Sunday, 30 October 2016

On Being Selective.

During today’s perambulation of the Shire’s gold-bedecked lanes I stopped to talk to a woman on horseback. I always stop to talk to people on horseback unless they’re either male or the type I don’t feel comfortable with. It goes without saying that I don’t talk to people with whom I feel uncomfortable whether they’re on horseback or not, but the blanket objection to men is something else.

To people of peasant stock like me, you see, there’s a race memory involved. The men who used to ride horses were also the men who rode my ancestors to an early death from overwork and malnutrition, and we don’t forget the sins of our fathers’ oppressors easily. It’s also a fact that among city dwellers, only the girls ride. They get all ponced up in tiny jodhpurs and riding hats and go trotting off to pony clubs on Sunday mornings, while the boys play football, climb trees, and smoke illicit cigarettes behind conveniently placed walls. And then there’s the fact that people on horses look down on you while they’re talking. I don’t mind women doing that, but it gets a bit competitive when there’s a man involved. It explains why I’m usually less than 100% pleasant to 6ft 4in land agents.
This is the kind of person I talk to

This is the kind of person I don't

I should also add that the real reason I talk to people on horses is to have an excuse to talk to the horses. Horses have a habit of suddenly doing unexpected and endearing things while you’re talking to them, like nuzzling your ear or trying to eat your jacket. That can be fun.

Anyway, the horse-mounted woman I talked to today offered the opinion that it’s possible to train a horse to do anything a dog can be trained to do. I felt inclined to differ. ‘What, like bark at the postman or round up sheep?’ is what I should have said. If I’d known her better I probably would have done, only I didn’t, so I didn’t. And the next woman I saw riding a horse was one of the locals I don’t feel entirely comfortable with, so I just said ‘hello.’

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