Grooming horses

5,00 Stern(e) 1 Stimme
I was a little girl with chestnut coloured short hair and a widow’s peak. I was short, slim and wore my elder brothers’ clothing around the house and when I played in the garden or went to school.

‘A bit of an enfant terrible’, our neighbours would exclaim because I had taken to cycle on their property on my tricycle. I went to the riding club on my yellow bicycle to the next village called Landesbergen in order to sign up for the riding club when I was five. I got accepted into a group of seven girls, run by Mrs Blöcher. It cost me, that is to say my parents five DM per month.

Landesbergen is a village situated in the North of Germany. It’s coat of arms depicts a red fox, an arrow and ear of wheat.

I found the indoor riding arena of Landesbergen fascinating because it smelled of horses and of sawdust, let alone of horses and ponies. We were lined up like organ whistles, tallest on the left, shortest to the right. I was the shortest, and therefore the little number seven.

We wore black sports tights and t-shirts and ballerinas in white. The pony was galloping in a circle while Mrs Blöcher stood in the centre with a whip. One of the standard exercises that we did was called ‘scissors’. When it was my turn, I ran up to Mrs Blöcher in order to run to the pony, which had a strap round its body with two handles. I was a bit scared to jump up, but I just about managed to get hold of the handles and up I leaped.

The was a certain set of rules for each of the standard exercises. We had to keep our toes pointed for every exercise. The next set of exercises was free style. One of the taller girls, Ulla, decided to do the free style with me. She clasped my legs as I did several handstands and turns on the pony that was galloping along.

We practised on a wooden horse, in order to complete the free style exercise, and in the end worked. One had to get the counts right.

We were asked by Mrs Blöcher to groom Max, our pony, after the session. We tied him to the stable bars, and groomed it with a curry-comb, untangled its mane and removed small stones from its hooves. – We smelled of horse ourselves by the end of it. As if that wasn’t enough, we had to clean the floor of the riding arena with a boom.

I went to doing exercises until we moved from the village that I grew up in called Heidhausen.

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