A very sweet start to the new year. The party was a wild success. I danced until three. I have not done that since the old queen died. When I arrived back at my sister’s house this morning, all the young people were milling about looking adorable and sheepish on about two hours’ sleep. (The Younger Niece had a tremendous gaggle of her friends staying, all very funny and polite, and courteous enough not to make me feel like the ancient aunt.)
I had come for post-party gossip, but also because one of the dearest of the Young People was having horse withdrawal. She is having to sell her own equine now she is at university, and had looked wistful and excited when I spoke of my mare last night, so I was going to take her for a visit.
As I mentioned the mare’s name, another of the Young People turned to me, her face blazing with delight. ‘Did you say horse?’ she said.
I knew that look. ‘Oh,’ I said. ‘You are one of mine. Get your coat on.’
So out I went with the two young girls, to find Red drowsing and dozing in the bright Scottish sunshine. Her visitors practically swooned with delight.
Red has her moods. Sometimes she is not that interested in human contact; she is just doing her horse thing. But when she is all still and goofy and relaxed, she will soak up love like nothing else. She was, by great good chance, in just such a mood today. She blinked with slow pleasure as her guests exclaimed over her beauty (how my heart swelled with pride), stroked her neck, gentled her muzzle, and generally paid her the obeisance due to such a duchess as she.
I love the Young People. I don’t buy this notion that they are all good for nothing but texting and playing computer games and doing foolish things on Facebook. (So cheap, that argument, and so intellectually lazy.) The Niece’s Young People are a particularly charming bunch. They are very characterful, and they have excellent manners. So to be able to start the new year by giving two of them such simple joy was a very, very lovely thing for me.
It is one of the many blessings this dear equine has brought, in the last year. It if were not for her, I would not have met the brilliant HorseBack people, which has brought a whole new dimension to my life. I would not have the great company of the Horse Talker. I would never have known of the American Paint. I would not have the furry delight of little Myfanwy the Pony. I would not be fit, since I despise exercise for its own sake. Now I have strength in my body which it has not known since I was in my twenties. I am out in the earth and the weather every day; I am no longer a slave to the screen. It really is rather an amazing confluence of events, all from one glorious creature.
There are people who think the horse thing is a bit crazed. It is a bit of a bonkers love, but once it seizes your heart, it is like nothing else. As I watched Red being so sweet with those happy girls, refuting all the horrid stereotypes about thoroughbreds and ex-racing horses, as I saw the gleaming expressions of excitement and joy on their young faces, I thought: this is what it’s all about. The simple pleasures, the true loves, even the faintly nutty obsessions. Why not have a crazed passion? One can’t go through the whole of life being measured and usual and sensible. Red the Mare is my passion, and one of my resolutions for 2013 is not to apologise for that.
Mr Stanley was in fine looks today:
We did some excellent work on sit and stay:
And here is the lovely girl, at her doziest, donkiest, muddiest, scruffiest best, just a horse in a field:
Even though these kind of pictures do not show her full beauty, I love them, because they show her just being her absolute horsey self, at one with the world:
However, pride compels me to add some more ready-for-her-close-up shots, from the summer, when she ruled Red’s View:
And talking of beauty, as I was going through the archive, I found this dear departed face:
To all the Dear Readers, a very Happy New Year. And to all your horses too.