The best thing about having two horses is being able to share them. It’s such a joy to be able to invite horse-less friends out for a ride, and to take the two boys out together.
The only slight snag is that one of those horses is a force of nature and, because I value the lives of my friends, I am usually the one that has to ride him.
Jordan has been part of my family for a long time. My dad bought him as an eight-year-old, and he is now over 30 and in, frankly, disgustingly robust health.
We had a slight scare earlier this year when he colicked. But when he tried to kill the vet for intubating him, it was clear that he wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
“Gosh, he’s remarkably sprightly for his age, isn’t he?” remarked the vet, gamely hanging on to the end of a lead rope as Jordan ran backwards across the yard on two legs.
People often talk about how their elderly horses owe them nothing; I personally feel that Jordan owes me quite a lot, on the basis that the majority of people would not have put up with the sort of ridiculous antics that we have let him get away with over the years.
Does Jordan care? No, Jordan does not.
Fired for breaking someone’s arm
Jordan was bought by my dad, who had been riding for about 18 months and decided that he was ready to throw himself into the heady world of horse ownership.
Rather than buy a horse that was in any way suitable for a novice, he made the classic beginner mistake of buying the horse that happened to be in front of him at the time: a 15.3hh Thoroughbred/Cleveland Bay that had just been fired from working livery in the riding school for breaking somebody’s arm.
There are many, many Jordan stories that I could tell…
Like the time when he ditched me in Richmond Park and disappeared, leaving me to make my way back to the yard in the back of a police car.
Or the time my dad lent him to a friend for a jumping lesson and we visited her in the orthopaedic ward of North Staffs General Hospital the next day.
And there was the time when, aged 27 (him, not me) I gamely took him to an unaffiliated dressage competition, failed to get him into the arena, and spent the next half-an-hour walking sideways around a field, crying.
We also once went on a fun ride and he spooked at his rosette and then refused to stand still. Again, we spent the next half hour walking sideways round a field, covered in Pimms, while the other riders made sympathetic faces at us. He was 25 at the time.
Jordan has touched/endangered many lives.
‘I love the stupid old sod’
Nowadays, he is pretty much retired and lives a life of luxury. Occasionally — because I hold scant regard for my personal safety and need an adrenaline rush — I take him out for a little walk on the downs.
Most recently, my friend Karen rides Owen, who looks on, slightly bemused, as Jordan skitters sideways across the road.
Luckily, it is a lovely still evening and bar suddenly planting in the middle of the track once or twice — and a bit of reversing as we try to walk past a particularly tufty bit of grass — we manage to add 3.9 miles to our #Hack1000Miles total without too much incident.
As you’ve gathered, I love the stupid old sod. He might be completely useless, but he’s part of the family.