Posted by Tania Kindersley.
The very first thought I have when I wake is:
I have a horse.
I think this happy thought as I eat my breakfast sausages and drink my breakfast coffee and check my breakfast Kauto Star news. (Racing Post website, Twitter, general Google search; it is belt and braces with me.)
I do work. I then go to a saddler in Cirencester and buy a bridle and a headcollar. Bridles, it turns out, are amazingly good value. A nice headcollar, on the other hand, is an arm and a bloody leg.
My agent calls. I tell her about the horse. She sounds momentarily frightened, worried that I shall now be so busy on horse and dog island that I shall never write a word again. 'It won't be the dog ate my homework?' she says, nervously.
'Don't be silly,' I say. 'I shall have to write twice as many books because horses are so damn expensive.'
Gusty sighs of relief issue down the telephone.
Also: I have a theory that the physical fitness will mean my brain is firing on forty-seven cylinders. This means production will soar.
Then I get a very nice rug and take home two chic saddles to try.
I'll just do some more work, I think. At which point the brick wall strikes again. Same as day before yesterday, like a combination of fog and stone. I am typing this whilst lying on my bed, attempting to chivvy my poor bashed brain into some kind of coherence.
I have tried iron tonic, caffeine, vitamin C, vitamin D, and green tea capsules. I am drinking plenty of water. I had a very healthy lunch. I don't know what this horrid physical feeling is. My mind could not be happier or more joyful, it's just the body is all fagged and fogged.
I wonder if perhaps I have sleep debt. I have been getting up at six-thirty every morning to try and get work done whilst being in the middle of family life. (I say again, to you parentals: HOW DO YOU DO IT?) I am not used to such early rising; at home, I amble downstairs at nine. Perhaps my circadian cycles are in turmoil.
If my mother were here she would look at me sternly and say: Too much excitement. Certainly the thrill of the glorious new equine has exercised my adrenal glands to their very limit.
Either that, or there is just some horrid low grade virus going round, and even the brilliant bottle of Floradix is no match for it. My glands are up like footballs.
I wonder: if I lie very, very still, and go to bed like an old lady at seven, will I feel normal again in the morning? Because I must feel fit enough to do my I've got a horse dance.
I did look up the breeding. I can hardly tell you who her ancestors were, they are so grand. She was an absolutely rotten racehorse though; thirteen out of thirteen at Thirsk last time out, after which they clearly gave up.
I do remember how breeding can be deceptive. There was the famous Seattle Dancer in the eighties, the most expensive yearling ever sold, bred like a dream. Thirteen million guineas later, and all the owners were left with was one paltry Grade One as a three-year-old. No Guineas, Derby, Leger, Arc De Triomphe; no classics at all. And his progeny did not win much either. So bloodlines are not everything.
On the other hand, I am slightly hysterical that my mare appears to be descended from Hyperion and Gainsborough, two of the most brilliant horses of their generation.
This is Red's grandsire, Nijinsky. I almost didn't want to say his name, because it would just sound like bragging. It's sort of like saying oh, my grandfather was the Duke of Devonshire, or the King of France:
Can you see the family resemblance? Really not sure. That fella was a world-beater. My lovely girl is just a very dear, ordinary creature, who happens to have some champions in her distant past:
In some ways, she is a perfect example of the vagaries of the horse world. After all, Desert Orchid was by nothing, out of nothing. One horsey neighbour told his breeder to shoot the dam and start again, if he wanted to make a success of breeding. Luckily Jimmy Burridge ignored this sage advice, and the resulting grey foal went on to win a Gold Cup, two Whitbreads and four King Georges, and became one of the most beloved horses in an entire century, perhaps ever.
And, talking of breeding, this mutt would be disdained by the Kennel Club, not let anywhere near Crufts, and sniffed at by all serious dog breeders everywhere. Yet just look at the beauty:
Stopping now, because my head feels as if it's about to fall off.
But thank you thank you for all your kind wishes. It does seem to be very popular that the blog now has a horse. So that is double joy for me.