Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mink & Manure

I met Tim and Michael at 06:30 for a gentle 60km ride out to the botanical gardens and back. In the absense of Jason, I felt sure that for a change I really would be able to have a relatively easy ride. Neither Tim nor Michael are averse to a pleasant ride but it was not to be. About 30 minutes into the ride my mobile phone kept notifying me that there was something wrong with the systems at work which meant I had to pull over while Michael and Tim went on ahead. It only took close to 5 minutes to get hold of someone else to resolve the issue but by then they were well out of site and a really hard chase over about 10km (top of witkoppen to intersection of botanical gardens turnoff on hendrik potgieter) to catch them. Once I caught them Michael decided that it was time to play silly buggers with me and would accelerate every time he could see my shadow closing in on his rear wheel. The issue at work kept on pestering me with SMS's and phone calls so I kept on having to catch up. By the time we got to Judges avenue Michael had the beating of me, only just but he did. Michael and I put just short of 4 minutes on Tim on the judges hill although I have a stong suspicion that he was just taking it really easy.
Caron and I went off to the BMW (previously SAPPI) horse trial at Inanda Country Base. Can't really understand it myself but Caron seemed to enjoy it. We went and sat on a grandstand near the water jump which consisted of 3 big steps of about a meter each, the last one into the water, and watched the field go by. Caron assures me that the horses love the riding but judging from the hesitation of some of the field at the top of the steps, I'm not so sure. We almost saw one rider go over the top but they managed to cling on, just. There was another jump right in front of the stands which had the horses jumping over a corner of really big logs which looked really awkward. Unseen to everyone a camera man had strayed into the path that the horses take after landing and the next horse through just about flattened the camera man. He had eyes like saucers after the horse had kindly gone around him almost leaving the rider behind.
Met up with Jason whose family had a picnic spot booked next to the jumping arena so we were able to watch the jumping from the picnic with the chilled wine close at hand. Talk about luxury. Cathy introduced Caron and I to her cousin Bronwyn (I think) and then displayed a competitiveness of spirit that I really didn't expect from her. It wasn't ugly competitive but good competitive and I'm sure that given half a chance she would be back on a horse. I also met Jason's training partner who has fallen by the wayside of late and I made a wisecrack about "lately known as slacker" which he didn't see the funny side of at all. Maybe I should have been more diplomatic - too late now I guess.
Horse riding, it seems to me, is the domain of the wealthy who like to be seen to be mucking about in the brown stuff like mere mortals and like fast cars, it seems to attract an inordinate number of the 'beautiful people'. The whiff of arrogance is barely below the surface, just my observations, I'm sure they are all really nice people.

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