Friday, 13 April 2012

New shoes

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

After yesterday’s absurd length, I should like to give you some pith. It is the least you deserve.

The big news in my tiny world is that the farrier came. He is a man of great talent and decency. His father was a farrier and his grandfather a blacksmith with his own smithy. He put such a set of shoes on my mare. The tiny great-nieces and nephew came out to watch, their eyes wide as saucers as the hot shoes hissed and smoked. ‘See,’ said my friend M to the children, as the farrier got out his rasp, ‘she’s having a manicure.’

The mare stood like a statue throughout, and dozed a bit with her head on my chest. I felt very proud of her.

There was more racing today, some surprises, some wonderful horses. I shouted and roared and gave back to Mr William Hill some of the money I took off him yesterday. Suddenly, after the last, as the adrenaline ebbed, I thought fiercely of my father and wished that he were here. I always think of him at Grand National time, and this is the first year he will not be here to see it. It is amazing to me how deep the knife plunges into the heart at this thought.

I go up to see Red. She does not think of life or death, but whether I have carrots in my pockets. Luckily, I have. She ambles towards me, and then follows me back to the gate without a headcollar. This is new, and she’s done it a couple of times now, and it makes me feel as if I have won something, a prize or a lottery. It’s such a very small thing, and so very potent.

I give her the carrots in reward. She can be a bit duchessy, I have discovered. She is not that keen on crunching things, so I cut the carrots up into small, delicate pieces, which she graciously accepts. Then we commune for a bit, as a faint evening sun suffuses the far mountains. That’s better, I think; that’s all right.

Tomorrow is the National. I love it and hate it. Part of me thinks it is the greatest show on earth, and when horses take to those fences, they really do take to them. A fellow called Always Waining ran in the Topham today, which is a shorter race than the National, but over the same fences. He wins absolutely nothing on any other track, looks like a real old second-rater; then he comes to Aintree, takes one look at those fences, and turns himself into a superstar. He’s the first horse to win that race three years in a row, and even though I had not a penny on him, I cheered him home, it was such a splendid sight.

The other part of me thinks the whole thing is a freak show and yearns for a nice sensible steeplechase over normal fences and a normal distance.

But then, perhaps there is nothing that normal about any kind of race.

The main thing is that first thing, before anything else, I shall take my own little champion out in her new shoes.


Today's pictures:

13 April 1 12-04-2012 10-39-56 3024x4032

13 April 2 12-04-2012 10-40-20 4032x3024

13 April 2 12-04-2012 10-40-59 3024x4032

13 April 4 12-04-2012 10-41-16 4032x3024

13 April 5 12-04-2012 10-42-02 4032x3024

13 April 6 12-04-2012 10-42-13 4032x3024

13 April 9 12-04-2012 17-14-46 4032x3024


13 April 12 12-04-2012 10-42-32 4032x3024


13 April 13 12-04-2012 18-15-29 3024x4032

And two panoramas – of Red's view:

13 April 14 12-04-2012 18-15-35 4014x777

And the hill:

13 April 15 12-04-2012 10-45-31 4020x866


  1. I think you've given me the betting bug, I opened an account with William Hill today, 2 bets both lost!! Any tips for the National?
    Did Pigeon eat the hoof clippings, my dogs love them.

    1. Annette - hope the bets went well. Pigeon loved the clippings.

  2. Love those flowers. Love, love love 'em.

  3. Red is duchessy? You do realise what you typed there, don't you? Less than a year ago you lost your beloved jockey/trainer dad and your dear dog aka The Duchess, and now you have a horse that is a bit duchessy? Wow!

    You don't always get what you wa-a-a-nt, sang the Stones, but sometimes you get what you ne-e-e-e-e-d! To lose a treasured parent in his eighties and a darling dog to heart failure in the space of days is very very VERY tough, but yet somehow in the natural order of things, if I may make so bold, as that is how life can be.

    And the space they have left has brought you Red...

    BTW I have £5 each way on Seabass with Ruby's sister on board, and it is ALL YOUR FAULT!

    1. Oh! I hope my rather jaunty musical quotation didn't seem to trivialise your losses of 2011. That was not what I wanted to do at all; sometimes the typed word can be so troublesome, read back. I know you have had a direly difficult year. However draining mourning is, in some mysterious way it is life-enhancing at the same time, I have found. If we don't care we can't mourn, so if we truly mourn it means we are capable of great love. The pinnacle of human achievement, in my view.

    2. Goldenoldenlady - not trivialised at all. Lovely comment, thank you. And hope you had a good shout on Seabass.

  4. Tania, I am due the most enormous blog catchup and I am thoroughly looking forward to reading about the arrival of Red. She has the most beautiful head.

    I was at Aintree yesterday and had a glorious day. Recorded the tv coverage and am watching it all over again now. I think you're about the only person I know who will think this is not entirely mad behaviour. Oh and Monet's Garden was there parading before the first race! I was delighted to see him.

    1. Alex - so glad you saw Monet's Garden; what a lovely fellow he is. And so miraculous that he survived that awful scare and is now parading about Aintree.

  5. I'm with Goldenoldenlady ~ merely calling Red "duchessy" is a telling step. As she and Mick say, you don't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need, and Red is what you needed. She seems rather happy with the arrangement too. ;-)


  6. Cant not believe that I missed a couple of weeks and there is a horse here! What a change of scenery, well done, will be more regular, promise.

    1. Marianna - smiling at thought of giving you such a horse shock.

  7. Browsing your blog after a gap of a few weeks.
    Sorry not much of a horse person :), but loved the pics - as usual. Beautiful colours.
    Bon weekend.

    1. Deep Sea - hope you will forgive the equine theme. I should apologise to you.

  8. Yaaay! to Katie Walsh in the Grand National. It's wonderful that I had money on her each way, but that's not the point. A female jockey came third in the toughest horse race in the country, on her first time out. Fabulously well done to her!

  9. But then we crash to earth. RIP Synchronised. Oh, how I wish they hadn't caught him and brought him back to the starting line

    1. Goldenoldenlady - I know. One minute shouting for brilliant Katie, then faced with bleak news of Synchronised and According to Pete. Such highs and lows; really sad.

  10. Unbelievable. Just yesterday I bought and planted one of those mauve snakeskin-patterned flowers, and here you have one on your blog! What a coincidence!


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