One of Emily Ham's ponies 'pens' a blog about a recent encounter with the dreaded horsefly
My horsefly hell: by Welsh Section D cob, Danny
Why does the horsefly exist? To torment man and beast and make life absolute hell for horses and humans alike.
Today was utter torment.
There I was eyeing up all that luscious grass and looking forward to turnout time. As it’s been wet and miserable in Wales lately I was hoping for a spell of sunbathing, contented munching and a snooze in the sun.
Emily seemed to agree it was far too nice to be stuck in a stable and soon, modelling our fancy full coverage fly veils, my mate Alfie and I were walked over to the field for a frolic and fun! We are true entertainers and we always put on a great display – starting with a wild hooley and kicking up of heels and a plunge down the mountain. We like to show how macho, sure-footed and powerful we are as we charge about.
We led over like lambs, even though Alfie’s been away competing for three days and I’ve not had a playmate to prank about with. I was really really looking forward to being released and told to go so I could impress him with some extra clever cavorting manoeuvres I’d been practising while he was away.
Emily says I’m built like a beautiful medieval charger – well often I’m her precious pumpkin but I’m far too distinguished and dignified for that nickname. I may be bright chestnut with ample curves and a particularly shapely bottom, but don’t let her confuse a mighty derriere with destrier! I also have a beautiful head, eloquent eyes and magnificent neck – or so Sherry the Shetland tells me. Sherry is getting on in years so has seen it all and knows what to appreciate in a fella! To her I’m Dan the Man – 14hh of macho muscle and prix st george charisma. She tells me she has a soft spot for a blonde and my flaxen mane and tail with grey highlights are distinguished in one so young.
I digress – though I have to confess that I was hoping to impress Sherry as much as Alfie and Emily with my new moves and general awesomeness on release at the gate. Go Danny, go! Galloping gleefully kicking up divots, the thunder of my mighty hooves, Alfie struggling to match my tricky turns and aerial antics.
I hear Emily saying: “They’re having fun!” but suddenly it’s not fun any more. Out of the hedges and out of the grass, out of the tress – yikes – it’s a horsefly army!
Like a Biblical plague a cloud of horseflies, a hungry horde of horseflies are all around us — heat-seeking missiles intent on horseflesh and deciding ginger is very much to their taste.
We try to outrun them, dashing from one side of the field to the other in Derby-winning time. We try circuits and bucking but they are at every exposed part of us and chewing my face, parts of my neck and manly six pack, my legs and lovely white socks all are being munched, lacerated, chewed, carved. Those jaws get through hair and fabric. My rug is speckled with horseflies. I count at least 50 on Alfie’s. We don’t want to stay outside!
We rush to the gate calling for Emily to rescue us. She hurries at her fastest hobble (she’s not great on her legs nowadays but we don’t like to upset her by pointing it out and always walk slowly to suit her steps). Hurry up, Emily. I can’t take any more!
Read more from Emily:
I don’t care that Sherry the Shetland is watching and still out grazing. She’s much nearer the ground than us so I reckon she passes under their radar. I’m so upset I can’t contain myself when the gate opens and I charge off and into my stable; my lovely big dark cool stable which the horseflies don’t like at all.
Comfort me, Emily. I might never want to venture out again. Well at least not until the evening; midges are mean but horseflies are from hell!