Hovis’ Friday diary: ‘the equine conifer tree’

  • Dear Diary

    I write this with a bag over my head and hope in my heart.  I shall explain more, bear with me…

    Last week I reported that mother had been beasting Aunty Becky and I over jumps with the rigour of a drill instructor with haemorrhoids. I enjoyed this experience immensely and Aunty Becky managed to not throw up on me, so all round it was a success.

    The following day Aunty Becky then came to “do something with my mane”. I was vaguely alarmed as I have been perfecting my “long at the top and rubbed to an inch long at the bottom” look for some time and I could see my handy work disappearing faster than you could say pulling comb. That’s one thing I do love about my mother — she’s very free and easy about my hair styles. Mind you, since her own “do” would make Nikki Clarke hang up his scissors and rock quietly in a padded room, it’s probably little wonder…

    Anyway, with brisk efficiency Aunty Becky pulled, hacked, trimmed and generally treated me like a large equine conifer in need of topiary. The amount of hair on the floor was positively alarming and I haven’t dared look in a mirror since. It’s not cool for the others to see a grown gelding cry, and I have a distinct impression I would be a walking Niagara Falls at the state I’m now in. The boss lady said I looked very smart but since she’s a) evilness in a pair of very small jodhpurs and b) likes everything to look like a stressage fairy, I’m not too sure I trust her opinion.

    The following day, my lovely saddle fitter came out and I was pulled, poked and prodded before she went off to do something to my saddle. She then made mum put me through my paces in the school. All went well and I was declared to be “looking well”. I took this as a compliment to my manly muscles and stallion like charm. Mother took this to mean I was fat and thus spent the weekend working me so hard, I nearly sweated down to the size of a thoroughbred.

    I was made to work on Saturday in the pouring rain listening to God’s stomach rumbling for an HOUR. I was so wet and sweaty, my feathers had changed from white to orange from the sand in the school. I looked like a ginger nut in leg warmers — if biscuits could dance. Which I don’t think they can, but anyway I digress…

    So I can see, on reading all of my woes this week, you can perhaps understand why I have my head in a bag but not my hope? Well, the hope comes from an overheard conversation about a stressage competition (boo hiss) BUT I swear I also heard there will be jumping there. So I’m hoping that the mane pulling and saddle fitting was to make sure I am as aerodynamic as possible, to propel Aunty Becky and I through the air — soaring like larks above a symphony of coloured poles. Well ok, more like an ashen pea on a furry drum in leg warmers but just allow me one moment of literary licence.

    So keep your fingers, toes, hooves and paws crossed that I’m allowed to go and play this weekend, that Aunty Becky doesn’t lose her nerve and make me just do stressage, that my plaits don’t make me look like a complete toss pot and that mother doesn’t insist on talking up my feathers to hide any dodgy-looking stains.

    In a final thought, I wanted to do my own little bit to remember the courageous men and animals that gave their lives for us so long ago in World War I. No words I can ever come up with could do their sacrifice justice, but I shall, in my lumbering Irish bogtrotter way, try my best:

    Let us never forget the lives they gave
    The greatest sacrifice that can be made
    Their blood and tears, both did flow
    So a life of oppression we’ll never know

    So for both men and horses we shed a tear
    For their suffering, their pain and their fear
    For enduring a horror that we will never see
    For giving their lives so we could be free

    I thank the horses, whom so many were lost
    Such a price was paid, so high the cost
    So safe in your stable, remember tonight
    To pay your respects and turn out your light



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