Arabian Plaything Chapter 7Much of the planning of the new Stables at Quireme was carried out by Princess Karina herself although she naturally consulted her Head of Stables, Kemal, and his two assistants, Renata and Ingrid. This trio were already running the small stable which had already been set up – and which was now to be developed.At an early stage, in view of the increase in Pony Girls envisaged, it was decided that a new post would have to be created. That of Head of Training. He or she would be responsible for transforming the selected harem slave-girls into workmanlike Ponies so that they could take their place in the Main Stable.But who to choose?Renata or Ingrid could have filled the post well, but Kemal did not want to lose two such able deputies. In theend, the choice fell on a woman who was a frequent guest at the Palace of Quireme … and also a regular visitor to the Stables. This was Carlotta, a half Italian woman with some aristocratic blood in her veins and, in those days, many a Pony Girl knew she’d had a real ‘work out’ after they had been in her charge!Needless to say, Carlotta was delighted to accept Princess Karina’s invitation and at once joined the planning group.It was decided to make the Main Stables large enough for twenty-four Pony Girls. Alongside would be a small stable for twelve Pony Girls under training. Whether this latter Stable would always have its full complement was doubtful, but it was not important. More than likely, it was thought, no more than half a dozen Ponies would be under training at a time. That would depend on demand.For it was also decided that each Pony would spend six months in the Main Stable before being sent back to the Palace harem for a ‘rest’. She would be replaced by one of the girls who had completed her training.But, of course, one could not calculate exactly for cases of extreme exhaustion nor for casualties.Sensible, it was agreed not to be too dogmatic about numbers and simply make adjustments in the light of experience. The number of stable hands was to be increased to eighteen (plus two reserves). This meant that each hand would have two Ponies in his charge, being responsible for appearance, maintenance and general welfare. It was considered that, if this job were to be done properly, it would be a full-time task. However, as might be expected, there was no lack of volunteers from amongst Palace guards, their assistants and so on, and the chosen few were hand-picked for their fitness, muscular virility and stalwart appearance. Keenness and asense of dedication were also qualities looked for.Than then, was the personnel agreed on at the outset. But again, it was decided that, if circumstances dictated otherwise, this structure could be changed.Then the layout of the Stables was discussed and finally agreed upon.The Main Stable would have twelve stalls running down each side. Behind each pair of stalls would be a tack room. Thus each stable hand would have a single tack room for his two charges where all their equipment would be kept. Here he would prepare and groom them daily. Ponies would feed andsleep in the stalls.The Training Stables would be exactly the same but half in number. At the rear of them would be a small Punishment Room, designed for especially recalcitrant cases.Nearby the Training Stables would be the Training Tracks. Two of these were to be circular, and one hundred yards in circumference. The third was to be more oval in shape and one hundred yards in circumference. All three of these tracks would be slightly banked all the way round.In addition there would be a straight Training Track one hundred yards longs and twenty yards wide.For the fully trained Pony Girls, there was to be a larger, oval track two hundred and fifty yards in circumference, also slightly banked. Alongside there would be a straight of one hundred yards.Placed between these tracks and the Main Stable was to be a Paddock roughly one hundred and fifty yards in circumference. All these tracks, and the Paddock, would be ringed by raised seats for spectators.Finally, there was to be an Exercise and Jaunting Area, enclosed by a fence five miles in circumference. This would be criss-crossed by a large number of sandy Bridle Paths and Rides. The whole would be gently undulating – but with a few steep gradients – and set in woods and heath-land. Water troughs were to be placed at frequent intervals.This, then, was the setting for the Stables and the Grounds.Then came the all-important topic of the mobile frameworks in which the Pony Girls were to be kept.In general, those already in use had much to commend them, but a few simple improvements were suggested and agreed to. It is best, at the outset, to describe these contrivances in some detail, for a Pony Girl spends a very large part of her time in and upon them. In fact, only a the end of the day is she released so that she can lie on her straw in her stall to sleep. And sleep, it may be said, was rarely hard to comeby for any Pony Girl!The frameworks were so