Pampering and Poles

So, it appears the human loo roll crisis has changed into something more serious. Now humans can’t even leave their homes unless it’s for essential business.

Luckily, Kat visiting me once a day with my grassy munchies is classed as essential, because there’s no one else to do it.

Although the loo roll crisis is difficult for humans, I seem to have come out of it rather peachy.

Training has been replaced with endless pampering sessions in the sunshine and visits to the big building with sand on the floor for some silly antics over poles.

This is the result of one of my pampering sessions.

Look at me! Aren’t I the swanky girl about the field? I just love the way it bounces against my neck when I’m running.

As well as new hairdos, Kat’s been spending a lot of time scratching my favourite itchy spots. I’ve got a lot – my entire hairy body really. Turns out human fingernails are superior to horses’ teeth when it comes to grooming. Who knew?

I’ve also been going to the building with sand on the floor where there are lots of poles on the ground. Kat walks by my side and uses Horse talk (body language) to tell me which direction we’re going in and which poles to step over.

She does put a head-collar on me that’s linked to her hand by a long line, but she doesn’t use any pressure to guide me. I wish she would to be honest – it’s exhausting trying to understand her inept version of Horse. Shoddy is all I can say.

You what now?

When we’ve practised this a bit, she’s going to take the head-collar off and I’m meant to walk by her side, going everywhere she does. Really? Can’t see it myself.

Once free of the head-collar my plan is (obviously) to go straight to the door of the big building with sand on the floor and request permission to immediately leave. Who wouldn’t?

Can I go now please?

I’m not convinced about the weird pole stuff and the less said about Kat’s slapdash efforts with Horse the better – but the pampering gets a big hooves up from me.

In fact, I’m sure Kat and I would become firm friends if she was prepared to drop this silly riding business in favour of a daily full body groom and weekly new hair style.

Modelling the swanky chic look

GMFN

Fx

The Loo Roll Crisis

So, here’s a turn up for the hoof. On our training session today Tills and I discovered we might not be going on our trail riding holiday in May.

Apparently, there’s some kind of human crisis in the world and it’s got something to do with loo rolls.

So, instead of going on holiday and riding us all day, every day for 3 whole days, turns out the plan is to stay at home – and ride us all day, every day, for 3 whole days.

And, instead of carrying their underwear and toothpaste we are going to be carrying their food. If the lengthy deliberations on what to take are anything to go by, there will be much of it.

Anyone would think they’re using food to make up for the disappointment of not going on holiday… Who would do that?

They’re also planning on bringing G & T to these holiday substitute day rides. I don’t know who G & T are, but I reckon our group of 4 is fine how it is. Then I found out G & T could fit in the saddle bags, so they must be really small. I just hope they don’t cause us any bother – me and Tills have enough to cope with already with our humans.

Eventually Kat and Sara had to stop wittering on about food and riding us into the ground, and just focus on riding us – it was cold and blustery, so Tills and I were on high alert.

You can see my blond locks being blown about below.

The noise of the wind always pushes us closer to flight mode in case it stops us hearing predators creeping up. Then the leaves and branches blowing around need closer inspection than usual – just to make sure they’re the only thing moving about.

On this blustery outing we also went past the Donkey Derby field. This is where two cheeky Donkeys like to run along the fence line of their field while me and Tills go past.

I haven’t got any photos of them to show you as Kat is always too busy trying to stop me joining in the Derby. It’s quite fun as it’s a very long field…

This is Tills having a good drink while we’re out. Drinking from puddles is a key criteria for being a fully qualified trail riding horse. I personally avoid them – wouldn’t want to encourage Kat too much.

So, the loo roll crisis. Apparently, humans won’t be able to hang out with each other but they’re okay being with their animals (shame, a nice sabbatical from training would have been lovely).

Humans have also stopped using the big metal birds for travel and there isn’t as much human goings on in general.

Horses are deeply intertwined with nature and we can feel her breathing a sigh of relief for this temporary pause in human activity.

In-fact, we can just feel her breathing.

Stay safe and well humans – we need you for our soggy grassy munchies.

GMFN

F x

The Goo Factor

The male human that can talk Horse visited recently. He told Kat I wasn’t gooey enough on the inside and we need to work on improving my goo factor.

