


IN among homesteads with fox carcasses strung up along the front fences is Hepburn Lagoon Trail Rides, and it’s here that I first clap eyes on Ralph, my ‘orse.

Like all accomplished studs, he totally ignores me, even when I’m hoisting myself up for a straddle. Then, when everyone else trots off through the gates to begin their epic journey, he wanders aloofly in the other direction to go and have a look at his reflection in the shed window.

You play a hard game, Ralph. That’s okay, so do I. 

Horses are notoriously shirty, but Ralph’s a joker, cutting up the others to overtake, winding them up by shadowing them so closely that they can’t see him over their hulking shoulders, and not observing stop signs when we’re on the road. He breaks in a trot whenever he feels like it, but for someone who has broken in a mechanical bull, this poses no problem.

Ralph plots a course into the nearest low-hanging tree.

Sometimes, as we stumble through woodlands fragrant with ferns and berries, I imagine his massive horsey vertebrae moving together in sync under his muscles, but mostly I stare at the back of his ears for three hours, which must be quite unnerving.

We reach a muddy stream, which I’m half hoping I’ll fall into – better here than somewhere else, anyway – but Ralph wades through it with a bit of huffing. It’s about here I start to totally trust him. Sometimes he stops dead to violently rip up some grass (in a suspiciously rider-throwy gesture), but for the most part he’s now obeying my every nuance with the reins and not giving me any shit, even as the other beasts pull hi-ho Silver moves and jerk their heads in horsey fury. We clop past a ‘Gestalt equine psychotherapy centre’ but I don’t need a shrink to tell me Ralph has developed a grudging admiration here. I reckon I could even pull some one-legged circus moves if I wanted to.

Keeper? Yes. Don’t be surprised if I whinny and break into a trot when excited, from now on.

4 Responses to “DAY 151: Riding Ralph ragged”

  1. loupardi January 31, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    hilarious. love.

  2. Stevie January 31, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Go Ralphy, what a champion!

  3. Gary January 31, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    What Lou said. This – “Like all accomplished studs, he totally ignores me, even when I’m hoisting myself up for a straddle.” – in particular.


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