Alezane's Diary Archive November 2003
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The day to day life of an ex-racehorse and her companions in Dartmoor UK and Mayenne France
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colorful leavesSaturday 1st November 2003
“And what’s today, Treg?”

“And what’s today, what, Wicky?”

“What day is it today, laddie. What is special about today?”

“Er … Er.., not Carrot Day, Wick, I suppose?”

“No, my man, sadly not Carrot Day. Sadly not. No, just in general terms. What’s today in general terms?”

“Oh. I see, Wicky. Its,, General Haig day. Is it, Wick?”

“Treggy. You are beginning to annoy me, laddie. Not an army general. Just, oh, I give up. I’ll tell you. It’s the first day of the month. November the first.”

“Oh. That’s good. Er, is it Wicky. Is that good?”

“Well, I thought you might find it interesting. I thought you might say – ‘it’s November the first Wicky’. And then I would say ‘ a pinch and a punch for the first of the month’ and then I’d nip you.”

“That’s nice, Wick. But you nip me, anyway.”

“And then I’d say – ‘ a bite and a kick for being so thick’ and I’d bite and kick you.”

“Oh thank you, Wicky. I’m sure I don’t deserve all this attention.”

“Oh, you don’t, Treg. But, you see. It’s the first of the month!”

“And what happens tomorrow? Two nips. Two kicks?”

“Don’t be silly, Tregony. It’s just a saying. You don’t think I would really bite and kick you, do you?”

“Not very much, Wick. But anyway, it’s a good job there are only, er, well, a few first days in a month, isn’t it?”

“I suppose so, Treg. Now what were you saying about Carrot day? That sounded really good!”

Treg and WickySunday 2nd November 2003
I’m not sure what those two are doing. They’ve been huddling together like a pair of scheming no gooders for a long while now. Chattering and giggling. And if you’ve never heard a Shetland cross and a Cornish cob giggle, you don’t know how lucky you are. They do that a lot, you know. Not necessarily the giggling bit. But the huddling together and making each other laugh and the story telling and the like. It’s what they do a lot, all night, when I’m not here to keep an eye on them. You’d never guess they were both in their late twenties if not older. More like a couple of kids, the way they go on. They say you relapse into your childhood as you get old. It’s certainly true for those two. Mind you, I don’t mind really. It’s lovely to see them happy and laughing and that. When I think back to the summer, when Treg had all that trouble with his feet. I was sure we were going to lose him. He was in so much pain and was so miserable. And now look at him. Silly old duffer. And Wicky eggs him on. As much as he laughs at him and calls him names and nips his knees, Wicky is terrible fond of old Treg. We all are. He may take more that a fistful of oats to get his brain going but a more faithful and valiant soul, you never met. I can remember the very first time I met him. I just knew it then that he was my true companion. We just sort of fell into step with each other and started grazing like synchronised swimmers. Yes, I know, I get fed up with him sometimes. Sometimes his slow ways get on my nerves. I can’t help it. I was bred for speed and I tend to do everything quickly, walking, eating, getting ready – everything! On the other hand, I must get on his nerves as well, always rushing about. Treg is built for power, not speed. But he never complains. He’s got a stubborn streak. If he takes against something, he will just walk away. Never says anything nasty or hurtful. Just removes himself. In fact, that is one of the few times he does move with speed. That’s an idea. I know how to break those two up. I’ll just wander over and tell Treg that HE is coming with that wormer syringe!

Monday 3rd November 2003
“… Three, Fou – No – Five, Six, Sev…”

“Hey, Treggy! What’s up? What you doing?”

“Eight, Nine, Twel …. Oh, Hi, Wick, be with you in a moment, Twelve, er, Oh Bother! One, Two, Fou…..”

“Whoa, there, laddie. What are ye counting, then, my man?”

autumn colors“Not counting, Wick, being it.”

“Being what, Treg? Being an idiot. Being a counter? What?”

“That’s it, Wick. Very nearly. Not being a counter. Being ‘countable. That’s what us hossifers have to be, these days. I heard it. We got to be ‘countable. So I’m practicing.”

“Oh, right, laddie. Accountable. That’s the word, eh? And what are you accountable for? Did they tell you that?”

“Didn’t hear anything about being ‘countable for. Just got be ‘countable in!”

“Accountable in? Are you sure?”

“Us hossifers has got to be ‘countable in, this day and age. That’s what they said.”

“Oh, right. To tell you the absolute and honest truth, Treggy, I’m beginning to lose interest in this. Have you got anything else on your min…, well, in your head, at the moment?”

“There is the new hoof printing scheme, we’re introducing. That’s pretty interesting. Er, isn’t it, Wick?”

“What’s hoof printing?”

“Oh, it’s new, Wick. It’s a way of telling if you are a criminal or not. Just by putting black powder on your feet.”

“Treg. I know if I’m a criminal or not without going to that extreme and very un-nourishing activity that you mentioned. Why don’t you just ask me?”

“Oh well, because, er, because…. er, I know, because it’s not scientific.”

“And painting your feet with black powder is? That’s scientific? Eh, Treg?”

“I think so. It’s in the manual. In words. So it must be, I think.”

“Tell you what, Treg. Listen. After me. One, Two, Three, ..”

“You got it Wick! Well done. That’s what comes after Two. I can be proper ‘countable now, can’t I?”

balloonsTuesday 4th November 2003
Finally, in true Devon fashion. We’ve got our sheep in the fields. In fact, it’s been a very eventful day, on the whole. First, SHE took me for a walk down to the recreation ground, after breakfast. I’ve not been down there for ages. Not since I went out to the fields for the summer. It was really nice to have a check up and see that everything is still the same and that the grass still tastes as good as ever there. When we came back, for HIM to walk me up to Nine Fields, I was feeling quite relaxed and happy with myself. So relaxed, in fact, that I didn’t pull HIM up the hill to Dry Bridge.

When we got there, I could sense that something was going on. I lifted my head very tall and still and listened. It’s funny how sound echoes around there for I was sure that the sound was coming from up the Throwleigh Road. Instead, in a few minutes, from behind me, under Dry Bridge, came Clarence in his 4x4 with a bale of hay on the drop down tailgate followed by a herd of about twenty mainly black cows. They took a time to pass us, some saying ‘good morning’ very pleasantly, others too busy trying to get at the hay and yet others, just being pushed along by those behind. As they passed, we joined them and followed along together with Roger and his collie. They turned off at the first lane into Clarence’s field while we stopped for a carrot in our usual lay by. Then the collie came hurtling back up the lane and leaped into the back of the truck. That did it. It made me go all frisky and girlie all the way to our fields. I could tell that HE was quite pleased to stop for a rest, when we got there.

Later on this morning, they came with that great big noisy hedge trimmer thing and went round all our field edges making us all neat and tidy. There was a time when I used to run away from things like that but now that I am a real farm animal, I just stand and watch. It’s quite interesting really. A bit like the farrier for hedges but without the smoke. Finally, Michael brought our sheep. At least, he opened the top gate and they brought themselves. They’ve not come too far down, yet. But they will. They will just eat their way down while we are eating our way up. And when we meet, we’ll have a bit of a chat. At last someone who will listen to Treg!

fireworksWednesday 5th November 2003
Oh, joy! Fireworks’ Day. If there is one thing I really love it is great big bangs going off just when I am trying to have a doze. THEY think I am scared by the silly things. THEY’RE wrong. I’m just completely ****** by them. I’m sure the lads and lassies that go about letting off bangers over the recreation ground or up on the common or, even worse, along the streets, I’m sure they think it is hilarious. But when you’ve had a very hard day trying to fill your tummy with grass, that only grows a few centimetres from its roots at this time of the year, you are not so inclined to see the joke. Either you need to rest and a nice quiet little doze, with your bottom lip seeing how near it can get to the floor without falling off or you need to top up on hay, in which case, big bangs are not the best aid to digestion. Anyway, enough of that or you will be thinking what an old killjoy I am. As I say, it’s all a matter of timing. Why not do it at say 3.30 a.m. when all normal horses are awake and enjoying life. It would not affect those of us who are running about the fields and might even give a bit of interest to those of us who are bored, waiting indoors for the dawn, so that we can have breakfast and then go out again. I’ve heard a lot of horses say that they don’t know why humans bother to have fireworks at all; it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. But then, we are all different, aren’t we. I don’t suppose humans can see a lot of sense in what we do. Can you imagine two humans meeting and starting to scratch each others backs? Or how about watching a human finding a low lying tree branch or gate post and scratching its’ neck on it? I’ve seen HER do some funny things but never finding a nice lovely muddy piece of ground and laying down and rolling in it. THEY seem to worry about their clothes too much. After all, you ask Wicky what it matters if you get your coat covered in mud. He would be more worried if it was clean. ‘Does nae smell right, lassie’, he would say. And he’s right. Human ideas of what smells are good and what are bad are very different to ours. You should see what HE does to my stable. Pours some sort of disinfectant perfume all over it. It takes me half the night to get it to smell halfway bearable again. Oh well. I’m off to fill up with grass before the next big bang has THEM rolling in the aisles, as THEY say!

