Look at this! That treacherous human, who goes by the name of Vet, has given me hair windows!
Not only that, they don’t match! My extreme hairiness broke her zuzzy zuzzy clipper machine, leaving my right window half the size of my left window! In the name of all that’s green how am I to compete for Jack’s affections, with that feckless imp Freckles, looking like this!
When I conveyed my displeasure to Kat, she said these were real windows so her and Vet could look inside me to check what is causing my current tummy turbulence. This was all starting to make a small blade of sense as the equine tail art of ‘lift, shoot and clear’ has been particularly tricky for me lately. Mind you, I think even a poopy tail would be a better look than these preposterous windows!
After looking at my tummy through the windows, Kat and Vet declared everything was where and as it should be, apart from my fat layer. Vet said it was far too big and instructed Kat to reduce it with lots of hard work. This seems nonsensical to me given the considerable effort it took to create in the first place…
The humiliation of my windows was all forgotten when, after so many months apart, me and Jack were properly reunited with Aunty Tills. It was pure joy to finally complete our horse hello with a super sniff, squeal and groom.
I’m crossing all four fetlocks that we can stay together but if we don’t, I have a plan. I reckon if I work super hard at eating all the sweet juicy grass that Tills can’t have, then it will be safe for her to be with us.
Super hard work will undoubtedly follow to keep my fat layer under control, but it’s a small price to pay for Aunty Tills.
Our little herd has been divided. Aunty Tills has been taken from us and put in a tiny field on her own.
I can see her. I can hear her. But I can’t touch her. It’s all rather discombobulating.
The only benefit to this enforced separation is that I’ve got Jack all to myself. This has been nice, but between you and me the honeymoon period might be over…
He’s not a patch on Tills in the grooming department and he’s a bit of a wussy when it comes to rain. I think this is where my ample rear becomes dual purpose; easy on the eyes and an effective weather shield.
Tills was taken away from us because something called Laminitis made her hooves painful. Kat said this was because the Autumn grass was too much and too sweet because the weather is too wet and too warm.
My first reaction was ‘what exactly is the issue here?’ More sweet lush grassy munchies for all; hurrah, in we go!
But, if I’m honest, it didn’t feel quite right to have Springtime grassy munchies in Autumn. And, it certainly wasn’t right that our lovely Tills had to pay such a high price for the pleasure.
Both Jack and I can feel Tilly’s focus changing from pain to impatience at not being with us, so she must be feeling a bit better! I have shouted across the fields that we’ll be reunited soon but I haven’t shared the alarming truth of grassy munchies.
To be honest, I’m still trying to process the fact that my greatest pleasure has caused harm to my greatest friend. Kat said if it makes it easier for me I can blame humans, entirely.
I was subjected to the most shocking treatment recently.
On the day in question, Kat came and fetched me from my field – usual enough. Then she dumped me in a stable – unusual and something definitely a hoof.
Of course I was right. We horses are, after all, gifted with at least 50 senses and not the 6 primitive humans have to make do with.
A human called Dentist then arrived and immediately got my forelock up as she thought I was a ‘he’. What is it with these humans called Vet and Dentist, don’t they know a bodacious babe when they see one?
I was just launching my objections about this unforgivable error of judgement, when that all too familiar sharp stab came in my neck, followed by that all too familiar feeling of needing to sleep. Urgently..
This is when things got a bit blurry. It felt like a big metal contraption was put over my head, my mouth cranked open as wide as possible and my (very heavy) head flopped onto a smooth, flat small tree.
Dentist then transformed into some kind of blinding light demon with long metal sticks for arms that were loudly grinding away at my teeth! In the holy name of Pegasus and all that’s green, this couldn’t be real, I must be dreaming!
Kat told me it was necessary for me to have the Demon Dentist so my teeth and mouth didn’t get too sore – poppycock! She then said having my teeth all nice and smooth meant I could eat well – mmmmmhhh.
Then she suggested Jack might appreciate my pearly whites and they would go well with my blond bodaciousness. Why didn’t she say! Some things are worth enduring.
She then said it was time to shake a fetlock and go back to the field. Give me a minute I said; I can’t move. Plus, I’d quite like to straighten myself up a bit before Jack sees me…
Not only have I got a new swanky manedo, but a great discovery has been made. My legs!
I’d always thought my legs were made of hair so you can image my alarm when Kat told me she was going to clip them off. Alarm turned to delight though as my actual real (and rather shapely) legs were revealed.
Kat said my new look would make me cooler. I couldn’t agree more; a proper hip girl about the field.
It’s not a moment too soon either as Jack has been getting a bit too friendly with Dolly for my liking. It’s all kat’s fault for dragging me and Tills away on the second Custard Cream Trail a few weeks back. I know exactly the kind of ‘comforting’ Dolly would have offered Jack to take his mind off pining for us.
