THE RIDING SCHOOL PASSES

Posted by Admin on Tuesday, 7th April 2009, 00:00

Clip-clop, clip-clop,
what a blithe cavalcade,
when the youngsters go riding by:
then I listen and watch
’til the hoof-beats fade,
with an envious ear and eye.

We have cantered at ease on the sun-blest sand
when the seaweed was sleek from the tide;
I have lauded Saint George and my native land,
where the contours of Vectis abide.
Just a rider alone in my youth’s March days,
stirred to song by the voice of the wind,
I have chanted those wild and defiant lays –
scattered insults I’d never rescind.

A d’Artagnan engaged on a reckless spree,
I have swaggered through highways and lanes,
from the Solent’s retreat to the open sea –
unconcerned by both losses and gains.
For the whole of my life I have set the pace
on a long-tailed Arabian steed;
how we diced at the fences and won each race
with a ‘devil-take-hindermost’ creed!

There was polo – no game – with the Lancers to quell,
and a fortune in bets on the side;
then the cavalry, going pell-mell,
as we rode with Churchillian pride.
We have challenged all comers, and held our ground,
horse and man where the ancient ways fork;
and the North Road has shuddered to leap and bound,
in a Turpinesque gallop to York.

I have lifted my cap to the Royal Stand,
and at show-jumping vied with the best
riding a faultless round, gathering time in hand
in a great International test.
It was saddle and mount with each new-born day,
through a gallant half-century’s course;
there was action, and drama, and brash display,
yet …
I never bestrode a horse!

Clip-clop, clip-clop,
what a blithe cavalcade,
when the youngsters go riding by:
then I listen and watch
’til the hoof-beats fade,
with an envious ear and eye.

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.

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