I’ve written about the pony before. The daughter loved riding that pony, Spirit, so much, that this was her entry for the Google Doodle.
I was pleasantly surprised at this entry of hers. She practiced it on her little drawing board multiple times over. It started off with a barn and then morphed into the all-to-do-with-horses theme.
Maybe an occasional day with horses could be her indulgence we thought to ourselves and arranged for another pony ride for her. But this time, they gave her a horse, and told her she could ride it herself. Tell the husband something like this and his inner hero rises automatically. “Don’t worry!” he tells her. “I will ride with you on another horse to make sure you are fine. Don’t worry!”
“But I am not worried!” laughs the daughter rolling her eyes perfectly at this (an art form that seemed to be have been honed over decades of practice, but it can’t have been seeing that she is less than a decade old)
Stung, the husband said, she did not know anything about galloping horses and he would be her savior if the need arose. So, the pair of them set off to get saddled and bridled or whatever else horse-riders and their mounts do. The first thing they were required to do was to fill a form asking if they’ve ridden horses before. The daughter proudly answered ‘Yes’.
The husband flashed his mind back to the time his parents had arranged for him to mount a well-nourished donkey that called itself a horse on the beaches of the dirty Marina Beach in Chennai at the age of 9 and decided to answer ‘No’. “That horse”,he said later, “used to stray off to eat peanuts and trash paper on the beach completely forgetting that a rider was upon it!”
The daughter was assigned Pluto and the husband Dakota. Dakota was supposed to follow Pluto. The husband was to chase after the galloping Pluto remember? They waved their good-byes and set off. From here on, I enter the terrain of pure hearsay. The accounts of the husband and the daughter diverge a good deal, and I have taken the liberty of constructing my own sequence.
The husband says that Dakota seemed to think Pluto was his playmate and took great pleasure in tickling Pluto on his hind. The daughter says that Pluto was doing fine till Dakota annoyed him. Pluto and Dakota reached an impasse and one of the instructors had to intervene and send Dakota ahead of Pluto.
There was another problem: Dakota differed from the horse on Marina Beach in one respect only. It went for grass and not paper and trash, but that may be because the trail upon which they rode did not have paper and trash. It kept going off to eat grass and straying from the path.
The daughter had to take on the role of savior and had to shout out instructions to the husband on how to reign Dakota in and keep him on the path. The husband hotly contests this and says he knew all along how to go about horse riding, but did not want to yank at the reins for it might hurt the horse.
What can I say?! Potato – Potaato.