tuzla escort designed that the Pony was forced into a forward-bending posture whilst retaining full mobility of her lower limbs. They were made of the very lightest and thinnest tubular steel and each had a kind of ‘Undercarriage’ which terminated in four castor-like wheels of rubber-coated steel. It was on top of this that the Pony’s belly lay as she bent forward. In fact, the Pony’s belly rested on a cushion of foam rubber and was then secured down to it by what was know as a girth-strap. This ‘Undercarriage’ was of such aheight that the Pony’s legs were straight when standing still and allowed complete freedom of movement when in motion. Thus we can see, in this posture, the Pony’s hindquarters formed a kind of ‘high point’ … for, by the framework, her back sloped very slightly downwards from the top of her buttocks to her shoulders. These shoulders rested against two foam-rubber pads, these pads being supported by two tubular steel shafts rising up from the ‘Undercarriage’. These shoulder pads could be raised or lowered and thus one can see that, according to their height, the breasts of the Pony either hung, or were forced up high.When in repose in the Stables, it was normal to keep the pads low so that the breasts hung. However, whenever the Pony was in action, the pads were invariably high so that breast thrust up and out to the maximum.Incidentally, Pony Girls with rather more heavy breasts were usually fitted with a transparent, plastic under-strap which helped to hold the breasts in an uplifted position without concealing them or restricting their movement in any way.Most of the time, when a Pony Girl was fastened in her framework, her arms were folded up high on her back and inserted into a kind of leather ‘sleeve’. Many stable hands would release a Pony’s arms before and after ‘work’ since this increased blood circulation and thus improved efficiency.When the Pony’s arms were not in this single ‘sleeve’, the wrist were clamped into two wrist-rings set at the side of the shoulder pads.This was the simple, basic securement of a Pony. And one can see it was a securement most effective yet not interfering with her limb-mobility.There were various forms of harnessing, depending upon what function the Pony was to perform. For example, the harnessing for a single-seat carriage was a little different to that for a double-seat. Also, the harnessing would be different if one Pony were being teamed with another. Moreover, there were different kinds of carriage, as we shall later see. In any event, bridle and bit were essential equipment and always worn, although the bit could vary considerably.Bits for Ponies under training could be rather cruel and, on occasions, trained Ponies were forced to wear similar type bits at the whim of a guest.We shall learn more about the various carriages employed – and other accoutrements used – as this account proceeds. For the time being, we are more concerned with a Pony Girl’s basic equipment.Corrective instruments were also discussed by the ‘Stable Hierarchy’.The instruments already in use were considered adequately satisfactory. This is to say, when a Pony was harnessed close-carriage (this will be explained later) the ‘crop’ used would be a foot-long, inch-and-a-half wide strap attached to a six-inch wooden handle, since the Pony’s hindquarters would literally be at arm’s length to the driver. If a Pony were open-harnessed, and thus considerably closer to the driver, the regulation carriage whip would be used, this being a four-foot long sliver of leather, with three tight knots in the last inch or so, attached to a thee-foot long handle of slightly flexible bamboo.The advantage of these instruments was that, although they had a stimulating burning-sting to them, they were not too severe and thus could be used with considerable frequency without doing a Pony much harm. And, of course, any marks would quickly be removed by the special Healing Ointment used at night in the Harem itself as well as the Stables.These then were the instructions most regularly used on a Pony under training… or when she was being exercised, going Jaunting or Racing. Of course, there could be exceptions to the general rule. If for example, the Head of Training considered a Pony was not making sufficiently quick progress, more severe instruments would be employed. The width and the thickness of the strap of the ‘crop’ would be increased… or the thong of the carriage whip would be more meaty, with perhaps, lead-shot substituted for the leather knots. Thenagain, guests might make requests for some special instruments.If Princess Karina, or even Kemal, agreed they were supplied with it.So far we have dealt with instruments used during actual training or work. But there were other instruments which could be laid across a Pony’s hindquarters and thighs. Kemal, each of his two deputies, Renata and Ingrid, as well as Carlotta, in Charge of Training, always carried a pleated leather riding crop tuzla escort bayan with them. These were viciously painful, having a core of flexible whalebone tapering to knittingneedle sliminess and terminating in three short tassels with three little knots each. These were real crops and would make a genuine pony jump to it, let alone a Pony Girl!Apart from these, the small Punishment Room at the back of the Training Stables housed a variety of corrective instruments… heavy tawse, rods, leather martinets, such as would be found in any Punishment Room in the Palace itself… and these were employed whenever it was considered advisable.At this stage, it might be as well to explain what is meant by close-carriage and open-carriage.Close-carriage first. This means that the driver is seated in a low carriage, rather like a small chariot, so that his or her head is more or less on the same level as the Pony’s hindquarters, which are no more than two to three feet away.The carriage is attached, by thin, tubular, up-curving shafts to rings on the side of the leather harnessing that the Pony wears. A small saddle is placed on her back and from this hang stirrups. They do not hand straight down, for, in that case they would be out of reach of the driver’s feet. Instead, they come curving back, again attached to thin, tubular steel. Reins, of course, run back from the Pony’s bridle andbit.This form of ‘chariot driving’ with the Pony’s hindquarters in close proximity, and within easy reach of the ‘crop’, is most popular and these small ‘chariots’ are generally used when Pony Girls are being raced singly against each other.Next, open-carriage. In this case, the driver sits in a larger carriage with longer shafts and thus considerablyfurther from the Pony’s hindquarters. This is the reason why the longer carriage whip is necessary. The wheels of the carriage are larger and it can accommodate two persons, side by side. Although this kind of carriage is sometimes used for racing purposes, is more popular for Exercising or Jaunting.There are larger, wider carriages with room for a team of two Ponies between the shafts. And there is even one with room for four, two behind each other. It takes some skill to drive a team-of-four, and use of this carriage is confines to Stable heads, the Princess herself, of course, and occasionally, special guests. Most often it is used as an exhibition in the Paddock or on the Main Track.Incidentally, when Pony Girls are at work, whether it be Exercising, Jaunting or Racing, they wear little bells attached to small rings threaded through the nipples. Each Pony Girl has also had her nose pierced so, if a guest wishes, a ring and other bells may be put through that too.When Ponies are Racing, they wear tall head plumes of different colors, so that they more readily be distinguished.These are the equivalent of an owner’s racing colors. Finally, we must touch briefly on a Pony Girl’s dailyprogram.At eight o’clock she is aroused from her slumbers, if they happen to be still continuing, and led by the stable hand in charge of her, into the Tack Room leading off from her stall. The stable hand’s other Pony will then be fetched from the neighboring stall and both will be fastened to a mobileframework and bridle and bit put on. This framework is lighter and more utilitarian and less ornate that the one the Pony Girl will be using later in the day.The Ponies are then led out into the yard, which is shared with the Training Stable alongside, where they are hosed down with cold water. Each stable hand attends to his own charges… and a dozen or more Ponies might be attended to at the same time. Guests are permitted to watch this procedure and some early-risers do.Back in their stalls, the Ponies, still dripping, are fed and watered. They eat and drink from small steel troughs at the back corners of the stalls. The food, which is mushy and unappetizing in appearance, is exceedingly nutritious, being packed with proteins and vitamins… most necessary in view of the amount of energy a Pony may have to expend in a day.Every morsel of food has to be eaten up both morning and evening and the troughs licked clean. A Pony Girl learns this early.Some, on first arrival in the Stables find the mulch nauseous and go off their food. However, a taste of the crop of I/C Training… the real one… soon cures this!During the morning, the Ponies are most carefully groomed by the hands. This takes place in the Tack Rooms. Methods of grooming are similar, but some hands have their own little quirks. Some prefer to deal with their Pony while she is still on the framework, others prefer to have her on the massage table standing in each Tack Room. The latter is considered more efficient and is recommended, but not insisted upon.First the Pony will be lathered all over with a creamysoap.When this has been washed off, she will be examined for any traces of body hair. All will have been shaved, and hair remover is used daily, but some women are more prone than others. The escort tuzla offending hair or hairs will be removed with tweezers, hair remover applied, then the area will be creamed to a soft smoothness again.Next the Pony will be covered in oil and then massaged thoroughly. Not only must her skin be kept supple at all times but so must her muscles. They should have a spring in them! Incidentally, all stable hands have been trained as masseurs.When the oil has been well kneaded into the skin, what traced that remain are removed. Then the Pony’s body from neck to feet, is covered in a pale-pink liquid, looking not unlike Calamine lotion. Then, with a kind of buffer – a soft cloth placed over a cushion, and the hand proceeds to ‘polish’ a Pony’s body. This liquid is quite remarkable and does indeed impart a glowing sheen to a Pony’s skin. It is akin to the shiny coat of a real filly who is in the pink of condition.This sheen is a most important part of a Pony’s condition and diligent stable hands will apply the liquid again and again, buffing away until they achieve the results they require.Let it be said here and now that most stable hands are very meticulous and have a genuine feeling of pride when they see their charges well turned out.Often a whole morning will pass with a hand grooming his two Ponies.When their features and their hair have been attended to, they will be secured onto the frameworks they will use that afternoon, ‘proper’ frameworks rather than the ‘utility’ ones. Full harnessing will be put on, bells will be attached to nipples, final finishing touches attended to, then each Pony will be led back to her stall.At this stage, some hands like to give their Pony some light exercise in the yard. It really depends on how much work she has had to do in recent days.Two-thirty p.m. is the next important time.All Ponies under training are taken to the Training Tracks. All trained Ponies are taken to the Paddock where they perambulate whilst guest from the Palace assemble at the ringside. Some guests are there merely out of interest and have no intention of taking a Pony out. Others definitely have a Jaunt in mind… and are weighing up the Ponies as they move easily and gracefully around the Paddock under the watchful eye of the stable hand accompanying then.Requests for a particular Pony are sent, in writing, to Kemal or one of his Deputies, with type of carriage specified.Then the Pony is led out of the Paddock and back into the yard. Here she is put between the shafts and led out again, ready for the guest, or guests, who wish to make use of her.Guests who have never driven before are always accompanied, on the first two outings, by one of the Deputies or Assistants.This is to ensure that no excessive or dangerous maltreatment ensues. Guest will have been warned about this prior to driving, but some of them let their enthusiasm get the better of themselves. Firm handling is looked for, not outright brutality. Certainly not the stupid flogging of a ‘dead horse’. Any guest who cannot confirm to the fairly simple, and reasonable, rules laid down (a kind of unwritten law) is barred from the Tracks and from Jaunting.They are, in fact, warned off.Thus a Pony Girl will either be training in the afternoon or she will be in the Paddock. She may spend two and a half hours in the Paddock and not be called upon by a guest. In which case, she might consider herself quite fortunate. Or she might have two hours or more of Jaunting up and down the sandy tracks, through woods and heath-land.Once a week, the Main Track is thrown open for Racing Practice, and the Ponies can be seen speeding round the banked curves up and down the straight with guests weighing up their abilities and their pace. Three days later, at the weekend, real Racing takes place… and this is an occasion which is both lively and popular, with plenty of bets being struck. The day after Racing, the Ponies are allowed a twenty four hour rest in their stalls. Certainly most of them need it!However, on normal days, Ponies are back in the Stable Yard by five thirty or six o’clock. Those who have been used for work would be hosed down before being tethered, with the others, in their stall. Then they are fed and watered again, it being optional whether they are or drank immediately or not. However, the food trough had to be empty by ten o’clock. An hour or so later, all Ponies who have been at work are given a rub down. Healing Ointment applied at some stage before hands left the Stables, bridle and bit would be removed from each girl and she would be tethered for the night by means of a simple halter and lead rein. All Ponies lie down for the night on straw provided.One final matter regarding a Pony Girl’s routine. She is never allowed to speak.Any question directed at her has to be answered with an neigh… accompanied by a nod or a shake of the head, according to the answer being given! Any infringement of this rule is punished. Thus a Pony Girl undergoing punishment… and involuntarily begging for mercy… could only increase her punishment.This then, has been an outline of the organization and routine of the Stables of Quireme.And much more information may be gleamed from the various accounts which now follow.