Today, after pressing the send button at one minute past midnight, and then of course not being able to sleep for adrenaline, I did ordinary, human things. I saw my family. I walked the dog. I even had some social life.
There was a big gathering in the field, as a brilliant woman came to help us with some desensitising training. This is where you present a horse with alarming objects, and show it that it need have no fear.
I had been wanting to do this seriously with Red for a while. I won’t have any of the stereotypes about thoroughbreds, ex-racers, mares, chestnuts mares, chestnut mares with three white socks. But all the same, she can be damn spooky, and has a lovely party trick whilst under the saddle of doing cartoon leaps in the air when startled, landing about four feet to one side.
Desensitising would be the exact thing.
I had warned the brilliant woman what to expect. ‘She is very sensitive, and very intelligent,’ I said. (AND HER GRANDSIRE WON THE DERBY, I wanted to yell, but did not.) ‘So you can imagine.’
Out came the plastic bags. This occasioned a bit of eye-rolling and snorting, but soon I was running the terrifying crinkly thing from ASDA all over her body, under her belly, down her neck and through her front legs.
‘I don’t really understand,’ I said. I had been prepared for bronco action and wild dramatics. I was almost disappointed.
‘Well,’ said the brilliant woman, very matter of fact. ‘It’s because she trusts you.’
I practically burst into tears of joy.
And then on she went, through the tiny scary gaps, in between the weird yellow drums, over the obstacle course, picking her way as coolly and delicately as Grace Kelly in her prime.
My mare. Admittedly, I was running on no sleep and the crashed emotions that come after a deadline has been met, but I was staggering and punch-drunk with pride. She blinked her eyes and nodded her head as if it were nothing. Yes, yes, she was saying. Next.
My God, the love. It’s idiot, untrammelled, no holds, fool love.
Then I went inside for lunch and told our guests all about the Byerley Turk, from whom Red is descended on both sides. I’m an absolute riot at lunch parties.
And that was my good, ordinary day.
Work in the field:
See the glorious paces of that young American Paint:
Note scary plastic drums:
Red, having shown the little ones how it was done, dozy and relaxing, as if she spends every day covered in plastic bags:
Myfanwy looks as if butter would not melt in her mouth, but she put up quite a show:
In the sunshine:
Bit of wood action:
Stanley the Dog:
WHO HAS A STICK:
Hill, in the gloaming: