‘You lot are a disgrace! Chasing after defenceless animals on horseback!’
The bearded anti was on his mountain bike on a bridle path and so strictly speaking he ought to have given way to horses, according to the Highway Code, rather than blocking their path and shouting at them. But let’s leave that aside.
The main problem with the angry cyclist’s diatribe was that he was yelling animal rights abuse at Britain’s oldest drag hunt, proudly not killing anything for 150 years.
A few weeks ago I reported that I found it baffling that the sabs had been out to thwart the Surrey Union when it was legal trail hunting. And a few of you wrote in to point out that a lot of hunts still accidentally kill foxes. But even if that were true, how do you explain the antis opposing a form of riding to hounds designed specifically not to kill anything, in which the hounds are only trained to follow scent laid by a human runner, these days on a quad bike?
We tried to put old beardy right, stopping our horses on the soggy bridleway to reason with him.
‘This is a drag hunt, mate, not a fox hunt,’ we said with all the politeness we could muster. But the bearded lefty was unperturbed.
‘I don’t care what you call it. It’s a disgrace!’
One of our number continued to try to reason with him, perhaps thinking he could broaden his mind.
‘But we’re not doing anything other than riding our horses in the countryside. You’ve bought yourself a nice bike to ride, I’ve bought myself a nice horse, see? It’s not so very different.’ But old beardy was adamant.
‘You disgust me! Come on! Get down from there and let’s sort this out properly!’
‘I really don’t think that’s a good idea. I’m sure we can settle this in a civilised manner.’
‘Come on, you big toff!’
‘I’m not a toff. I’m a builder from Woking.’
‘No, you’re not! You’re a toff! Get down right now and let’s sort this out!’
So we had to ride away. Perhaps that’s why they call it drag hunting, because you have to deal with people who want you to stop doing something you’re not doing. Which really is a drag.
Certainly, we shouldn’t have bothered trying to change old beardy’s mind because it was obvious all along what he meant when he said, ‘You lot are a disgrace…
‘YOU lot. You middle-class Tory-voting movers and shakers with your posh horses and your athletic abilities and the bare-faced cheek with which you jump over hedges when all I can manage to do is pedal a bike, which, let’s face it, requires no skill. I don’t want to have to look at you! I hate YOU! You fit, loathsome, prosperous high achievers! You think you’re clever, working hard all your lives to earn enough money to buy a nice hunting horse and training for years to be able to jump five feet obstacles? You think you’re so great putting money into the economy with your big vet bills and your expensive riding equipment? So you don’t kill anything! Big deal! You think that makes it nicer for me to look at you and be reminded of my shortcomings? Well, it doesn’t. As for mending fences and tending hedgerows and raising money for charity with days out like this? It makes me sick! Why don’t you sit on your arse all week claiming benefits and dreaming about the day when Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister and we can put an end to wealth creation, aspiration and good management of the countryside, eh? EH? If you had any self-respect, you’d turn all your horses and dogs loose to roam free and live off berries, then you’d all buy mountain bikes and ride them along the bridleways, high on adrenaline, churning up the tracks and frightening the wild horses and dogs as they starve to death as nature intended. Or, better still, you’d issue a statement calling for talks with Isis, instead of holding a minute’s silence in support of France at the start of your so-called drag hunt. And don’t get me started on those big fancy horse lorries you’re paying all that road tax on that’s keeping the highways financed. You should ride your good honest bikes home at full pelt without paying a penny for the privilege of racing them on the public road surface, and run red lights and pedestrian crossings and undertake buses and lorries, and stick two fingers up and swear like a joyless left-wing vegan bully like me. But oh no! You have to get on your high horses and be at one with the rhythms of nature. You vile, patriotic, top rate tax-paying, law-abiding scum!’