Pages 27 and 28
flared skirt and placing her arms on the arms of the chair before commencing to draw her portrait.
‘Now I want you to say, when I look at you I have to smile,’
Paula said ‘When I look at you I have to smile.’
‘Hold that expression’
Nine minutes later ‘You can relax your face while I put the clouds in the background. It will take little more time to finish the shading of the skirt then you can move from the chair and have a look.
While Paula stood up Peter flipped over a page disclosing a picture of a toad, warts and all, sitting on a tuft of grass. They all rushed forward to see a beautiful portrait of her and instead saw the toad; her father flew into a rage. While Mark started howling with laughter, ‘I did warn you he was a very good joker. Before she bursts into tears you had better show her the real one’
Still holding a deadpan face he flipped over the page. Gasps came from everywhere. It is fantastic will you draw me and me echoed all around the room.
Paula forgave him for making her the butt of a joke; put her arms around his neck and kissed him on the mouth. It was Peters turn to go bright red. Then he whispered I love your drawing of the silver grey horse what’s his name?
I’ll show you him tomorrow.
The dinner gong sounded which ended their conversation. Soon everyone was seated and conversations started around the table.
Peter had been seated between Paula and her mother who bombarded Peter with questions about art and style and ‘which style did he favour?’
‘Well I admire Paula’s talent I would love to see more of her art work; the picture of the horse tells a fabulous tale including fear in his eyes and such latent power within his frame.’
‘Sir Damien can’t get near him he is thinking of having him destroyed as a Killer.
‘How many people has he Killed?’
‘Then he is not a killer. All he needs is the correct approach and he would be a joy to ride. A free spirited person could handle him no need for a crop or a bit in his mouth a hackamore would be best.’
How can you know this without seeing him?
‘The story is in the bond, between the artist and her subject within the painting your Ladyship,’
Mark loaned Peter a full riding habit including a blue jacket for the ride. Peter was at the stables for six thirty to meet his ride for the morning. The stable boy was busy watering the horses at the trough when Peter arrived ‘Can I help you?
‘The next horse out is the silver white and he is dangerous the master hits him something fearful with that quirt of his, I can lead him but Miss Paula can do anything with him.’
‘I’ll bring him out while you finish watering the others.’
‘Now you be very careful Sir,’ said the Boy.
Peter walked into the stable glanced at the big horse then walked over to collect the hackamore. The big white eying him all the time as Peter slowly approached. He started to sing softly the white dropped his head while Peter rubbed his nose and blew gently up each nostril before attempting to place on the Hackamore. In a low voice He whispered ‘I will give you a good grooming after we have a drink.’ Holding the rope Peter leaned over and had a drink from the water trough then the big white did the same.
The white stood perfectly still while Peter worked all over with curie combs the white coat gleaming then with trimming scissors he trimmed the mane and tail, just as he finished, the whites ears pricked up he could hear the clop, clop of a horse. ‘It’s Paula’ said Peter the white immediately settled down.
Paula jumped off her horse and ran over ‘He is not tethered you should have tied him up,’
‘He does not need to be tied he knows you as a friend.’ Peter smiled at her ‘Good morning, I was about to give him his head as soon as I fit the blanket and saddle on.’
Sir Damian watched as first the blanket and then the saddle had been placed on his back, puzzled by what happened next; not fastening the synch he started talking to the horse and walking the horse in small circles to the right then turning to the left all the time talking to him, stopping at the mounting steps. He fastened the saddle and gave the saddle a good shake around when satisfied the saddle was tight he put his right foot in the stirrup jumped up and swung his left foot over the saddle and stepped onto the mounting block removing his right leg out of the stirrup, then stepping off the mounting block and walking in front of the horse, the horse kept nudging him in the back. In a split second Peter side-stepped leaping into the saddle as the horse went past everything was so unexpected it took Paula completely by surprise.
‘Are you ready Paula?’
Paula climbed into her own saddle, waved to move forward as she led the way out of the stable yard; and then jumping her horse over the gate without bothering to open it for Peter.
He could feel his mount gather it’s self as they approached the gate and with an effortless leap he cleared the gate. Go free spirit! Very soon Paula was falling behind as she tried to keep up with them. A fence was fast approaching a slight hesitation before a leap, sailing over fence and ditch without breaking stride. Peter had been taught by an expert, Lady Blocky to ride steeple chasers this one is the Rolls Royce of all horses.
By instinct he headed for the various jumps set in the field. There were preparing for a gymkhana the following week. The erectors saw the horse fast approaching and dived for cover in their haste, they had not realized that there was a rider on board. A white streak sailed over the first three jumps in rapid succession a blur of dark blue on his back.
Peter slowed him down to a canter until Paula caught up with them. ’Do you want to swap horses for the return ride?’