Riding became routine. I spent all the time I could at the stables. We all worked our hearts out. Soon, on a Saturday I was getting to the fields early to catch and bring the horses in for their work, then on a Sunday, which was their day off, a group of us would go out and bring some of the ponies in from the Down fields to the home paddocks so the girls working there didn't have so many to bring in.
in the winter we would, tide allowing rode on the beach. By this time I had been promoted front the beginners ride to Miss Fleming's 9.20 ride. There were no lead reins on this rode and we could get more canters.
This particular Saturday eight of us rode down to the beach. The stables were on a ridge well above the town. We would rode down to the Old Village and then down a tarmac path to the beach.
At the time some of the ponies had been pony racing in the summer so were fairly keen to go. Miss Fleming was always particular over what horse she rode. She didn't like anything that was to lazy or to hot. This particular Saturday she was riding Faro, Mr Trumble's hunter. Being an Anglo Arab and very fit, he was inclined to spook a lot and known to put in the odd buck or three.
We all groaned when we saw her pull him out, we knew that this was going to be a slow ride.
We got down onto the beach, the tide was well out, the sand flat and inviting for a good canter but, just as we thought, we had to stay in single file behind her and trot serpentines and then, with her in the centre and is all in a line, do a 'wheelie' as she did a turn on the forehand. We all vied to be on the outside so we could get a bit of a canter. When we reached the end of the beach we were lined up to play 'Simon Says.' I begged to be Simon and was allowed to issue the orders.
"Simon says, touch your right toe with your left hand."
So it went on all very boring. We all knew the game and no one was making a mistake. I had a thought about how to liven it up and said, "Simon says, gather up your reins."
"Simon says, feet in your stirrups."
"Simon says, gallop!"
So we did. Flat out along the sands only to find that none of us could stop. We went over the stones, up a slipway around a sharp corner up the path onto the road.
Even then the ponies wouldn't stop, we raced along the road, down through the Old Village finally stopping up the hill by the Cottage Hospital.
It was only then did we realise that Faro was with us, minus Miss Fleming.
The ponies were breathing hard and we were flushed from both excitement and fear. A discussion was held over going back for Miss Fleming or back to the stables. We decided on the latter as we might get to have a jump in the arena.
We didn't exactly tell the truth over what had happened but we were told to put the ponies away. We thought Mr Trumble would drive down to pick Miss Fleming up but he just muttered and said the walk would do her good.
Nothing was ever said about this venture but the next week I had been promoted to riding with Mr Trumble.
One summer Saturday I was told I wasn't riding until the afternoon ride instead of the 10.30. It was explained to me that there was a special task I was to do.
Lunchtime Mrs Trumble and another lady appeared and took me outside to apply makeup to my face. Mr Trumble explained that the Rotary Club he was a member of, had a bet on with the RAF over whether they could or couldn't break into the radar station on top of the Downs.
My task was to be run away with and to fall off outside of the gates and pretend to be unconscious. I was then made to lie on the ground and remain totally floppy as they lifted me up. I passed muster and off on the rode we went.
I was riding a pretty pony Trixie. She was one that Pony Raced and was always inclined to go from A to B at a fast pace but she always stopped where she should. We went on a normal ride along past the Radar Station trotting and cantering and then we turned back towards home. I was told to go off, I kicked Trixie and off she went. We were alongside the road and she scooted round the corner before the gates like it wasn't there. I quit my stirrups, wondered how I was going to bail out as I hadn't been told. I hit the ground running before 'falling' and rolling. Trixie continued her way home and I lay there.
Mr Trumble rode up and asked the gateman to call an ambulance. A couple of RAF men came out and they carried me into the gatehouse laying me on a table. I remained floppy the whole time, my eyes closed.
Soon I heard the bell pf an ambulance arriving (way before they had sirens) The ambulance backed in toe open gates and the door burst open with a dozen men making machine gun noises whilst pointing sticks at the RAF men.
There were cries of "That's not fair! We would never open the gates if there was a real war."
The local Rotary members thought it was all fair game. They had been trying for a month to break in but always the Alsations, kept leashed for the duration of the bet, had always found them out.
I haven't a clue as to what the final outcome was but I do know that I was charged for the ride!