I’m wondering how many foxhunters will identify with this escapade. Your editor certainly does. Though, thankfully, in the two experiences I have in mind, the rascals were at least honest enough---indeed more than enthusiastic enough---to jump the fences!
I knew by the wag of his head that he was a bit-of-a-lad. When I mounted him he flung his bit-bars in truculent resentment. When I jogged off, his jaws took a vice-like hold of the bit, his head poked sideways and, if horses wore hats, his would have been very definitely "on the Kildare side." I soon discovered that it was a waste of energy to attempt to alter his head-position. His jaws were rigid, his neck inflexible, in fact, everything in front of the saddle seemed to be set in reinforced concrete. Reins are ornamental accoutrements on hobby-horses: mine were just as effective.
I had been told he was the heart and soul of a rascal, but as I have ridden, and occasionally fallen off, every conceivable brand of rascal, I felt I could forestall any equine acrobatics which he might have under consideration. His owner had given me the animal's whole character; that is, of course, assuming that there was a shred of it left to give to anyone; and I had gladly accepted the offer of a day's hunting, character or no character! Two stable companions had had a hard hunt the previous day, a third was lame and a fourth had a cough; so it was ride this old reprobate or nothing.