Thursday 6th November 2003
“’ere, Wick!”

“Wassat, Treg?”

“How about we, we do something?”

“Er, yes, Treg. That sounds good. So far, that is.”

Phil the vet“I’ve had an idea, Wick. A real good one.”

“That’s grand, Treg. I’m so pleased for ye. Can I get on and have a wee bite now, my man? It’s a long while to supper, ye ken?”

“But, I’ve not finished, Wick. Really, I’ve not begun yet.”

“I was afraid o’ that, laddie. O.K. Tell me. What’s your big idea, the noo?”

“You know, as how hI’m Hossifer of the Wotch, for the Human Wotch arm of the law?”

“In a manner o’ speaking, Treg. Yes, I am aware of that exciting fact.”

“Well. We are supposed to find Humans that have gone missing. The technical term, in the force, is ‘harfinched’ but to you civilians we call it ‘nicked’”

“Thank you for the lesson in semantics, Treg. Where is this all leading? I’m getting mighty hungry son.”

“Well. My record for recovering harfinched humans isn’t heggackly wonderful, you know, Wick. I’m afraid my name won’t be going down in the annuals of the world’s greatest detectives at this rate.”

“How many is it then, Treg? How many humans have you, er, recovered?”

“Well, you see Wick. That’s just it. I haven’t. Not one. Nuffink. Zero. Recovery minus one. I don’t think I’ve even heard of any going missing. The trouble is, no one takes them.”

“Well, and who would want to? Eh, Treg? What good are they, after all?”

“That’s it, Wick. They are a drug up the market place. Or is that a drag? Anyway, whatever. There is not really much chance for a chap to shine, like this. Is there, Wick?

“Nae, laddie, no’ much.”

“Well, that’s where my master plan comes in. Shall I tell you, Wick. Do you want to hear what I’ve thought up?”

“Maybe another time, Treg. I’m just off to the top field. Just remembered a delicious little spot o’ grass. See you later son.”

flying horseFriday 7th November 2003
I don’t know what’s got into Treggy. He’s all excited (or should I say ‘hexcited’?). Rushing around, behind Wicky, whispering to him, all day long. I can see that if he’s not careful, Wicky is going to turn round and boot him one. Treg is giving him no peace. And, he is so infernally happy. I’ve never seen him so full of himself. But when I ask him what’s up, he just winks and turns his head. Come to think of it, he must be careful that I don’t boot him one. He has become really irritating. I suppose it could be the weather for it has changed again, these last few days. But, it has got a lot warmer again and Treggy usually doesn’t do so good in the warm weather. Much better when there is a nip of frost in the air. So, no. I really don’t think it is that. I suppose it’s possible that he’s gone and got his second ‘really good idea’ or whatever he called it when he thought he had had his first one. The trouble is we are all so busy humouring him that we don’t get around to trying to really grasp what it is that he is on about and so it is very easy to forget it, in the relief when it goes away. I have tried to raise the subject with Wicked but he just says that it’s a secret and he can’t break Treggy’s trust. Not that it matters to me, you understand. I’m not one to pry into other horses affairs. They want their little secrets, that’s O.K. with me. It’s just that, well, I’d like to know. It’s driving me crazy watching him going about like this. There was a time when he had no secrets from me. When I first came along, he was only too happy to have someone look out for him and to fight in his corner. I’m afraid, Master Tregony of ‘what shall I do next, Alli’ fame, is getting a little to big for his horseshoes. In fact, I think I’ll go and tell him now. If he doesn’t let me into his little secret, I’ll never talk to him again. And, if I don’t like it, I won’t either. So, Mr. Treggy-Trog. You had better watch out. I’m coming, ready or not!

