It is strange only having occasional access to a computer. I currently have a backlog of 106 blog pages to read from my regular list on Google Reader, so I hope all my blog friends out there are well – I'll get to read your pages eventually.
This has been a busy week. Our retreat ended on Monday after five delightful days in the company of our splendid students. Yesterday we had a multifuel stove installed in our lounge. It is wonderful and I am enjoying being warm with less effort and greater convenience. As you can see the cats approve. The hearth used to be higher in the previous arrangement, so at the moment the tiles surrounding the fireplace do not go right down to the floor – another little job for us …
Last night was our Christmas meal with Wyndham Livery. Seventeen of us celebrated the festive season at a local hotel, with good food, good wine, and musical entertainment. 'ö-Dzin was the only man who joined in and he thoroughly enjoyed the company of so many ladies. Sally—the yard proprietor—is unfortunately suffering from an injured leg at the moment, having been trampled at the weekend by a horse who decided to jump off the horsebox ramp taking her with him. She was in good spirits nevertheless and danced as enthusiastically and magnificently from her seat as any of us on the dance floor.
Of course I am still thinking and thinking and thinking about what to do with the horses. I have not heard from SB at Liege Manor, and consequently my thinking has been going off in different directions with the extra time to ponder this week. Victoria wisely commented that I should not make a hasty decision, and I also thank LJB for suggesting that a third option may suggest itself and make the situation more fluid. And indeed a third possiblity has arisen. This is to retire Dee to an inexpensive grass livery and to keep Red where he is at Wyndham.
I have been remembering how Dee never really felt like my horse while she was on working livery, and I feel the same would happen to Red if we moved him to Liege Manor. It took Red a long time to settle at Wyndham as it was his second move in six months. I feel that we are now discovering the 'real' Red – the Red who feels safe, content, relaxed and happy with his life. This Red is a fine fellow – friendly, communicative, easy to ride, cooperative (mostly!) and entertaining. Everyone at the yard who has to deal with him has said how much easier he is. Do I really want to unsettle him again and jeopardise this by moving him – and to a yard where he would be ridden by different people everyday and be parted from the environment he has come to rely upon? I feel any chance of continuing with my natural horsemanship work would be lost if he were on working livery, and I am sure they would want to put him back in a bitted bridle.
Red becomes attached to horses and people, once he is settled and relaxed. He is becoming attached to us, which is reflected in his changed and lovely attitude to us now. He is certainly attached to some of the geldings. The other morning after our ride 'ö-Dzin turned Red out. Arriving in the field much later than the other geldings because of our ride, Red stood and called. After a few moments eight geldings came charging down the field to Red at full pelt, and then they all wandered back up to the top field together – the gang were back in town! He so often reminds me of an adolescent: playful and energetic, but occasionally a bit belligerent, and not always fully in control of where his feet are. I want to keep this Red.
Dee does not form attachments. She does not like to be on her own in the fields near the motorway, but she does not care which other horse is with her, and has not really made friends with any of the mares. She seemed to quite like being with Ash at Ridgway, but has shown no sign of missing this mare, and does not acknowledge her when we meet out on a ride. I guess she does recognise me as her ally, but do not feel she misses me at times I have to be away from her. Her priorities are most definitely comfort and food and if these are provided she is content. I do not share Victoria's confidence that I will one day get her to hack out alone, and I am not sure that I have the time or conducive circumstances available to me to be able to put in the sort of consistent effort of working with her to achieve this. So my musing are generally taking me in the direction of feeling that if Dee was moved to somewhere where she was well looked after and had no demands made upon her, she would be content.
We can both ride Red, we cannot both ride Dee. Red will hack out alone, Dee will not. Red will take a while to settle if we move him again, Dee is likely to settle more quickly. Red is becoming attached to us and to Wyndham, Dee is just Dee wherever she is. Good grief it is hard to make such choices.