One of your classes at Knight University was jousting, as it was a requirement really. Admittedly, horses kinda freaked you out considering they’re a thousand pound herbivore that could easily kill you with one kick. This affected your jousting performance: constantly falling off your mount, always having a shaky or loose grip on your handle, or just flat out refusing to get on the horse.
Roommate Knight was tired of your shit to say the least. Despite doing well in all of your other classes, jousting was your lowest score. They know you have the potential of being greater, so during the weekend Roommate Knight dragged you to the large barn.
“RK?! What the hell are we doing here?” you demanded, stumbling out of their grip.
“We’re getting over your stupid fear of horses,” they told you flatly.
You couldn’t help but give a small laugh.
“I’m not scared of horses,” you denied. There was a loud bang of hooves on the wooden walls as an antsy horse bucked at its stall. This caused you to yelp and sought out your roommate. They were over in the tack room, holding a saddle in their arms, a long lead rope and bridle draped on top of it. They nonchalantly dumped all of it into your hands, making you grunt at the weight as Roommate Knight brushed past you towards the stalls again.
“There’s someone I want you to meet, (Y/n) Knight,” Roommate Knight insisted, waving you along.
With a sigh and shift of the equipment, you followed.
At the very end of the line of stalls was where they stopped. The horses you past on the way came in many colors and all were tall enough to loom over you. They shifted their heavy hooves, snorted the dusty air and watched with horizontal pupils as the two knights went past them.
Your arms were already exhausted by the weight of the saddle as you met with Roommate Knight at the last slot. “(Y/n) Knight meet Llamrei,” they greet and clicked to call the horse. Much to your surprise, a large pony came to the gate, only being three hands taller than you which made it a lot less intimidating. She was dark oak brown in color her snout slightly blackened. Grey-white hairs went through her mane and her brown eyes looked tired. Roommate Knight pat her on the neck under her black mane.
“Llamrei is the oldest horse here and hasn’t hurt anyone in years,” they told you matter-of-factly, taking the bridle from your load and deftly putting it on the horse. “So I think she’s the perfect starter for you.” They guided her out and clipped the lead rope to the bridle to keep her still.
Even if you don’t particularly like horses, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t know how to dress one as you proceed to apply the tack onto Llamrei. She stood patiently for you as you reached under her belly for the girth and adjusted it, her back hoof tilted up.
Once done, the trio made their way outside and into the wide sandy pen. Not many other people were in the pen with them, a couple knights practicing their jumping one pen over.
Roommate Knight turned to you, lead still in hand while also accompanied with a training stick.
“Get on,” they insist, almost ordered.
“What,” was all you could say in disbelief.
“Saddle up,” they told you again, an annoyed hand on their hip. “I’ll lead Llamrei and you can just stay on the saddle.”
As much as you didn’t want to get on top of the pony, you also knew Roommate Knight would not let it go. So you put your left foot into the stirrup and swung yourself up into the saddle with practiced grace. Your hands grip the horn as the white clothed knight stepped towards the center of the pen.
“Hold on,” Roommate Knight instructed. “Just trust me and Llamrei and you won’t fall on your ass.”
You nodded your helm, gauntlets curling tighter.
Your roommate clicked and extended the stick, using it to guide Llamrei towards the right. Llamrei began to walk in a circle around Roommate Knight. The slow pace and rocking feeling of her shoulders moving was pleasant and even the slightest bit exciting.
“Tell me whenever you’re ready for a trot, (Y/n) Knight,” Roommate Knight calls out.
“Okay,” you confirmed back to them.
A few more laps and you noticed the amount of uncomfortable bouncing that was happening in the saddle, creating an awful clatter of your armor at the motion.
Roommate Knight noticed. “Dude you’ve got to move with Llamrei,” they coached. “Let go of the horn. It’ll make you balance better.”
Fear gripped you at the thought of letting go. There was no way that detaching your grip would improve your balance! Surely you’d fall off without the support.
You heard Roommate Knight give a large sigh. “If you’re going to give up then why haven’t you changed classes, dumbass? Because if you’re never going to trust the horse then you’ll never pass.”
Bubbling frustration burst as you flung your arms up, locking your fingers behind your helmet with a growl. Your body adjusted to the new position, using your thighs to grip Llamrei’s sides and let your hips move along with the horse’s steps. To your utter surprise, this did improve your balance, creating less of the irritating motion of the bouncing.
A couple more laps with this new tactic and your confidence in your abilities grew.
“I think I’m ready for that trot, RK,” you call out to them.
“Finally,” they sigh, clicking again.
The pony adjusted her feet pattern to a gradually faster pace at the verbal command. This meant you too had to slightly change your position to meet her footfalls but kept your arms up to retain balance. The thrill of going faster filled your chest, coming out as a triumphant laugh as you trotted in circles. No, it was not really much but it was a good start at least.
You began to wonder if Roommate Knight was getting dizzy by how many laps and turns they were making by this. But their boots shifted elegantly in the sand, turning their body in time with Llamrei.
The gradual burn of your thighs began to ache and you began to heavy lean against the stirrups as your legs became too tired.
“Slow me down!” you shout, hands returning to the saddle’s horn.
“Alright,” Roommate Knight says, releasing the pressure of the stick from behind Llamrei.
Her hooves slowed as she returned to a walk and eventually to a halt. Roommate Knight approached, gathering the lengthy lead rope in their hand as you demounted onto the ground with slightly shaky legs. You stroked her face as told her how much of a good girl she was. The pony in turn rubbed her head against your chest plate, shoving you a couple steps back.
Roommate Knight snorted. “She likes you, (Y/n) Knight,” they chortle.
“Well I like her too,” you told (
the horse) them as you scratched behind her ear. Llamrei snorts in kind.
The two knights returned the pony to her stall undressed, giving her a carrot as a treat before they left.
“Thanks for pushing me, Roommate Knight,” you tell them. “And introducing me to Llamrei, she’s awesome.”
“Whatever. I was just tired of seeing your dumbass keep falling off a horse,” Roommate Knight scoffs. “You owe me lunch at Sir Donald’s.”
“Fair enough,” you say as you gave them a friendly elbow jab.