Press Esc to close

When Silver Spoon 'ditched' me

Gurmeet Kanwal Dec 14 2017, 7:49 IST

Nostalgic memories flood the mind when one remembers the three years spent as a cadet under training at the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakvasla. Each former cadet has many stories to recount; some of them tall tales.

The three periods before breakfast were normally a mix of outdoors training and academics. Outdoor training comprised either physical training (PT), or drill, or horse riding. Sometimes it was a combination of PT followed by drill or PT and riding.

When PT was followed by drill, one had to change from PT dress to drill order - uniform including turban - and cycle to the drill square in 15 minutes. My 'on time' strike rate was about one-third. On the remaining occasions, I had to join the punishment squad of 'late Latifs'.

However, the real killer was PT followed by riding. Changing into riding rig involved having to tie my turban and roll the 'patties' neatly around the breeches umpteen times - a difficult proposition. It also meant cycling almost five km to the stables and 'drawing' a horse from the ride allotted to the squadron.

All of this had to be done in 15 minutes and it was beyond me. So, I would trickle in seven to 10 minutes late, be given a dressing down by the Equitation Officer and assigned to the punishment ride. This ride had all the leftover horses - foul-tempered, jumpy, forever bucking and, hence, difficult to mount. They often snorted angrily and were apt to throw cadets off with their frisky antics.

One hot summer morning, by the time I reached the stables, only one horse was left. Silver Spoon was probably an American breed. Huge in size, he was chestnut in colour, like the deciduous tree by that name. I patted and stroked Silver Spoon and muttered some words of encouragement to establish a rapport with him - just as we had been taught to 'make much of your horses'.

Silver Spoon looked me up and down but stood still and let me mount him without incident. I had been told to join a ride across the adjacent glider-drome. So, horse and rider set off on an easy trot. As things were going surprisingly well, I soon spurred him into a canter, which he seemed to relish. It felt good and I began to enjoy the ride.

Across the glider-drome, there was a small ditch. I did not prepare Silver Spoon as I thought he would sail over the ditch smoothly. At the rear edge of the ditch, suddenly, without warning, Silver Spoon came to a dead stop. And, I went s-a-i-l-i-n-g over his head and landed with a thud across the ditch.

I got back to my feet. My ego was bruised but my bones were intact. I dusted myself and adjusted my turban, which was still intact thanks to the chin strap. Normally, after dropping a rider, the horse bolts and goes back to the stables. But, Silver Spoon just stood there. I am dead sure he was grinning at me.

As the horse had established mastery over the rider, he appeared satisfied and let me mount him again without any fuss. We rode on without further incident. In fact, we became kind of friends and I asked for him by name several times after that.

Go to Top

More from this section
Most trending stories
Photo Gallery
A farmer burns the residue of her sugarcane crop at her farm on a cold foggy morning...

A farmer burns the residue of her sugarcane crop at her farm on a cold foggy morning...

Kite-enthusiasts display a kite with an image of Kulbhushan Jadhav during International Kite...

Kite-enthusiasts display a kite with an image of Kulbhushan Jadhav during International Kite...

Honey bees visit a flower near Vijay Chowk area in New Delhi...

Honey bees visit a flower near Vijay Chowk area in New Delhi...

A squirrel eats corn grains on a cold winter morning in Bhopal ...

A squirrel eats corn grains on a cold winter morning in Bhopal ...

Jawans near the coffin of late Head Constable A Suresh, who was killed in a ceasefire violation...

Jawans near the coffin of late Head Constable A Suresh, who was killed in a ceasefire violation...

Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar and actor Rekha pose for a picture...

Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar and actor Rekha pose for a picture...

Actor Sunny Leone gives her measurement for her wax statue to be displayed at Madame Tussauds...

Actor Sunny Leone gives her measurement for her wax statue to be displayed at Madame Tussauds...

A woman dries red chillies at a field in a village near Jodhpur on Thursday....

A woman dries red chillies at a field in a village near Jodhpur on Thursday....

Pope Francis holds a cross that reads in Spanish

Pope Francis holds a cross that reads in Spanish "I give you my peace" upon arrival...

A villager displays a mortar shell allegedly fired on a residential area from the Pakistan...

A villager displays a mortar shell allegedly fired on a residential area from the Pakistan...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.