The problem with being a geek is that you think too much. Or rather, I think too much. (It’s always very tempting when admitting something personal to resort to the generic You.)
I went back to HorseBack this morning as there were still some notes I needed to take and some questions I needed to ask. I feel a bit awkward and intrusive asking veterans questions, but they are gracious and honest and funny in their replies, leavening seriousness with the humour that is found anywhere a soldier or ex-soldier is. Britons always rely on humour, especially when matters grow grave; earnestness is one of our great national sins. Military Britons, I notice, use it even more than the civilian population, if such a thing is possible.
Everywhere I look, whether it is with the people who work there, the horses, the visitors who come to observe, the servicemen and women, both active and retired, who come to take the courses, there is interest. I am so damn interested I don’t know what my name is. It’s part of the reason I want to write about it. My endless temptation is to widen everything out: all must feed into the human condition, my favourite subject. At one point, as the sun shines down over the timeless Scottish hills, I even find myself talking, like an absolute idiot, about Jung. (The person I am talking to politely tries not to look too horrified.)
It’s something I do in writing too. There must be text, and subtext, and parallels and ramifications; there must be metaphor and symbolism. Part of the reason I like coming back to having a horse after so many years is how fascinating they are, and how riveting the intricacies of the inter-species communion.
But sometimes, the thing is just the thing. I wonder if the danger is that I wander into the mazy realms of theory and conjecture, and miss the heart of the matter. For some strange reason, I believe that thought can solve everything; it is my touchstone. (All that damn education I had, surely it must keep me safe from the slings and arrows, goes the paradoxically magical part of my brain.) Yet, the really great horsemen and women often run on instinct. They are interested, of course they are, but when they are most successful they go with the gut, not the head. Life, horses, humans - all sometimes just are what they are, and thinking too much about the whole shooting match can miss the point.
That’s my new theory of the day. I’m not at all sure it is right, but I’m going to test it for bugs. I shan’t be able to train myself out of my geekish instincts overnight, but a little middle ground might be restful, if nothing else. The human instinct is a great gift; over-thinking can mess and muddy those clear waters.
Up at Red’s View first thing, I did not have to think at all, I could just look at the wild Scottish sky:
Down the road at HorseBack UK, there was the usual dose of loveliness. Gus the foal, with the hangars of the Deeside Gliding Club in the background:
Jack the Shetland:
Being wrangled, Western-style:
Watched, with fascination, by the Sporting Gentlemen:
Meanwhile, over in the other arena, some very elegant groundwork was going on:
Red the Mare, who knows bugger all about Jung, but is happy as long as she has food, water, a view to look at, and a damn good daily scratch on her sweet spot:
This is her Minnie the Moocher have you got a treat in your pocket approach:
Answer is of course yes, but only of the very healthy, meadow herb, non-sugary variety.
The chicken seems happy too, and very bonny today:
Myfanwy the Pony is content, now the bad weather has passed:
(Getting quite muddy and woolly for winter.)
And The Pigeon is always happy, having the sunniest disposition in the world:
And now all I have to think about is whether the lovely filly Certify can win the next at Newmarket. Fingers crossed.