I Get Into A Bit of Trouble…
There is a distinct chill in the air now at night and she has had me rugged in what she calls ‘the light weight’. Rufus and Flax have thicker coats than me and they get to roll in mud and she doesn’t mind.
I don’t miss my friends at Greenacres quite so much these days, Rufus still doesn’t like me but he is lazey and sometimes I steal Flax and we have a good gallop about in the early mornings when he is still asleep.
I have discovered I can press my face to that big caravan window and see MC asleep, sometimes she looks up and touches my nose where I press it on the glass and then rolls over and goes back to sleep.
I am looking beautiful, everybody says so, and I feel so well… and that is where my trouble started last week – Carol at the vets had said ‘He looks just like a real race horse.’ to MC.
‘I am a real race horse!’ I said but they couldn’t hear me of course.
I was born to race and in truth I have done little else between race and box rest and field rest in my 8 years before I came here to Alexander – next door to where I was born at Greenacres. I’ve had another year largely at rest – I had a tooth out and re- implanted this time…
We have been out and about recently – MC is a bit stressy – and over careful of me – so we walked and trotted – but we didn’t canter – she did let me run up that stony track after that horrible village last week – which felt good but then she hadn’t ridden me for a few days and my routine was all over the place – I even had to stay with the ponies all one day and just got hay…
So as I was saying – this is where my trouble started – come Tuesday morning I am eating my hay in the little private bit I get – so Rufus can’t steal my food – and she comes muttering by and disappears in the van with the dogs. I spent some time stealing some apples and rubbing on a post and then she comes back and I think ‘Good! Off to my day field.’ I WAS wrong to walk away and wait by the gate – but really? It’s what I do everyday! Anyway – she put on my head collar and we walked back up the field.
She groomed me – she has a thing about grooming me – I wish she wouldn’t – I prefer a bath. Any way she tacked me up – she is better at that and I only threaten her a little sometimes if she seems to be in a hurry.
Just for a joke when she turned to get her hat I walked off to wait by the bottom gate again – we would be going out that way anyway – I didn’t mean for her to leave her gloves and coat behind…
She got on me OK off the gate – she is quite tiny – I hardly know she is there – but she seemed very tense – I wish she wouldn’t sing that song about Banana Splits – it makes me think of the time I hurt my pelvis in a race – you see I was a real race horse…
We got out on to the estate and had to trot on the gravel as sheep were on the grass. She seemed more relaxed which was just as well because just past Smokeham in the middle of the road was a lump of rock – a HUGE lump of rock – now she didn’t seem to think much of it – but I mean where did it come from? Why was it there – in all my 8 years on the earth there has never been a rock there – it was a rock – she made me sniff it – I knew it was a rock before I sniffed it – question was – how did it get there? If it can’t move – how did it get there? And if it CAN move it – might do it again? And I am not getting squashed by a rock!
She got off.
Some tractors came past and a few lorries – it is a stupid place to put a rock. Eventually I had to concede that the rock wasn’t moving any time soon and I realised she would have to stand on it to get back on anyway… so I stood and let her.
We trotted up that nice quiet lane at the back of the covert – well except for those strings that hang in gate ways – the ones with the weird disk in the middle – like what is that all about? – I am ‘An Idiot’ for not knowing apparently – I have been told before … But when we got to the turn home there was a terrible roaring noise and she jumped off – it was this bloke in the middle of no where with a saw mill – as she said later it was a nice day for a walk. It wasn’t my fault there wasn’t anything for her to get back on from or that he had ear muffs on and didn’t see us… I eventually stood in a drain we came to – till I was low enough for her to remount.
I thought she was going back up the drive way track but she took me into THAT field – the one that was nearly as good as my old gallops which lie ahead – so I can dream – but either way I was sure we were going to fly…
Well we would have if it hadn’t been for my old boss’s lambs who were dawdling along in a strung out bunch. I waited. I waited and I waited and then I bucked and jumped about a bit – I knew she wouldn’t fall off – I was surprised and annoyed when she got off and looked cross – as if it was my fault! I tried to pull her in to a run – she couldn’t be serious? And well – I couldn’t help myself – I reared – and lifted her right off the ground and she fell face down – splat!
I was in trouble now – thought I had killed her and I ran away.
I ran all the way acrosss the field and the gate was shut and hurt my legs when I crashed into it – I jumped over – and I could hear men shouting and see the road and Greenacres – the home of my birth – and Alexander my home now – but where was MC? I turned back – I didn’t have to jump the gate again – I could go up the track and round again – I galloped off but the way through was blocked and I galloped on alone down a path that didn’t lead me home – I was lost and on my own.
