The hours have defeated me. There just are not enough of them. Also, there is a bug going round the village and I can feel it trying to get me, its crabbed old fingers stretching and clutching at my poor body. Bastard. I cannot be ill. I have too many responsibilities. I shall dose with Echinacea and iron tonic and chicken soup and, if that fails, bottles of whisky. The bugger shall rue the day.
Just time for two very important pieces of equine news:
THE HORSEBACK FOAL HAS LEARNT TO GALLOP:
She just figured it out yesterday. She is so overcome with delight at this new skill that she suddenly takes off, zooming round the field like a barrel racer, squealing with delight as she goes. Then she stops and stares at us, incredibly pleased with herself, asking DID YOU SEE THAT????
Her dear, calm mum, who has seen it all before, looks at her as if to say: steady on, small person, don’t run before you can walk. But the two-week-old filly foal will not be quelled. Two, three, four times she makes the circuit, at top speed, cornering as if she is on rails. Then comes the Look at Me whinny again, which is hysterical, because she may be fast, but she has not worked out the voice thing at all. The whinny comes out pitched high, rather ragged, completely unsyncopated. It slightly startles her, because it is clearly not the sound she intended, and she takes on a thoughtful look, as if she knows she must go back to the drawing board.
There is something irresistibly comical about her. If she were a human, she would be Lucille Ball.
And then there was my own mare, who was at her peak and crest of delightfulness and dearness this morning. We did extended walk, quick transitions, yielding the hindquarters, backing one foot at a time. I am teaching her all this on a long rein, hardly using my hands at all. It’s coming from the body. The idea is to teach her to stretch out her neck, which would have been carried taut and high most of her working life, and develop a new set of long, low muscles. She learns so quickly, and pays such good attention, and is so willing to give me a try, even when she is not entirely sure what I am asking, that it makes me want to explode with pride and gratitude.
After her brilliant work, I got off and stood with her for a while, just communing. She put her head on my chest and we contemplated the green world.
I love her every day, but there are times when the love is so intense that I can’t find words for it, when I think that my beating old heart will just lift off into the ether, and float away into the blue sky. This was one of those days.