‘You said you had only handled logging horses!’ ‘Not quite, I said I had handled logging horses, the look on your face said don’t continue, so I did not say I also handled and rode the finest race horses and steeple chasers in the world, now do you want to changeover?’ a broad smile spread over her face teeth flashing white in the early sunlight.
‘I haven’t forgiven you for the trick you pulled last night about the toad sitting on the tuft of grass,’ the air rang with their laughter.
‘Ok I have ridden him before, we get along fine.’ They both jumped out of their saddles and landed together. She kissed him then said, ‘You’re forgiven’ and took up the hackamore and jumped on board. Peter took the reins and walked around to the horse’s head talking to the horse and gently blowing up the horse’s nose making friends before attempting to ride on her back. He let her nudge him a few times before side stepping and swinging on board and then setting off to follow Paula in a few minutes they were riding along together.
Returning to the stable yard everything was fine until Paula’s mount came face to face with Sir Damien, rearing up on his hind legs his front legs flaying the air, nostrils flaring, and lips curled and teeth bare. Paula had great difficulty staying in the saddle, Peter realised the danger to Sir Damien so jumped off his mount in one bound, a hard tap on the button knocking Sir Damien unconscious then using a fireman’s lift he picked him up and carried him to safety, dumping him on a bail of straw. In his gentle voice calming the angry horse, in less than half a minute the horse was calm but shivering with rage. ‘Ride him out Paula’ she turned him around and returned the way they came in and left the stable yard.
The commotion outside attracted everyone in the hall they rushed out led by Mark just in time to see Peter slap his Sir Damien across the face. The stable boy spoke up.
‘Mister Mark Sir, Peter has just saved your father’s life I was too frightened, Sir Damien was rooted to the spot. They both came around the corner together face to face the horse and Sir gave each other a big fright. Peter picked up your father and carried him to safety he was awful white so Peter slapped him and his colour came back Sir.’
‘Thank you boy’ Said Mark
‘My apologies Sir for slapping you but I had to bring you out of shock very quickly so I could Help Paula control the horse. Suck one of these sugar lumps Sir I was instructed to do it by Lady Blocky When it happened to me.
A maid came around the corner carrying Tea in a mug and a blanket to keep him warm; placing the blanket around his shoulders said,
‘As soon as you drink this tea we better get you inside.’ forgetting her station as a kitchen maid with the excitement of the moment.
Peter shouted one word, ‘Paula’ than ran to Paula’s horse and vaulted onto its back and raced in the direction they took, disappearing around the stable end. Halfway along the track they had ridden along. Paula was out of the saddle allowing the horse to eat the grass from the hedge row.