Excerpt from the upcoming Novel:

The Madam
& the Horse Master

By Morgan Hawke

This tale involves the Fetish known a Pony Play,
where people pretend that they are horses.

Image by Morgan Hawke

This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places and incidents are either purely imaginary, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales are purely coincidental.

All text & Images: Copyright Morgan Hawke (C) 2002

No part of this story may be reproduced in any manner,
whether by physical or electronic means, without the express written consent of the author.

All Rights Reserved, All Wrongs Revenged.

A fit of passion has no foresight, and so we often have to rue the day when we gave way to it. Consequently, when your horse shies at an object and is unwilling to go up to it, he should be shown that there is nothing fearful in it, least of all to a courageous horse like him. If this fails, touch yourself the object that seems so dreadful, and lead him up to it with gentleness.

Reward him with kindness when he has done what you wish and admonish him when he disobeys

The Art of Horsemanship
- Xenophone - Greece, 300 BC

The House of the Rod
- A bordello in Victorian London...

Chapter One

~ Request ~

They kissed, arms entwined, in a pool of morning light that crept past the black, velvet curtains. Side by side they cuddled warmly in her intricately carved, Louis XIV bed. He slid the black brocaded duvet coverlet down her body, exposing her milky fair skin, and his tanned muscular body. Her utterly straight, waist-length, blue-black hair spread in a rich sable mantle across the crimson sheets and trailed down the bedside.

"Good morning my love," she whispered between kisses. Her hands tangled in his thick black waves and the single lock of brilliant silver at his brow. His dark mane fell in a midnight curtain across his cheek and down across her belly. She slid the long waves through her fingers and brought handfuls to her nose to breathe in the clean scent sandalwood and the masculine sent of leather.

"And a good morning to you too, my love," he whispered back. He leaned across her while resting the bulk of his weight on one shoulder, supported by a colorful mass of brocaded pillows. Her soft, plump lips sucked and nipped at his with gentle chuckles and soft murmurs between them.

The skin of her breasts felt like warm, heavy silk against his large callused palms as she pressed into him. He cupped their ripe fullness together and brought them to his lips. He could smell the delicious perfume of milk and vanilla from last evening's bath water as he licked his way across her breasts. He drew one velvety nipple into his mouth and then the other. Her purring sighs caressed his ears as he tugged the delicate flesh with his teeth, gently then not so gently.

He slid a hand under to cup the muscular fullness of her buttock, tilting her toward him and pulled her closer. His strong, lightly furred calves caressed the smooth length of hers as he slid his thigh over and between her legs. In a sudden move, he rolled atop her. He pressed his hips closer to her damp heat until the swollen head of his shaft brushed against plump, tender and shaven flesh. He released her nipples and rose higher to take her mouth, already swollen and red with the demands of his kisses.

She wrapped her strong thighs around his hips in welcome. She writhed as she sought to take his heated length into her moist passage. She felt the shift of his hips moments before he thrust within, possessing her to the root. Sound was forced from her throat, head thrown back as she gasped her joy beneath him.

Slowly, he withdrew, heated inch by heated inch, pausing at the very entrance of her body. She looked down the length of her shuddering body as small whimpers of need escaped from her lips. She could see his hard length, shiny with her dew, stretched between them. She watched as his back arched and his hips flexed a moment before he buried his shaft within. She saw every inch burrow into her tender depths until her back bowed with the exquisite pleasure, a guttural moan escaping her lips.

He pulled back to the brink of her body and arched over her, his hair a mass of fragrant, black and silver-touched waves sweeping her face and shoulders He thrust his heavy shaft, slowly and deeply into her heat, to pull away and thrust again, aching slowly. He kissed her, his mouth hungry against hers, tongues exploring, thrusting in time with his body's possession. She writhed beneath him, begging him to hurry, hands clutching, fingers clawing at his muscular back, scoring him with long red lines.

He pulled away to her soft protest then arched above her, his weight on his elbows as he covered her and thrust, fucking her willing body hard and strong, quicker and quicker, again, then again, his thighs and buttocks straining. His hips pounded against hers and she met his thrusts halfway, lifting herself to his possession.

