When I am not teaching people the most effective way of massaging a perinium (if you don't know what that is, don't Google it at work) or getting them to groan into big balls, I am coaching people through equestrian examinations. Well actually, my friend (the mad one with the stiff badger problem) had a big 'horse' exam coming up so she asked me (who else?) to go round and pretend to examine her. On the way there I couldn't help but notice not 1, not 2 but 3 dead badgers at the side of various roads.
Not wanting to dwell on the prospect of Attack of the Zombie Badgers I parked up in the farmyard and, arming myself with several 'British Horse Society' publications and the exam syllabus (plus circa 17 cups of tea) got testing.
It was an education, that was for sure.
Me: Right, this section is on Health & Safety, OK?
Me: Right, you find me lying in the middle of the stable yard. What would you do?
Friend: Wonder what the f*** you are up to.
Me: No. Fail. Imagine I'm an employee, like a PROPER one. What would you do?
Friend: Are you conscious or unconscious?
Me: Erm, conscious.
Friend: I'd give you a kick and ask you what the f*** you were up to.
Me: That is not going to get you a pass.
Friend: Okay okay, I'd kneel down and ask you if you hurt anywhere and if you could feel your legs and then, if you could, help you up.
Me: Better. What if I was unconscious?
Friend: Unconscious? Oh my god. I'd scream and call an ambulance. Maybe throw water on you? I don't know!
Me: Erm, have you done your First Aid training?
Me: Ok remind me not to lose consciousness in your presence. I think we need to file this one under 'could try harder, needs more work'.
Friend: Ok don't go ON about it!
Me: Lets move on to 'Care of the Grass Kept Horse'.
Friend: Yes, lets.
Me: Ok it says here that you should be checking the horse paddock twice a day, including a perimeter search. What are you checking for?
Friend: That the horses are still in the field?
Me: Well that would be a good starting point.
Friend: Yeah and that the fencing is in good condition, the horses have fresh water and there's no foreigners there.
Me: FOREIGNERS!? FOREIGNERS? What like a selection of French exchange students having a picnic?
Friend: NO! Foreign things like poisonous plants. That might have appeared.
Me: What randomly appeared? Like you suddenly notice a giant Yew tree has materialised in the middle of the field? One day - nothing. The next: 12 foot of glistening toxic evergreen?
Friend: Well that would be a nightmare!
Me: Errr, yeah.
Friend: Well it would be because you can never cut down a Yew tree. It carries a curse.
Friend: Yeah it's true. If you chop down a Yew tree it curses you forever. We had one up the top field and none of us would touch it.
Me: Where's it gone now then?
Friend: We got my dad to burn it down and dig up the stump.
Me: Erm was this before or after he had another nervous breakdown, tried to shoot himself and ran off to live in a bedsit?
(At this point we sort of look at each other in a slightly shocked 'moment of realisation' way before collapsing in a sort of nervous hysteria).
Me: Okay - can I suggest you don't bring this up in the exam. You know. Stay off the topics of foreigners, your lack of resuscitation skills, yew trees and curses?
Friend: Yeah. And badgers.
Me: Yeah. And badgers.