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Relatable Ronnie: when good means bad and dreaming of sparkles

Penny has told Ronnie that they are now allowed to start emerging from ‘lockdown’. Ronnie is not entirely sure that he agrees. He has had a bonus holiday and he has enjoyed sunbathing before the worst of the flies arrive. Ronnie wholeheartedly supports the government’s edict that masks should be worn — Penny has been very late putting his on and he has an irritating bite behind his ear. He is glad, however, that he doesn’t have to sport full PPE yet, as he dislikes his summer sweet-itch rug, especially as he doesn’t suffer from sweet-itch. Penny feels it protects him better from flies, but Ronnie relishes the times he can roll naked in his field.

Penny is standing on the yard looking at Ronnie. Ronnie is not entirely happy under this scrutiny because Penny is not smiling. She keeps saying the word ‘good’, which usually means a pat is pending. Not so today. She changes view and then feels him. She repeats this new ‘good’ word. Ronnie is slightly insulted when Penny wraps a long white tape around him and sighs. Why doesn’t Little Friend Splash receive this undignified treatment? Then she says it again, “You’re such a good doer, Ronnie, that’s the problem.”

Ronnie has done his exercise for the day, so he now allows himself to be led out into his field. He is glad, if suspicious, to find that Little Friend Splash is going to share it with him. He likes sharing a field as he can do neck scratching with her, but usually Little Friend Splash is confined to a small paddock next to him.

Ronnie is outraged. His field has been divided up by electric fencing. Penny lets him go with a sympathetic pat. Ronnie realises that this new ‘good’ term is actually ‘bad’. He gives Little Friend Splash a nip of annoyance, just to make sure she knows the grass is HIS. Penny is watching him. Ronnie knows he has some thinking to do, but he certainly isn’t going to touch the fence.

Ronnie has a plan. Little Friend Splash is a tiny bit simple. A lovely mare, but not the sharpest nail in the horse shoe. Ronnie persuades her that her very thick Welsh mane (well his has all been pulled out, quite unfairly in his opinion) will protect her from any possible electric shock. Ronnie and Little Friend Splash sidle up to the fence and smell it. It is on. Ronnie nudges Little Friend Splash reminding her about the ‘Agreed Plan’.

Penny comes down to the paddock an hour earlier than usual to catch Ronnie. She cannot believe her eyes — both her equines are far away eating the best of the grass. Hurriedly Penny unclips the battery and makes a proper opening. She reclaims two very smug, full animals and banishes them to their stables removing the hay on her way out. The rest of the evening is spent reconfiguring paddocks and it tests her ability to wind and unwind wire without getting it in a muddle. The Husband comes to offer advice but wisely decides to fill water troughs instead.

Ronnie is very happy the next morning to find that Penny has been spending money on him again. She has decided that he needs an anatomical bridle to help him keep a steady head in the dressage. She has thought about this long and hard, and has convinced herself that Ronnie is getting pain in his facial nerve. She has read all there is to read on the subject and spent hours on the internet looking up various bridles.

Unlike a new saddle, Penny feels able to fit this herself. She has a choice of two carefully placed on a clean towel on the mounting block. Penny brushes and wipes away at Ronnie’s head until it is clean enough for these two treasured items of tack to be tried on. Secretly Penny is pinning her hopes on the cheapest model. It does look more refined and slim for Ronnie’s little head than the expensive one. She squirms a bit at the thought of having to confess to The Husband that she has spent another small fortune on her horse.

Ronnie agrees to try on the cheapest one first. He has his hopes pinned on the expensive one because it has white stitching and he thinks he will look rather swish in it.

Penny and Ronnie do some fairly fancy steps, but in all honesty Penny isn’t sure she can detect much improvement. Ronnie still slightly twists his head and fusses when he can. Penny dismounts and takes the bridle off. Ronnie instantly wipes his head along the arena rail and shakes his ears. The bridle is written off. Ronnie is fluttering his nostrils and looks more than a little chuffed.

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Penny decides that Ronnie definitely goes better in the second bridle. He is nice and still on the contact and does all she asks. Ronnie fights the desire to twist his head — he likes this bridle with its white stitches. He will look so grand. He works away dreaming of the admiration he will get when he goes out wearing this new bridle.

When Penny gets off, Ronnie does not rub his head (much as he might like to) just to make his view quite clear. He does, however, scratch his ear in the hope that Penny will think the brow band is too tight and order him a slightly bigger one, but with sparkles on this time…

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