Ecstasy and Horses

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June 21, 2012 by Jake Cantona

They’re dangerous at both ends and crafty in the middle. Why would I want anything with a mind of its own bobbing about between my legs?[1]

Not that long ago I found myself up on Colmers Hill[2]. Far below, under the folds of the valley, I could make out the pinks of the Cattistock hunt, gathering slowly from field to field. Each to a man – and the occasional middle-aged tomboy of uncertain sexual orientation and inherited wealth – was mounted on a sleek and mighty steed.  Having grown up and lived in the country for most of my life, I have long been accustomed to the true nature of these devious and surly beasts. And the horses they ride.

A former government advisor on drugs[3] suggested that taking ecstasy was safer than horse riding. I felt that was a blindingly obvious assertion to make, even without any data to back it up. Have you ever tried talking to a dedicated equestrian? There’s generally something not quite right there.  They spend time and money on creatures that will, like an unhinged Russian bride, throw and kick you without any provocation. These people also develop strong emotional bonds towards something that many Frenchmen would regard as lunch.

Others congregate on bitter winter mornings to chase a man pretending to be a fox.

Some of the males of this particular tribe can be recognised by the receding chin or the promontory monobrow, others by the uninhibited corpulence that suggests that they probably need some kind of hoist in order to mount their animals, or indeed, their wives and servants. The women, meanwhile, are generally angry about having such small penises.

And of course there are those who take these things too far. Peter Shaeffer’s play Equus is based on the true story of a young man whose morbid fascination with and sexual attraction towards horses leads him to blind half a dozen of them, while Catherine the Great of Russia was long reputed to have died as a result of whoever was lowering the stallion onto her accidentally letting go of the rope.

Now I’ve done a few unusual things whilst in an altered state of consciousness, but never a horse. For which, as ever, grateful thanks to my wingman.

The closest I feel comfortable to a horse these days is putting a (rolled-up) fiver each way on Chasing The Dragon[4] at the local point-to-point.

Personally, I think you’re better off with drugs.

What can be better than wandering back through a festival site at 3 a.m.  with the dry ground beneath your feet turning into a Roman mosaic of a roadway, keeping you safe as you walk back through the herd of sleeping elephants[5], with only the auditory hallucinations for company?

So let’s not be coy here; I have on a couple of occasions in my life dabbled, as it were, in horse riding. I’m not condoning it or suggesting that anyone else should try it. I was much younger then and in the company of people who wanted to try it out of sheer curiosity. To be fair, I didn’t come to any harm, but all the way through I was worried about losing control. My experience is therefore limited, and I know, as I’m sure we all do, people who say they’ve been riding for years without suffering any side-effects.

What I would say is stick to what you feel comfortable with. For me that means no horses[6]. When I’ve finished writing this up, I shall be retiring to the bathroom to take a small white pill and await developments.

After that I’ll probably spend four or five hours listening to my fridge or talking repetitively until my jaw seizes up.

Tally Ho!


[1] Spoken by Robert Downey in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

[2] Tied naked face down in a pentagram surrounded by members of the WI, but I digress.

[3] That is someone who formerly advised the government about drugs, not some coked-up policy wonk.

[4] Ridden by its owner, Charlie Septum-Damage

[5] They were tents, since you were asking

[6] And no horse tranquilizers either. That’s messy stuff.

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