Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ode to Pony Club Mothers

They're at it again, the Pony Club mums, telling me how to teach... Last night their kids rode off around the arena - a gentle stretching walk - after a lap I was planning to check the girth and the length of their leathers.
PC Mum pipes up: "Excuse me! Excuse me! Annabel's stirrups are not the same length."
"Yes I can see that," I said. "I'll adjust them when she rides back to me."
"But what if she falls off before that because her stirrups aren't the same length?" (The implication being that the fall will be my fault, the result of my negligence...)
Usually I try to be kind. And to reassure the pony club mums that their children are in safe hands. But last night I couldn't be bothered. I said: "If Annabel's not fit to sit on the pony she shouldn't be in this class. She should be on a lead rein."
Today I've decided to fight fire with fire. The following extract from An Essay on Criticism (1703) is to be pinned on the door to the tack room:
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.
Alexander Pope

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