I’m sure you’ll all agree I have the edge now though. Surely nothing can stop him falling head over hoof for me now!
Kat also told me I need some time in the school. I’m a bit confused about this as I thought only human foals went into the school place.
Apparently, I need lessons in how to listen better to Kat and stop making my own decisions. Between you and me, my listening skills are top notch and I’ve actually saved our lives plenty of times by ignoring her poppycock and taking the initiative.
Only the other day, I got us out of a very sticky situation when we had to ride past a herd of cows and one big as a mountain Bull. Kat’s request to casually stroll past without a care in the world was simply absurd so I put on my best turn of hoof and saved the day, as usual.
Needless to say I wasn’t thanked for my quick thinking and fortitude.
I really think she needs to remember I am Horse and escaping death is my bag. She can stick to new manedos and helping me get Jack back under my hoof where he well and truly belongs.
It’s happened again. A while ago at that. But, it’s taken me this long to gather my thoughts.
I was all set to enjoy another lazy day loafing about my field when before I knew it I was in the sweat box on wheels with Aunty Tills and any notion of my all day grass buffet fading into the distance. Literally.
Tills who was very calm, and considerably less sweaty, said I didn’t need to get my fetlocks in a twist as we were probably just going on another Custard Cream Trail.
I did worry though. And my fetlocks were in a twist. And I was very sweaty.
Tills came to my rescue as always, reminding me why our senseless wandering for miles and days on end was called the Custard Cream Trails.
Well, we climbed a mountain, traversed a swamp, got caught in a monsoon and had to contend with a sub-species of horse called ‘Competition’. And that was only the first day.
You’d have thought our resilience and fortitude in the face of these trials would have been acknowledged with a few Custard Creams. No, not a one.
At the end of the day, however, we were given a field of knee-high grass the likes of which I have never known. I was in grassy munchy heaven and could have stayed forever, but it belonged to the scary ‘Competition’ horses, so we had to give it back.
Although the second day presented less challenges, the Custard Cream drought endured. I also had to think on the hoof when Kat became a bit vague in her instructions to me. It was shortly after we’d met two of Sara’s human herd members who watered her and Kat with something called G&T. I’m not sure if the two were connected or not.
At the beginning of the third day we went through a very human landscape with nothing green or soft. Just hard surfaces and endless small sweat boxes on wheels whizzing past us.
At one point Tills stood bold as grass in front of a strange tree with a long thin black trunk and a red light at the top, while sweat boxes of all shapes and sizes (even without the box and just two wheels!!) whizzed and whirled around us. Aunty Tills is fearless indeed!
Finally, much to my relief, we were out of the human landscape and back into the real world.
And then it happened!
During our grassy munchies break Tills and I heard it. Rustle, rustle… We knew straight away. Sara, the Custard Cream bearer, didn’t stand a chance. After being deprived for two days we threw forelocks to the wind and mobbed her.
Topped up with our favourite treat that makes this toil worthwhile, we headed off to our next overnight field through a big wild landscape of hills and moors and valleys and streams.
The fourth day was more big wild places, Custard Creams a plenty and a couple of strange incidents.
Firstly, Kat played an absurd game of asking everyone to follow her up a very narrow steep track and then seeing if we could all turn round at the narrowest point. This proved very easy for humans, relatively easy for Tills (she has a short wheel base) and very hard for the more stout member of the crew. Me.
Kat then got injured with something called blister where the skin had shed from her foot. Horse code dictates that we must remain stoical in the face of pain so that predators won’t see us as weak easy pickings.
Kat definitely needs to gen-up on her horse code! There can’t have been a single living thing within 5 miles that didn’t know of her discomfort.
Surely this kind of reckless behaviour now gives me the right to apply for another human?
After another long day, Tills suddenly picked up pace, which could mean only one thing. We were going home! And she was right. Aunty Tills is always right.
There we were, back at the beginning with the sweat box on wheels and it’s human Nigel (who is as perplexed as we are about this senseless wandering) waiting to take us home.
What did I learn from my second Custard Cream Trail?
Firstly, Kat would definitely make a rubbish horse. Secondly, in the event of a Custard Cream ‘no show’ mobbing is acceptable. And, thirdly, I think I might be all grown up now.
The amount of lone surveillance I have been subjected to recently is simply shocking.
Aunty Tills has not been with us on our training sessions as Sara, her human, has been too busy looking after an older member of her human herd. A lucky break indeed for Tills. I, on the other hand, am burdened with lone predator surveillance duties on my training sessions with Kat.
Single hoofedly I have to cover: the front and the rear, left and right, above and beneath. All the time. This can make progress slow, straight lines impossible and Kat exasperated, which I really couldn’t give a hairy fetlock about.
Adequate left and right surveillance needs a full head turn; full body if something requires extra scrutiny. The front and rear need constant sight and sound monitoring and my feet have to always be checking for snakes or other such under-hoof threats.
