Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Red is absolutely fine. I rush up first thing, over untreated roads and under trees shivering with snow, in a panic, convinced I shall find her huddling under the trees, looking miserable. Instead, I find her with her head up, gazing to the west. She appears fascinated by the west. The fantasist in me thinks, of course, because that is where Morven is, and Morven is my favourite mountain. The realist thinks it is because there is a wide plain there, and she is scanning it for friends or foes.
I bless the new rug technology. It really is extraordinary. The mare stood out all night in cold and snow, and when I put my hand on her neck, under its cover, it was warm as toast. Her ears were a little damp, that’s all. She looked pleased to have her alfalfa feed, but lost interest halfway through, which delighted me, as I feared she might have been hungry, what with the grass being under six whole inches of white stuff.
Instead, she decided she would have a huge old roll. I always think rolling is a good sign in horses; it means they are relaxed and at ease. It’s also very good for their backs, as it stretches out all the muscles. Red had a tremendous go, over both sides, up again, down again, and then a little jaunty canter round, as if to say: look at me.
That, I thought, is not a miserable horse.
I went in to have a cup of coffee with the World Traveller.
‘That mare is so clever,’ I said. ‘She digs little hole in the snow with her nose and then eats the grass underneath.’
The World Traveller smiled and nodded.
‘The horses in Kazakhstan do that,’ she said.
I probably should explain about the World Traveller. She is my step-niece by marriage. To most people that would not mean much, but I am mad for extended family, so to me it means a lot. She is married to my landlord, and it is in their glorious field that the mare now makes her home.
I call her the World Traveller because everyone gets a name on this blog, to protect their privacy, and because she once rode across China on a horse.
You do see.
I think it is one of the most impressive things I ever heard. So she shall always be the Traveller to me.
The other amazing thing is that she never brags about it. Some people might say that thing about Kazakhstan in a swanky sort of way. Not the World Traveller. She says it in the most low-key, ordinary way, as if she had just told me she had been to the Co-op. I could not have a better person to watch over Red.
The Old Fella emails with more excellent advice and encouragement. He is a very busy man, out working with his horses all the hours of the day, so I am incredibly touched that he should take the time. (He is also my relation by marriage, so that is more of my adored extended family in action.)
I was fretful and a little spooked myself last night. I suddenly realised what a huge responsibility this is, and how much I had forgotten about the ways of equines. But today there was so much kindness and goodness from the family, and the mare seemed so calm and happy, that I was quite restored to happiness. For once, it seems, I do not have to do everything on my own. My stubborn refusal to ask for help is cast aside, as this turns into a lovely joint enterprise. It feels like a little bit of a life lesson. And there is almost nothing I love more than a life lesson.
Pictures of our snowy day.
Blinky eyes and snow on the nose. Really is a bit too much:
This reminded me so much of my dear, departed Duchess, who adored the snow. I got a bit of a lump in my throat. I miss her still.
And, up at Red's place. This is her view:
Here she is, looking out over it, queen of all she surveys:
Having her supper:
Hoping I may have apples in my pockets:
Oh, that face.
And finally, the hill:
Oh, and may I say to the good people at Landa Rugs: you are very, very clever indeed.