Thursday, 8 March 2012

Giving up

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I have, finally, Given Up. I hate and loathe giving up; would much rather bash on. I rather despise the fact I do not have that much physical stamina. I am hoping that is going to change once I get all fit and my muscles harden from riding every day. So, I have conceded defeat to the aches and pains and heavy head and eyes like hot boiled eggs and general malaise and light-sensitivity.

I love all the Dear Readers being doctor. I am now choosing between low grade virus, too much excitement, over-tiredness, Vitamin B12 deficiency, and low blood pressure. Oddly, I have always had very low blood pressure, sometimes the doc has to take it twice, she can’t believe it is so low. I am oddly proud of this, although it is nothing to do with me. But I like the idea of not being in the danger zone for stroke and heart attack. Much better low than high.

Whatever the thing is, I have had to chuck a meeting with publisher and co-writer, since I cannot get down the stairs, let alone on a train. I am quite grumpy about the whole thing. I am typing this in bed, with a dozy Pigeon by my side.

I was worrying about the blog, since my plan is to sleep all day, so I can be well for Saturday, when I drive back north. I must be fit for the five hundred and fifty miles.

Luckily, one of the Dear Readers left a quite enchanting comment yesterday, about Nijinsky. It is such a lovely story that I am going to put it up here for today’s blog. This is very naughty, since I have not asked permission. I am trusting that the Reader will not mind if I share with the group.

This is what she wrote:

I met Nijinsky once when he was an old fellow. Had gone to the farm to visit another stallion and my guide that day was an elderly stud groom just off retirement named Clay Arnold. It was a quiet morning and I was by myself, so Clay took out several of the big names for me to look over (quite nice, as I hadn't a dime and clearly was not a potential client - he must have seen that I just loved 'em.

At the end, as I got ready to leave, he said, "Wait a moment, you can't go until you've see the best of them all. I'm not supposed to, but it's nearly time for him to go to his paddock." In a few minutes he came back with a dark bay stallion who was obviously a senior citizen (he was 24 at the time), but still a looker.

He walked pretty slowly, as old aches had caught up with him, but he had that indefinable air of greatness about him. They were so touching, Clay and Nijinsky, two old campaigners, very quiet and gentle with each other. They're both gone now, but I still have the photo I shot of them and have never forgotten the moment.

Nijinsky was everyone's champion, but he was one man's best friend.

Isn’t that the best story you have ever heard? I love it. Thank you, Bird.

Here are some glorious pictures of the old champion. Still can't quite believe he is the grandsire of my lovely Red:

8 March Nijinsky 2

Lovely to see old Lester in action. The photograph is uncredited, but I think that is Pat Eddery behind him. My guess is that it's the Derby. Wish I knew what that second horse was though.

Another delightful shot:

8th March Nijinsky

This is my mare's great-grandsire, the mighty Northern Dancer. Another uncredited photograph, but isn't it rather extraordinary?

8 March Northern Dancer

Their little descendant, with her rather flashy bay friend:

8 March 7 01-03-2012 12-55-51

My very own Northern Dancer:

8 March 8 01-03-2012 18-14-17

Some tulips, because you really have had to put up with an awful lot of horse pictures lately:

8 March 9 01-03-2012 21-57-08

And a really glorious picture of Kauto Star working at home, taken yesterday by Edward Whitaker, for the Racing Post. Whitaker has always taken absolutely luminous pictures of Kauto Star, I think he has a feeling for the horse. The mighty fella on the right is Big Buck's. So, not so shabby:

Paul Nicholls

The news on the great horse continues good. Now I start to think of serious reality. Even if he does get fit enough, he is still twelve years old, and no twelve-year-old has won the Gold Cup for something like fifty years. (The Older Brother would know the exact stats; he has a steel trap brain for racing facts.) I saw a picture of Long Run on the gallops two days ago, and he looks magnificent. If Grand Crus runs, all bets are off. I still think that dear old Midnight Chase might run a big race, if he gets a bit of luck in running. He stays all day and loves Cheltenham; that hill has no fears for him.

But look at the determination on that face on the left. As I always say, he might be a handsome devil, but he is no show pony. He is tough and true and honest as the day is long. I think he deserves his chance. My heart and my cash are on him anyway. It's a loyalty thing. It's an if wishing could make it so thing.

And now I am going to have a damn good sleep and see if I can't feel better.


  1. Nijinsky is probably the greatest horse I have ever seen live. As a student, I watched him complete the Triple Crown by winning the St Leger at Doncaster. I had taken the bus from York, the course was packed, because everyone just knew he would scoot over the track. And I remember thinking he wouldn't make it because he was too far behind at the final turn, and the distance was too much for him. But Lester pressed the button and that amazing burst of acceleration took him past the rest and left them looking mundane. A great memory and Thankyou for switching it on again!

  2. wishing you better after a good sleep! you might need more iron in your diet (what with the low blood pressure, said the armchair-possibly-more-footstool-doctor)? apricots are deliciously full of it...

  3. I'm so glad you bought the mare - she looks a lovely horse. Glad she has a friend, the bay.

    Get well soon!

  4. Mind? Hell, I'm glad you liked the story. And thanks for breaking it into paragraphs ~ wanted to do that, but was afraid it was eating up too much comment space as it was. Wish I could send you the photo; the look on Clay's face, staring up at Nijinsky, is rather worshipful.

    As it is beginning to sound like you have contracted some bug, and your malaise is not just the over-excitement of family living or under-indulgence in B12, you might comfort yourself that your publisher and co-writer are probably very glad not to breathe the same air you do. Relax and make like a just-fainted Victorian lady. ;-)

    Crossing fingers for Kauto. LOL, it is so tiring to be so invested in a horse. Very good thing the really great ones don't come along every day.

    PS Sorry your southern sojourn is coming to an end so soon. The Pigeon's special friend is going to miss her. Well, and you too. ;-)

  5. Big difference between giving up and giving in. Time to Give In.

  6. I agree with Jacqueline.
    Please remember surrender is NOT capitulation. Rest. Get well(er).

  7. Absolutely agree with others; listen to your glands. Well not literally, obviously, I assume you'll be listening to r4 but you know what I mean. Be at peace and rest and feel better soon. Xxx Jude

  8. You are not giving in, just regrouping :)

    I've got not only low blood pressure, but also CFS, and am doing the regroup thing at the present (with a bull terrier curled possessively on my lap). Terribly frustrating, because if I do nothing, I feel like I should be doing something, and if I do something, I'm knackered.

    The lovely thing about low blood pressure (other than not being a high risk for strokes) is that I have a perfect excuse to drink lots of coffee. Oh, and ginseng helps also.

    So - rest, regroup, and never be concerned about the photos you post - there is no such thing as too many photos of horses, dogs, vistas or flowers.

  9. I think that I heard that Kauto Star will run. I hope this is just the tonic you need. Don't forget that iron needs vitamin c for absorption. Hope you are soon well again.

  10. So long as we are diagnosing you, I'll venture to say that perhaps this is a case of being an introvert who simply has overdone it for far too long. My prescription is to carve out some time and space away from everyone, even your dear family, forget all about butching up and instead be very kind and gentle with yourself, get a copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking just as soon as you can, and in the meantime, contemplate the idea of "restorative niches."

    Hope you're feeling better soon.


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