dogs waiting at supermarketSaturday 8th November 2003
“Honestly, Alli, we was going to tell you, weren’t we Wick? It’s just that I’ve got to iron out a few details first. You know, Alli, dot some teas and cross some eyes, that sort of thing.”

“But what is it. This big idea, then, Treg? You haven’t told me what it is that you are getting so excited about.”

“Ay, an’ ye have nae told me, either, ye great big lummox. Come on now, get it off your chest, laddie. What is this big idea of yours?”

“Are you sure you both want to know? Even if it makes you compliances?”

“What are you talking about? This is not another piece of your police jargon, is it?”

“I’m afraid, the very opposite, Alli. We are on the verge of the underwood, moving into the nether regions, so to speak. But, if that’s what it takes to get my prowess recognised in the force, so be it. Tregony is ready to go under covers.”

“For the last time, laddie. What on earth are ye on about?”

“Try and say it in very simple terms, Treg. So that even you could understand it.”

“Well. O.K. If you are ready. Alli. Wicky. I’ll tell you. I’m going to become a napper!”

silence …. silence….

“A napper? As in a lower lip, drooping, restful kind if horse, standing around doing very little except dreaming of his next bucket. That kind of napper?”

“No, Alli. Not a sleepy horse. You know, a human napper!”

“Oh, I see laddie. You’re going to become human. But not like an active, bucket filling, hay net carrying, useful human. More like a human version of yourself, on a good day. Ay, laddie. I ken ye know. SO?”

“No, no, no. You don’t understand. Listen. You know how I want to be known as a really good member of the Human Wotch force. A real defective. Well, I can’t do it if no one will steal a human, can I? So, my thought is ….”

“Don’t tell us, Treg…”

“ … ay, laddie, you, Detective Inspector Sergeant Tregony Bay of the Throwleigh Road Branch of the Human Watch …..”

“…..are going to coltnap a Human! Yes. You’ve got it. I’m going to nab a Human. Hide him away somewhere and then find him, so that I will become a heroine and a credit to the force and famous. That’s my plan! What do you think, guys?”

“Wicky, a word.”

“Yes Alli. I agree. Shall we?”

“Just wait there, Tregony. We’ll be back. Try counting up to a thou… er.. five!”

dark skySunday 9th November 2003
He’s been standing in the corner again, behind the field shelter. Wicky and I are not sure if he is sulking because we didn’t take him seriously or if he is still trying to count up to five. One way or another, we have to get him back and let him know that we really care for him so that he isn’t hurt any more. The trouble is, he will take this Human Watch thing so seriously. Honestly, if humans needed watching, Pegasus would have made us with inbuilt video cameras. But try telling Treg that? Oh no. He will go on about the ‘protection of the community’ and the ‘strong leg of the law’ and other such sayings. The truth is, he feels a bit lost since he had to retire from the Riding School. He was always a very hard and willing worker and, although his old bones just won’t let him do all that running around and carrying people, he just can’t stand around and enjoy his hard earned rest. Now me, I’m different. The day I gave up racing was a really joyful time. As much as I like to go out with the gang for a run around, I couldn’t see the point in straining and struggling to come in first. The days when we went out training were very pleasant. I don’t mind a good gallop, in fact, I enjoy it very much. That is the one thing I miss. But the competitive bit just left me cold. So what if someone else ran faster than me? It didn’t make any difference to my feed. No, the day I gave up racing and was sent off to stud, now that really was a day to remember. I think I was born for marehood. Ooh! It makes me go all quivery, just to think of it. Especially when they are very young. Laying about in a sunlit field while your colt or filly play about beside you. When they push their little noses into your side or nibble at your knees. When they frolic about and then come back and look up at you and their little eyes say ‘mother’. Oh, what a glorious feeling. Ah well, I can only remember now. Of course, after they took my babies away, they made me go to a Riding School. Me? What a come down. And the worst of it was, the other horses laughed at me because I hadn’t been taught how to take a human out for a normal ride and do walk, trot and canter in a gentle, civilised way. All I had been prepared for was to go out of the stalls, as quick as I could and then gallop my heart out until the end of the race. I think that time at the Riding school was the worst in my life. It wasn’t the humans’ fault, they were very kind and understanding to me. But when you are put in a humiliating position, life isn’t funny. And that’s why, I must go after Treg and get him to see that Wicky and I really have his best interests at heart and are only trying to protect him from getting into trouble. And, of course, that’s true. What on earth would happen if he really did ‘mannap’ someone? I dread to think.

