Hovis’ Friday diary: she managed to scramble on board with the elegance and grace of a fornicating hippo

  • Dear diary,

    It’s day 100,847,382,765 of the human strangles epidemic, and while the return to work programme for humans across the land is underway, it’s still fair to say “normal” life is still a long way off. When the British Human Society (BHS) announced that riding was now permitted, indeed now encouraged again, they sounded the death knoll on the early retirement options we were all enjoying and unleashed a myriad of horrors on the equine population, as unfit humans wedged their expanded waistlines into jodhpurs and set out with grim determination to enact all the stressage training they’ve been watching online.

    Now, if you’d followed my advice over the past few weeks, then there is an outside chance that you are still avoiding work (or your mother is telling people she is free lungeing you in the paddock, as opposed to the fact she can’t catch you…), but for most of us, even seasoned practioners of the art of evasion, then there comes a time when we run out of tricks.

    To be fair, I have been ‘ticked over’ for the lockdown period (or ticked off, mainly), but the weekend signalled the return to hacking. Now, here it has to be said, that my mother’s less than flattering descriptions of my hacking tendencies could leave an unsuspecting reader to think that I have the survival instincts of a depressed lemming, and that it is only due to mother’s incredible skill as a rider that we ever make it back in one piece. But in reality, mother shouldn’t really be riding anything more spirited than a rocking horse and I am left to save us time and again. Do I get thanked for this? No, reader I do not.

    So, Sunday morning came and I was unceremoniously dragged in from the field (where I am being made to sleep. OUTSIDE. At night. Please someone, ring horseline) in winds so strong my mane stood up and saluted every time I twitched an ear muscle. Even the trees looked like they were down on their knees, begging for mother nature to turn off the hairdrier and my mother wants to go hacking. And I have no survival instincts? I arrest my case.

    I looked up to see that Bob was similarly being dragged in by his mother, and realised that this was going to be a two man suicide mission — which is good, as between us, Bob and I are only cautious of two things; things that move and things that don’t…

    We managed to mount up without mother being blown away and while maintaining social distancing. The fact that I was trying to maintain a 2m distance while mother was trying to get her leg over was unfortunate, but I am a boy who follows the rules. She did manage to scramble on board with the elegance and grace of a fornicating hippo and we set off with the wind worsening and thus, the numbers of ways we could die multiplying like a catholic rabbit. Luckily the weather conditions and early hour meant we were the only idiots on the road and thus, we avoided a number of awkward meetings with MAMILs or tractors, or any other user of the roads that between Bob and I we might take umbrage to.

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    We did have a small issue with a dive bombing pheasant causing Bob to spook, whereas I manfully held the line until I felt mother relax and then spooked just to check her reflexes. Because I am good like that. Mother’s version is I have the reactions of a marijuana-smoking sloth, and due to the slow firing of the synapses between the space in my head and my feet, I’m just not as sharp as I used to be. But let’s be honest here peoples, who would you believe?

    We got back to the yard in one piece, mainly due to me constantly scanning for danger with my Hoverine superpowers and socially distancing myself from mother’s outside leg which nags worse than she does, and so it appears we might go again this weekend. I can’t say the thought of more work is appealing but, heh, at least it’s not stressage, online or otherwise.



    P.S For those of you looking for some entertainment during these strange times, then let me remind you all six of my books are available from the online shop at www.bransbyhorses.co.uk and are sold with 100% of the money going to the charity. A good read and a good deed — what’s there not to like?!

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