Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Having one of those days when I can’t remember what the blog is for. This happens about once every three months, and I have a little wail about it, and the Dear Readers are usually very, very kind, and then everything resets itself and back I go to normal.
I mean, I have hurled horse stuff at you for the last month and you have very patiently put up with it, and now, for five minutes, I have put my head above the parapet and remembered there is a wider world, and I think: am I supposed to write about that?
I used to love doing big political posts, although I noticed that quite often they were the ones that got the least reaction. It seems that even non-horse people can identify with the love of a sentient creature, especially one as beautiful as Red the Mare, but perhaps some may draw the line at my love of politics.
I always tell my students, in my summer workshop, that you must not, under any circumstances, think of the reader when you are writing. The danger is that you start pandering, or trying to second-guess the public taste, and then your writing falters and becomes phoney and stilted. You must write out of your own true self, or you should go and do something with sheep. (Personally, at the moment, I rather dream of sheep.)
But the blog is a fascinating new medium, and I find it a place of curious politeness. This is not a papery book which has been carefully chosen after selective browsing in actual shelves. It is a fleeting, ephemeral thing, which people may stumble upon, or visit late at night when they are tired, or use for diversion after a shitty day.
I think it may be a medium where one should be keenly aware of the readers. It’s why I apologise for long posts, because long form on a screen is taxing for the eyes in the way it is not on paper. (I read somewhere that the brain actually processes words on a page quite differently than it does words on a screen. I notice this keenly when proof-reading a manuscript.)
There are a lot of fine lines to be walked. I think it is not a bad thing to talk about one’s own life, but arrant solipsism is just bad manners. Care should be taken not to bang on, too much. Galloping about on hobby horses can be tiring, for everyone. I prefer to avoid ranting, except when I absolutely cannot avoid it.
There is a slight British thing that one should not speak too much about oneself. It is considered bad form to meet someone for the first time and tell them the story of one’s life. The delicate dance of conversation consists often of making tentative steps onto the parquet of mutual interest. (Strained metaphor alert; there goes the klaxon.) Sometimes I suddenly think: oh, really, my horse, my dog, my week at Cheltenham, my family. Do you really need to know?
And then, as I am thinking all this, I sit down and bash this out, quite fast, because it is almost half-past seven and I must have my supper, and it ends up being about almost nothing at all. And I rely again on your great patience, until I remember what it is I am supposed to be doing.
At least I can give you some pretty pictures.
Garden, this evening:
Red and I had a very sweet day today. She got herself a bit fussed over the weekend, and so I went back to basics, and have been concentrating on groundwork, and just being with her and grooming her and talking to her and getting her to remember I am her trusted person. I rather love this part the best anyway, and there was a lot of sweetness and bonding.
It was the first sunny day for a while, and I was able to take her rug off and let her stretch and feel the sun on her back. Of course, the first thing she did, after all the brushing, was to have a bloody good roll, which is why she is a bit muddy and dusty in these pictures. But she looks so lovely, staring out to the west. I don't know what she is gazing at, but that is how I found her, when I went up this evening:
Considering she lost a bit of condition after the journey and the livery, and that I have not even started getting her into proper work, she doesn't look too bad, does she?
Look at her noble, duchessy head:
And talking of nobility: