Three of the happiest hours I have spent for a long time. Forgot about work, forgot about everything. Just wandered past the hills, mooched about with the horses and the dog, regarded the blue, blue sky.
Back at the field, the light had faded, but there was still enough beauty to entrance this human heart:
Also, I must admit that my joy was enhanced by the great cleverness of Red the Mare. I can sling the rope over her shoulder, tell her to stand, and she will not move a hoof for ten full minutes whilst I click away with the camera, making sure I get her best angle. And nearly fall into the burn in the process. (Clue: it’s BEHIND YOU.) Further proof for my entirely non-empirical theory that thoroughbreds are the most intelligent horses in the world.
In her increasingly extensive vocabulary we now have: stand, whoah, back, forward one (for her to move one foot at a time), steady, walk on, trot on, breakfast, and, of course, Put On Your Duchess Face.
Also, I suspect that she has a pretty clear idea of what good girl means. Along with brilliant, beautiful, bonny and love of my life.
And later in the day, the equally clever and charming Kingston Hill stormed into the general racing consciousness by absolutely hosing up in the big race of the day, and laying down a marker for next season’s classics. He confirmed his place in my heart by refusing to take a drink afterwards, because he was far too busy pricking his ears and posing for pictures and soaking up the approval of the crowd. I’m not sure I ever saw a two-year-old so composed and intelligent and interested in what was going on around him. His trainer, the very brilliant Roger Varian said, with smiling pride: ‘he’s a complete professional; he travelled better than all the older horses.’ I hope he winters well and comes back to delight us next year.
(I’ve stopped putting up pictures which are not mine here, because I must respect copyright, but if you want to see a glimpse of his dear face, go to my Twitter feed @taniakindersley and you can find him there. I think re-tweeting photographs is allowed.)