Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Nothing in my head for you today. Nothing, nothing, nothing. It’s quite rare that I have not one single thing. I even went and looked at the online newspapers to see if there was a terrific news story I could get my teeth into. There is some Olympic grumbling (dedicated lanes, horrid grey buildings, ghastly traffic already); some more bad economic news, accompanied by speculation that William Hague might be switched to the Treasury; some faint rumours circulating that there might be summer, at some stage. Nothing much I can make of all that, which is odd, because usually I have an opinion on everything.
Perhaps it is because it was a very physical day. There was some serious riding, some excellent groundwork with both equines, some hard grooming. I came back with hands grimed and black with dirt. There is a lovely, honest satisfaction in working with horses that I had forgotten about. I have moved into a new phase. I am no longer living on my nerves, terrified something will happen to them in the night, fractious about my capacity to take on such a responsibility. We have settled into a good routine. They are both easy to care for. They like their place. When I went up this morning, the pony was eating for Wales, but Red was in her favourite position, by the old stone wall, gazing out to the west with calm interest, as if watching a particularly interesting play that someone had put on for her benefit.
I think back to the spooky, alarmed mare who arrived three months ago, missing her friends, nervous of an alien environment, who did not specially want to be stroked or rubbed, and compare in awe and wonder the moochy old donkey who now gives me her head for scratching and closes her eyes and wobbles her lower lip with bliss when I find the perfect place just under her chin. Because everything happens in increments, because I am with her every day, it’s easy to take for granted that we just hang out in the field each evening for twenty minutes or so, that she goes to sleep with her head on my arm, that I need no restraint of any kind for her. In fact, when I stop to think of it, it is perfectly extraordinary.
So, today was physical, and elemental, all about love and work and instinct. There’s not much one can say about that in words. It just is.
I will say though that there is some glorious true thing at the heart of it all, which is: every damn day that horse gives me a gift.
I don’t think I expected that. I think I thought I would have fun, riding about the ravishing Scottish countryside, remembering a forgotten skill. I think I thought it would be good to get out and get fit, put some muscles on my soft, middle-aged body. I did not know that it would be a soul thing. But that is what it is.
Special dose of hens for the Dear Reader who loves them:
Red’s View, with a little bit of blue sky, for a change:
In the woods by her field there are drifts of wild flowers:
The sweet girls:
I put a special filter effect on this, so I think it looks like an old photograph from 1910.
Her Loveliness, in full colour:
I realise I have become like one of those terrible women who start going out with someone and, during the honeymoon period, can speak of nothing but the perfection of the Best Beloved. It will pass. The problem is that when I say there is nothing in my head, what I really mean is that there is a heavenly choir, at full blast, with light show and pom-poms and dancing girls, singing: I LOVE MY HORSE.
If I were not exercising enormous self-restraint, every single post would just say:
I LOVE MY HORSE. I LOVE MY HORSE. I LOVE MY HORSE.
Right. So there goes all professional credibility.
Talking of the LOVE:
Oh, those neat little paws.