Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Magical moments

I have had a few wonderful visits with Dee over the last week.  One day I was going out to the field to get Dee and Nicky asked me to bring Red in as well to see the farrier.  I knew Red would follow us in, so I only took Dee's headcollar.  I still do not feel too confident about leading both my horses at the same time – they are so much bigger than me and I am not always confident of my footing with my dodgy knees!

I arrived at the second field and called them both.  Red defers to Dee, so she came to me first.  Usually I would put on her headcollar and then struggle to hold her and deal with the gate while I ushered Red through.  Because I inherited the notion of Dee being a difficult horse to manage when I bought her, I have always tended to feel I must make sure I have her fully under control.  I think this can make me tense and her naughty.  So this time I opened the gate and just let Dee wander through while I waited for Red.  The worst that could happen was that she was in the wrong field and wouldn't be caught.  When Red arrived I guided him through the gate and shut it.  My intention had been to then go and put on Dee's headcollar and lead her up to the yard, but she had already set out.  And so I had a lovely, relaxed walk up the field with Dee slightly ahead of me, occasionally stopping to look back and check we were still there, and Red walking right by my side – both happily going up to the yard of their own accord.  Magic!

Each time since then I have been letting Dee walk up to the yard on her own.  Today she was in what I call 'the wet field'.  It can be quite awkward getting them in from this field as there is a stream running through it which has formed a couple of deep trenches in the meadow.  If your horse comes to you by the car park, the only way to bring them in from there is to go all the way to the bottom of the field, across the stream and then back up – a steep and muddy walk.  Dee was at the bottom of the field.  She came to call, but stopped about 20 metres away, on the wrong side of one of the stream trenches.  I knew she could get across it and didn't fancy going down there to struggle in the mud.  She kept looking as I called, but didn't move and eventually turned her butt to me.  'Two can play that game,' I thought, and turned away from her and started to slowly walk back to the yard, still calling her.  Suddenly she remembered how to cross the trench, did so, and trotted up the slope to me.  Sensible mare – not to miss out on a feed for being stubborn.

I know she will not come to call so easily when the spring grass begins to grow – but I am enjoying it at the moment.  It is still very cold, so no riding yet.  I'm having fun looking for a saddle.  There are a few I like on ebay, but cannot decide whether to go for those or pay the extra £100 - £150 to get a brand new one. 

The fields at Briwnant are starting to look rather well cropped, but both horses are looking a good weight – as good as they did last winter when they lived at Wyndham.  The livery care at Wyndham was excellent, and there the horses had hard feed twice a day.  I'm pleased that they are doing just as well at Briwnant on grass livery with hard feed less often.

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