Now, he’s not making much sense here in Horse or Human language, so I’d better explain.

Gooey means soft. There is no question about my softness on the outside with my wonderful abundance of silky hair. When it comes to Kat and humans though apparently, I’m lacking softness on the inside.

Softness on the inside of a horse is a wonderful mix of calm and total trust with our human. We are happy to offer all of ourselves willingly without any resistance. When both horse and human are soft together true magic can be achieved. It’s an overwhelming feeling of pure connection and peace for both.

This is what Ross, the horse talker, means with gooey on the inside.

I’m not completely sure why I’m not gooey on the inside. I think it’s because I’ve never had a human listen to me before or ask my permission to do things with me.

I usually go along with what humans ask of me anyway as that’s the kind of good-natured, stoic Cob I am. It would be nice to be asked sometimes though. Plus, the difference of going along with things grudgingly or gooily is huge.

Kat and Echo were a big gooey puddle together. Ross thinks Kat perhaps isn’t gooey enough with me either because she’s still missing Echo too much and not giving me all of herself.

A high goo factor

To help increase my goo factor Ross is teaching Kat to speak and understand Horse. She should then know if I’m ready and relaxed enough to do what she’s asking and if I’m doing it gooily instead of grudgingly.

If she can help me improve my goo, perhaps hers will as well.

For my first lesson I had to follow Ross and Kat by reading their body language. Ross spoke clear Horse so that was easy whereas Kat just mumbled and was a bit rubbish. I think Ross will sort her out though.

  • trail horse ground work
 

My only concern with this plan is they are cutting out my treats so they know I’m not faking gooeyness for the sake of a few hay cobs, (to be fair, I would do this).

I am however 6 now, so I’ve decided to be very grown up and work with them to try and increase my goo factor.

Back-up plan though if all fails is obviously the faking it.

GMFN

F x

Wobbly Bottom

Well, my days with Kat just keep getting stranger and stranger.

She put this blue coat on me the other morning.

Do I look good in this blue coat? No, I look bloody ridiculous!

Kat said rain was forecast and my own coat needed to be dry as someone called Physiotherapist was coming to check my back.

We horses need our backs checking now and again because we aren’t designed to carry humans and it can sometimes make us sore. The only thing we would be unlucky enough to carry on our backs in the wild is a lion – before it drags us down for dinner.

Physiotherapist felt all over my neck, back and general bum vicinity (yes, I know).

I was starting to feel all nice and sleepy when I heard the words ‘wobbly bottom’.

Physiotherapist was saying the left side of my bum wasn’t as wobbly as the right side and they both needed to be equally wobbly. I was just starting to quite like her.

I always thought I was the proud owner of a peachy, pert posterior. To discover it’s not only wobbly, but uneven in it’s wobbliness, is pretty shattering.

See any wobble?

Then she pressed all around the none wobbly left side until she was satisfied it had reached an equal level of wobbliness to the right side.

Then – and you’re not going to believe this – she showed Kat how to do a wobble test on the left side – just to make sure it didn’t lose any of its new found wobbliness.

I was an ergot away from retreating to my happy place, where these insults couldn’t reach me, when Kat put my mind to rest.

She said wobbly was good as it meant my muscles were nicely relaxed and working properly. Not wobbly meant they were too tight and needed releasing a bit. Then she reassured me my bottom was perfectly peachy, wobbly or not.

Just when I was starting to get all sleepy again, Physiotherapist told Kat I might need some schooling. What? Why? I don’t think I’ve been overly naughty lately?

Apparently, the schooling she means is going round and round in circles and other fun (yes, again, I know) shapes in the building with sand on the floor.

Kat did promise Physiotherapist she would do this but the look on her face said differently. She prefers straight lines in the great outdoors, like me.

Once all the rubbing, massaging and general wobbling was done, this very strange afternoon was rounded off in a nice way. Physiotherapist showed Kat how to do some stretching exercises – with treats!

Every day I have to stretch 5 times on each side of my body and be justly rewarded with a hay cob when I try really hard.

I’m going to be trying really, really hard. A lot.

GMFN

F x

Horse Talk

A man visited me recently with Kat. He’s called Ross and he can talk Horse.

It’s a blessed relief to be honest as Kat can’t. Well, not my version of Horse. I speak Pure Horse.

Pure Horse is the subtle body language that only horses, other prey animals and a handful of humans can speak and understand.

The wrinkling of a nose or the twitch of an ear is as clear as day to us, but way too understated for many other species, including humans.

Infact, the whole purpose of Pure Horse is that predators can’t understand us. No real surprise humans struggle.

Echo told me Pure Horse was no good with Kat so she used a more direct, simple version called Beginner Horse. This version gives clearer signals including affection for getting things right and unadulterated fury for getting them wrong. She said it worked a treat with Kat.

Kat obviously got it right this time.

I don’t think there’s a picture of her getting it wrong – she was probably too occupied with running away.

Anyway, turns out Ross is going to help me and Kat understand each other better. I can already understand Human so he’s going to teach her Pure Horse. Hurrah, I’ll finally get to tell her all my gripes.

The body language of people is what we horses call Human. Horses understand Human completely. Unfortunately most humans seem to have no idea what their body is saying – to us or each other.

Learning Pure Horse would help humans not only understand our subtle body language but also their own.

If a human’s body language is tense we will be tense. If a human’s body language is soft and relaxed, we will be. You could call us an emotional mirror.

Apparently, this is why we are sometimes used for therapy – to help troubled humans understand what they are feeling.

We horses really are the gift that just keeps on giving aren’t we!

Perhaps there should be a National Horse Appreciation week. When Kat can understand Pure Horse I’ll suggest it.

In the meantime, she’s got some work to do…

GMFN

Fx

The Beast of Burden and her Saddle Tramp

Apparently Tilly and I are going on a trail riding adventure holiday in, what our humans call, May.

Kat says I am a trail riding horse and this is my purpose. I personally don’t see why I can’t just chill my hoofs in the field with my pals, but Kat says all horses have to work for their grassy munchies.

Tilly and I are going to travel in the sweat box on wheels to get to a place called Rushup – I wonder if we have to run very quickly up hill to get to it?

This is where we’re staying. Not sure where our humans will be.

Then we have to carry our humans and all their belongings for 3 long days. For their amusement.

I know. Why doesn’t she just rename me her ‘Beast of Burden’ and be done with it? You can probably tell, my hairy feathers are extremely ruffled about all this.

Is this to be my fate?

Couldn’t they just get one of our Donkey or Mule cousins to carry all their human stuff? There’re much better at this kind of thing than us horses. Also, less forgiving so Kat would need to behave herself. That could be fun.

However, what alarms me the most is where in all the blazing green grasses are my soggy grassy munchie supplies and hay cob treats going to go?

I blatantly refuse to go through this level of toil and strife unless I am amply rewarded. A lot. Every hour I would say.

I did suggest to Kat that she could walk – on her feet, on the ground – carrying her own stuff. I would happily walk beside her carrying my stuff (the grub). Apparently though, that is not fulfilling my purpose of trail riding horse. Meh.

Tilly seems quite accepting of all this servitude and toil. She says it’s grown up and exciting to have a few nights away from home and we will get to share a field.

She told me to stop getting my forelock in a twist and be grateful I’m not being asked to dance like the dressage horses. She’s got a point there, I do have 4 left hooves and would undoubtedly trip over my extremely hairy feathers.

She also reassured me that my substantial stoutness means I won’t even notice the extra weight – not sure if I should be happy or offended about that.

Finally, she reminded me that our humans never seem to change their clothes and are always quite disheveled. They’re clearly not typical female humans, and will probably wear everything they need, opting for the saddle tramp look. This of course should free up pack space for our essentials – food.

I can always trust Aunty Tills to make me feel better.

GMFN

F x

The Wrath of Ciara

Recently my pals and I were subjected to the full fury of Storm Ciara.

While my friends at the farm were in their boxes called stables, we were hunkered down in our field as she raged around us for a day and a night.

The thought of those snug stables did cross my mind – especially when the torrential deluge turned sideways – but my extreme hairiness and amazing physiology prevailed in the end.

Stables just aren’t really for me. I love the freedom and fresh air of outside too much – even when that air is extremely fresh and wet.

You might remember my recent experience of being in a stable was when Vet put that stick up my bum – didn’t really put me in the best frame of mind to enjoy my new surroundings. 

Despite having a great roomie for the night (one eyed Jake, who is very old and impressively hairy) I didn’t really take to pooing and weeing in my own bed – the fumes got a bit over powering somewhere around 3am.

I can’t see humans doubling their bed up as a loo, so I’m not sure why they expect us to…

I also lost my freedom of choice. I had to wait for Kat the next morning before I could move freely, eat again and talk to my pals. In the field, I can make these choices at liberty, in line with how I feel and what I need.

I think when all is neighed and munched, I really am an outdoors kind of a Cob. I wasn’t born with this extreme roundness and abundance of hair for no reason.

With a constant supply of forage, my wonderfully thick winter coat, fresh air, open space and my pals, I can keep warm, dry, healthy and happy – even in the eye of Ciara’s storm

The bacteria my gut produces from eating forage – hay in the winter – kicks starts an internal furnace and the long, slow digestion process really helps me sustain this heat.

Stoking up our furnace

There is also great natural shelter in our field with a line of trees against a stone wall. This is our hunkering down spot of choice when the weather is bad – we often while away this time swapping notes about our humans.

As well as huddling together, being able to freely move keeps my blood circulating and my body temperature toasty. Then of course there is my amazing thick winter coat that traps in body heat, provides insulation and helps keep my skin dry. 

The day Ciara came, Kat bought me an extra-large bucket of warm soggy grassy munchies which stoked up my furnace nicely. Seeing her battling through the storm, trying to stay on two feet while being pummeled with the sideways deluge, was also a welcome distraction.

Although Ciara is now spent, I think we will be hunkering down again soon when her brother Dennis descends his fury on us. Despite my amazing ability to thrive in this foul weather, I think I speak for all horses and humans when I say ‘Spring, we are now ready for you’.

GMFN

F x

The Shoot Creature

There wasn’t a dull moment on my last trail riding training session with Aunty Tills.

We negotiated icy roads, waited at a red light on a stick, waded through deep water, and scrambled up a rocky path. Then we met The Shoot…

trail ride with horse
  • trial riding
  • trail riding horse on track

Coming home from this action-packed 10-mile session (yes, I agree, it is a very long way for my wonderfully hairy but unfortunately very short legs) we heard some loud, continuous boom, boom, bangs. Kat and Sara said it was The Shoot.

The others didn’t seem too worried but I was. What was this loud scary Shoot creature that was booming and banging all around us? The noise was so loud, I reckoned it was either very large or very close. Or both!

I began to, what can only be described as, run on the spot. I didn’t want to leave Tills, but I needed to be good and primed in-case I had to hot-hoof it. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something.

It must be The Shoot, coming for us!!!!

Well, that was it for me. I did what any horse keen on staying alive would do. I ran.

Every last inch of me, right to the tips of every hair on my extremely hairy body, said RUN NOW!!!!!! Kat’s yell down my ear and Tilly hot on my heels only bolstered my need to instinctively run. Faster.

After a few seconds I realised Tills wasn’t behind me any more and that my head had been pulled sideways making a forward projection somewhat difficult. It also seemed that The Shoot creature was gone, so, I let Kat slow me down.

When Tills caught up she asked what in the blazing green grasses was I playing at? Was I really hearing her right? Hadn’t she seen The Shoot creature coming for us? And, shouldn’t she be thanking me for getting all four of us to safety with my speedy hot-hoofing?

Apparently not. And, what follows is a tad embarrassing, but, let’s not forget, I am only 5 going on 6.

Turns out The Shoot, was a bunch of humans playing with something called guns and, what I saw out of the corner of my eye was just humans perched on those two wheeled contraptions called bikes.

I would point out that we horses don’t do things like this for fun or to scare our humans so they don’t ride us any more. Although, that is grassy munchies for thought…

No, we are genetically wired to instinctively run when our fear and adrenaline levels spike. There is no conscious thought process; it’s simply a primal act to stay alive.

Once she could speak, Kat said we just need to keep working together so my trust in her as Leader grows. Then, eventually, my instinct will be to turn to her, instead of letting the fear take over every inch of my extremely hairy body.

She also said if I ever did that again she would ban hay cobs for a month and reduce my soggy grassy munchies to one a week.

I’d better start working on my trust issues.

