© November 2001
We were out together, that late spring morning - she and I - lazily riding across the long grassland. Here the age-old, green road skirted the lower reaches of the escarpment. In a little while it would wend its way gently upwards.
Those ancients, the ones from several thousand years ago, knew a thing or two when they trekked this way and drove their animals before them. The old Drovers Way, the path we trod so lightly, was well-worn, making its way towards the next small river ford where they would have watered their stock and maybe stopped for the night. Now we used its gentle, peaceful way for the pleasure of our days riding.
My reveries and musings, half daydreaming of long ago were shattered by the cry of my companion, "Race ya!" And she was gone - hoofs thundering, raising the dust from the dryish soil below the blades of grass. I laughed as I spurred my eager horse on, laying along its neck, half standing in my stirrups as we took off in pursuit. The few seconds she had gained by springing the surprise on me gave her twenty, maybe thirty yards head start, but my pony, a hand or so taller, was not going to be beaten and we slowly began to overhaul them.
The river and the trees at its edge drew quickly closer as we levelled with them, neck and neck we raced and then slowly I edged ahead, my thighs feeling the powerful muscles flexing as I gripped tightly with my knees just, only just, in control of my excited animal's exertions. We careered up to the river bank, just in the lead. By now I was worried about our ability to stop. In the end it really didn't matter, my lovely horse simply swerved at the very last moment, leaving me to describe a gentle parabola into ten feet of water!
Lets just say it was cold and leave it at that. It took my breath away though and as I surfaced I was coughing and spluttering trying to get it back. The loser had managed to reign her mount in and stop in time, no need to catch my dear 'animal,' she was tasting the lush grass a few yards further down the bank. Once my companion had decided that I was not in imminent danger her concern gave way to laughter.
"Only just managed to avoid joining you myself," was the comment as I swam to the edge. "At least the picnic didn't join you - shall we have it here?" The last as I was now wading out at the lowest part of the bank, part of the ford where the water was quite shallow.
"Suppose so," I grunted, still winded a bit, "I'll need to try and dry out a bit anyway - I don't have a change of clothing, hadn't really thought of swimming like that."
I sat down and tried to remove a riding boot without much success. She dismounted and ambled across, still giggling, "hang on - I'll give you a hand."
I extended my booted leg and she swung over it so that she faced away as she held it high between her legs and pulled. It came off with a dull 'plop' followed by quite a lot of water.
"Ugh!" was her comment, "that's going to be a delight to wear later."
The other one was removed in the same way.
"Come on," she said, quite matter-of-factly, "clothes off, they'll dry in the sun if we spread them over the bushes." Then, seeing the look on my face, "Oh God, come on - I've seen a naked man before - you've not got anything that the others haven't got, have you?" She giggled again at the thought.
So I mentally shrugged and undressed and was only mildly surprised that my shrivelled wedding tackle, the water was cold, right, hadn't decided to climb high enough inside to form bumps on the back of my neck. While still trying to maintain a veneer of decorum she glanced at what I might term my predicament - and couldn't contain her mirth. She collapsed in a heap of giggles totally oblivious to my feelings.
"Thanks a bundle!" I said resisting the temptation to pick her up and go wading.
I walked over to my pony, undid the saddle bags and carried them back across to where she was sitting, perhaps a little more contritely than before. The sun was warmer now, in the late morning, so I took the bottle of wine to the edge and put into the clear water to chill a bit.
I went back to my horse, still grazing quite unconcerned, and took her saddle off to give her a bit of a break from it. As an aside it also gave me the saddle blanket to use, smelly though it was, as something to sit on. After a short while grass begins to leave an impression on naked flesh.
As I walked back she commented "At least you're returning to a more normal size as you warm up."
I chuckled and replied something to the effect that she shouldn't be peeking.
"Well, I can't bloody miss your dangly bits the way you're wandering around starkers." was the reply.
I ignored the comment, sat down and started to lay out the picnic.
"Overdressed persons will only get half rations." I said, half seriously.
She looked serious for a moment, unsure as to my tone of voice, then said, "But I'm a good girl..." then giggled again as I interrupted to tell her she'd be better and actually get some wine and probably be more comfortable into the bargain, if she at least took her hacking jacket off.
So she hummed the stripper and took it off, sensuously, or at least as sensuously as you can take a riding jacket off whilst wearing tight jodhpurs and tighter boots. I clapped gently as I wandered over to retrieve the bottle of wine. She sat down on her jacket as I drew the cork. Having poured myself a glass I looked up and said "That's good, but not far enough for a glass of wine yet." I got a pout for my comment. I put my glass down, "or perhaps you'd like to work up an appetite with a pre-lunch swim?"
I grinned what I hoped was an evil grin.
"You bloody would!"
She stood up again, then fell over trying to get a boot off.
.... There is more of this story ...