It’s been a long week, and I have finally run out of words. I turn my brain upside down and empty it on the table to see if there are any left, but there it not a single one.
Luckily, the red mare gallops to the rescue, putting her photograph face on in the dazzling morning sunshine, so that at least I have some pictures for you.
There are several remarkable things about these photographs.
The first is that it took me about fifteen minutes to take them all, as I trotted about, looking for angles. During that time, the mare did not move a hoof. I admit, I have taught her ground-tying, and she is amazingly clever and a quick study, but even so. There was quite a lot going on – helicopters flying over, no doubt on their way to Balmoral, men building buildings on the hill, the little Paint scooting about and yelling. Red just called back one time, a long, reassuring I’ll be there when I’ve finished posing neigh, but stayed quite still through all the distractions.
The second is how her beauty varies, from angle to angle.
The third is how her character shines forth – intelligent, kind, interested, sensitive, soft, affectionate. I am of course guilty of shameless confirmation bias, but I can see them all, scudding across her dear face like clouds over a blue sky.
The fourth, and perhaps this is the most astonishing of all, is that the pictures were taken after a fast free-schooling canter. I’d been sending her round the little paddock at liberty, and we’d done gracious, duchessy, extended walk, and slow, delicate trot, all on voice cues. It was so perfect that I’d been tempted to stop there, to end on the famous good note. But the sun was dancing and I wanted to play, so I upped the tempo. Sometimes I send her round me whilst I stand quite still, but sometimes I want to join in. Today, I joined. I ran with her, level with her shoulder, whooping and laughing, and saying come on, let’s go, let’s go. She pricked her ears and gathered herself into the most enchanting rolling canter, perfectly balanced, wild and free and yet quite contained within herself. I galloped along beside her, as if I too went back to the Byerley Turk on the bottom line.
I stepped back, asked her to stop, and she came to an instant halt, and looked at me as if to say: ‘How about that then?’
I put the halter back on, and was about to lead her off for a cool-down, when I decided to have a photo session. I wasn’t sure that this gambit would work, on account of us having just spent ten minutes of high energy, as I encouraged her to express every inch of her empress blood. But she dropped her head at once, blinked at me, and stood stock still for her close-up, when the conventional wisdom says that she is a thoroughbred who should have been too hopped up on adrenaline to do anything but cavort about with her nose in the air.
How about that?
My miracle horse.
That last photograph was when the Paint Filly was calling. That is Red’s responsible, lead mare, I’ll be there in a minute face. It kills me.
Of course, as I am about to press publish, I realise that despite my best resolution to give you only some diverting Friday pictures, despite my conviction that I had no words left, I came out with rather a lot of words. I realise also that I am in severe danger of bragging about the brilliance of my lovely girl. But she makes me so happy and so proud and she deserves every good word in the world. It is self-indulgence, I freely admit, but it’s Friday, and I know you will forgive.