Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Oh, oh, the weather. I know I must not speak of the weather, as it is clichéd and dull. But oh the dreich. It was a paltry three degrees when I went up to see Red this morning, and rain coming at right angles. Poor horse, I thought, feeling guilty that we have not yet built her a shelter. She does have a stand of trees and the new rug technology, but still. I don’t know which of us yearns for the sun on our back more.
Although, having said that, she does not seem at all fussed by the weather. She was grazing calmly when I arrived, and could take or leave my offering of carrots. (Interestingly, she is not at all a greedy horse; she quite likes a bit of a treat, or a bit of food, but she is delicate and discerning. There is one supposedly marvellous horse treat I bought from The Millers which she elegantly spits out. Luckily, the Pigeon likes those, so all is not lost.)
I start to think that I have to remember to think like a horse. For instance, sometimes my heart contracts when I think of her up in her field, in a new place, in the dark. Oh, poor lovely mare, I think, all sentimental and filled with angst. Then, I read in the most excellent book Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin, that of course horses absolutely love the dark. They are prey animals and they have excellent night vision. They are probably much happier at night, when they can see well and feel safe from mountain lions, than they are in the day. So what I think of as filthy weather, as a human, might be water off a duck’s back to Red.
We work and work together and learn and discover about each other and I love every part of it.
But I do wish the sun would come and shine on our backs.
Today, out of the corner of my ear, I heard some news. But it annoyed me quite a lot so I turned it off again. Instead I drank a lot of coffee and did a pitch, and pretended that I was being very professional and not nervous at all, when actually I want to go and hide behind the sofa.
A very old friend called. ‘I found your blog,’ she said. ‘And you have a horse.’
She sounded most astonished. I sometimes forget that hardly anyone I know in life reads this blog, and must stop assuming that they know what I am up to through some kind of untrammelled telepathy.
‘Yes,’ I said, blissfully. ‘I have a horse.’
We catch up for a while. Her boy is doing exams. I don’t know how that happened. I remember him when he was three weeks old. We discuss our own A levels, through a mist of nostalgia. (Everything is so different now, for the young people.)
‘Did you do S levels?’ she said.
‘Oh, yes,’ I said. Even after almost thirty years, I could still feel my dander rise. YES YES, I did S levels. I was the one at the front of the class with my hand up. That’s the problem with being a girly swot, it never quite leaves you, even when you are old enough to know better.
Up I go to see the mare. A momentary sunshine has shown itself, shy and teasing, after the gloom of the day. Red is by the west gate, communing with the lambs. They are skipping about for her amusement. There is a trio of very naughty little fellows, who are showing off, boldly running around far away from their mothers, who watch from an anxious distance.
The mare seems to find this soothing. She quite likes the chickens as well. I am anxious for her equine companion to arrive, but, in the meantime, at least there is a bit of wildlife for her.
We chat for a while. She has an itch on her head, and she offers me her forehead to scratch. This sends her in a daze of ecstasy. I feel oddly privileged, that she knows I can deal with it. I am her person; I can fix her little worries. I check her rug and give her some carrots. She nods her head and blinks in the light.
I walk away, as always, feeling better than I did when I arrived.
That is her gift, and it is a great one.
Pictures of the day.
Excellent lamb action:
Garden, in the only light we saw today:
Red the mare:
Sunbathing, as if she were on the Riviera:
Pigeon, waiting for me to throw the ball:
Yeah, well, it's my ball; what are you going to do about it?: