Today, I talked to an equine dentist and two shrinks. I was in heaven.
I love people who are clever and thoughtful and I love people who are good at their jobs. These three were at the crest and peak of both these scales. They were funny too, and told me stories, and took me to places I had never been. The dentist had worked in Kentucky and at the Keenland sales. He told me a grand tale about being asked to get a scruffy mare ready for one sale, at which the doubtful owner thought she might fetch nine grand, if he was lucky. She had good bloodlines and would go for a brood mare, but she did not look much. My dentist had six hours to get her ready. By the time she walked into the ring, she was gleaming with so much health and shine that the bidding shot up to seventy-five thousand dollars and stayed there. The stories of the Scottish horseman who could work miracles ran round the sales like fire, and suddenly tycoons were approaching him, offering silly money and visas and a car if he could do the same for their horses.
‘But I had a fiancée,’ said the dentist, smiling. ‘So I went home.’
The shrinks are trauma specialists, so we talked about the wilder shores of human experience, and how the mind deals with that. It’s one of the subjects that interests me most. I yelped and slapped my leg and at one point actually jumped up and down, I was so interested and delighted. I sometimes wonder what it must feel like to be self-contained. (I shall never know.)
In the quiet of the mare’s field, the swifts have arrived. I saw them for the first time today, swooping low over her dear back, with their quick grace. I felt as happy as if someone had sent them to me specially, as a present.
I have my mojo back. It went away and I was sadly dashed. I don’t really know what it was all about, although I’m trying to work it out. Life, I expect. I’ve had a bit of a psychological revelation, one of those things I should have worked out twenty years ago but didn’t. It’s a slight shift in reality and I’m just getting used to it and working out the ramifications and talking it through with the mare, who is an excellent listener. Stanley the Dog does not care, because he has tunnels to dig and rats to catch and is far too busy to plumb the mysteries of the human spirit. But the mare, who loves standing still and loves the sound of the human voice, will let me chat for hours. So we shall figure it out.
The dentist, with dear Polly the Cob. It’s quite a lot to ask of a horse, to have that great bit of kit in their mouth, but she was very good and brave. People always talk about the hoof – without the hoof, you have nothing – but the teeth are as important. Good equine dentistry is worth more than emeralds:
Spring has sprung at last. This is the view from HorseBack, looking south over the Dee valley. Look at the blossom:
But at home, the doughty old oaks, as old as time, still refuse to put out one single leaf: