“We have followed wherever you have led,” one said, and the others nodded firmly. Trust in their leader was total. His most daring exploits had never led them astray. And although today’s search and destroy mission had been fruitless despite their best intentions and efforts, there had been countless close encounters and near-misses. More than enough to stir pulses and cause extreme moisture on foreheads and down spines held tight and upright atop their horses.
Although not on official business this time, his friends and subordinates found occasions like these worthy tests of their mettle and ability to follow split second orders; changes of pace and direction; at all times, giving total obedience without question to the impressive and charismatic figure who led the way home.
They were members of the Mounted Police and he was their Officer in Charge, returning from a hunting outing in the bush some distance from Mount Gambier. As they drew nearer the famous Blue Lake, glittering brightly in the waning light of late afternoon, Gordon reined in his horse.
“You say you have followed wherever I have led.” And his troop nodded again, eager to earn his praise. “But I think no-one will follow me now – and no-one SHOULD!” And before their startled eyes, he wheeled Red Lancer in a tight circle and with a hearty shout, thundered towards the high fence at the edge of the famous lake.
Melded tightly to the neck of this plucky horse, he soared over the fence and out of sight – to the ultimate horror of his friends. Fortunately, this one time they did not follow him. As they milled near the fence they were shocked even further to see Gordon, still atop his horse, laughing out loud with great delight, as he and Red Lancer balanced on a narrow ledge barely wide enough for a horse to stand on, let alone land on. Below was a sheer drop of about 200 feet into the depths of the Blue Lake.
And while onlookers were still gasping at the feat, Gordon dug his heels into his trusty steed’s ribs and in just a couple of strides on that narrow ledge – barely 10 feet long – man and horse rose to land back upon the track, as if an angel was astride Pegasus, the flying horse. If there were more extraordinary feats of horsemanship, they’d not been seen or reported as faithfully and admiringly as the famous Gordon’s Leap, as it came to be known throughout South Australia.
He was Adam Lindsay Gordon – poet and author of an unknown number of works – and obviously a superb trainer and rider of extraordinary skill and courage.
It was believed to be a miraculous moment in time, never to be repeated. The belief was correct. It never was.