The Horse-Riding Writing Coach: BAULKING AT THE BAULK Part-2

Although my day job is helping people improve their business and personal writing, my hobby for many years has been horse riding. Hope you enjoy sharing one of my funnier experiences!

"Idyllic, unspoilt lanes where cars must give way to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders," say the tourist brochures, "and motor vehicles are not even allowed at certain times of day."  This refers to the romantically named "green lanes" on Jersey, largest of the Channel Islands, where my young son and I went on holiday a few summers ago
Having found ourselves a sweet little Dartmoor cross pony and an elderly but amiable cob at a local riding school, we set out for a hack with two young girls on their own horses around a circuit of Jersey's green lanes.  Great, I thought, isn't it marvellous not to worry about speeding cars or rattling trucks or whizzing motorbikes.  Just commune with all things natural at a leisurely walk or trot.

Just as well, too, as the green lanes were all of 3 metres wide with high banks and hedges on either side.  No room for manoeuvre here.

And no sooner had this thought crossed my mind than we rounded a bend, only to find a huge carriage being pulled by a team of four large horses trotting swiftly towards us.

There wouldn't have been room to pass them if we had been on foot, never mind on three horses and a pony, and the two young girls who were supposedly leading our ride weren't much help.

"Oh gosh, there's nothing but banks either side and no gateways," said one.

"My horse is terrified of carriages, and those people won't slow down or pull over for anyone," whimpered the other.

And I'm paying for this, I thought ungraciously as my wizened old eyes scanned the banks for a loophole.  Then I spotted salvation - a gap in the hedge where the bank had been trodden down somewhat, no doubt by others in our shoes faced with a hurtling carriage and nowhere else to go.

"Right," I shouted to young son and the two girls, "remember watching them do that bank at Hickstead?  Now's your chance to have a practice for next season.  Let's go."
I shooed the others on up ahead and then put my leg hard on the cob who reluctantly broke into a waddling trot and scrambled up the bank after them.

As the carriage rattled arrogantly past at full speed all three of our horses spooked backwards, tap-dancing across the poor farmer's potato crop.

The pony, being a pony, stuck his face in the hedge and chewed on some greenery.  Once the dust had settled we slithered down the bank in improvised Hickstead style and walked them slowly back to the yard.
"Isn't it wonderful to hack out in safety with no dangerous vehicles around?" asked the riding school owner as we dismounted.

"Yes," I lied, thinking give me motor vehicles every time.  At least they don't rattle and as they're usually occupied by people who aren't equine-literate, even the most arrogant of drivers will normally slow down and stay out of horses' way.

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