He was hiding in the ladies toilets, he always hid there, the entrance was just wide enough for him, nothing bigger could get in.
It was really black and white – he was white, Lancelot was black, and he was scared of Lancelot. Lancelot was a huge and dangerous stallion and Nottingham was white, small and short-legged.
Nottingham couldn't decide. There were the horses and there were the humans. He did have four legs like the horses, but he didn't like any of the horses, especially Lancelot. He did like the humans, he followed them around, he let them ride on his back if they were not too heavy. He thought that he was probably one of the humans, he liked to think that.
Nottingham did not have a stall, he was free to go where he wished. Most evenings he wandered along the side of the canal to The Flask, he didn't go inside, it was too narrow, plenty of room in the beer garden. On the wall above the tap was the sign:
Everybody wanted to buy him a drink, but he usually drank no more than three pints a night. Once, when the rugby club had won the cup, he lost count of how much he had drunk, everyone was gay in the old sense of the word. He nearly fell into the canal on his way back to the riding stables.
Everyone learnt to ride on Nottingham, he always walked, he never galloped, he trotted maybe once a week, he was not too high up to ride on, he never kicked or bolted or shied. Everyone learnt to ride on Nottingham.
But he was boring, everyone learnt the basics on Nottingham and then changed to a full-sized horse. But Nottingham didn't care, he was happy with children on his back walking round the paddock, let the stupid horses jump over the gaily-coloured gates and break their necks, what did he care.
Nottingham liked all the humans, the children, the stable girls, though I can't write here what Nottingham would have liked to have done to the stable girls. However the human who he liked the most was Mrs Pearson. Not that she rode on him, she was too big and heavy for that, she had her own horses, two of them, in the stables.
Mrs Pearson didn't jump up and down like some of the other humans, no violent movements, slow, steady and certain, just like Nottingham. She always had time for Nottingham, she smelt good too.
Mrs Pearson had an idea, she had it made, a small cart gaily-coloured, with room for five small children for Nottingham to pull. Every Sunday afternoon in summer the small, white horse pulls the cart with children around the town square in Bigtown – no fixed price, just a donation in the charity tin – three times around the town square at walking speed.