Even with this painstaking and exhausting level of lone surveillance I was still chased by a wild boar yesterday. Kat said it was only a pig. ONLY A PIG!!!! In the holy name of Pegasus I really need to get myself a new human.
Once I realise we’re on our way home I usually ditch my surveillance for haste. I have an all consuming motivation to get back home so I can share surveillance with my own species as opposed to an inept human who thinks a wild boar doesn’t warrant full flight mode from a standing start.
Kat insists she understands my essential surveillance work and homeward haste, despite the undertones of exasperation. However, the extra weight bouncing around on my back when I was running from the wild boar (ONLY A PIG!!! REALLY???) was no help whatsoever. She’s lucky I didn’t try and remove it. I would have been perfectly within my rights to do so.
Apparently I am now officially an asthmatic equine – or a very hairy trail riding cob who has difficulty breathing sometimes.
Given this diagnosis you’d have thought a life more befitting to my condition would be proposed instead of this trial riding toil nonsense. Chilling my hooves out in the field for the rest of my hairy life springs to mind.
But no, quite the opposite. Kat says I now need to be kept fitter than ever and is significantly ramping up the trail riding training sessions. All for my own good – allegedly.
My diagnosis happened when the person called Vet visited. It started off badly when she thought I was a ‘him’ and said I was fat. Before I had chance to contest this, I felt the sharp stab in my neck followed by the woozy helplessness.
From past experience I know all manor of defilements are carried out against me when I’m in the woozy helplessness and I can’t lift one hairy fetlock to stop it. On this occasion Vet had a long, thin snake like thing which crawled through my nose, down my airway and all the way into my lungs.
As if this wasn’t bad enough it then started squirting liquid into them! In the name of Pegasus and all that’s green this was one defilement too far – so I dug deep beyond the wooze veil and promptly expelled the long thin, liquid squirting invader.
Just as I was about let the wooze take me again, another sharp neck stab and I was rendered unconscious on four legs – with the snake, once again, nostril bound. It was a traumatic experience I can tell you – and one that confirmed I am too fleshy on my inside as well as my outside…
So, I now have to contend with all manor of torments to try and make me less fleshy on my inside so I can breath better.
Torment 1 – I have to wear this preposterous covering over my nose – all the time!
Torment 2 – I have to breath in and out of this absurd device – every day!
Torment 3 – I have sticky smelly gloop rubbed around my nostril – every day!
Of course, the only way I even entertain participating in these torments is with a carefully chosen, richly varied and boundless supply of treats.
I do also have all my fetlocks crossed that the pay-off from these absurdities is I’ll never have to encounter the ill-mannered, nostril invading, lung sluicing Vet person and her pernicious snake ever again!
I have found a reason for humans – it appears they make excellent bum scratchers. Who knew?
It’s written in herd ethics that you just don’t ask another horse to start scratching and grooming your tush with their teeth, not even your pair-bonded partner.
That leaves devices such as fence posts, gates or trees at our disposal, which are adequate enough but only for top exposed layers. The nether sections – and the ones in most need of scratching and a general good tidy up – remain unattended to.
Plus, no teeth or inert scratching device could ever reach beyond my voluminous tail to give those nether zones the hearty scratching attention they require.
One day I decided I had earned the right to politely ask Kat if she could assist by reversing into her and bum bumping her until she obliged. I do let Kat passenger me endlessly – to the point where I have to wonder if she is actually losing the use of her human legs – so I thought this was fair game.
To my delight she confirmed that humans were prepared to stoop to lower places than horses – literally – and dived right in there. Top layer, nether layer, the lot got some very pleasing scratching action from human fingers with those tiny sharp hooves on the ends.
Horse alive, was it good.
Since then I’ve practised my ‘reverse bump’ on several other humans who visit my field. Jazz, the young one with yellow hair, who is part of Tilly’s human herd, provides a particularly good scratch and never fails to oblige.
I did try the ‘reverse bump’ on her tall human sire but I think the close proximity of my tooshie was too overwhelming for him and he moved hastily away to admire it from a distance.
I hope he paid good attention to Jazz’s technique as I will be asking him again.
However, it is Kat who I expect the most attention from as it is she who expects to endlessly passenger me as her human legs are failing her. To be fair she is generally very co-operative, although I have found pursuing her in reverse around the field is an effective tactic, along with pinning her to the gate with my sizeable rear if she ever tries to leave without indulging me.
I realise it wouldn’t be fair to keep this ingenuity to myself so I am trying to teach my herd mates the various ‘reverse bump’ techniques, including ‘the reverse pursuit’ and ‘the gate pin’.
It could really catch on – I could be famous! In years from now they will call me ‘Frankie, the hairy trail riding cob who found a useful purpose for humans’.