The sound of wet flesh against wet flesh filled the softly lit room with liquid hammering. Sweat formed, pooled and dripped, staining the red silk and the black brocade beneath them as their bodies strained in unison. Her mouth opened in a soundless scream with the building pleasure.

She cried out as lightning arcs of ecstasy blazed through as her body tightened, squeezing around him. She spasmed against the bed, shuddering beneath him, screams of delight pouring from her throat as her pleasure violently took her and took her.

His body shook violently, wracked with the exquisite torture as her flesh hungrily took his in a velvet vise and squeezed the pleasure from him. He thrust again and howled, arching his back as her body gripped him, pulling, drawing, sucking him into her screaming joy. His wanton flesh pumped and emptied, spraying into her depths as she writhed under him, scoring his back as she sought to take him deeper.

He collapsed on top of her, slightly to one side, moaning and spent, his arm flung over her damp breasts. They lay exhausted and breathless, waiting for the pounding of their hearts to slow. The rich smells of sex overpowering the delicate vanilla scent of her sunlit boudoir.

"And you wonder why I took you for myself, my dear Horse Master," she whispered, her voice rich and low with satisfaction. Her lips bowed in a sultry and satisfied smile.

"I had wondered, Madam," he replied, his voice husky with spent passion. "Out of all the titled gentlemen who visit your fine establishment, why the 'Notorious Madam' would be interested in a tradesman, a lowly stableman who wandered, all unknowing, into the House of the Rod." His smile was gentle, teasing. "At the time of my initial visit, I was very unaware of the ah, interesting entertainment that the House of the Rod specializes in."

"Do not forget, that I also, am in trade and you are not so lowly a stableman," she chuckled, her brow rising in cool assessment. "You are one of the leading horse masters, a Master Whip, an Equerry of Her Majesty's Royal Mews." She smoothed his midnight hair from his rugged face. "However, I did think it rather naive of you to follow your friend into this particular den of iniquity."

"I had been told that a very fine master of the whip could be found here." He rolled onto his back and stretched his great length. "I had intended to merely converse on technique." His cool and piercing, blue eyes watched her brilliant cat green eyes, framed in their sooty lashes.

"And did you find your Master of the Whip?" She leaned over him and curled a finger into the distinguishing lock of silver that arched from his brow.

"I did indeed." He leaned over, kissing her gently. "And she is the most beautiful, enthralling and skilled lady of my acquaintance. I was humbled that night, by the expertise that I saw displayed on the bottom of my erstwhile companion, dearest Madam."

"You are not without talent yourself." She chuckled and kissed him for his compliment with enthusiasm. "I have seen the way my girls fight to be the one over your knee for a spanking."

He laughed out loud. "Your girls tumbled across my lap, their bottoms begging to be pinked before I knew what kind of entertainment your house served. I had spanked three lusty bottoms before I discovered that your gentlemen guests were there to have their bottoms warmed by the birch rod, among other things." He grinned. "Little did I know that the House of the Rod's Madam also liked her bottom spanked."

"You have been an asset to my bottom and my house, making everyone smile with every smack of your strong hands." She snuggled against him.

"Lucky me," he said pressing his lips to her brow, "I have the next two days to assist you in keeping bottoms warmed."

"And I am very pleased to have your undivided attention for those two days, even if you do not desire your bottom warmed," she teased. He frowned playfully. While he very much enjoyed spanking others, being spanked was not something he took pleasure in.

"I have enjoyed the time spent in your house, and in your arms ever since that first evening," he said with a heated smile then rolled out of the bed and shrugged into a midnight blue, satin dressing robe trimmed in black fur at collar and cuffs. "This past year has been the best of my life."

"Marry me," the Madam said impulsively, then bit her lip. Ladies did not ask gentlemen to marry them. He turned and his indigo eyes were stark. He tied the robe and came to her bedside then fell to one knee in a gallant gesture.

"You know that I love you," he said. She nodded and he took her hand. " But, I cannot marry you until I can bring you the wealth you deserve. I am not yet worthy of this honor."

"I have wealth, enough to share... More than enough..." Her eyes were stricken.

He shook his head. "It wouldn't be right unless I came to you with a respectable offer." He sighed. "As of this moment, I have nothing to honor you with, no money and no skill that you do not already have. I have nothing that you need." He shook his head. "I cannot consent to being merely your 'gentleman of leisure'. He sighed heavily.

