John Wayne’s Last Ride

  Many years ago, the band I was playing in at the time, won the local heat of the Butlin’s National Talent contest. We won a trip to Butlin’s Skegness for a week all found and a place in the Skegness Quarter Finals.

We arrived at the Camp early afternoon, we were given our chalet keys and instructed that if we wanted a lunch we had better be a little snappy. We made our way to the dining room, we had just sat down and two girls from Sheffield joined us, they were latecomers also.

We got chatting over lunch, and one of the girls, who I admit I rather fancied, mainly because like me she was tall and slim, anyway to cut a long story short  she was saying that the next morning she was going horse-riding  did I fancy going with her. Naturally I jumped at the chance.

I had been weaned on Western movies, every Sunday night my Father used to take me to see a Western at the local flea pit or Cinema as you might know it. My Father snored while I enjoyed the film. Because of these early lessons, I was confident I could ride any horse they offered me. you live and learn.

We met and went to the stables, my partner had ridden before, she was quietly confident, as was I, Until I saw the size of the horses, They were quite tall, I hadn’t reckoned on that. We mounted, I sat my horse feeling comfortable, and willing myself not to look down.Then the horses started to walk, still fine, trotting, erm ok, galloping, oh no, I looked down and saw the ground moving rapidly a long way below me. That was when my nerves kicked in, No more John Wayne, I wanted earth beneath my feet.

I knew how to start this creature but where the hell is the brake, how do you stop this mad creature that is careering across a field hell for leather trying to catch up with my partner, I dug in my heels, pulled on the reins, nothing the mad creature just went faster.

Thankfully the other horses had stopped, so he did too, pulling in at side of my friends horse, She said, ‘ For a first timer you rode really well!’ I smiled back and thought to myself never again!

We did actually win the Quarter Finals so had to return to the camp for the Semi finals, but that as they say is another story!

(c) Damian Grange 2017


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