Everything looks different yet so familiar at the boarding school where I spent my late teens and early twenties. What a sense of déjà vu. Back for the first time in almost 20 years, I fill my eyes with sights of the campus as Lindsay escorts me towards a new building. She is the student in charge of alumni relations at a leading sorority, whose persistent invitations I did no longer feel like declining. They said they needed mentorship from a world-class journalist like myself for an important project, but they didn’t disclose any further details.
“So, what is it like to be back in the British countryside, now that you live in New York City?” Lindsay seems to read my thoughts.
“It’s exciting, and a little overwhelming to be frank. The school seems to have grown so much! I am glad to be here though. It’s my first vacation in a long time, and I have some family and friends to visit in London as well.”
We reach a spacious reading room on the ground floor, where we take a seat while a young man in a white uniform promptly serves us tea and biscuits.
“Since when do you have men on the premises?” I ask. “It was strictly all women back in my days, including the staff.”
“Oh, he’s just a servant. All the students and professors are still female, of course” Lindsay replies with an air of indifference. After a few more minutes of small talk, she finally seems ready to introduce the reason of my visit. “Miss Jones, I am so honored that you accepted our invitation. I have always been a huge fan of your work, especially the books on current affairs. You are an icon of female emancipation. So you can imagine my surprise when our research revealed your key role in the birth of our championship! I was truly blown away.”
“Yes, the Tag Championship of course!”
I swallow with embarrassment, as old memories start flooding my mind. “Well, I am… I didn’t know this was still known… I mean, has it continued since our times?”
“Oh yes, absolutely! And it significantly expanded. The last round of scholarships covered the entire cost to run the boys’ school for a year!”
“Wow, that’s incredible. I have not thought about this for years, and now I have so many questions! I can’t believe it’s still going on…”
Lindsay smiles, knowingly. “I will answer all of your questions. But first I would like to start with some history, Miss Jones. We are celebrating the 20th anniversary this year, and I am working on an article to tell the whole story of how this amazing tradition came to be. Your contribution would be incredibly helpful.”
“So you just want to know how it started?” I ask, impressed by the young woman’s assertiveness and self-confidence.
“Yes, please. And I would like to record our conversation, if you don’t mind.” Lindsay starts the recorder without waiting for my answer, crosses her legs and looks at me, ready to listen.
“Well, as I recall, it was a Saturday afternoon in early June. It must have been 1996. The school was incredibly strict at the time, but a few of us girls used to sneak out to go swim in the lake when the weather was nice. I was running late, so I could see my four friends already swimming as I walked down the hill through the long grass. When I reached the area where we always left our clothes and belongings, hidden by some bushes, I found a young man searching one of the bags. ‘What do you think you are doing?’ I screamed. ‘Thief! Thief!’ He looked at me terrified, and started running away. ‘Wait, I know who you are!’ I yelled as my mind connected the dots. The boy immediately stopped, turned back and looked at me with an air of desperation. He fell on his knees and begged: ‘Please, don’t report me. I’m so sorry!’ I did my best to look indifferent to his predicament, and I continued: ‘You are Rob, the son of Martha, one of our custodians at school. You attend the school for boys down the street, I believe. Who gives you the right to steal from us?’ At that point he started crying. He crawled to me on his knees, and he kissed my boots several time while begging for mercy: ‘My life will be over if you report me. Please, I will do anything!’ Well, I don’t know what the average girl would have done, but that’s not me. So I took his words quite literally. When the other girls came back from the swim, they were welcomed by the scene of me sitting on the boy’s back. He was on all-fours, supporting my full weight, with his eyes covered by a makeshift blindfold I made out of a foulard.”
“So that’s how it started! Amazing…” Lindsay said, looking at me with an intrigued expression while taking notes. “What was their reaction?”
“Well, of course they asked me what was going on! By then I was over the shock of discovering a thief, and enjoying my power and his predicament. I have always been a very assertive woman. Anyway, I acted as if everything was ordinary and I simply said, with a coy expression: ‘Well, I couldn’t let my chair see you gals naked, so I blindfolded it!’ Of course they looked at me like I was insane: ‘Your chair?? Who the hell is that? And why are you sitting on him?’ I kept teasing them: ‘The grass is still a little wet from the rain last night, and I didn’t want to stain my skirt!’ At that point Isabel, my best friend, blurted out: ‘All right Liz, enough games. Who’s the boy?’ So I confessed: ‘Just a thief who’s going to be very sorry if we report him. What should we do with him?’ Well, that was the beginning of everything.”
“So you just blackmailed him into becoming your human pony?”
“Not so fast. On that day, after the other girls put their clothes back on, we simply made him carry all of our bags up the hill towards the school, following behind us in silence like a servant. Then we told him to meet us at the lake on the following day. By then, we said we would have a decision on what to do with him.” Then I recall one more detail: “Oh… We also used him as a stepping stool to climb back up the wall into the school. We would normally use a tree nearby, but that always carried the risk of getting some dirt on our uniforms. So this time we made him squat down, and we all stepped with our boots on his thighs, then on his shoulders to hoist ourselves up. It made me feel very powerful to use him like that.”
“Were you not afraid he could hurt you or something?”
“Well, the boy seemed really scared and submissive. He was a poor boy who tried to steal from five rich girls, so the cards were totally stacked against him. Besides, we were all 19 or 20 years old… what can I say? We were a little wild and reckless!”
“Did he show up on the following day?”
“Oh yes, and he brought a friend!”
“Why would he do that?”
“He said the friend was behind the bushes on the previous day, and he was supposed to cover his back. However he got distracted looking at the girls swimming, causing Rob to be found out by me. So any punishment or fine would have to be split between the two of them. Well… That scene of two guys begging for mercy brought out the wildest part of us. Isabel and I were especially creative and dominant girls, but the others also contributed. Right in front of the terrified boys, we started debating what would be the most appropriate punishment: they should carry our stuff up the hill every time we go to the lake! And be our stepping stools! How about our human chairs? No, wait… they should carry us up the hill, not just the bags! It went on and on…”
“Well, it sounds like you were immediately heading in the right direction!”
“Yes, but the idea of playing Tag came a little later. On that first day we ended up riding them on all fours until they were completely exhausted and their knees were bruised to the point of bleeding, taking turns as their jockeys and setting up improvised races. They quickly became our toys, and we were quite merciless to say the truth.”
“How often did you ride them?”
“Almost every day. After a while they stopped asking when the punishment would be over, and they just accepted their new reality. I think they secretly enjoyed our little game: boys didn’t have many chances to spend time with girls back then. Well, at least they enjoyed the game until it started hurting! As I said, we were quite merciless. We would ride them for hours, and soon we found ways to enforce our orders and push their limits even as they got tired and sore. The school had stables with real horses, so we managed to adapt some old gear to make bits and bridles for the boys. And of course we had plenty of riding crops, dressage whips and so on. We quickly realized that if our whiplashes hurt more than their knees, they would keep carrying us through the pain. Do you girls still learn horseback riding these days?”
“No, actually that’s been entirely replaced by riding human ponies. You still have no idea of the magnitude of what you started, do you?”
“I guess not. I’ve been abroad for a long time. But I can’t wait to hear it!”
“Absolutely. But let’s please finish your story first” Lindsay demanded, pointing at the recorder on the table.
“Yes, of course. So, as I said we were quite demanding and cruel with the boys. But we also devised ways to protect their legs and knees, by wrapping them in makeshift leather guards. That dramatically increased their endurance. And within a couple of weeks we could see them become increasingly strong and muscular, especially in their arms… since they now acted as additional legs for a few hours every day, carrying our weight as well.”
“How about stirrups? Did you use any?”
“No, I think we didn’t get to using stirrups until the following year. The next thing we wanted to resolve was far trickier though: we only had two human ponies for the five of us girls, and we wanted one each. But how could we persuade any boys on whom we didn’t have blackmailing powers? That’s how we came up with the idea of scholarships. We asked Rob and the other boy – I don’t remember his name – to recruit three of their classmates. They had to be similarly built as them: strong and athletic, but lean and not too tall, so we could have fair races. If they succeeded, we would get our rich parents to create a scholarship for all five of them and guarantee they could finish school. In exchange, they would be our secret slaves.”
“How did that go?”
“They did an outstanding job. The idea of a full scholarship was quite enticing. Within a week we had our five human ponies saddled up and ready to abuse. I still remember the first time I saw mine. He was the smallest, but I knew I wanted him: while the other boys looked focused on the scholarship and perhaps some degree of competitiveness among themselves, he was truly eager to please his rider.”
“What was his name, if I may ask?”
“Well, this is a little embarrassing. The truth is that I don’t remember any of the boys’ names, except Rob because I knew him before all of that happened. And the reason is that we actually assigned new names to our human ponies. They were truly like toys or animals in our minds. My pony’s name was Aries.”
“Oh, I love that! I wish we kept that tradition: these days the boys get to keep their own names, even though they are not mentioned at all when the competitors are announced. It’s all about the riders, of course. So, did you start racing them right away?”
“Yes, of course. Aries didn’t do very well at first: he was a little smaller than the other ponies, and I was probably the heaviest rider. But he gradually improved, especially in endurance. As we progressively increased the length of our races and we included a long uphill section, I rode him to a few second and third places and finally – before the Summer was over – I got my first win! I remember the back of his neck was always covered in welts from my riding crop. It was my trademark technique: the others mostly whipped their ponies on the butt, but I found that to be detrimental to my balance, as you have to turn your shoulders around to hit them hard. Anyway… soon we got tired of simply racing them, and that’s how the idea of playing Tag was born. That game also worked a lot better indoors, where we had to move our favorite game once the Summer was over: we simply didn’t have enough space for the five of us to ride alongside each other.”
“Indoors? How did you pull that off?”
“I took a lot of thinking. We ended up involving Rob’s mother, who was a custodian at school. I don’t know how Rob persuaded her, but I don’t think he ever confessed the attempted theft to her. Anyway, she allowed us to use a large room in the basement that used to be fitted for martial arts. That was perfect, because its floor was soft enough to not require the use of knee protection. Of course that didn’t stop us from constantly covering our ponies in welts and bruises. If anything, the assured privacy of that space made us even more wild. Also, playing a game of Tag indoors involved quick changes of direction, lots of quick accelerations, and plenty of crashes into each other. It was hilarious, and incredibly demanding on our ponyslaves. We never had enough of it. The room also had a fireplace, so we could play even on the coldest days.”
“How long until the game expanded beyond you and your four friends?”
“It took until the following Summer, when we started playing outdoors again and we were discovered. But that’s a long story, and I really need to go now. How about we meet again tomorrow? I will be in town for another three days, and I am dying to find out what’s going on at the school these days…”
“Yes, that sound lovely Miss Jones. Thank you so much for your time today!” Lindsay stops the recorder and walks me to the main gate, where I return my badge. Security seems to be dramatically increased at the school, and I wonder why.
As I walk to my car and drive back to the hotel, I keep thinking of some memories I didn’t have the courage to reveal… like how I managed to sneak Aries into my room every afternoon after our rides, to use him as my chair while doing homework, so he would get stronger as my pony. The key for a human pony on all fours is to have strong arms, since they become additional legs when they are ridden. So I would always sit on his neck and shoulders, right on the bruises and welts I had just made on his skin. Sometimes I would straddle his neck, grab some of his hair in my hand to pull his head upwards, and rub myself off against his tortured skin until I orgasmed. The more he moaned in pain, the harder I would cum. And no matter how harshly I used him, he never complained and he always looked at me adoringly. My cute little pony… I think he was in love with me!
It may not sound like it, but I was actually an innocent girl. I didn’t lose my virginity until several years later. So I really wonder how an emancipated girl like Lindsay uses her human pony these days!
Who knows, perhaps I will find out tomorrow…