"You would put your pride between us." It was a statement. "Do you not understand that I want you, not what you bring me?"

"I am a man," he said simply. "I will not have them say: There goes the Madam and her kept stableman."

A gentle knock at the door came at the door.

"Enter," she called out and sat up, throwing her legs over the side of the bed. An uncomfortable silence stretched between the lovers.

A golden blonde chambermaid came into the room followed by a dark brunette chambermaid, their eyes downcast with basins of warm water and towels. They wore dark tightly laced corsets, baring their breasts with tiny chains looping between their nipples from tiny pinching clamps. Their exposed, pouting, lower lips were plump and clean-shaven. Leather manacles with steel rings jingled above buttoned ankle-boots and at their wrists. Tasteful silver chains with delicate locks embraced their throats.

The Madam seated herself at her vanity and allowed the fair maid to clean her intimate flesh. The darker maid approached the Horse Master and knelt to clean him of his spent passion.

"I had heard from the girls that you were going to try something different for this year's Twelfth Night ball," the Horse Master said, breaking the silence with a change of subject. "How goes the training on your newest project?" He rose and went to the brandy decanter on a small table by the far bedside. He poured two glasses.

"Actually, I have been meaning to ask for your advice," said the Madam. The maid serving the Madam put her basin to one side then brushed and dressed her long blue-black hair into a flamboyant bun atop her head set with ruby pins.

"My advice?" He approached, his dressing gown whispering around him as he brought her a brandy. With the dark maid's help, he began to dress, pulling on his dark breeches and his cream, silk shirt.

"For Twelfth Night, I am holding a grand ball with the usual orchestra and masquerade, but I also want to do an extravagant exhibition," she said as she sipped the brandy. The blonde maid smoothed dark silk stocking up the Madam's thighs then applied the frilly garters at her knees, to hold them.

"A business acquaintance of mine told me about an event that she had attended while abroad in France," the Madam continued as the maid laced the Madam into knee-high black boots. "One of the exhibitions sounded so interesting, I thought I'd give it a try." She stood and the maid helped her into a sheer chemise of deepest crimson. "However, I'm beginning to believe that this might be better handled in the way of your line of work, my dear Horse Master, than mine."

"You intend to use horses?" The cuffs of his billowing sleeves were fastened snugly at his wrists with gold and sapphire cufflinks. The maid tied his dove gray cravat expertly around his neck then pinned it with a sapphire brooch.

"Of a sort," she said smiling. She rose and her maid began the task of lacing the Madam into a heavy black, velvet corset. "I wanted to put on a ... I guess you could call it a 'Dog and Pony' show." She grinned at him as she took hold of her bedpost so the maid could tighten the laces without being pulled off her feet. "I want to use my girls and a few of my prettier boys as the animals."

"You're going to use your staff as dogs and ponies?" He thought a moment as his white stockings and tall Hessian boots were pulled on. Her staff parading about as beasts? It sounded plausible, even... titillating. "I've never heard of this."

She chuckled. "You'd never seen grown men being spanked to climax until your first visit," she teased. "The doggies and kitties are all doing very well, as my staff is very familiar with collars and running around on all fours. The special harnesses and the tack for the human ponies have all been completed. The chariot specifically for my grand entrance and some of the other vehicles has already been delivered. However the ponies themselves, especially the ones I wish to use in driving teams, are another story."

"How may I be of assistance?" He shrugged into his midnight indigo waistcoat, then belted and knotted his burgundy sash.

"I have one pony successfully trained for something very specific," she said turning as the maid finished lacing and held up the sheer, crimson petticoats for the Madam to step into. "However, the rest of the pony-girls and boys don't know quite, what to do and their handlers don't know how to tell them without just whipping them into position or ordering them to do it, out loud." The Madam stepped into the complicated, cage-like crinoline that formed the frame for the bustle of her gown. The maid fastened the tapes at her waist.

"You would like your ponies to respond more like natural horses, to whip and rein, as opposed to verbal commands is that it?" he asked as he slipped his deep blue, tailed coat on and straightened the lapels.

