Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sure, why not?!

Yesterday, Anette and I rode to the race track together. I was a little bit worried that it would be too much of an expedition, but the fun thing with Anette is that she's always on. You name a suggestion, and she goes: "Sure, why not?"

So we ventured out, two women on two female horses, right into the men's world. I wondered how Sahara would deal with all the commotion around but she took it well and kept her cool. Arwen on the other hand was dancing and prancing, but at least she kept all her feet on the ground at the same time. I watched the first race on a moving back before handing her over to Chinada for a solo run. There has been a lot of talk about whether Arwen is actually pregnant or not, and the way she ended her run did not make people more inclined to believe that she was running with any sort of burden. Anyway, 15 min later (after a second race had finally been organised) Arwen begged me for another go. Ali didn't want to follow ("adults" don't play, you know) so I just stood up in the stirrups and gave Arwen free reins.
Another horse had gone off some seconds before us. I heard people calling me to stop and come back (there were other riders who would have gone with us and raced from the start) but the horse being whipped 50m ahead of us was good enough for me. And for Arwen as well, who just worked her way forward. We past them on the second straight, but then I started to feel how tired Arwen was (no surprise though, seeing it was her second lap). I sat down in the saddle and considered letting it go (with a potential baby in Arwen's stomach, why push it?), when I had a look at the other horse next to us, who was totally beat. The rider's whip was hailing but to no avail. Sure enough, Arwen was tired, but she was not ready to give in yet. So I stood up again and gave her as much inspiration as I possibly could, and sure enough, we passed them with a few inches and Arwen was pleased (people were cheering). Anette and I rode home together - two women on their mares with a pack of ten stallions (and their male riders) behind us. We trotted so much though during our way back and forth that for Anette's muscle's sake, I suggested that Chinada take Sahara out today.

He came at four, washed the horses, washed Arwen's millet (she won't eat it if she finds a single stone... talked about being spoiled rotten in this country!) and then rode out with me. Sahara got many compliments for being such a beautiful horse but I'm a little reserved abut her, not entirely having made up my mind. She's a nice little youth, but not my kind of horse. How could she be when I have Arwen? Anyway, I had played with the thought of letting Arwen race again (just for fun) and when Chinada asked me if we couldn't sign her in, I thought like Anette:
"Sure, why not?"

I had not thought that she would win - after all, I knew nothing about her full capacity as I had not watched her perform a full lap at top speed yet. There are always bad nerves involved when you enter your horse in a race, because the greater her reputation, the less you want to make a fool of yourself (or rather, your horse). I could hear her name being called as people placed their bets, and so expectations were high. I was surprised however that the other horse owners accepted to race against her, because in March, they all pulled out. But they hadn't seen her perform a full lap for so long, and besides, most of them still believed that she was pregnant. So in the end, there were five of them who set off at full speed, with Arwen in the lead. But what happened in the first turn? From afar, you could see how one of the jockeys stood up (the jockey stirrups are so short that he might as well have climbed up on top of the horse), pulled back the reins and cockily awaited the others to catch up with him... Yep, that was none other than Chinada on my Arwen... I have seen Chinada strategically slow down Arwen several times before (not with much success though), but I have never seen a jockey psyche the rest in such a cocky manner! I was sure then that the race would be lost and that Arwen at best would finish third, but she held the lead in a tight grip right to the end.

The funny thing was when I talked to Chinada after the race.
I go: "Great race, Chinada, but that stunt could have cost you."
He goes: "But I picked that up from you, Madame!"
I go: "?"
He goes: "Yesterday, when you raced Arwen!"
At first I couldn't understand what he meant, but then I remembered Isa yesterday, pointing his finger at me and saying: "Great race, but I noticed how you held her back towards the end!" He must have meant when I sat down and seriously considered pulling back from the race altogether, only to later spur Arwen with all the energy I possessed. Oh, was that actually me trying to create more excitement, trying to psych my "competitor"? Oh dear... You can't do anything unnoticed in this country.

So sure, Chinada, by all means, go ahead and change the way people race their horses in this country. Want permission to psych your competitors?

Sure, why not!


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