Some time ago I wrote a little piece about NOT owning a horse. Its proven popular amongst those who do, and their 'significant others'. You'd be forgiven for assuming that I'd never own a horse, but you'd be mistaken.
There has been much water over the bridge since I wrote that. In fact, there's been much water down the drive, all over the damned fields, and in next door's basement too, but that's just because George Bush messed up the weather a few years ago, curse his little monkey face. Now that we live in Castle Grumbler, and have our own stable yard on site I have been exposing myself to horses much more frequently than I did before. Stop that now! What FILTHY minds you have.
breeder, (who carefully examined my credentials) and we reached a most amicable arrangement whereby I gave the good lady a stack of pictures of Her Majesty and, in exchange, she gave me 'Tino. Yes, that's ONE apostrophe, and it's important. OK? He's on the left in the picture, with his mum.
I've made much, in the past, of the unexpected costs of horse ownership. Quite how unexpected was brought home to me only hours later when, just south of the Dartford crossing on our way home, the front tyre of the horse lorry decided to explode. To her credit, Mrs Grumbler (for she was driving) didn't flinch, and got us safely over to the hard-shoulder. I should point out that she and I have an 'arrangement' regarding said vehicle. She lets me pay when it needs work doing and, in return, I'm not allowed to drive it. This would work well if I could convince her that it's the best vehicle for any trip to the pub, but apparently she's not that stupid. Predictably, it took four hours for the guy to come and change the wheel, and eventually I had to buy TWO new tyres.
Once we got home It was decreed that having been cooped up in the lorry for longer than we'd expected (though he travelled very well) I should give the lad a walk round the field. Proudly, a wandered up and down the field with my new best friend at the other end of the lead rope. Every now and then I stopped and gazed, to reassure myself that yes, this is MY horse. Whether 'Tino was proudly thinking "Yes. this is my owner" I'm not sure. (I have since learned to read his mind. How can anyone spend that much time thinking about hay?) But I do know that he felt the needed to have a little jump about and, I'm sure it was an accident, he managed to kick me on the right thigh with both rear hooves at the same time. I forgave him almost as soon as I could stand up again. Do you know, if I'd been two inches to the right, he'd have missed BOTH my legs. I may not have been allowed to display that impressive swelling in the office...
Well, we got him stabled and settled in for the night. Since he's a yearling, it'll be two years at least before I can ride him. That's OK, it gives me two years to learn how to. I suspect there may be more related posts as both he and I gain impressive new skills.
My education has begun: The girls have been keen to inculcate me with some of the more arcane mysteries of horsemanship, one of which they tell me is critically important, and is called "poo picking". This involves regularly scouring the fields in which the horses graze, and picking up their, er, "apples"; depositing them in a pile in the corner of the field. Apparently, in the winter, this pile of poo will be distributed back over the field from whence it came. This feat amazes me, and I cant wait to see how it goes. Faced with a request such as "empty the dishwasher" or "take the bins out", the standard response from the girls after non-compliance is "I forgot". If their memories are that bad, how the hell are they going to remember which turd is supposed to go where?