General Reading Intermediate (B1)

This is a true story…

I was returning home late one evening and can you imagine my surprise when soon after getting off the bus a horse passed me.  It was running along the street! At first I thought my mind was playing tricks… I rubbed my eyes, but no – a horse was definitely running along the street and not only that but it was on the correct side of the road!

I continued with my short walk home, all the time thinking what a strange experience this was and just when I got to a corner near my home a lady who I knew (her daughter was a friend of mine) appeared.

She asked me, ‘Have you seen a horse?’ It was a strange question to be asked and even stranger that my answer was ‘Yes.’

‘Good I have called the police, come help me catch it’.

At that moment a police car arrived and this woman and I got in and we set off in the same direction as the horse had gone. Soon we caught up with it near a roundabout and we got closer and closer and I got out of the car. Unfortunately two other police drivers were not as wise as our driver and they approached the other entrances to the roundabout with blue lights on leaving only one direction for the horse to go. The horse was spooked and bolted.

Once again I got in the car and we continued chasing the horse – I really do not know what happened to the other police cars. So we are following the horse and suddenly it turned right into an old dead end Victorian street. We followed and everybody got out of the car.

The horse ran to the end of the road and realised it could not get through and turned around and started running back to us.

I am no horse expert but as it got closer I could see it was wearing its leather face equipment and I do not know if somebody shouted out or if I just did it but when it tried to run beside me I jumped and managed to grab the leather near its cheek and it stopped almost immediately.

 My friend’s mother told me to push my shoulder into its chest because if it cannot move even a centimetre it would not be able to start running again. I had no idea if this was true, but I did as she said and it worked.

I have never really dealt with horses, but as I stood into its chest and stroked its face it seemed to calm and this was how I spent the next two hours in the cold while waiting for a horsebox to come and take it away – no worse for its ordeal.

Not only a strange story, but the irony was that I had actually got the bus home early because I was tired. At least I got a lift home from the police afterwards.

© 2017 Richard Horton, Omega Support Services.

Exercises

Introduction

1. Look at the title of the article and the pictures. What kind of a story do you think it could be?

Comprehension

Now read the article before answering the following questions:

1. What surprised the author when he got off the bus?

2. What was the author’s connection with the woman he met?

3. What two things were strange about the question she asked?

4. What happened at the roundabout?

5. What does spooked and bolted mean?

6. What is meant by dead end?

7. How did the author catch the horse?

8. What advice was the author given to stop the horse and did it work?

9. In what two ways did the author calm the horse?

10. How long did the author spend with the horse?

11. What does no worse for its ordeal mean?

12. What was ironic about the whole incident?


Speaking

Have you ever had any experiences that are stranger than fiction?

Work with a partner and share some stories or strange experiences that you have had.  Practice your story before sharing it with the rest of the class.