should I take the red or blue pill?

Although the scenery of the Santa Ynez mountains was beautiful, my dark humour Tourettes kept goading me to do something stupid… I needed entertaining…

Satisfying my drama thirst normally means I saying something daft to get a reaction… But after my last attempt to talk to Bob, it was clear he had no clue how to handle my humour that didn’t involve a large medical bill.

Before we had left the ranch, the boss had warned us to keep a gap between the horses. Ross was ahead of me, and the more that I tried to ignore it, the more that cross-hairs appeared on his horse’s ass.

In my imagination, a head-up display appeared, showing azimuth, bearing, and range to ass…

My horse didn’t require much encouragement to get its bitey end into a firing position, and it only took a few seconds before Luke ‘Luis Suarez’ had a chomp on Ross’s horse Taitor.

I never thought it possible that Ross’s face could go even whiter as he flailed around like one of those inflatable dancing men you get outside car showrooms. Imagine the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at a rodeo, well he was their grumpy albino cousin.

I laughed so hard, a little bit of pee came out…

mutually assured destruction

On the flight out of Manchester, I’d watched the movie ‘Revenant’. In the film, Leonardo Dicaprio’s horse had a short career as an Airbus. Unfortunately, it didn’t have wings, at least not until it hit the bottom of the canyon when it received the evangelical kind. It wasn’t a happy ending, unless you just happened to have a thousand cats to feed at the bottom of a crevasse. Horses are clearly stupid…

The path we rode along had a steep drop down to the left, a lot like the scary road we drove along near Yosemite. This was another potential ‘fireball’ moment. Unlike the Chevy, my horse didn’t have a 20-gallon fuel tank, but anything called Lucifer probably had access to as much fire as it needed.

I began empathising with Angela about that perilous drive in Yosemite. The two experiences had similarities:

  • An idiot was driving
  • Recovering my remains would require a long rope and a Vax.

Luke meandered across to the rim of the ravine, and began walking along the edge… I let it… Normally, when me or Ross do shit like this, we get a verbal kicking from Angela. She can generate a sonic pulse that can stun from 50 feet.
If she’s really pissed with us, she uses her super weapon; Superman might have laser eyes, but Angela has ‘The Look’. Receiving it is like being in a staring contest with Medusa… I’ve seen grown men cry – usually in the mirror. But she was at the front and oblivious to what was going on and probably dreaming about Hank using her for some lasso practice.

Luke nonchalantly kicked a few rocks off into the ravine below. I think he was hoping I’d count the seconds before they reached the bottom… I stupidly did…

Falling off here would sting a bit, and I don’t know what Bob was carrying in his medical kit, but I bet it wasn’t a spare lung.
Luke also kept turning his head and looking at me… This posed two problems:

  1. While he’s looking at me, the daft bastard isn’t watching where he’s going
  2. I had to keep showing him my ‘brave face’ and trying not to scream like a girl – again

I grabbed the reigns, and tied them round my wrist. The next time he looked at me, I showed him we were joined together… This is known as ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’, or M.A.D… If I go… he goes too… He casually stepped away from the edge.

History lesson

My mate once offered to take me for a ride on the back of his Honda Fireblade motorbike. “I won’t go too fast”, he said. I replied, “ok, as long as I can hang on to the end of a tie-wrap around your throat“… The ride didn’t happen.

flight risk

The route finally took us downhill back towards the ranch. Being at the back of the group meant I was unsupervised. Bob probably thought he was putting the responsible one at the rear.
The path forked, and I was presented with an opportunity to go off-piste into some woods.

I had a ‘red pill’, ‘blue pill’ moment…

The Pro’s were:

  • I get a longer ride

The Cons were:

  • I have no sense of direction – I could end up in Mexico on a dialysis machine
  • I would be going through dark woods, sat on something called Lucifer
  • I’m less like City Slickers ‘Curly Washburn’, and more like ‘Curly Sue’
  • There’s an apex predator on the loose that can kick a lions ass
  • I’ve watched ‘The hills have eyes’ horror film
  • They wouldn’t believe me if I said “Luke did it”
  • Horse napping might still be a hanging offence
  • American’s like shooting people
  • My balls ached

The cost benefit analysis didn’t pan out well. There was a distinct possibility that I would get lost/shot/eaten – and probably in that order. I chickened out…

important life lessons

When I was a small child, my father used to put me on his shoulders and walk around Hull fair so that I could see over the top of the crowd.
On one particular occasion, I remember him taking me off his shoulders and lowering me to the ground.
The next thing I knew, I was lying on my back wondering who had nicked my legs.
I found myself looking up at a circle of faces – all staring down wondering why the small boy was laid in a puddle.
I had learnt an important lesson about dead legs.

As I got older, I started climbing stuff that I wasn’t supposed to, things like trees, cliffs, and drainpipes.
I found out that climbing up is a lot easier than climbing back down. My return journeys frequently included an unscheduled departure from the flight plan, and were often a lot feckin quicker.

Depending on what I hit on the way down, I would need a patch supplying by:

  • Levi
  • Elastoplast
  • A&E
    After one particularly spectacular excursion from a tree, I was awarded the divot record by my mates, but only after they had stopped rolling around on the floor pissing themselves laughing.

eject eject eject

When we got back to the ranch the boss asked us all to dismount… I was worried that getting off Luke was going to end with a scream, a somersault, and a cloud of dust. …but it got worse… Hank was there watching, and he had a smug grin on his face.
I’m used to my family muttering and shaking their heads disapprovingly when I’ve embarrassed them, but this might be one of those moments when they needed professional counselling too. Two hours of horse riding might have left me with dead legs, in which case I would shortly be looking up at a bunch of grinning cowboys – and my horses cock.

Although I was pleased to see ballsack coming towards my horse, I was disappointed he wasn’t driving a scissor lift .

I looked down to where he was stood, there wasn’t a mutt nearby that I could aim for, so the leathery faced airbag would have to suffice. Hitting ballsack at speed would be like sitting on a bag of crisps; some crunching followed by a pop, and lots of cleaning up to do.

But with ballsack’s help, I made a perfect dismount. I was hoping I’d receive a round of applause, and people holding up score cards with ’10’ on, but everyone else was clearly disappointed by my lack of willingness to entertain them. Feeling somewhat cocky, I wandered away trying to look super cool, but I just looked like I’d just shit myself. This was probably because I now had small hairy omelettes where my nuts used to be…

Hank went across to help Angela down. She whipped her phone out – I thought she was going to take a selfie, but she was just checking her lippy in the reflection. “I’ll show you how cowboys do it” he said to her… I bet he f***ing would… but I bet he’d be pissed off when she’d confiscated all HIS weapons too. “Down you come little lady” he said. The way he lowered her down had an air of ‘Dirty Dancing’ with soundtrack playing in the background.
If I’d tried that, she would have ended up having a short but spectacular skydive followed by one-man crowd-surfing into the gravel.

Angela commented that I should have been more gentlemanly and offered to help her down – I agreed, then after looking left and right said “but where’s the forklift?” …The riding crop made a cracking noise one more time…


Riding through the Santa Ynez Mountains with my family is one of the best experiences I have ever had, and given the right opportunity, I wouldn’t hesitate to go riding again.

This vista was way better than the Microsoft version

Unfortunately, Hornsea isn’t 30C and surrounded by beautiful mountains; A donkey, thermal underwear, and some steep steps, just isn’t the same.

The good news was I had started to understand my horse a little better; that’s important, as we’re probably going to meet again when I die.

The good news is Angela wants me to wear a Stetson and Raybans in the bedroom.

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