Playboy Fiction: The Great Cummerbund Steeplechase

Winning the annual steeplechase is everything in Stirrupshire.

Playboy Fiction

Playboy Fiction: The Great Cummerbund Steeplechase

We were riding the full championship course, all four kilometers, and it was late in the day when a rhythm had been achieved and the noble steed Far Cry was rolling like a poem. I was thinking perhaps we’d have a chance this year at the steeplechase championship, when we came up through the Kendrick’s swale and crossed Biggleston Woods, through which you have to duck twice, and Far Cry took the low stone wall there. Our team had had a magnificent outing, and I had ridden last following the measured and powerful flow of Graham Hoosh on Curdler and Felicia Rungbell on Pegasus and the dear Wilda Bloom on Sawtooth. There are times riding when it feels as if your mount has floated up to a stopping in the sheer air and the earth is galloping apace underneath you. It felt like we had flown most of the way. In the final kilometer I had pushed Far Cry to the front and as we jumped the wall, it was I who saw the body before Far Cry had come to ground, and when he saw it he stalled on his front feet as if to reverse and he sent me up his neck to the bridle, but I held on. Pegasus stopped short of the wall and the other two horses pulled up and stood there like students of the scene and I saw their eyes go wide and their nostrils flare. It was as if they knew. It scared Pegasus and Curdler and Sawtooth and Far Cry so that we had to dismount there in the last shadows of Flogmeadow and walk them home, horses sweating in the mist.

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