When I was a child and we went on long car journeys my boredom-buster was to look out the window and imagine galloping my horse across the countryside, jumping all the fences as we went.
Never mind that I didn't own a horse and had never jumped a fence in my life.
My imaginary horse was pretty slick though, it leaped not only fences but numerous buildings, the occasional river and the odd inconveniently placed small town. All the while keeping up with the family car.
A few years later I found myself the proud teenage owner of a very tall former racehorse with dodgy steering and absolutely no brakes.
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As I had less experience in the riding game than my horse, he often made his own arrangements. These could include going home - with or without me - when he'd finished being ridden, erratic changes of direction - i.e. from forwards to sideways very quickly - and a refusal to go past the pigs down the road by the old railway station.
His habit of going home, once I learned to stay on board so I didn't have to walk back by myself, showed me that while horses couldn't really keep up with the family car on the open road, they were more than capable of overtaking a school bus.
The next day at school I pretended it was deliberate, and I was quite the hero for a week or so. The principal, who was driving the school bus at the time, was less impressed.
Before long my bolting thoroughbred was joined in the paddock by a little Welsh pony destined for my sister.
The pony was slower on the straights than my thoroughbred, but way better over fences ... which he jumped with great abandon whenever someone wanted to catch him.
The pair of equines had me bewildered. Weren't horses meant to be friendly, docile creatures? The ones I'd fed carrots to over fences throughout my childhood seemed to be.
Eventually my former racehorse and I came to an agreement. We would always come home a lot faster than we went out, but if I promised not to ride past the pigs he would let me stay in the saddle.
The pony, however, went through two generations of our family before he met his match in my eldest daughter, who was as happy to go fast and jump fences as he was.
I became happy to jump fences as well. Not the shiny, showjumpy sort ... they are generally surrounded by an audience and I prefer to fall off my horse in private, thanks all the same.
I took up hunting - lolloping around following a pack of hounds as they follow the scent of a hare that inevitably ends up on a hillside watching as a bunch of hounds and riders make a lot of noise and run in circles.
Hunting is an opportunity to fall off your horse among a smaller, slightly muddier group than showjumping.
It was as close to my boredom-busting car journeys as could be, I thought, as I galloped about the countryside in all weather.
But there was always that one, small niggle.
The Napier-Taupo Road.
It was fun on my imaginary horse ... what would it be like on a real horse?
Then I got the chance.
We'd taken my horse - Gladys - to Raglan for a weekend of riding instruction. The perfect opportunity, I told my husband, to ride along the wide grass verge of the Napier-Taupo Road.
He sighed in a resigned kind of way.
On the way home he pulled over and I unloaded my horse and saddled her up, clambering aboard as hubby drove ahead with the horse float.
We broke into a canter, then a slow gallop.
"Yeeha" I thought. Hubby had pulled over about a kilometre ahead and had the video camera out. Cars were going past, and a tour bus, and I raised a hand to wave.
just then Gladys saw something in the grass.
Sideways we went, or rather she went.
My trajectory stayed the same. Only the altitude changed.
I was still facing forward when my bum hit the ground.
I said some rude words.
Hubby had caught it on camera.
By the next morning he'd uploaded it to Facebook.
Biggest audience I ever got.
Might have to take up showjumping.