Writing about, er, donkeys! Bravo, Benjy

 

A short and totally true story of how we can learn so much about relationships from children and animals…

freeimage-1844359-webAt the farm where I kept my horse, there were two donkeys. One of them, Benjy, was very fearful of humans – with some justification, as he was a victim of cruelty and mistreatment before the farmer rescued him from his former home.

Even when I walked into the field brandishing carrots in my hand, Benjy wouldn’t approach. Although the other donkey trotted up to me expectantly, Benjy would hang back well out of range, longing to come forward but held back by his fear of what might happen next. If he was approached by someone he didn’t know, he became defensive and would bite or kick rather than let himself be caught. [Read more…]

Writing about horses: these boots were made for, er, paddling

Have you ever asked a twitchy horse to walk down a stream without their having been formally introduced? I had, but usually the horse took my word for it and walked on, trusting me.

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“Moi” on Georgie a, er, while ago
when I was a bit slimmer (ahem…)

But when it came to our Georgie? Nope. This 16hh TB mare was otherwise so quiet you could have ridden her down the middle of an Interstate highway in the rush hour and she wouldn’t have turned a hair.

However … [Read more…]

Writing about horses: nearly a mis-carriage

small_178297231“Idyllic, unspoilt lanes where cars must give way to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders,” say the tourist brochures, “and motor vehicles are not even allowed at certain times of day.”  This refers to the romantically named “green lanes” on Jersey, largest of the (British) Channel Islands, where my young son and I went on holiday some years ago. Sounds idyllic, right? Not necessarily…. [Read more…]

Writing about horses: why stallions should have their teeth extracted

medium_340848452“Oh, you little b*stard,” I shouted as the stallion’s jaws snapped shut around my shoulder blade for the umpteenth time that evening – each time, in fact, that I walked past his box pushing a barrow as I mucked the horses out.

I tried tiptoeing. I tried crawling along so my head was level with the barrow handles. I tried giving his box a wide berth by pushing my barrow along the grass beyond the concrete path. But each time he was waiting for me, and despite being a horse he had a neck like a giraffe and jaws built on an extending gantry system… [Read more…]

Writing about horses: how to ride a small piano

HTWB thelwellIn the good old days when I weighed a mere 8 stone (112 lbs, 51 kilograms) I could ride smallish ponies without collapsing their lungs or creating S bends in their spines. This fact did not go unnoticed by my Belgian godmother, a successful national showjumper, riding instructor and livery yard owner who still lives just outside Brussels, Belgium.

Having taught me to jump on some of her horses, all of whom were the size of elephants but beautifully schooled, she decided that I was the perfect choice to help teach her young son’s pony a few manners.

This pony, unlike his larger stable mates, was not well schooled and like many vertically challenged individuals (at 12.2hh or approximately 1.20 metres) had all the social skills of a cornered rat. [Read more…]

Writing about horses: surely ewe are joking?

small__8644933753“B*gger off!” I screamed at this particularly large and pesky ewe. Day after day she would hang around while the horses were eating their feeds out in the field and no sooner had one come up for air for two seconds than the great white woolly head would zoom down into the feed bowl.

“You great wimps!” I’d yell to the horses who would just stand there, staring meaningfully at me to do something about it.

Usually shouting and stamping of feet and the odd Greek expletive (only words I ever manage to learn in a foreign language) would get rid of her but on this one occasion nothing would budge the woolly head.  [Read more…]

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