A day with the Epworth District Riding Club..and a tale or two of my own.

Mother Nature stopped with the wet stuff on Saturday long enough for my pal Gav to guide the boys around the watering holes of York and for the Epworth Ladies to show of their skill and style and to show how well the horse can behave….or not!

I am speaking from experience, limited I grant you but experience all the same! There use to be osses in the field at the bottom of our garden and I used to feed them and pet them.                                           Who’s the twelve year old  in the woolly hat?

The first time I had a go on one was at the Heath Common Fair near Wakefield about thirty years ago. I was bouncing along when the “strappy” thing (girth) that hold the seat (saddle) in place came loose and I was slowly but surely slipping round to the right. People must have thought I was being really cocky to be riding along like an American Indian, hunting the buffalo….until I slithered off into a sea of mud and swear words. The girlfriend and her mates laughed so much she became the Ex girlfriend!

I left well alone for a good few years after that! After a while I had another go with another oss (and another girlfriend) This time riding a placid shaggy brown Cobb on the Isle of Skye once but all it wanted to do was eat grass and do pooh!

In France, in the Dorgdogne region whilst on a bikers camp site I succumbed to another oss experiance with and ANOTHER girlfriend…along with a  Dutchman and his daughter. The oss was an eighteen year old Arabian, sounds racy doesnt she? No just another plodding grass and flower muncher I’m afraid! At least she was until the little French kid in the group fell off his oss and cartwheeled down the hill breaking his leg. This little garcon was having no luck today. I fact earlier in the stable as we all got mated up with a suitable ride he was trodden on…twice then got batted around his head by his mum for being clumsy! She insisted to the instructor that he was actually a budding rider! During the hack his pony panicked a little they got seperated from the group and got a gallop on to catch up, thats when he fell off. From up the front I heard him scream and caught sight of him catwheeling down the hill! The guides rushed to his aid and needed their jeep as he had broken his leg.The young lass asked me to just stay were I was. She would hurry on to the yard  for the jeep” Wee Wee”  I nodded and off she galloped down the track. She had disapeared when my oss suddenly pricked up her ears chuntered something and set off after the girl. I just stood up and hunched over the oss gripped with my thighs and  clung on keeping my head down as we galloped through the woods… I have the film outtakes of the actor getting swept off with an unseen branch and didnt want it to happen to me! After a mad couple of minutes she stopped to eat more grass. So here I was, lost somwhere in France on an Arabian oss having a pooh! I had calmed down enough to appear in charge when the others caught up eventually and we hacked back to the stable. The two hour adventure through the Dordogne had been a bit dramatic for me, I ached like John Wayne for days after. Finally I came to the conclusion  that oss riding was not for me.

Somewhere in Andorra, still aching several days after canter through France!

That was then, this is now. The showground at Epworth was a little spongey with a little pond here and there. The wind was quite stiff and very cold but at least it was doing its best to make the field dry.

Julie was due to perform in the dressage competition mid morning so arrived with Kath and Nikki early, people would arrive throughout the day as their time slots came up so it was a steady coming and leaving of horses all day.

Julie and LIGHTENING get some free practice before performing in front of the judges in the arena.

Kath and RIO get some practice too. He took a bit longer to setle down get in “the groove”

Below is a close up of their platted tails, its all part of dressage you know! Ill stay quiet now and run you through some photos of the competition.

This is BONNIE, looking good she is too!

This is Ian Bennett on HOLLYGATE BEWITCHED, just a couple of years old and doing dressage for the firat time.

Say “Hi” to Mrs Bates on SMIRFYS COPPER,

Deb’s was grinning like an cheshire cat on SMIRFYS COPPER and really enjoyed her day. I thought she was really graceful royal and smart, Debs looked good too!  Unlike her previous outing when said oss reverted to her race horse days and bolted around the ground for a couple of minutes. Naughty girl!

Nikki in the arena on BARNEY RUBBLE doing very well and got well placed!

“When is it our turn then?” 

 It was long day with plenty of waiting around for ones slot. There is only so much grass and pooh one can stand!

Hairbrush anyone?

This “wall eyed” long haired oss looks a great character and is a favorite of mine!

This big boy is TROY with Julie

 Jeanette holds onto LIGHTENING as he eats lunch after doing ok in his Dressage test, he didnt come last, which isvery good for his first try at this kind of thing.

Though it didn’t, sometimes it looked like the heavens were going to open up. Instead it just stayed very cold and breezy.

This is Rebecca and Emily Blackburn on BLUE and JAZZ IT UP, the girls are known as “the twins”…because they really are twins.

My wife Julie, looking really pleased with herself at her  performance (didn’t come last) and so she should too! Mark was frozen and is snuggling up trying to keep warm.


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