I've been away on retreat for five days and returned home on Tuesday. This ancient oak grows in the grounds in front of the house we hire for our retreats. The photograph does not really capture the size and majesty of this tree. It was a wonderful retreat and I feel refreshed and inspired. As the weather has been so cold, we were not able to engage in Tibetan yoga on the lawn in the afternoons. I enjoy these yogic practices but do find them quite exhausting, and so am happy to be feeling less tired than usual on returning from a retreat.
Hence I was looking forward to riding yesterday when I went up to see Red and complete my chores. However it was rather foggy from about half way up Wenallt Hill, so I decided not to ride in the morning, but just groomed Red and turned him out. I arrived at Wyndham mid afternoon and was pleased to see that the fog had lifted out of the woodland so that I would be able to ride before it got too gloomy. To my surprise, as I drove down the track to the yard, I noticed Red and another horse in one of the fields that adjoin the track. This was not the field I'd put him into earlier on. Red and his chum had decided that the grass was greener in this field and forced their way through the fence. The centre of the field had tracks across it where both horses had galloped pell-mell in their excitement.
G had just gone out to catch the other gelding, so Red was ready to come in. Unfortunately, as he came to me I could see that he was moving awkwardly, and when we got onto the track he was clearly lame. We checked him over as best we could in the gathering gloom, but could not see anything seriously amiss. It is Red's only vice, pushing down fences to get to a field that looks more attractive. To be fair to him, there is more grass in the field next to theirs, because the geldings' field has been grazed bare. I acknowledge that this behaviour must be irritating and inconvenient for Sally—although she has not complained—but a horse is a grazing animal. If there is nothing to graze and the fence is not horse proof, it is actually fairly intelligent of him to try to get to a field where there is still some grass.
This time he has hurt himself however. The top of his left foreleg is swollen, although we have only been able to find a tiny cut. We have given him basic first aid treatment and will see how he is tomorrow. He was so cute when we were checking him over – he held his leg up like a puppy with a sore paw, and he had such a sorry-for-himself look on his face. I think he is a bit of a wuss.
Apart from having a bad leg, Red is looking rather splendid. I had him clipped last week, and I am finding time to groom him more regularly now that he has my full attention. His coat has a wonderful shine, especially where he has been clipped. Hopefully we shall be able to take some photographs of him looking smart on our next visit.