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Real Life Drama: Bareback hack gone wrong!

Emily and her friends loved their bareback lesson, but was bareback hacking really such a good idea?

Me and four of my friends help out at our riding school at weekends and every single holiday. We don’t have our own ponies, but as well as having lessons we get free rides on the riding school ponies in return for the work we do.
Because we are all experienced riders, and know the ponies really well, we are allowed to hack out on our own. One Sunday a couple of months ago, we were all due a free ride and Chris, the yard owner, said we could go out that afternoon. We were tacking up the ponies when Carrie piped up, ‘Hey, let’s ride out bareback!’

We’d had a bareback lesson the previous weekend and it had been so much fun! We cantered and jumped and Chris told us that it was really great for improving your seat, even better than riding without stirrups.

I wasn’t exactly convinced though and said, ‘Do you think we should ask first?’ But Autumn said that it would be fine because we’d had our lesson bareback last week and we knew the ponies. I agreed on one condition – that we had to be sensible and were not to canter. Everyone agreed, so off we went without asking.

THE RIDE

It started off really well. The ponies had all been ridden in the morning so none of them were fresh or silly. We walked and chatted for the first 15 minutes or so before getting to the big hill where we decided to have a trot. All the ponies were fine and after some initial bumping around, we all relaxed into the bareback riding.

After another half-an-hour, a few more trots and even a canter (which was fun!) we decided to head back to the yard. This is where it all started to go wrong. As soon as we headed for home the ponies started to pick up the pace, which they usually do anyway and it doesn’t bother us at all. We were coming down the golf lane bridlepath towards home and as we started to ride slightly downhill Panda, the pony I was riding, decided it would be fun to take off down the bridlepath! If the others hadn’t all taken off as well we would have been fine but once Panda went, they all wanted to go! And normally, we would have been able to pull them up but we were just all laughing so much that we couldn’t.

We were coming towards the corner and knew we needed to pull up – you never know if there will be another rider or dog walkers coming the other way! But in our bareback hysterics, we couldn’t.

Then, of course, the inevitable happened. We came flying around the corner and came face-to-face with Chris who was escorting some clients on a hack! But it was too late to stop so me and my four bareback pals went bombing it past Chris and his two – very novice – clients, as I shouted over my shoulder, ‘SORRY CHRIS!’

BIG TROUBLE!

The ponies stopped at the end of the bridlepath, as they always do, and we walked the rest of the way home – laughing about what had just happened, but also worring and debating over what Chris was going to say. Would he chuck us off the yard?

When we got back, we sped round the yard like mad things to get all the ponies out in the field for the night, stables skipped out and the yard swept. Then we slunk off to the caravan to await our fate.

Chris arrived back with the two clients in one piece – thank goodness! Once they had left he stormed over to us and gave us a serious telling off. The words ‘irresponsible’, ‘stupid’, ‘careless’ and ‘dangerous’ were shouted at us several times. We sat sheepishly, murmurring how sorry we were and that we’d never do it again. I think we fully expected to be thrown off the yard but Chris’ final words were that the five of us had to tidy the muck heap every week until Christmas (it was August) and that we were never to hack out bareback again. Then he turned on his heel and walked off.

Phew! We just couldn’t believe it and once we knew Chris was out of earshot, we started giggling nervously. It had been a total laugh, but we knew not to push our luck!

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