GMFN

F x

The Thwarting of my Advance and Retreat

A frustrating thing happened today; my ‘advance and retreat’ head-collar evasion strategy was thwarted.

Kat came striding across the field with my soggy grassy munchies at the ready. Mmmh, here we go, grub up! Then I spotted the head-collar, which meant a training session might also be on the menu. So, I actioned the retreat.

Now, there is an obvious flaw with this. I am turning my back on my soggy grassy munchies, which, as you know, I’m rather fond of. So, I combine a bit of advance with the retreat – just to see if Kat is prepared to drop the head-collar and let me get stuck in, without being snared.

That’s a win win for me. I get the lovely grub and don’t have to leave my field and pals.

The advance and retreat usually goes on for about ten minutes, while Kat follows, waits, follows, waits. Between you and me, I sometimes have to remind myself why I’m doing this – it’s very entertaining.

Now, I am not of an awkward disposition. I just don’t see why I should happily leave the safety of my own field and own kind. It’s scary out there!

There are large noisy machines that whiz past me. Humans sitting on two wheeled contraptions that creep up on me and then swoosh past. More importantly, how can I be sure there aren’t any hungry lions hiding behind the hedges or around the next corner?

Kat says there are no lions in Derbyshire. How does she know? Humans aren’t as intuitively tuned into these dangers as horses. So every cell, in my extremely hairy body, remains on high alert.

Anyway, back to the thwarting. Today, as soon as I began my retreat, Kat walked back to the gate and sat down! What in the blazing green grasses was this now!?

What is she doing?

After a while, she came towards me again, armed with said headcollar. Cue, retreat. And, there she was, back at the gate, sitting down! What in the name of Pegasus was she doing?

Now, I’m smarter than I look. It’s all the hair – it masks my intelligence. Next time she came to me, I tried a small retreat and just turned my head. Off she went! Major thwarting was clearly staring me in the face.

However, I did what any dogged extremely hairy cob would do – I put it to the test and carried on.

The sight of my grassy munchies – so close yet so far – was my eventual undoing. And, I stood, without moving a single hair on my hairy body, while she snared me with that ******* head-collar.

Makes it all worth while 🙂

She seemed very pleased with this, clearly believing victory was hers.

Round 1 is all I can say. I am very resourceful as well as very hairy.

GMFN

F x

A Stick Too Far

Grassy Munchies All.

I’ve not been myself this week, so Kat asked someone called Vet to come and check me over.

We met Vet down at the Farm and she placed a round circle on different parts of my body. The circle had tubes coming out of it that went into her ears. She seemed to be listening for something. Music? Voices?

It’s a small wonder she could hear anything through my extreme hairiness but she seemed to find what she needed.

I was okay with that. Then she tried to put a small stick up my bum.

What in the blazing green grasses did she think she was doing? I did not agree to this! Horses have rights you know!

Well, as you can imagine, some serious clenching ensued. Then Kat got me with the old hay cob distraction trick. For a second my attention was drawn from the clenching to the hay cob and, of course, in went the stick.

The indignation! I have never felt so mortified – not even when my beloved belly beard was so cruelly taken from me. I tried to spit it out, but Vet had a good strong hold.

Vet and Kat seemed very approving of the stick finally reaching its intended destination. I, on the other hand, had to retreat to my ‘happy place’ until it was over.

It was dark when Vet left so I had a bed for the night at the Farm, next to Jack.

This is Jack

He used to live in my field and only has one eye like Echo, who he used to be good pals with. We had a good chat during my stay. He looks like me but taller and less round. Impressively hairy though, I must say.

The next morning Kat gave me my breakfast, made my bed and took me home.

She said I coped very well with my night away. Apparently, King of Cool, Murray, used to go to pieces when he had to stay at the Farm. He even put his foot through a new stable door once!

I don’t think this behaviour scored many points with Alison, the human in charge at the Farm. Hopefully, my quiet fortitude went down a bit better.

Anyway, turns out I have something called Virus and will just feel a bit out of sorts for a while.

So, now that’s official, maybe Kat will give me a holiday from our training sessions and extra treats for showing such stoic forbearance during my night away.

However, let this be said, if anyone comes within 10 foot of me again with one of those sticks, I’ll be ready. Just saying.

GMFN

F x