JOE and a Blind Left Eye
The Boy was by now upping the odds. Joe had embroiled the Physio into the equation. It had been established by the Tutor that the Boss’s seat was not correct. Fair dues, the Boss did not get his leg down into the correct position and he would turn his left toe out at the slightest provocation. However there was to be yet another revelation - the Boss did not sit level in the saddle. In other words the right hip dropped down exerting more weight on the right hand side of the saddle and thereby thru to the right hand side of Joe’s back. So, when the Boss mounted The Boy, there was a downward diagonal pressure on the right hand of Joe’s back. Put simply, The Boss’s bodyweight of 100 kilos was not being conveyed equally down to Joe’s load bearing skeletal structure. If he were not such an accommodating fellow, then Joe would have walked permanently off to the left in response to the right side pressure. However deep down being the good fellow that he really was, Fairy Two shoes took up this unequal weight and carried The Boss forwards and straight, despite the unequal burden. It was called buttering up to the Hand of He that fed Him. Perhaps that was just as well, because The Boss had absolutely no idea of what either of his hips looked like, let alone where to find them.
This was all proved in the surgery by the Physio asking the Boss to sit on a big round ball. Lo and behold, when asked to perform this simple task, the Boss sat down and immediately without hesitation, went into a series of posture evasions - including turning the toes out and using the thighs as a support for the hands. There was no doubt - The Boss was crooked. If The Boss could not sit on a silly ball, how could he possibly sit properly on the back of the lithe Joe?
Undeniably Joe had had more difficult burdens to bear in his career as a trekking horse, but of course, this new and weighty revelation created room for doubt in The Boss’s mind. Did Joe indeed have true cause for disgruntlement? Was there more to Joe’s evasions than a cob’s latent urge to be stroppy just to test the mettle of his rider?
But what to do? Well, The Boss was sent away with the strict instructions to walk up all staircases facing the wall (as against the stairs) and told to read a book sitting on a big round ball. Seemingly it would be difficult to finish a chapter of reading however short the chapter.
However what could be The Old Man‘s excuse for all this? Well, it had not been mentioned previously, after all one does not wish to bear one‘s soul completely, that The old Man was pretty much blind in his left eye. So in everyday life The Boss would favour his right side and more would have to hold his head over to the left to compensate for the monocular vision. The tinnitus in the left ear would not help either, because the eyes and the ears are important when adjusting for balance. In addition there perhaps was another barrier to equilibrium in that a moving saddle interface between horse and rider, as is to be found with the specialist WOW saddle, might prove to be more difficult for The Old Man to accommodate than a fixed traditional English style saddle with a static saddle tree. Undoubtedly, Joe was now of the personal opinion that he desperately needed a new, expensive, tailored-to-measure, Pathfinder saddle made by Uncle Keith.
Regardless of the correctness of these theories, the Boy had somehow managed to sow the seeds of doubt in everybody’s mind - including the Old Man‘s. Innocent Fairy Two shoes could from here on in, claim that not only did he have to carry the heavy load of The Old Man on a damaged back but somehow he had to accommodate his Boss’s physical disability in dispersing the weight. Talk about exeats, Joe had, temporarily, a gold plaited, fur lined, pair of leather boots with silver braided laces.
PS. It so happened that on the day after the antics with the big ball, there was to be another lesson with the Tutor in the arena. As usual Joe did the business but later The Boss was allowed to move around the arena for one and a half circuits at the walk only. The next hour or so was spent discussing the principles behind the positioning of the lower leg. The Tutor adjusted this limb, that knee and the other ankle and suddenly it happened. Stars twinkled up in the sky, a bright glow erupted to the East and Goddie suddenly realised that his foot was toes up, heels down, firm and steady in the stirrup iron - without any conscious pressure downwards through the ball of the foot. What’s more, The Boy was firmly clasped between both legs - he couldn’t go anywhere without The Boss knowing in advance. And amazingly, the posture could be held without effort. Is this what conversion is all about ?
Is this the beginning of the end of the worship of Clint and the start of the worship of Schokkie?