It was with great trepidation that I agreed to Rachel riding Fred (the big Irish Hunter) side saddle to her prom. He is very strong, the noise can be very loud and we don't have a side saddle. But who lets those little things get in the way?
Rachel was offered help by Vicki, Hillary and Louis, thank goodness. My part was to pray for sunshine. Rachel cleaned her face and got her nails done. Hillary fetched a surprised Fred in from the field at 9:30 am and proceeded to wash and scrub very imaginable stain off him. He stood as still as a stalve for 3 hours. Louis arrived at 3 pm to plat him while Lilly held him. He was looking lovely.
Rachel then had a dress drama which necessitated her being sown into it. All sorted and Vicki then calmly walked Fred to the Chequers where Paul gave Rachel a leg up onto Fred. She rode on his normal saddle, side saddle style. As I waited at the school with butterflies in my stomach, I saw Fred purposefully walking up the school drive, Vicki running beside, Louis to the side, Paul leading and Rachel looking every bit the part. Hilary by the my side, the tears rolled down our cheeks as we both swelled with pride. He looked very alert as a neared the crowd. Rachel alighted, ceremoniously without falling on her heels and joined her friends.
I followed Fred round the green, whereupon he began to get more lively but Vicki loosened the reins again and he was off back home, duty done, and he did so well, back to his stable, groomed, patted and fed, all taken in his stride. Andre would be proud.
Back to the Prom, as Hilary and I looked round it was amazing to see so many Bridge farm riders all dolled up. The girls looked lovely in their long dresses. I could hardly recognise some of them. It seems no time at all that I was teaching them on Nutty, Busky, Gypsy, Rosie, Poppy, Molly. Then for the next nine years seeing them all grow up, gain in confidence and turn sixteen and become young ladies. For those that have left the stables I hope you all remember the good times and pop down and see us occasionally. For this that still are regulars down the yard, I'll see you all at the weekend. Have a fantastic Prom.