Missis and I had a fabulous time yesterday on what turned out to be a two hour hack. I went out to catch Barnaby, and to say he ran away is an understatement! He actually ran round the field, bucking and broncing, then got down for a roll. Finally he ground to a halt and let me put the headcollar and leadrope on, but then proceeded to trot down the field, with me holding on for dear life. The thought that I was about to ride this exuberant beastie was not exactly thrilling.
But on the ride, he was absolutely beautiful. We went for miles round the back of the village, with loads of off-road riding. There is one section where you climb higher and higher and can see right across the entire valley. To say it is breathtaking is an understatement, if you're scared of heights like me, it's probably best not to look. Barnaby said, "For goodness sake mother, what are you doing?" I said, "I'm averting my eyes, Barnaby, " He muttered something that sounded like 'buffoon,' but I'm not entirely sure.
We carried on up the road, where there was a horse ahead of us. I called out to the rider to ask if it was okay to overtake and she said yes, but the horse (who turned out to have blinkers on) turned round to have a good look at us. It was a bit peculiar really.
We must have done nearly ten miles, with a lot of it being very hilly. I couldn't believe how much energy he had on the way home. I do think it's because he's so much cooler now that he's clipped. He certainly is a fit boy.
I have bought a sack of feed for him, but to be honest, I don't think he needs it yet. He's just been having a few handfuls of chop at night, and as of tomorrow he'll have a breakfast, but I'm going to wait as long as I can before I start giving him a grain feed. It'll be interesting to see how little he actually needs.
Mr O came home from work, and had my wonderful, wonderful son in the car with him. He has been off on his adventures but finally decided he'd rather be at home. It's lovely to see him. I miss his sense of humour. He is nineteen going on fifty, and staying with us until Sunday morning. He refused to have his picture taken for this blog (I can't think why!)
And so to today, where we have made the decision to bring the horses in at night as of tonight. Ironically tonight is warmer than it's been all week. Normally they don't come in until the end of the month.
It hadn't escaped our notice that we have only three bales of straw left, so Pongo and Mr O were dispatched to a local farm with both horse boxes, to cram in as many bales of straw as they could muster. Son 2 went too, for moral support, and to give him an opportunity to show us how strong he keeps telling us he is. Actually when they got back he threw fifty bales up to the hayloft, so I must stop being a sceptical mummy and take him at his word.
While they were out I fully mucked out Zak and Barnaby's stables and gave them a good clean. I had to find haynets and stable rugs and make up a tea and a breakfast for them both. Missis spent a good deal of time clipping Hugo and Lindy. She's never clipped a horse before, and found it a traumatic experience. Mr O and I kept popping in to tidy things up for her, but actually she made quite a good job of it for her first attempt. They'll both be a lot cooler anyway. I clipped Lindy last year, but it's good to know that Hugo is also well behaved when clipping. Being thrown about by a stroppy half tonne horse is not my idea of a good time.
And so, if I tiptoe through the garage and turn right, my horse is breathing his steamy breath into the dark. He is knee deep in straw, has hay and water, and his best friend nearby. What more could a chap ask for? And I can sneak out in my pyjamas, stroke his neck, breath in his warm scent and kiss him everso gently on his velvety nose. There is something wonderful about this time of year, despite the hard work, that I wouldn't trade for anything. Goodnight my darling boy, sleep well.