So apparently we’re coming to the end of a period of time humans called Year. But, before this, there are all kinds of nonsense and shenanigans to be had with an event called Christmas.
I’m not sure this Christmas malarky is going to be good for me though. According to Tills, humans have far too much spare time during Christmas and invariably want to spend it bothering their horses. They also expect us to carry them after they have gorged on too much food for seven solid days. The lack of consideration is simply astonishing.
I think some humans also ‘check-in’ with their human god a bit more during Christmas. We’re in contact with our lord Pegasus pretty regularly, usually asking if humans can try harder to meet our basic needs of endless quality forage, wide open spaces and to not break our herd bonds.
He helps Tills and myself pretty well with this but I can’t seem to get his support on changing Kat’s preference for arduous day long trail riding sessions to short foraging ambles.
Because the human loo roll crisis is still happening, I don’t think the Christmas shenanigans will reach their usual levels this time. However, Tills and I did have to participate in some nonsense on our training session today.
Before we left we were adorned with some bright sparkly itchy stuff called tinsel and our humans wrapped themselves in some as well. Here is Tilly showing off her tinsel bling before we left.
So far this Winter we’ve had trough loads of rain and the tracks we go running on are very muddy. Perfect conditions for the splatter dash game!! Which is pretty much as it sounds. We dash and splatter – our humans.
I got good and proper up Till’s bum before we set off running and she sent a wonderful wallop of splatter onto Kat’s face. I cleverly made sure my hoof boots got sucked off in the mud so we’d have to go back to the beginning of the run to find them, meaning we’d have to do the splatter dash again!! This time we agreed I’d go in front and see if we could improve the splatter count with my dinner plate feet – and we did!!
Much to our surprise however, Sara was very happy with her new pebble-dashed look and decided she would keep it on for the whole day.
From that point on our humans just laughed the whole way home and we gave up trying to foil them – see what I mean about the Christmas nonsense.
GMFN and a happy human Christmas
PS, apparently Kat hasn’t been able to share my thoughts lately because she’s been doing a human thing called studying where she’s learning about horse behaviour. I hope she realises her real learning will continue from her one true teacher long after she’s finished this so called human endeavour.
I’ve been on tour with Aunty Tills! Three days away and up to our forelocks in all kinds of escapades.
It started badly. We were forced unceremoniously onto the sweat box on wheels and had to stay in it for a long sweaty time while we were transported to the beginning of the Custard Cream Trail – a place called Rushop Hall. On the plus side, once we arrived, we did have a field of grassy munchies all to ourselves.
Tills seemed quite happy about this and quickly got down to the business of filling her fetlocks. I tried to catch on to her relaxed vibe, but for some reason I did find it hard to blink for a good while.
The next day our humans, Kat and Sara, took us out on a training session. In the name of all the saints over the bridge I can’t tell you how hard this was. We went up, down, up down, up down and then for the final down, our humans – for some absurd reason – decided we needed to go down a stone staircase. My feet are not the daintiest – Kat calls them dinner plates – so I did find this a bit daunting.
At the bottom of the staircase there was a small gate we had to squeeze through. Tills went through no problem, but our humans spent a while debating if I would fit. Bit rude.
Our efforts of the day were rewarded by Sara demonstrating a new hopping technique of mounting Tills on the move. She almost hopped all the way around the car park – really impressive.
On the way back to our field at Rushop I did call out over the valley beneath us, just to see if Jack could hear me. I don’t think he did though. On the plus side, I was so tired when we got back, I was relaxed enough to blink again.
The next day we started properly on the Custard Cream Trail and headed south – towards home!! Today was the longest day of my entire 6 years as an extremely hairy cob. We covered 20 miles over 9 hours (I know, there must be rules against this kind of exploitation).
Tills and I did lose our fear of water troughs though and slurped freely from them whenever we could find one.
I also found out why it was called the Custard Cream Trail.
Sara had packed enough of these human Custard Cream treats for 3 weeks instead of 3 days – no wonder our saddle bags had been weighed down!! It was nothing less than our duty to try and lighten the load.
After this very long second day, brightened by the Custard Cream discovery, we finally arrived at the next overnight stop on the trail. We were weary and hungry so another field all to ourselves was very welcome.
The next morning we set off again – the load a bit lighter but more work required. It was another very long day, but on this occasion brightened by the wee incident – seeing Kat scratting around in the squat and drop position while I ‘accidentally’ stood on my reins was highly amusing.
In the afternoon Tills and I recognised where we were and despite our tiredness we picked up pace and headed homewards with renewed vigour.
I would sum up my first real trail as follows – the world beyond my field isn’t all that scary after all and Hula Hoops are just so yesterday – it’s all about the Custard Creams. In-fact, Tills and I have agreed to only ever go on Custard Cream trails in future – anything else and we’re calling a strike.