He had an unfortunate name, Fat Boy, deemed fat and ugly by his owner. The saving grace was that he was a Spanish horse and unable to understand the meaning of his own name. For me, Fat Boy was a highlight of Extremadura, an unrelenting part of Spain which you can only surrender to once there.
"Is everything OK, with the house?" the English woman asked, who managed the casa we had rented for a week.
"Yes, absolutely, can I ride the horses next door?" I asked with unbridled enthusiasm, a kid on holiday.
And the following day Fat Boy turned up early in the morning, to avoid the heat of the day. He was dressed in a military saddle, like concrete to the bum.
" You turn left here, right by the olive tree, cross the road, go straight straight straight where you can gallop him and ride through the fig plantations...."
"What, you're not coming with me?" I asked the owner of Fat Boy.
"No!" he replied incredulously "You can ride can't you?"
"Yes, yes..." I replied keen as mustard
"Then you will not fall off, will you?" he said, a little curtly.
Off we trotted, turning left as we had been told, to do my favourite thing in the whole wide world - discovering strange lands by horseback. As the sun threatened to melt us if we were not back by 10, I had just one hour all by myself, shouting "hola!" to the farmers and letting him gallop just a little.