I called for her. I looked around. I could see home on the hill and home in the valley where I was born but I was too tired and my leg hurt and no one came.
I called again. There was no one to see me at all. The landscape was empty beyond silage bale plastic flapping in the breeze, I backed my self into a stout hedge and called again.
And then there she was! Trudging towards me talking softly talking to that phone thing and then Sarah was there – where did she come from? All kind and brisk, checking me over and untangling my tack. Talking to MC – who looked shaky and battered.
They made me ready, MC’s hands were bleeding – no gloves – and MC led me home – it was a long way and we went slow – my legs were like jelly. She hosed me down and turned me out with the ponies. I just wanted to stand in a corner – but they wouldn’t leave me alone – Rufus and Flax were shocked.
‘What came over you?’ Rufus said. ‘ I would never do such a thing!’
‘I don’t like that field much – I always wanted to run about it – and she wasn’t that keen then.’ Flax said.
As always he was the kinder of the two.
‘You used to run about at the wrong times! At least you never left her on the floor.’ Rufus snapped.
‘Why are you limping? Your leg is a bit floppy.’ Flax asked.
‘I banged my leg on the gate when I jumped it.’
‘You jumped a gate? Out into traffic? What were you thinking?’ Rufus said.
‘I jumped the gate – I can you know – I am a racehorse!’
‘Not a very good one from what I have heard.’ Rufus snapped. ‘When we were little MC had a proper racehorse to ride – he was called Lackendara and he had won at Cheltnham. – and Dune told Fig that was a Big Deal – and that Dune – he would know! He was a race horse too once – but he did dressage then – and Fig said that was very much more sought after than just being an old racehorse. HE said all old race horses wanted to be good at dressage – or be so pretty they got prizes or be able to jump in show jumping – you can’t do any of those things can you? And you aren’t even old.’
‘Leave me alone.’ My leg hurt.
‘Leave him alone Rufus.’
‘Fine – I will. You don’t want to leave here you know – not if you can’t do dressage – can you?’
He was braying at me – right in my face and I wanted to knock him over – but he could be so quick…’No I can’t do dressage – I tried to go back to her – but I got confused…’
Rufus harrumphed and bit my neck. It didn’t hurt as much as my legs did so I shrugged him off with a mean look and he wandered off.
‘Do you want me to stay?’ Flax said.
‘No.’ When I was a racehorse I had my own stable every night I didn’t have to share a field with ponies…
The vet came the next day and I limped because my leg still hurt, MC was limping a bit too I could see and had bandaged hands. I got pain killers and a week off, she just looked worried.
Yesterday she started taking me out on the rope again to the other field and this afternoon she led me down by those nosey calves and asked me to trot in circles – I tried to do everything I knew that even sounded like ‘dressage’ – I even tried to show her I COULD canter in a silly little circle – I didn’t mean to make her clutch at the rope – I think she knew that – as next time I went around she was all relaxed and smiley – she never mentioned dressage or that I have to be pretty to win ribbons or jump jumps to win prizes – Rufus is wrong – I think I have to learn to be something very special – I am to be a Good Hack and I think the prize I most want is that goofy lop sided grin she gives me when she is happy.
Flax told me later when Rufus was asleep that when she started riding Rufus a pheasant went up under his legs and MC fell off – but it was OK – because he waited for her and didn’t run away. But he added that was before Rufus got the Sweet Itch and got so grumpy everyone felt sorry for him and didn’t ride him.
I asked him why MC didn’t ride him either?
‘No reason – I could come out with you sometimes – I just don’t like it when I am on my own – like you ran off? Well that could have been me. I was always getting it wrong and there was so much stuff to factor in – without Rufus there it was just too much to try to keep us safe from…He is my eyes in my backside.’
‘He is something in the backside all right…’
‘He is all right – he has always looked after me.’
‘I remember Fig – he was at Greenacres when I was born.’
‘How did you get on this afternoon?’ Flax looked sad and changed the subject.
‘Fine – she says I am going to be a Great Hack.’
‘Don’t leave her behind too often then!’ Flax said.
‘No I will have to try not to.’ I snuggle into my down filled light weight again, we are standing in the lee of a big Ash tree and the ground is scrunchy with fallen leaves, I can still taste my tea if I lick my whiskers, Flax is snoozing already. Rufus is scratching on the trough obsessively as usual.
I shall have to try and forget I was a race horse – I didn’t like it much any way and I always got hurt somehow.
She said that tomorrow is bin day -so we can go out around the village on Friday – if we practise circling a bit more OK tomorrow…
‘With cantering I asked?’ But she couldn’t hear me…I thought.
‘Yes with cantering…’ She replied laughing and rubbing my forehead. ‘I hear you in my heart Buddy.’