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Jane Badger Books

Josephine Pullein-Thompson: One Day Event (paperback)

Josephine Pullein-Thompson: One Day Event (paperback)

Illustrator: Sheila Rose

Regular price £11.99 GBP
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Mrs Van Cutler's opinion is worth having, says the Major to his nephew, Henry.

But Mrs Van Cutler did not like Henry's dressage test, not at all. "Oh lord," said Henry. "Have you ever seen so many fours?"

Major Holbrooke offers to do a course for Henry and the Pony Club to improve their generally dismal performances, but it will be an eventing course and not just dressage. And at the end, there will be a One Day Event.The Pony Club members tackle this in their usual fashion. Christopher is convinced he already knows it all; Noel is convinced she knows nothing and never will. June is allergic to any mention of the forward seat. Evelyn charges round at full and lethal speed, sure that a good hunting seat will get her through, and whatever she does, it has to be better than Marion, who is too scared to venture out of a trot.But at the end of the course, everyone, no matter who, has to do that One Day Event.

Fully illustrated edition with all the beautiful original illustrations by Sheila Rose.

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Paperbacks are printed specially for you and sent out from our printer. They are on a 72-hour turnaround from order to being sent out. Actual delivery dates will vary depending on the shipping method you choose.

Read a sample

Henry Thornton led his bay thoroughbred gelding, Evening Echo, up the ramp of the horse-box, while Finch, his father’s groom, hurriedly stowed the tack, the haynet, the bucket of feed, Henry’s best coat and the picnic basket in the groom’s compartment.

“There you are now,” he said, “that’s the lot. I ’ope you ’ave a good day and remember all them tests.”

“Thanks awfully, Finchy,” said Henry, climbing in. “Cheerio.” He waved, hanging out of the window as the box moved off down the drive and then as Radney Manor was lost to view, he sat down on the little seat facing Echo.

He felt harassed. The wretched horse-box driver had arrived twenty minutes late; he hoped they would be in time. Mercifully Echo was obliging about boxes; he had walked straight in as usual, but he was fresh and would need a lot of riding round before his test. I hope Noel manages to get there, thought Henry. It was dreary going by oneself; he wouldn’t know any of the dressage people, and anyway, it was ages since he had seen Noel. It was nearly seven months, he calculated, since last summer holidays when they had run the Radney Riding Club together. This summer he was going to insist that Uncle George had him to stay at Folly Court. He says he’s not going abroad, thought Henry, so he’ll have time to teach me some more dressage.

It took Noel four and a half hours to reach Mantwick, where the dressage tests were being held. Having travelled on two buses and a stopping train, she began to wish that she hadn’t been so cowardly about asking Major Holbrooke for a lift. The schedule had announced him as one of the Prix St. George judges and Noel had meant to ask at the Annual Competitions if he would take her, but then he had been so cross about Sonnet and she hadn’t been able to summon up enough courage to face him again. I’m terribly cowardly, she thought, remembering her mother’s suggestion that she should ring the Major up, and anyway he would probably have lectured me about padlocks the whole way over here.
When Noel saw horse-boxes and tents and knew that she had arrived her spirits rose. But the sight of Henry looking taller, older and more superior than ever, cast her down again. I don’t suppose he really wanted me to come at all, she thought. He looks terribly grown up. She stood watching him. Echo was bucking and shying; he seemed very fresh.

When Henry saw Noel he stopped schooling and rode across to her. “Hallo,” he said. “I’m glad you were able to come, though I think we’re going to shatter you with our behaviour. Echo’s feeling terribly bolshy; I’ve a nasty idea that he’s going to buck. If he does I shall fall off; I’m feeling extremely weak.”

Noel said, “He’s looking lovely, but rather uppish.”
“Uppish isn’t in it,” replied Henry, “and I’ve only half an hour left. I’d better get on with my exercising.”

Noel watched him as he rode round. Echo wasn’t going well and Noel came to the conclusion that it wasn’t just over-freshness, he looked stiff and decidedly unco-operative; whenever Henry gave an aid he swished his tail.

It was a pity, she thought, for he was a good-looking horse and he had, at times, a very long stride.

As Henry’s turn approached he resigned himself to doing badly. He was hot and tired and Echo was being just as difficult as when he had first arrived on the show­ground. “Oh well, I haven’t a reputation to lose,” he told Noel, “and my esteemed Uncle George is busy with the Prix St. George, so he won’t see the horrible travesty.”

Noel said, “I’ve got the most terrible needle. I do think it’s unfair that I should have it for other people.”

Henry grinned. “You’d better not watch then or you’ll have it even worse as Test E approaches.”

As the competitor before him made the final halt and salute, Henry handed Noel his stick and straightened his bowler. He rode in and walked round the outside of the markers until the judges rang a bell to signify their readiness; then he began to trot; at A he entered the arena. Oh dear, he’s terribly crooked, thought Noel. As he rode the test Noel’s depression increased. Everything seemed to be wrong and she had so hoped he would do well. She didn’t want to watch Echo’s unbalanced strong trot; his unwilling transitions into the canter, his sorry attempts at turns on the forehand, his dawdling walk or his crooked halts. She contemplated drinking tea in the refreshment tent, but she decided that that might hurt Henry’s feelings so she watched him out. He, too, was conscious of the badness of the test. When he rode back to her, he dismounted and giving Echo a perfunctory pat, he said, “Oh lord, that was even worse than I expected. Do you think that I should scratch from the E? I’ve never known him as bolshy as he is today.”

“Oh dear,” said Noel, “I don’t know. I disapprove of scratching on principle; mostly because I’m afraid of turning into a Jannice Barbersley.”

“Of course he might go better the second time,” said Henry, his optimism returning. “It’s all the walking at the beginning of that revolting N test that flummoxes me. He dawdles more and more every step and one doesn’t dare to do anything violent because of jogging.

“I think perhaps I won’t scratch,” he went on. “After all, it’s different judges so I dare say I shan’t give them nervous breakdowns and 2.40 is still decades away.”

They watered and fed Echo and put him back in the box and then they sat on Henry’s mackintosh and watched the Prix St. George competitors. Noel told Henry about Sonnet. How the field gate had been left open by a picnic party, and Sonnet had been found on the main road to Gunston with a long deep cut in her quarters, and hardly an inch of her that was not scraped or cut or bruised. “It’s terribly dreary,” she finished, “to think of the whole summer stretching away before me and no pony to ride.”

“Surely you can acquire something. The world’s full of people who want tiresome horses schooled,” Henry told her.

“They wouldn’t want me to school them,” answered Noel.

“False modesty,” said Henry. “I believe Uncle George is right when he says that you fish for compliments.”

“You are beastly; I don’t. It’s just that I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that I don’t know anything at all about riding.”

“That means you’re becoming an expert then,” said Henry; “they all begin their lectures by saying that they’ve just realised how little they know. It’s only poor struggling misguided types like me who confess to their crumbs of knowledge.”

They watched in silence for a time and then suddenly Henry said, “Gosh! I’ve just remembered; you wouldn’t like to be given a handsome Anglo-Arab, would you?”

“Of course I would,” answered Noel.

“Well, there’s a Mrs. Exeter who hunts with the South Clareshires, and she’s got several brood mares. Her daughter used to break the youngsters in and hunt them, but she got married a year or two ago and now Mrs. Exeter, who is getting on in years, finds herself landed with masses of half-broken Anglo-Arabs. She rang me up the other day and said that if I would have two of them and get them going for her, I could keep whichever I liked in exchange for my work and send back the other one. My dear mamma wouldn’t hear of it and, of course, actually it would be rather tricky with me away during the term and the other disadvantage is the size; they’re neither of them over 15.2 and, with my long legs, my next horse will have to be 16.2. However, I could recommend you.”

“That would be a rash act,” said Noel. “I should ruin them both and then you would have to deal with a furious Mrs. Exeter. Besides she wouldn’t take any notice of your recommendation. One look at me would be enough to tell her that I was hopelessly inefficient.”

“I’ll have you know my recommendations are much prized in Clareshire. The Exeters aren’t dressage-minded. They would consider Sonnet marvellously schooled. Would your people make difficulties?”

“No, I don’t think so. Mr Cox is very obliging about having extra horses turned out in his fields during the summer and Daddy’s better off since his Egyptian discoveries brought him fame.”

“We shall have to move quickly,” said Henry. “School looms; I’ve only got two more days.”

“I’ve three.”

“We shall have to go to Recksworth tomorrow. Curse it, why haven’t I taken my driving test? Still, there are trains. Could you catch an early one from Gunston?”

“I expect so, but the Exeters are sure to say that they don’t want me to have their horses,” protested Noel.

“I’ll ring them up the moment I reach home,” Henry told her. “Unless they’ve found someone else, I know they’ll be delighted.”

During the luncheon interval Henry and Noel met Major Holbrooke. Noel, who didn’t want to hear any more about padlocks, had been hoping to avoid him and Henry wasn’t particularly pleased to be confronted by his uncle when his horse was going so badly.

“Hallo,” said the Major, “what are you two doing here?”
“I’m competing,” answered Henry, “and Noel is supporting my ebbing morale.”

“How are you doing? Have you ridden yet?”

“Yes, I’ve done the novice test, but not very successfully, I fear. Echo seems to be behaving rather worse than usual.”

“I shall be interested to see your marks,” said the Major. “Mrs. Van Cutler is one of the novice judges and she knows a great deal about it. Her remarks are always worth having.”

“I can see that I shall have to make a quick getaway directly the E test is over,” Henry observed, when the Major had gone on his way. “I don’t think my marks are going to be of the sort to give horsy uncles pleasure.”

Page length: 246

Original publication date: 1954

Who's in the book?

Humans: Noel Kettering, Henry Thornton, Susan Barrington-Brown, John Manners, Dick Hayward, Christopher Minton, June Cresswell, the Radcliffes (Evelyn, Roger, Hilary, Margaret and James), Philippa, Marion, Major Holbrooke, Mrs Holbrooke, Blake,
Equines: Evening Echo, Spartan, Truant, Tranquil, Golden Wonder, Quaker, The Merry Widow, Samson, Doomsday, Golden Glory, Crusoe, William, Samson

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Customer Reviews

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One day event

Wonderful to be able to read the uncut original version of this book.