An enormous ex-racehorse was not quite what Kate Flynn had in mind when she put feelers out for a horse to accompany her daughter on hacks with...
Munch and Trigger, our new pony and his mini-Shetland companion have formed an interesting bond.
I’m no expert in equine behavioural studies but, whether it’s a size thing, or something else entirely, it’s quite clear who is the boss.
Pint-sized Trigger asserts his dominance in a number of ways not least nipping Munch’s legs when he wants to make his mark. The initial pecking order shenanigans involved much squealing and stamping, but soon gave way to a companionable status quo.
The arrival one morning of a clattering, mud splattered trailer was about to disrupt this harmony in some fashion!
The dark art of the casual comment leaves much for interpretation, and when my neighbour had airily declared that she would be bringing me a horse to borrow “on Friday”, Daughter and I were rather non-plussed about her intentions.
Was this a joke? Would she really pitch up with a horse in tow and drop it off without so much as a by your leave? Well, yes, it seemed she would!
‘An enormous, sleek thoroughbred’
With a cheery “morning”, she proceeded to drop the ramp unveiling an enormous, sleek thoroughbred standing diagonally across the interior of the trailer, peering curiously out at his destination.
“This is The Doctor, known as Doc,” she explained as she proceeded to march him into the yard, quiet as a lamb. “Where would you like him?” she asked, looking around for a stable.
Having installed Doc in a spare box, a pile of rugs, food, straw and tack were then unloaded from the car and distributed methodically around the tack room. We went to check Doc in his stable.
“He’s got quite a pedigree and an excellent racing record,” she said proudly surveying the blinking creature. “Never out of the first four before he retired…”
“Woah there,” I spluttered. “He’s a racehorse?” Images of me hurtling around the countryside flashed before my startled inner eye. This was not the mother’s plod I had envisaged myself on.
Ideas of gentle rural hacking accompanying Daughter on Munch were replaced by visions of me trying to manage a hyperactive, high maintenance, finely-tuned Ferrari of a horse.
“Oh don’t worry, Doc is an absolute angel, anyone can ride him he is so easy… and so grateful,” my neighbour pacified, alert to the alarm that was clearly painted all over my face.
I took a deep breath and wandered around surveying the animal who was dozing off, completely unfazed by the changes. Well, he looked docile enough… there was going to be only one way to find out if this was the case. I needed to man-up and take on the challenge!
Daughter and I watched as my neighbour and the empty trailer rattled away down the lane. At least I can send him back if it all goes Pete Tong, I reasoned with myself as Doc and I surveyed each other.
“Let’s take him to meet the other two,” rallied Daughter. Trailing lazily behind us as we walked him across the field, Doc was totally unconcerned about his new surroundings.
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Munch and Trigger were on red alert as we came into view — tails and heads high they charged over to inspect the newcomer who slipped into the adjoining field with the accumulated nonchalance and superiority of the elder statesman.
A snap of his teeth, a rearward flick of the ears and a sidewards glance from his blind eye (did I mention that?!) was enough to set the incumbents in their place once and for all. And so it came to pass that we were now a three-horse family! Anyone remember when we were looking for a pony?