"Precisely." She smiled. "I also want to have a few trick ponies, for a circus exhibition," she said then allowed her maid to button her into a sleeveless gown of rich, iridescent black with falls of midnight lace and rows of glittering, jet beads. "But again, the ponies and handlers don't quite know what to do." The maid arranged and attached the abundant, glowing folds of her skirts as they pooled around her, into a bustle and a long elegant train.

"I know very little about your techniques with discipline. I've never schooled humans."

"My style of discipline doesn't seem to be achieving the proper result for the display I'm looking for. I thought perhaps, if we applied a style of training more suited to actual horses, the exhibition would look more realistic." The maid presented the Madam with her jewel case. She chose a simple ruby pendant on a silver chain set with jet.

"I know that you worked with a circus at one time, training horses to do jumps and leaps on command. Do you think you could show my trainers a few techniques that might work with my ponies?"

"By Twelfth Night? That's only weeks away." He thought for a few moments. "After breakfast, show me your ponies and let me see what you have accomplished so far, perhaps I can find some way to be of assistance to you."

Chapter Two
~ Horse Behavior ~

"We're using the summer ballroom for our pony training ring," said the Madam, her bustled, sleeveless gown of rich, iridescent black with falls of midnight lace and rows of glittering, jet beads, whispering as she led the Horse Master through the glass double-doors. The ruby pins in her upswept black hair glittered. "It's the only room large enough to hold an exhibition without compromising room for the orchestra and the dancing that going to be in the winter ballroom."

Tall, leaded windows surrounded three sides of the cavernous room, draped closed from floor to ceiling in heavy velvet to hold the morning's winter chill at bay. Slender marble pillars stretched up to the high cathedral ceiling where four enormous leaded crystal chandeliers lit the flourished and gilded ceiling. The four marble fireplaces held roaring bonfires, attempting to warm the vast room. Thick piled oriental carpets were spread across the entire polished wood floor to hold in the warmth. A miniature horse-fence, only a foot tall and painted white made a huge ring in the center.

A youthful, tow-headed footman in the Madam's livery walked up to the Horse Master and bowed. "The carriage whip and the lead you requested sir." He handed over a long, leather leading-rein with a steel clasp and a six-foot long, tapering, slender whip tipped with a short supple leather thong.

Three of the Madam's staff stood at rigid attention in the center of the ring; two young ladies of athletic yet feminine build, matching blondes, and a slender young man with broad shoulders and rich auburn red hair. They all had their waist-length manes pulled into tails that fell freely down their backs.

Bridles in red leather with silver buckles and leather wrapped, snaffle bits clamped in their teeth decorated their heads. As he requested, they wore no reins. Their chins stiffly supported by wide collars that did not allow their heads to turn, their wide, serious eyes followed the long, six-foot carriage whip held by the tall Horse Master.

They wore an intricate harness of red leather over and across their nude chests. The girls wore heavy leather corsets with steel rings and the young man a wide belt similar in design. Their wrists were manacled and fastened to the small of their backs. The young man sported an imposing leather cock ring around his shaven privates and the girls had a narrow leather strap bisecting their shaven mounds. Long, silky tails matching their manes, arched from their hindquarters and leather boots were laced to their knees.

"Impressive display," murmured the Horse Master. "You have only three ponies?" he asked the Madam.

"Thank you and actually there are eight ponies, with an additional draft pony and two zebras." she said softly, "Of the ponies, these three are the most promising They are my lead ponies, the rest take their cues from them."

Four of the Madam's staff stood just outside the ring with their feet comfortably shoulder-width apart and their gloved hands clutched behind them. They were dressed in something like men's formal riding apparel. Their hair was pulled back into neat, tailed queues, tied in large formal bows of black velvet at the base of their necks. Completely shirtless, dark crimson cravats were decoratively knotted around their naked throats. Frock coats of purest black were buttoned at the waist and supple, leather jodhpurs were tucked into tall, black leather Hessian boots. Upon closer inspection, the Horse Master realized that two were young women; their nipples barely concealed by the coats.

"I'm assuming that the four in the riding dress are the trainers?" The Madam nodded. "And you'd like to have the trainers show and drive the ponies as though they were actual horses?"

"Do you think it would be a more impressive display?"

"If there are any accomplished horsemen in your audience, they will recognize what is being done," said the Horse Master, warming to the idea. "It would certainly catch my attention."

"Excellent!" she said with a brilliant smile. "Then that is precisely what we will do. What would you suggest first?"

"If you like, I can instruct the ponies in natural horse behavior, then I can show the trainers how to begin schooling them to rein and whip signals as though they were natural horses."

"That sounds perfect. I shall leave all the instructing in your capable hands; the staff has already been told to follow your orders as though they were mine."

"You may want to consider having the rest of the ponies gathered to at least observe the three in the ring as they learn horse behavior, rather that having them learn second hand."

"You do have a valid point, and time is of the essence." The Madam turned to a waiting footman and he left with a short bow. "I have sent for chairs as well as the five other ponies and the two zebras." He nodded. "Observing you will be very educational," she continued. "I can't wait to see what you accomplish. Is there anything else that you might need?"

"Actually, yes." The Horse Master considered his charges. "When it comes time to teach the trainers I will need to explain out loud, what I am doing. The ponies that are being schooled may anticipate commands rather than react to them. Is there a way to keep the ponies being schooled from hearing what I say to the trainers?"

"I believe I have just the thing," said the Madam. "Ear plugs; they will keep the ponies from hearing your instructions. I'll have them applied when you are ready."

"That should do nicely and I see that the rest of my audience has arrived." Four attractive young women in pastel morning gowns and decoratively upswept hair followed by three young men in leisurely, afternoon walking apparel stepped into the room followed by servants with chairs. The Horse Master noticed that two of the young ladies were dark skinned, exotic Africans.

"This is the Horse Master, a Master Whip of Her Majesty's Royal Mews," introduced the Madam. "To improve the accuracy of our Twelfth Night performance, the Horse Master has agreed to coach all our ponies on natural horse behavior and your trainers on schooling you as if you were actual horses." The gathered ponies gazed at him with curiosity and heightened interest. The young ladies pulled out fans and fluttered them coyly.

"My dear Horse Master," said the Madam, "may I present the rest of the ponies that you will be working with." The three young men bowed formally while two of the young ladies curtsied gracefully. "And these two young ladies, recently from the American colonies, are our zebras." The dark-skinned beauties curtsied elegantly and smiled irresistibly. "For the event they will be painted with white stripes."

"Charmed," he murmured bowing in return. "By your leave, my dear Madam, I shall begin."

"By all means," she said with a smile. "Take your seats my darlings, I expect all of you to pay close attention to his instructions." The seven quickly took the chairs arranged to either side with the Madam seated in their center.

With a final bow to the Madam, the Horse Master stepped to one side then removed his coat, waistcoat, sash and cufflinks. He handed them to a waiting servant to hold. In his shirtsleeves, whip and leading rein in hand, the Horse Master strode to the line of trainers. They snapped their feet together sharply, squaring their shoulders and bringing their hands to their sides in sharp attention.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said softly to the waiting trainers as he nodding in greeting while rolling his sleeves up to the elbows. "As an experienced Horse Master of Her Majesty's Royal Mews and a member of the Horseman's League, the Madam has asked me to assist you in guiding your charges. I will begin by teaching the ponies how to act more like natural horses. Please, pay close attention to what I tell them. These will be the keys to how you will school them to perform as though you handled actual horses." The trainers gave him a startled look, then, as one they nodded.

"Good," he said. "After I have instructed the ponies, we will work the ponies with earplugs so that you can follow my instructions without the ponies anticipating your needs. Any questions?"

"Sir," said a young man on the end. "What form of discipline will you be employing?" The young man eyed the long horsewhip the Horse Master held.

"As in punishment?" The Horse Master asked. The young man nodded.

"None." The Horse Master smiled. "The whip will be used as a guide and a signal, not a tool for chastisement."

"Sir," said one of the young ladies to his left. "With all due respect, this conflicts with our traditional form of discipline."

"You are correct, this style of training is very different from what you are used to," the Horse Master said gently. "Contrary to your previous training, your job will be to gain the trust of your charges so that they trust you to make the decisions for them, as opposed to frightening them into doing as you wish."

"What about their movements, their gaits, the way they trot or prance?" asked a tall male trainer at the far right. "How precise or uniform can their basic movements be?"

"Once I show your ponies basic horse-like movements, such as the basic hackney trot and a simple canter, you are more than welcome the to formalize what I teach in any way you see fit." The trainers nodded then looked at each other with a slight smile and a mischievous gleam in their eyes. "Any other questions?" The four shook their heads.

"Then I ask you to pay close attention, because you will need to understand what they should do in any given situation so as to guide them and encourage them in acting as horses as well as obeying your signals." The four trainers nodded. The Horse Master bowed then turned from the trainers and entered the ring, his stride long and confident, to stand before the ponies.

"Ladies and gentleman," he began. "I will be teaching your trainers to respond to actual horse behavior, so you must make your best effort to respond to their commands like a natural horse." The ponies' eyes were riveted to his, in complete attention. "If you do not understand a command, that is perfectly permissible. React as you think you are being instructed to react. If you go in the wrong direction, then this will be the fault of your driver not you." The ponies glanced at each other with raised brows. The Horse Master watched a sly look slip into the young male pony's eyes.

"Your task for today is to learn to emulate a natural horse." The ponies looked at him in some surprise. "To act as a natural horse, think of yourself in terms of Master Darwin's 'Fight or Flight'. This is where being as a horse is very different from human behavior. Humans normally defend or fight when presented with danger.

"You, as a horse, are a 'flight' animal. Your defense against danger is to run away. If something surprises you, startle as a horse would. This means moving away from any perceived sudden movement, a loud sound, or even a bad smell.

"Unlike humans, a horse does not ever step back or directly to the side, so always flee danger facing forward. You can turn to the side, but you must turn your entire body to face where you are fleeing. Walking backwards or sideways is an unnatural movement for a horse. Unless schooled with a specific signal, you are always to move forward or diagonally, by turning your whole body. To go in any other direction, including reverse, you will need to turn all the way around. Your necks are restrained so this should help you move as a horse would, by using your entire body.

"Something very special to remember: Horses move 'into' pressure, not against it. This is because a horse's skin will tear if they try to run away from a bite. Wild animals that prey on horses attack their bellies hoping to tear them open." The ponies rolled their eyes nervously.

"Yes, I know, disgusting but true. If you feel pressure, move into it, especially if you feel it on your flanks. Your handlers need to learn to react to this, so remember to move 'into' pressure as a natural horse does. Also, If you are frightened badly enough, kicking or stomping, is a natural reaction. Once flight is no longer a clear option, a natural horse will turn and defend himself by kicking. Use this as a distress signal, so if something is wrong I expect you to stop whatever your doing and stomp to signal your driver to come look.

"Also, pay close attention while anyone is near you. Someone standing square to you, facing you directly and staring, just as I am doing now, is an aggressor. Any direct eye contact is an aggressive signal. If it's another pony and you think you can dominate them, square your shoulders to theirs, turning directly to stare at them. Keeping your head eye-level, bare your teeth and stomp in attack. I have seen fighting stallions stretch out their necks, hiss and strike with their teeth like a snake." The female ponies eyed the male pony, smiling around their bits in anticipation. The male pony suddenly looked worried.

"However, if it's someone dominant or frightening to you, break direct eye contact and get out of the way as quickly as you can, by taking whatever direction is open. Remember not to back up, horses do not step backwards without a trainer to signal them to do this."

"As to movement; I'm sure you can do a trot, this is a one, two, one, two step and comes naturally to most human. As ponies, remember when you lift, to keep your knees up, marching level, tucking your feet under as tight as you can, then when you step out, throw out your feet and point your toes like a showy hackney." The ponies experimented with lifting their knees and throwing their feet out.

"Very nice," he encouraged. "A canter is a one-two-three step that is impossible for a two-legged animal to reproduce. A close approximation would be similar to skipping, but always leading with the same foot, in a one-two, one-two rhythm. The same way I'm sure you played at riding as a child. This is a lazier movement and meant to be faster so while you should lift your knees, it won't need to be nearly as high as a trot. Go ahead and try."

The ponies timidly stepped forward from their line. At the Horse Master's nod, they skipped about the ring shaking their heads, their manes and tails bouncing as they lunged about the ring in a two legged canter. One of the female ponies broke into a showy, bouncing trot then stepped up into a quick canter. The rest followed her lead and tried trotting then went into the more relaxing canter.

"Lift your knees and point your toes, ladies and gentleman," he called out. "Make these movements graceful." One of the girls started giggling.

"Horses, do not giggle, try whinnying or neighing instead." All three ponies began making vaguely horse-like sounds. The Horse Master turned to the Madam seated at the edge of the ring by the observing ponies. "Practice will be needed," he said in a loud aside, with a slight smile and a weighted look at the ponies. "I would encourage them to practice often."

"It is vitally important to remember that horses are herd animals," he continued to the circling ponies. "Always move to join in a group unless something physically gets in your way, such as a fence or something frightening." The cantering ponies moved together until they were circling the ring at a slow canter in a bunch.

"Very good. Think in terms of: safety in numbers. Being alone is a frightening thing for a horse," he continued. "If you are alone, you are defenseless, you cannot eat or sleep for fear of predators. As a group or even a pair, watching for danger can be shared. Because of this, as a horse alone, you will always try to join together with anyone that is not actively chasing you, even if it's only your trainer." He called them back into line and continued.

"To join someone else's herd, or join anyone that you are alone with, drop your eyes below theirs by dropping your head submissively. In those collars, you may have to tilt your bodies to do this. Face the herd you want to join with your head down. This tells them that you are willing to follow them, that you are willing to trust their decisions with your safety.

"Also, chew on your bit, showing them your flat teeth." The ponies started jingling their bits and curling their lips at each other. "You are saying to the other herd: See my flat teeth? I am a grass-eater not a meat-eater and I want to be part of your family. Slowly walk over to them and see if they will let you stand with them. This is how horses ask to be part of a someone else's group."

The Horse Master squared his shoulders, beetling his brows in an aggressive stare. The ponies fought to break eye contact as far as their stiff collars would allow. Suddenly, he lunged, stomping at the line of quivering ponies. They shoved, bumping into each other, turned completely around and scattered, bolting at a canter to the fence. They herded together then slowed their mad run to a lazy jogging trot around the ring.

"Excellent," he called out. "That is exactly how I wanted you to react." The Horse Master stepped to the center of the ring turning to keep facing them aggressively, attempting to catch their eyes in a hard stare. He raised his carriage whip and extended it behind them. They quickened from a trot to a canter.

He broke eye contact, still following them with his body, but looking a bit ahead of them, not directly at them. He pointed his shoulder to them keeping his shoulder turned non-aggressively to the circling ponies and dropped the whip. The ponies slowed to a trot then slowed to a quick walk.

The Horse Master stopped in place and waited until they circled all the way around, then he suddenly raised his whip before them, stepped toward them with his shoulders squared at them and staring. They abruptly came to a jolting squealing halt then turned completely around to canter quickly in the other direction.

The Horse Master kept them trotting and cantering back and forth in reaction to his staring and whip signals. Turning with them, he broke eye contact, turned his shoulder toward them, whip down and waited.

They slowed to an exhausted, walk quickly. The Horse Master kept his shoulder to them and his eyes forward. The ponies were clearly sweating in their harness from running and their breathing was labored. The ponies slowed to a halt and faced him; their bodies tilted awkwardly, submissively forward, their heads below his eye level. He heard the jingling of the bits as they chewed, their lips curled, showing their teeth.

The Horse Master glanced at them but kept his face averted. One of the female ponies stepped gingerly forward. Hesitantly, she took mincing steps toward his averted shoulder until she stood within touching range. The bit jingled. Her body tilted a little forward and eyes below his; she gingerly touched her nose to his arm. The Horse Master slowly raised his hand and scratched under her chin.

"Good girl," he whispered. She pressed her face closer and leaned a little against him. The other ponies approached to be patted and praised. "Ladies and gentleman," the Horse Master said softly, "our lesson is concluded and you all did very well, very well indeed."

"Bravo!" The Madam rose from her chair and clapped enthusiastically from the sidelines. The six ponies sitting with the Madam rose and clapped excitedly with her. The staff that had gathered in the doorway and scattered against the entire back wall joined in thunderous applause.




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