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.