Horses aren’t one of my favorite things. They were for a period, however over the years a couple of experiences have steered me away from them. I can ride, that’s for certain. Well I could! Not sure about now though, getting on one might be a task with me being older, less flexible and somewhat heavier than in my youth. Not to mention the issue of breasts. Horse riding and an ample bust are really not friends, unless of course you’re wearing a sports bra, crop top or two, and a straight jacket over the top. This story isn’t about riding though. Nor is it about breasts.
Clunes lies next to an old volcanic mountain, Mt Beckworth. Back when it was formed it threw volcanic rock all over the area. Gnarly, pitted volcanic rocks, some the size of your palm, others the size of a small car and every size in between. The block of land we lived on was cleared of these. On the edge of the big paddock, rocks were piled high into small mountain not far from our fenced off corner in the paddock. My sisters and I would often play on the rocks. They were sharp and dangerous. Scotch Thistles grew in between them, creating a wall of thistles around the base of the rock mountain. A volcanic rock castle.
This castle was guarded by the two resident horses owned by our ‘block’ landlords. A black and white Paint called Pumpkin Patch and a brown woolly Shetland Pony called Popcorn. Over the years on the block we had grown fond of the horse and pony. We sometimes fed them carrots and apples. A mucus and froff feeding frenzy at the ring-wire fence. You had to be careful of Popcorn. Shetlands are notoriously unpredictable and without any warning will charge at you, kick you or bite you. Popcorn had his nasty streak, you could sometimes see it, looking in his eyes. Big brown shiny eyes, glaring at you… stay the fuck away they would beam. So we did. Most of the time…
We were playing around the rock castle. Nothing remarkable, just a normal, windy as fuck, overcast day on the block. At some point through the day I decided it would be cool to lead the horse and pony around. We had done this before, it was all good. Popcorn followed me through the knee-high grass on the lead. Scotch Thistles prickled through my track suit, leaving an itchy tingle. Trot, trot, trot. Round and round in a figure eight. My sisters watched from the rocks. Pumpkin Patch the Paint watched from the other side of the castle.
Unleashing Popcorn I approached Pumpkin Patch. He stood still, ears pricked, one twisted around. His flank twitched, flies flicked around his eyes. His eyes. His eyes. I remember seeing this look before. I slowed my pace as I neared him and held my hand out as an offer. Right then is when I shit myself.
His heavy body lunged forward, black eyes glaring at me. His ears pushed back against his head and his lips gnarled back. He flicked his hairy head towards me, lips exposing his brown horsey teeth and in a flash he had a hold of my ear. I squealed. Fuck I squealed as he knocked me to the ground. Grabbing at my left ear, I rolled into a fetal position. My sisters were yelling at me to get up. Get up Nom, get up! I could hear his hooves pounding around me. Launching onto my hands and knees I scrambled to the castle. It seemed so far away. Thistles biting at my hands, and legs. He pounded behind me. Looking to the rocks I scampered towards them, towards my sisters who were yelling at me. Hurry they yelled, he’s coming. My knees slammed into the ground, flailing towards the rocks I scrambled like a raving lunatic.
Clutching at my ear and clambering up the rocks I was greeted by my sisters who were laughing their fucking heads off. I was in shock. Crying, clutching at my ear. That fucking horse has bitten off my ear. He paced around the rocks. Hunting us. Whinnying and shaking his head. His beady eyes watching our every move as we sat on those rocks for a while and assessing my ear. Blood was everywhere and my ears and head pounded. Making a run for it to the fence we clambered through it, onto our bikes. Pumpkin Patch trotted at us, stopping short of the fence and followed us all the way to our corner.
Thankfully, my ear wasn’t bitten off, it was merely snipped through the cartilage at the top, only requiring a few butterfly tapes to hold it in place. Ears bleed a lot, did you know? Pumpkin Patch surprised me that day. Horses have an unpredictable streak about them, and I hadn’t seen it in him until that day. Of course we all got in trouble. Me for being silly enough to lead the horses around, and my sisters just for being there. We were told to stay away from them after that. My lesson was learned. They got no more apples and carrots off me from then on and I was happy to stay away.
Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!