Hovis’ Friday diary: things went south faster than a penguin on the pull

  • Dear diary,

    This week I have learnt some important things, things I feel I ought to share to try and prevent others making the same mistakes as I have.

    Firstly, if you’re going to play on the fact that you’re stone blind in your right eye, then try not to forget this when spooking violently at something that is on your right hand side. It tends to make your owner/rider/care provider and bringer of dinner highly suspicious as the validity of your handicapped claim. Secondly, don’t assume just because it’s clear that your mother is on a see food diet that she also likes sea food. I can hoof on heart tell you after Sunday’s experience, my mother doesn’t like prawn movies — especially not when she’s the slightly unexpected star of one…

    So, after a fairly standard week of Aunty Em riding me while being “instructed” by mini-mother, who has overnight gone from an adorable bundle of blondness who blindly worshipped the ground upon my hooves graced, to a 3ft tall dressage dictator, I was seeing cones in my sleep and twitching if anyone even murmured the word “circle”. I have said it before, and I will say it again — flatwork is merely the traversing of the small bit of land between two jumps. End of. Anything else is dancing. And I don’t do dancing. Unless it’s sideways down the road because a stick looked at me in a sinister fashion, but then I maintain that’s a manly advance to contact not prancing. No matter what it looks like to the untrained and uneducated…

    Sunday morning rolled round and I was hoiked out of a pleasant dream involving me and all of Mary King’s mares and tacked up by she-who-must-be-obeyed, who at least this week seemed to show some semblance of remembering the basics of doing girths up, which at least in turn signalled a lack of desire to repeat last week’s stunt riding activities.

    We set off in fairly thick fog with mother wearing enough high vis to have caused planes to divert from the nearby airbase in error, but clearly a plan that involved us staying off the roads and heading into a hither-to-uncharted-territory of the woods across the road, which are normally locked but whose gates were now mysteriously open. We entered this new mythical land with Bob slightly in the lead, less because he’s braver than me but more because I’m older and infinitely wiser and can change direction faster than politician, leaving Bob under the physical and metaphorical Brexit bus.

    It was actually rather pleasant as we mooched through woodlands and on tracks I’d never seen before as the fog started to clear and my excuses for falling over my own feet vanished faster than mother’s diet plans in the doorway to Greggs. We went through a lumber yard where I kindly let mother think it was because she turned my blind side to the large tarpaulin covered-objects that I didn’t spook, rather than the fact I am not in fact in the least bit bothered by large tarpaulin-covered objects and then had a nice trot down the back tracks, which only ceased when I moved out to overtake Bob and mother felt my gear change that was prelude to me stampeding past him like lockdown-released women as the doors open on Primarni. She is such a killer of joy.

    We had a dicey moment when Bob disturbed a battalion of squirrels on nut manoeuvres and the tree rats leapt across the track in front of us like irate miniature Bob Crockets, causing Bob to flail for a second like a cow in roller skates, but no tails were trampled so all was fine.

    The only blip on the morning was my manful evasion of a particularly troublesome tree stump on the way home. Mother sat my sudden and artfully constructed sideways shuffle with the elegance of a blamonge in the hands of an inebriated in-law at Christmas, but the fact said tree stump was firmly on my right-hand side did dawn on mother shortly afterwards. This has led to a lot of pondering just how blind I really am in that eye and should the slack she’s been cutting me be redirected into the length of schooling whip that she uses across my derriere next time I try and acquaint her face with the floor.

    That said, all was fine until later in the day, when things went south faster than a penguin on the pull. All I can say is it wasn’t my fault…

    Continued below…

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    Mother had decided to make the most of the fact the sun had come out and thus scrub the significant amount of mud our morning saunter through the woods had plastered all over my feathers and undercarriage. It was warm, the scrubbing was nice and well, let’s just say I relaxed man, chilled and, ahem, let it all hang out. Which would have been fine. If mother hadn’t been directly underneath me (which to be fair, is not in the BHS recommended way to wash your equine manual) and thus, how can I put this, got a bop on the nose a la a Punch and Judy show. It’s fair to say she squawked louder than a prematurely kebabbed chicken and exited from under my undercarriage with the undignified outrage of goosed ostrich spitting like a cobra. I won’t repeat the language she used, but I have to say, watching her consider using the yard bleach as mouth wash was highly entertaining.

    If last week’s soundtrack was “Let It Go” then this week’s was “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, followed by “Here Comes The Hotstepper” and then “The Sound Of Silence”. She’s not spoken to me since…




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