Saturday, 3 December 2011

Back to the Riding School

I was surprised when my editor called me into his office. He'd received a letter inviting me back to Pieter van Eyck's riding school to attend a dressage riding practice and asked if I would like to interview his star pupil who had recently been chosen to represent her country. Obviously I made a good impression, he said.

So there I was once more sitting in his comfortable office. My appointment was for 11.00. I was gazing at the photos on the wall again, some new ones since last time. The girls all seemed
so proud and posed with obvious pleasure for the camera, I jumped as Pieter van Eyck touched me on the shoulder and said Ms. Robbins lovely to see you again, thank you for coming and went on to say "I was slightly disappointed that you didn't take me up on my offer of a riding lesson, perhaps after the interview".

I know I must have gone quite red, he smiled but before I could answer, there was a knock on the door and a beautiful blonde haired girl arrived, she must have been around 22, 'Ah Joanne, come in and meet Ms Robbins, Ms Robbins this is Joanne our star pupil, it is a great honour for our school that she has been chosen to represent her country. Joanne, take Ms Robbins to the practice ring and I'll join you in a few minutes.'' She was strikingly attractive and looked very familiar to me but I couldn't think from where, then it dawned on me, she was the girl in two of the wall photos, one on the horse and one with her hands chained behind her back.

The dressage practice was excellent, so elegant the girls looked in the outfits astride their horses, from my meagre knowledge I could see why Joanne had been chosen, she was magnificent.

After the practice we sat down in Mr. Van Eyck's office for the interview.

Joanne you must be very proud to be chosen to present your country.
Oh yes, I can't tell you how much, it's a great honour. I've worked very hard for this. My parents are over the moon. They will of course be there to watch.

You were very good out there, very precise, elegant. I suppose it takes a lot of practice to get it so precise and make it look so easy.
Thank you, that's very kind of you to say so. It is hard work, Sir is very strict about practice, he won't have any of us slacking. We practice for 6 hours a day,5 days a week. Not always with the horses, we do indoor work as well. We are each in charge of our own horses,mucking out their stables, exercising and grooming them.

I notice you say Sir, not Mr. Van Eyck?
Sir is what we girls are required to call him.

Have you been riding for long?
Yes, I've been riding since the age of four, my parents said I took to it straight away. They are are both excellent riders. Sir says I'm a natural in the saddle.

I've heard that there’s a huge waiting list to join the school.
The name of the school is extremely well respected, we have girls from Europe, even as far away as the USA and Canada waiting to join us.

What do you put it down to?
Sir of course, if it wasn't for him, the school wouldn't have the name it has. His standards are second to none, excellent and he expects nothing less from us . He won't have it any other way. We all have pride in what we do. Discipline, Discipline, that's his motto.

Last time I visited I asked Mr. Van Eyck about certain rumours I'd heard to do with you girls here, about....

But before I could go on, Joanne answered

Ha Ha, we've heard all sorts of rumours but I can assure you Ms Robbins, there's nothing going on at this school except riding and lots of hard work and self discipline. Sir keeps very tight discipline.

Discipline, yes, I want to ask you about that. Mr.Van Eyck also said last time I visited that if a girl breaks the rules, he umm, has to discipline them, I took it that the girls accepted it, am I correct in my thinking?
Oh yes, we all know before we join the school what to expect, we are told the rules and if any are broken or any of us miss a practice or are caught wearing the wrong riding attire he disciplines us by spanking us and I can tell you that girl doesn't miss a practice lesson again. Sir is very respectful of us in spite of his strict attention to discipline, he will normally spank us with either the crop or cane and we are always fully clothed, nothing sexual..

How do you girls feel about that, surely it's wrong and some of the girls must be under eighteen, do their parents know their daughters get disciplined in this way?
We come here because it is the best riding school, it is for high achievers, it gets results and yes it has it's rules. If we do something wrong we're punished for it, simple as that, we see nothing wrong in that. Yes some of the girls are under eighteen, though most are in their mid twenties and a few into their thirties and forties though you wouldn't think it, and yes certainly their parents know, or at least the ones I've talked with, and they agree with the rules. Sir wouldn't take them into the school if they didn't agree. I even know that some parents have been present when their daughters have been disciplined.

I felt slightly awkward asking the next question but I couldn't help myself, I was intrigued.

The photo over there on the wall, the girl with her wrists chained is you, isn't it? What had you done?
She blushed slightly. Yes it's me. I had been punished for an offence and sir said a photo serves as a reminder and a warning against further infractions. You asked me what I'd done but I don't want to go into that, suffice it to say I'd breached the rules, unfortunately it was the second time in a relatively short period and Sir said I had to be caned which I was. The reason my wrists are tied was to make me keep my hands from straying........she seemed uneasy now......... because anything sexual attached to, or associated with, punishment isn't allowed.

I thought you said there was nothing going on, you know, sexually I mean.
There isn't, not in the Sunday papers sense of 'sexual goings on', really, it isn't allowed. But sometimes some of the girls get feelings, I think quite a few of them do, me included, and the punishments can make them worse. Which can lead to more punishment if they act improperly, which I did.

I was totally taken aback by her frankness, I felt I was at last starting to get to the bottom (no pun intended) of Pieter van Eyck's riding school but before I could ask anything else Mr van Eyck entered the room.

''I hope Joanne has answered your questions honestly, Ms. Robbins.''

''Oh yes, Joanne has been very open.''

''Good,'' Pieter van Eyck said, ''now perhaps we can persuade you to take a riding lesson with me.''

I made my excuses, strict editor keeping me on a leash (Oh god wish I hadn't said that), fumbled to get my coat, Mr van Eyck helped me on with it, I said I'd call and make an appointment soon (what am I saying), Joanne nodded and smiled approvingly. I left.

Driving out of the school along the tree-lined driveway I felt as if I was escaping something and losing something at the same time, I was almost light headed at the thought of returning for a lesson, I flushed and stretched to catch my face in the rear view mirror, I couldn't hide it from
myself, I was excited at the prospect.

I enjoyed writing these interview. I'm toying with the idea of her going back for a lesson and maybe some more fictional interviews.

Enjoy the weekend.



Hermione said...

Hi Ronnie,

I love the idea of another interview, maybe with a stablehand? The reporter should definitely go for that lesson. I hope she doesn't get disciplined for leaving it too long:)


PK said...

I hope you know that you are one of the best fiction writers out here! More, more, more!!!


sunnygirl said...

I think you definitely have to go back for a riding lesson, and soon.

ronnie said...

Hermione - Stablehand could be a good one. Thoughts swirling around. Thanks.

PK - You are sweet, thank you but there are more talented writers than me, the stories on FF show that.

SG - She will have to wait until after Christmas:) Thanks SG.


Anonymous said...

Sweet Ronnie,

Please do write Part 3! Part 2 was wonderful.


Anonymous said...

I can relate.Anything worth striving for has a price to pay.Do like the way they are accepting of the fact that the punishments are in order and there is no moaning and groaning (well, not before...for sure during !) Sarah,LD,UK

Florida Dom said...

Ronnie: Wonderful story. I hope you will be writing more chapters.


Daisychain said...

You are too modest, Ronnie, you have a real flair for writing. xxxxxxxxxx

ronnie said...

Kitty - Thank you. I will but may take a while.

Sarah - A school I'd be most happy attending:) Thanks Sarah.

FD - Thank you kind sir. I do intend to write about her going back for a riding lesson but fiction doesn't come easy.

Daisy - No just being honest. Thank you, your really kind.


A said...

I stumbled across your blog today and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this series! I hope there's more to come. :)