Long, hectic day. My fingers are crabbed and exhausted, no longer able to type a coherent sentence. Just enough life in them to tell you that Red did something so enchanting and clever this afternoon that I was beside myself.
She’s been a little stiff since The Mysterious Fence Incident, although her cuts are almost all healed, so we are not riding, but have gone back to groundwork. Today the Remarkable Trainer came and taught her, and me, how to do one foot at a time.
It’s another of those small things, barely visible to the naked eye. But to get a big thoroughbred, a flight animal, to move one specific hoof in one specific direction with merely the faint movement of human finger and body, is quite a thing.
After the Remarkable Trainer guided Red forwards and backwards through a sharp, narrow L-shape constructed of fence-posts on the ground, I had a go. I merely had to look at the leg I wanted her to move, and indicate very slightly the direction in which I wanted it to go, and she did it. It felt like a laugh-out-loud miracle.
It was quiet, intense, concentrated work, oddly tiring. It’s a meld of horse and human mind, and demanded a lot of both of us. It’s the kind of thing that might make some people scoff, but in fact it’s incredibly practical. Say one day we are out in the woods, and get ourselves into a tight spot, I shall be able to guide the mare out of it, foot by delicate foot, drawing on this foundation we have established on the ground. In a wider way, it builds trust and confidence and all that jazz.
Red loved it. She was unbelievably pleased with herself at the end, and I congratulated her as if she had won the Oaks.
There’s almost nothing I love more than working with her like this. I am overcome with her cleverness, her generosity of spirit, her willingness to please, her good-hearted eagerness to learn.
Afterwards, in the spirit of the moment, I walked Stanley the Dog round the set-aside and looked at the small humble things which I normally do not much observe, let alone photograph. That is why today’s pictures are of nettles and wild grass and clover. They are not the grand peonies or cultivated roses of my own garden, and most people would not give them a glance. I often do not give them a glance. But they have their own glorious beauty, if you stop to look.
One tiny step at a time, my darlings; one tiny step at a time. It’s my daily life lesson.
The grass is singing:
Mr Stanley the Dog:
The good girls waiting for their tea:
Myfanwy the Pony also waits patiently:
If I put on my best pretty pony face will it come quicker?:
Or the yearny face?:
The best Best Beloved. Her goodness knows no bounds:
And then the rain came and the hill disappeared: