our meaty transport

The Boss took us to where our meaty transport was parked and said that he would pair each of us up with a suitable horse.
I assumed he meant in size… He didn’t… He was a ninja character assassin…

amelia

Starting with Amelia, the boss asked ballsack to go get ‘Red’. He warned Amelia that Red would keep stopping and trying to eat stuff – she’s a teenager that’s perfected the art of fridge grazing…
He even gave Amelia a food based nicknamed – ‘butter cup’…
The Boss was clearly psychic…

ross

Ross was wearing all black, the same as he had every single day of the holiday. For the last 3 years he’s looked like the grim reaper – but sponsored by Slipknot.

Whenever Ross opened his suitcase, the hotel room got darker. It looked like he’d packed a black hole.

His clothing and skin tones are at opposite ends of the light spectrum, and calling Ross pale skinned does an injustice to ghosts. I once forgot to take my sunglasses off as we walked into a dark casino, and I was surprised to see the head of Casper the Ghost floating along beside me.

The Boss looked Ross up and down, and then called for ‘Taitor’ to be brought across…

I half expected Taitor to be dragged kicking and screaming from the stables still wearing PJ’s. Instead it meandered slowly across, still chewing hay, in a kind of ‘couldn’t give a rats ass’ sort of way. Bingo!

angela

Angela had dressed for our horse riding session in her own unique style… “Are you going clubbing?” the Boss asked her. Normally when someone asks Angela if she’s going clubbing, they are usually referring to her response after I’ve said something daft.
Go get Bailey” he said to my nemesis. Angela’s face lit up. I couldn’t decide if she thought she was getting a coffee, or because Hank was going to mount her. Probably the latter…

Hank also brought her a riding crop, and with a smile said “you’ll be needing this later“… I scanned the ground around me looking for something to perform a bit of ad-hoc dentistry…

Realising I was distracted, my suicide gene ambushed my mouth and chirped up with “She’ll need bigger stirrups, her shoes come in crates, not boxes“.

I had stupidly forgotten she was armed with a riding crop, but Miss Whiplash hadn’t…I just pretended it didn’t hurt…

chris

For my horse, I had hoped for something in McLaren’s colours, only a bit more reliable.
The Boss looked me up and down, looked at Bob, smiled and said, “Go get Luke“. He then turned to me and said, “Luke is short for Lucifer“.

WTF! I started wishing I had read the disclaimer form more closely. Maybe he was in cahoots with Hank, or maybe Angela’s fairy godmother was still interfering.

Lucifer was summoned…

I was expecting a cloud of red smoke, thunder and lightning, or at least a pentangle and a chicken sacrifice. Instead, a fairly normal looking horse was led across. It didn’t have cloven hooves, and I couldn’t see a 666, but he was different from the others, bigger, slightly scarier, and had white snot – like it’d just been snorting some cocaine in the stable. It also had a slightly mental stare, like the guy that gets on the bus and everyone silently says, “Please God, not me“… but this was me… and we were going to be on the same bus for the next few hours.

me and Luke stared at each other for a while, like boxers do just before they kickoff. As we stood there silently, a dust cloud appeared as Luke pawed at the ground with its hoof. I wasn’t sure if it was excited, or just preparing a shallow grave.

all aboard

Before we mounted, the Boss asked us what previous experience we’ve had with horses. I was tempted to say “Only ones that Tesco’s sell in their meat pies”, but I played safe and kept quiet. As the moment of truth approached, I checked out the saddle hoping to find the safety leaflet. I had at least expected to be shown the brace position and where the life vest was. Nope… On a plus note, it didn’t have ‘Abandon all hope’ written on it either.

The Boss shouted out equine setup instructions…

Grab the saddle horn” – Nothing looked like it would go ‘honk honk’, so I assumed he meant the lump at the front of the seat.

Stick your left foot in the stirrup” – That must be the thing that looked like a Bransholme earring; Angela studied her hands, working out left from right.

Pull yourself up” – Hank helped Angela up, and her face lit up like Debenhams have a sale on.

Up you go Miss Angela” he said… WTF!… ‘Miss Angela’? He hasn’t even got his hand off her arse yet and she’s already single!

Instead of ‘hunk’, I got scrotum face helping. I weigh 14 stone… He’s built like Woody from Toy Story… If I’d fallen backwards, he would have shattered like my heart did when Kylie got engaged.

Reigns” – I assume the boss means the flappy leather things, and he’s not giving us a weather forecast.

Good start… No one has died… yet…

Being sat twenty feet from the floor on a French steak that doesn’t want me there is scary. Especially when Luke turned his head, looked back at me, and grinned.

saddle

I had always sworn that I wouldn’t get on a horse again until it was fitted with an ejection seat. I would feel a lot safer if the saddle had a big yellow and black handle I could yank on when I wanted to make a quick exit. Instead, all I had was a shiny chunk of leather that once belonged to the contents of a Big Mac.

Mankind has had a thousand years to optimise equine seating arrangements, yet saddles still feel like they’ve been designed by someone with a CSE in drama.

I compiled the saddle snag list:

  • They’re hard; FFS… What’s wrong with a bit of padding?
  • There’s nowhere to plug your phone in
  • They’re slippery; WTF… I’m expected to stay on a moving bag of muscles over rough terrain sat on something that my arse slides around on. One fart bubble and I’ll end up having to walk back.
  • I must have been given a girly saddle by mistake because my nut-sack did not fit it. I know I’m old, but I haven’t got granddad balls… Yet I just might, after a couple of hours sat on one of these.

dogs of whoa

Whilst sitting up there on Luke, I had an epiphany, and I started wishing we had brought the mutt with us on holiday us. I’ve seen plenty of cowboy movies where the riders are lovingly followed by their faithful canine companions.

Falling off a horse wouldn’t be as dangerous if riders had a nice soft mutt to land on. I realised a cowboy’s dog is just an archaic form of airbag. Yeah – you might have to wash off the squished bits of dog, but… as a bonus prize, you get a pre-tenderised meal. Just add some petrol, a match, and Rover would go ‘woof‘ one last time…

stupid

I’m sorry people, but horses are stupid. They aren’t like the ones in the movies where the guy whistles and they come running. That’s a taxi, and that’s where I’d rather sit; air conditioned and surrounded by airbags. Instead, I had to sit on something with a brain the size of a rat, and enough muscles to make my day go bad really quick.

fixtures and fittings

My horse’s kit list was fairly sparse. It didn’t even have a bell. Even bikes have bells. What’s the protocol to tell people you’re coming through? In the UK, even if you haven’t got a bell on your bike, you still shout “ding ding” loudly. What the hell am I supposed to shout if my impending cat food goes rogue?

bob’s horse

Bob’s horse had more stuff; it had ropes, a medical bag, and a rifle. Knowing how my dark humour can be misinterpreted, I decided to limit my conversations with Bob to nice safe topics. That way, I was less likely to influence him into using anything hanging off his saddle on me.

Talking to Bob…

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