Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Dressage Enthusiasts


Bunty Pargeter was pleased and surprised to welcome Christopher Brookes-Smythe and Julian Cholmondeley to Vaysey Pastures. Two more full liveries and the rental to park their massive Oakley Supreme would certainly help cash-flow.

As far as she understood, they had previously been quite happy at Elyssian Equestrian, but there were rumours on the grapevine of an argument with the imperious and mercurial proprietor, Hamish McBride.

On the surface, it related to their use of some Scooby Doo fleecy, exercise bandages in shocking pink, which Hamish deemed “frivolous, if not downright common”, but the underlying differences went much deeper.

Those in the know understood that the actual reason for the parting had been his fury at being edged out of first place in the Area 82c dressage to music when the judge preferred Julian’s Sondheim Medley to Hamish’s Abba Tribute.

Once their matching Hanoverian mares, Donnerkaren and Donnersummer, were settled into their spacious adjoining stables, Bunty was confident that Christopher and Julian would grow to like the more relaxed atmosphere of Vaysey Pastures with its mix of happy hackers and riding club competitors.

She was impressed that they received regular lessons from the eminent German trainer Werner Flumpenhoffer, whom she hoped might be prevailed upon to give the odd lesson to other keen dressage riders on the yard.

At £95 a session and an unspecified "retainer", however, take-up was likely to be somewhat limited.

For days after their arrival, Christopher and Julian were the sole topic of conversation for Dorinda, Tiffany and the other girls over coffee in the common room.

The lorry, horses, tack and every item of apparel were clocked and valued with remarkable accuracy. A price was put on everything from the boys’ cars to their mobile phones.

Within one or two days their address in the fashionable
village of Bartsimpson was noted and the value of house and land guestimated. Within a week their senior jobs in merchant banks in the City were known and a rough calculation of likely net worth was more or less bottomed.

The liveries contrived to be near to the manege when the boys schooled Donnerkaren and Donnersummer, marvelling equally at neat half-passes and the snowy white breeches.

They revelled in seeing their names in the results from Addington in "Horse & Aga" and relished their new neighbours’ carefree namedropping of “drinkies with Anky and Sjef” and “bumping into so many chums on the Sunshine Tour.

None of the female liveries minded that Christopher and Julian had eyes only for each other. They enjoyed having them round and all agreed, when the boys were on the yard, it was like being invited into the
VIP tent at the Winter Championships.

There was no point in flirting and competing against each other, as they did for Kirk the hunky farrier. Chris and Jules posed no threat and prompted no arguments. With "the boys" on the yard, the ladies of Vaysey Pastures could have fun and relax: they were everyone's favourite stylish older sisters.

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