Glorious sunshine continued for several weeks, so much so that I came to expect it to be the first thing to greet me each morning. I even started fantasising about what it would be like to live in a warmer climate where sunny weather is the norm. Sadly, it’s now back to a mix of rain and wind and Talisman has gone from grazing naked (almost unheard of) to sporting winter woolies!
The wild life doesn’t seem to mind though and, one morning, I was treated to another hedgehog episode. I told you the story of a night-time encounter between the ‘matriach’ of the resident hedgehog community and one of her offspring in a blog entitled ‘Counting my blessings’. Well, this time, I spotted her scampering to the field from her den in the barn via the ‘super-highway’ which is the concrete edge of the horse walker, when she came across the cats. Some time elapsed in a stand-off but thankfully, no blood was shed. I think the cats realised who would come off worse!
Apart from a lot of time spent on the tractor, another job I managed to get done during the dry spell was the removal of the muck heap. I can’t say I look forward to this annual ritual. Around 6-8 loads are taken away by a local farmer and, as I have a concrete yard, I have found it ‘easier’ (figure of speech, as there is nothing easy about it) to scrape the spilled muck off the yard and sweep it up after each load (so 6 times on this occasion), rather than wait until the end when the muck is well and truly compacted onto the yard. Exertion was rewarded by a mug of fresh coffee and home made cake, obviously!
Talisman continues to be ‘home alone’ but I am hoping a new friend is coming in the next few days. I have enjoyed giving him my undivided attention which he seems to have relished and he’s been unexpectedly calm and relaxed in the field too. For my part, I would happily continue this arrangement (except for the fact I need another ‘hoover’ to eat the grass). Also, while there are plenty of horses living alone who seem fine with it, they are social animals who, I believe, must be happier with another of their kind, if this is possible. I will worry less when I am away from home if Talisman has a friend. I also need to use the furthest reaches of my land which isn’t possible at the moment, as Talisman is turned out in the closest fields for re-assurance.
Otherwise, he’s lost most of the ‘fuller figure’ he acquired with the flush of spring grass – a result of spending several hours in the turnout arena each day and doing 2 or 3 fast intervals up the grass canter on the steep side of my land, following each schooling session. The going is perfect at the moment and it’s exhilarating for both of us. The ‘horsepower’ is amazing, it’s like sitting on a 1000cc motorbike! Less pleasing, were some nasty burns that Talisman developed on his muzzle which turned out to be an allergy to buttercups. It wasn’t from eating them as they don’t taste very nice to horses, it was from brushing up against them as he grazed. It took me a few days to work it out and then get him off the offending field but a week later, following copious application of lotions and potions, he is all but healed.
On a personal note, I have been sticking to my resolution of getting out and about more. This included a trip to the uber-impressive Bolesworth International horse show which is relatively local to me. I went to watch the dressage with Talisman’s physio’ come saddle-fitter Abigayle Williams, one sunny afternoon. Watching a few of the ‘grown up’ classes, it was great to cast my now trained eye (after many years of filming top dressage riders for my previous website Horse Hero) over the combinations and notice the subtleties.
I have to say that even at top level, there are few that demonstrate the effortless poetry which his so hard to define, yet you know it when you see it. It’s a heady mix of many things – the brain and body of the horse, their conformation, balance, understanding of the work, aptitude for the competition environment, experience, strength and fitness, plus the same for the rider and then add the joy and harmony between them. But I guess it’s the same in any sport, which is why we so admire the best of the best.
I also went to a (very local) literary festival – yes, it’s all happening here in the ‘middle of nowhere’! The programme was impressive by any standards but most impressive was the fact that all the talent was ‘made in Wales’. This type of event isn’t my natural habitat as I have read very little over the years except what I have had to for work or study but it’s interesting to glimpse into other people’s passions and the event was held on yet another idyllic afternoon, in the beautiful gardens of a local country house which was an added bonus.
Lastly, I paid a visit to an ancient church in a hidden valley which is a site of pilgrimage and has been on my to-do list since I arrived in this part of the country. The church was founded by a female hermit who fled to Wales to escape an arranged marriage. She is synonymous with hares, as legend has it she saved one from being hunted by a prince who was so impressed by her action that he bestowed land upon her. The yew trees are older than the church itself and the energy inside and out is strong and magical. It has the feeling of sanctuary and time eternal.
Personally, I believe we are in a relationship with the earth which is living and has consciousness and energy exchanges between us. There are special places that ring with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ which attracts people to it but we also, through our repeated actions and emotions in a particular place over time (good and bad) create energy that’s palpable and if the two overlap, then the effect is magnified.
I have been pondering this recently, while experiencing a growing sense of tranquility in the energy of my own land which feels different to when I came and I am sure there is a mutual exchange going on. I was attracted to it in the first instance so something was already there that resonated with me (there was bound to be strong energy of some sort as it’s so old) but as a result of becoming more peaceful and balanced myself in the last few years (for lots of reasons), I feel this has embellished the land. It may sound a bit far fetched but I like the idea and I’m sticking with it!
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Pics: Talisman naked and sporting winter woolies; hedgehog mum; wild and manicured landscape; not a morning person; synchronised drinking; buttercup burns; arena confinement during the battle of the bulge; doing the splits in physio’; yew tree in the churchyard; me and the hare sundial; beautiful vista from the church door; sitting outside the church.
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