This week I have mainly been earning my “helpful horse” merit badge, which has pleased mother greatly. In the spirit of sharing, I shall explain so all my equine followers can learn how to wedge oneself fully into your mum or dad’s good books, they and you will thank me for it, trust me…
Tip 1: When your human parent brings new bedding assist them by knocking over the bags and kicking up the shavings with your feet. A good resounding sneeze into the shavings is also good as it creates the most wonderful shower of flakes raining down upon their head. The way the flakes settle in my mother’s hair and all over her shoulders, remind me of a Christmas card or severe dandruff — I can’t decide which…
Tip 2: When your human is cleaning out your field water trough assist them by sticking your foot into the water and stamping hard. Not only does this dispel the water from the trough more swiftly but they will thank you for also giving them their daily bath too. Our humans are so pushed for time this “multi-tasking” is the least we can do. As a top tip I have found my mother’s level of gratefulness is definitely proportional to the temperature of the water — the colder it is, the more she squeals with delight.
Tip 3: Humans love putting things in wheelbarrows and often seem quite dejected when they have finished jobs like poo-picking. Mother sighing when she has finished my field is always sad to hear (Old Tom says that’s not sighing, its panting after pushing a wheelbarrow full of Destroyer dung around a massive field with a slightly wobbly wheelbarrow wheel. But as he is a thoroughbred, he’s not to be trusted and I pay no attention). This week I have once again discovered that remedying this situation by tipping the wheelbarrow over just as mother was preparing to leave the field, cheers her up no end. The adjectives she uses to convey her happiness are always so inspiring to hear and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy to know I can cause such deep emotions.
Tip 4: When they are hanging your haynets up, show your appreciation by rubbing up against the haynet and your parent. The combination of the shower of hay particles and the sandwiching effect of my neck, the haynet and the stable wall, always makes mum go a becoming shade of pink. I know this is because she is moved beyond words at the love we’re sharing. Billy says it’s because ¾ of a tonne of Hovis hug is akin to being hit by a bus, oh and that the haynet cord around her throat might not be helping either. As a further tip I find ignoring advice from an equine who takes style tips from a bovine named after a pullover, is always the best way forward.
Tip 5: Complete a schooling session so perfectly, you make your parent look a fool for every bad thing they have ever suggested about you. Channel your inner fairy, imagine you’re that Flatlands Dorrito dude and prance about like a morris dancer at a rave. Correct canter leads, perfect transitions, faultless square halts and the carrying of your own head are absolutely necessary here. Having perfected these this week, I can confirm that the results do include many cuddles, treats and in my case an amazed posting on my Facebook pages about my brilliance.
The trick however is to ensure they really appreciate this behaviour by doing a total U-turn the next time they get on. I can particularly recommend the “spook at everything in sight and a few things not in sight” approach, the “sideways is the new forward” method of trotting, the “sorry I didn’t hear you was that a canter you wanted?” transition and the “halt? What is this halt of which you speak?” brake failure. I like to think of this as encouraging mother to deepen her seat and appreciate the good days. I’m sure that’s what mother means when she references my parentage in very basic and fluent Anglo-Saxon for an hour afterwards.
Each of these tips are highly effective on their own but the coupling of any of these together does increase the joy in ways that have to be seen to be believed. I know how pleased mum is with me this week as for a reward she’s letting Aunty Becky take me to play over some cross-country jumps at the weekend. I’m sure her suggestion that Aunty Becky leaves me tethered in the middle of the water complex was merely mum’s warped way of showing her affection but in case I’m AWOL next week will someone promise to bring me a snorkel and some arm bands?