I don’t know what it is with teenage girls, but if there is any hint of a possibility, they all want a horse, and so it was with Julia. We had the space and the accommodation so there was no excuse. Well, there was but we didn’t know it then.
Pouring over SMH classifieds, we found the perfect horse. ‘Pony, gelding, good with children, trained and quiet. Ideal first horse’, so we drove down to Mona Vale to the riding school to see him.
Julia was helped aboard and led around the yard, then given the reins to drive herself. He was responsive, obedient and so pretty that she had to have him. We paid up and took him home.
Valium is a wonderful thing. That afternoon Julia rode Flash around the property, walking then trying a bit of trotting, eventually canterting, flushed with success. I am no rider, but I hopped on and did my usual gate checks and shunting of steers around the paddocks on horseback like a real cowboy. He behaved impeccably.
Next day I saddled him up expecting the same but the moment my bum hit the saddle, he was off. No amount of heaving on the bridle could stop him.
Eventually a gate loomed up. I leaned forward preparing for an attempted leap but he propped and I kept going, over his head, hitting the gate and bouncing back to bury my face in a fresh cow pat.
My next move was a call my mate Bob to send down one of his boys to ‘check out a horse I had bought’.
‘Where ja buy ‘im?’
‘Ya bloody idiot! Why would a riding school wanna sell a good ‘orse?’
‘I bet the damn thing hurt somebody. The bastards pump ’em full of valium long enough to sell ‘em and twenty four hours later it’s your problem!’
‘OK, so I’m a dickhead. Now what?’
‘I’ll send young Bert down.’ Click went the phone cutting off a sigh.
Bert came and the horse looked great under his expert hands and heels, galloping, turning, spinning and jumping. Finally he slid off next to me.
‘Good ‘orse! He c’n go, but he’s a nasty bastard of a thing, he’d kill a kid.’
So that was it. She couldn't keep him.
No point in trying to sell him locally, so we sent him to Wyong sales where nobody would know him. But to be fair, we gave the valium a miss and he sold at a good price, almost what we paid. We thought that was that.
But no, a week later at Mel’s, as soon as Bob saw me, he was out of control, laughing.
‘What’re you laughing at, dopey?’
‘Orr mate, ya won’t believe this!’
‘Ya know that bloody ‘orse a yours, the one ya sent all the way down to bloody Wyong? Well the mongrel of a thing’s back!’
‘One of those silly city buggers bought ‘im there an’ as soon as he was outa the float he took orf ‘n nobody c’n catch ‘im!’
‘Shit! What should I do?’
‘Yer could start by buyin’ me a beer?’
So that’s what I did.