I wish there were a British equivalent for the curveball. It is one of those good American expressions which finds no match in these islands. Perhaps googly would come closest, but it does not quite have the same euphonic ring.
Anyway, just as I was getting a bit cocky and thinking I had sorted a few things out, life has thrown me a curveball. It’s a combination of things. It is stuff.
It is no more than the kind of stuff that every human who does not live in an ivory tower has to deal with. As Stanley the Dog and I march along the beech avenue, I give myself a small lecture about perspective, and buggering on, and being grown-up. What is the worst that can happen? I ask myself, sternly. I contemplate the worst. Well, I say to Stanley, who is hunting for the biggest possible stick he can find, and sniffing the air for pheasants at the same time, we can deal with that. In a perfect world, we would not have to, but we damn well can. We are not drowning, but waving.
As usual, I count my blessings.
Today they come out, one two three four five, fast and reflexive. In this moment they are:
1. Opposable thumbs.
2. This clean Scottish air.
3. The beautiful red horse, whom I love with my whole heart.
4. An endlessly funny dog.
5. The ability to type.
There are many others, too many to count. My family, a brain which mostly works, the good fortune to live in a liberal democracy where I may vote and drive a car, curiosity, even the 1.50 at sunny Wincanton, in which I backed the dear old winner, a lovely mudlark called Benny’s Mist.
After I wept on Tuesday for one of my favourite horses, the gallant St Nicholas Abbey, who cruelly died of colic, I rejoiced on Wednesday, at the news of Frankel’s very first foal coming into the world. Silver linings, I suppose; they must go on the blessing list too.
There is always a silver lining, although it is sometimes an act of will to see it. On this morning’s ride, I was struggling for straightness. The mare sometimes has a tendency to lean, whether from her racing or polo days I cannot tell. She veers off a true line. So I’ve been working on straightness and today it did not go that well.
On the way home, slightly frustrated at a small lack of success, I suddenly realised I was in danger of overlooking all the things she did do. There were three perfect transitions, from canter to trot to walk, from VOICE ONLY. She walked, without blinking, through a four foot gap between a bloody big tractor and a huge tree. There are cobs who won’t do that. Then we found some gentlemen filling in pot holes. There was a rattly machine heating up tarmac, and strange humans in high-visibility jackets, and a big shining truck, pouring out stones and shale and all sorts, to go into the mix. Massive spook alert, for the quietest horse. My chestnut thoroughbred mare walked right past the thing without twitching so much as one of her dear ears.
So what if she wasn’t quite straight? All the rest adds up to miracle horse.
I suppose I am back to my theme of looking for the good stuff. Dig for gold, is my motto for the day. Get the damn spade out and dig.
And now there is just time for some quick pictures:
The red mare schooling, with the Remarkable Trainer up:
Mist and hills:
S the D, doing yoga:
At least, I assume that is what he is doing.