I know what you’re thinking: that it can’t possibly be true, that I’m a drama queen, that I’m paranoid. But I’m not. Everyone at my yard hates me, and I don’t blame them because I hate myself. I’ll tell you why.
I had to ride!
I don’t have my own pony so I go to the local riding school to help out. Lots of girls do and until recently we all used to get on really well. We were like a gang of helpers, and we each had our favourite school pony. But we never got any free rides. I had my lesson every week but I didn’t seem to be progressing much. I longed for a pony of my own, but my parents couldn’t afford it.
I decided I had to do something, I had to ride more often! I looked around at the liveries and put a plan into action.
There were three or four women with horses they didn’t ride every day so I started to offer to help them. It was easy, I just asked them when no-one else was around whether I could groom their horses for them, or check on their rugs
if they couldn’t come up to see them every night.
They seemed really glad to let me help them so I straightened rugs and filled water buckets and even cleaned their tack for them. I knew one of them had let my friend Emma ride her horse Bunny last summer, so it seemed a safe bet. I desperately wanted them to offer any rides that were going to me and no-one else.
Success at last!
Then, at last, what I was waiting for finally happened. Bunny’s owner, Carol, asked me whether I would like to ride Bunny while she was on holiday. Would I? I leapt at the chance – my plan had worked. Only my friends didn’t share my delight at all:
‘You’re riding Bunny?’ asked Juliette, her eyes narrowing as she stared at me.
‘Yes, isn’t it great?’ I said, fetching his saddle from the tack room.
‘Carol used to let Emma ride Bunny when she went away,’ Juliette told me. ‘How come she’s asked you?’
‘Er, well, I…’ I stammered, ‘I didn’t think it was an exclusive arrangement.’
‘Emma’s in the barn crying,’ Juliette continued. ‘How could you?’
I felt like the sun had sunk from my world. I hadn’t thought of how everyone else would feel about it. I had underestimated Emma’s claim on Bunny. When I got back from riding, no-one was talking to me – but they were talking about me. I could hear them whispering whenever I got nearby.
I thought things would blow over, but then events escalated to make everyone hate me even more: Mrs Collins asked me to ride her part-bred Arab, Squinky. He was so gorgeous I couldn’t say no – not that I wanted to. I was to ride him twice a week – and Carol still wanted me to exercise Bunny. What could I do? I couldn’t refuse. This way, I was riding almost every day and my riding was improving. But not a single one of my friends – sorry, former friends – were happy for me.
‘I can’t believe you’re riding two liveries, when you know some of us would love one to ride!’ spat Emma, as I headed out of the yard on Squinky. ‘You’re so greedy, Karen. And we know you’ve been sucking up to the owners for ages. We all think you’re absolutely despicable!’
Three ponies to ride
I still ride Bunny and Squinky – there’s no way I could refuse a ride. Another livery owner told me they were impressed by my commitment, and has asked me to exercise her Welsh cob in the holidays. I might as well – I reckon the others couldn’t hate me any more than they do now. The trouble is they are right, I did totally suck-up to the liveries because I wanted them to offer me rides, and I wanted them to consider me instead of anyone else. Even though I have three ponies to ride, I haven’t any friends. Everyone at my yard hates me.