Treg and I eatingMonday 10th November 2003
I feel sorry for Alli and Wicked. Being civilians, they really have little idea of the rather high standards of the law and what us hossifers are required to do in the way of duty. I think Alli really did think that I was going to steal a human. She, well both of them really, have so little regard for my abilities that they really think I would be that silly. They have never heard of going plain rugged, I supposed. They wouldn’t realise that I am going under clover just so as to catch those baddies. I can tell you, 'cos I know that you won’t tell anyone really naughty. It’s like this. I pretend to catch a human and hide him away, probably in the top field, ‘cos only the sheep and the rabbits go up there much. Then, I make my demands known, for the safe return of said human. Now this should make the other humans go on the look out for the baddy human stealer. Of course this makes the real baddies jealous that they never thought of it in the first place, so they start looking as well. Then I just happen to let it slip (in crimmy circles) that I thought I heard some human cries for help, maybe somewhere near the top field. And then, when the real baddies go to capture the captured human for themselves, I will be waiting for them. See, it was all a subra.. er a fugersu .. er, er a trick, no – a subrafuge! There’s not many minds what could think up a plot like that, is there. But now, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to do it, as Wicky and Alli will do something silly to protect me from myself. Just when I was going to do something worthy of promotion! Oh well, I suppose there might be some mileage in stolen human tack. After all, they would feel really silly, not to say pretty cold, if they were to lose their rugs. Now, getting them back for them, might really be a winner. I think I’ll have a wander round behind the field shelter, for a little thinking session. See you later. Hossifer Treg.





whisking the flies awayTuesday 11th November 2003
That Tregony’s been hiding away, behind the field shelter for ages now. I told Alli about him, but she didn’t seem to care. Just muttered something about ‘at least he’s keeping out of trouble’ and carried on munching her way up the hill. She can seem quite heartless like that, sometimes although I expect she’s probably right. There’s not much trouble the old man can get up to, round there. Except getting stuck, of course. But we could soon get him out, if he did. Just nip up behind him and give him a good old nip. He’s run so fast, he’d forget he was stuck. Well, no sense worrying about him. He’ll do what he wants to anyway. I’ve been enjoying a good meal of hay lately. It’s strange how, at first, you don’t want to change. Hay seems funny, dry old stuff after the nice juicy grass. But then, some nights it’s just too much of an effort to go out and the grass is not as sweet and tasty any more, so you have a little nibble. And you know what? It doesn’t taste so bad, after all. So you have another mouthful and then, maybe, you get chatting or just watching the rain coming down, outside the field shelter and you have another bite of hay. Then you start to feel a bit drowsy and have a little doze and when you wake up, there it is, the hay net, right there under your nose. So you have just a little taste. And then, another, And very soon it’s morning time and you have to get ready to get your nice full bucket. Really, I don’t know why some folk don’t like the autumn and winter months. And there’s an added bonus as well. Two, really. First there’s no flies to bother you and get in your eyes and tickle your skin and worse, some bite and really drive you mad. That’s in the summer. And the other good thing in the winter, the ground’s always nice and soft on your feet and you can always find a really good, deep, sloshy mud puddle to have a nice bath and a roll in. As my old sire used to say ‘mudliness is next to eatliness’. Really, winter is a pretty good time.


and restingWednesday 12th November 2003
I don’t know what it was, but this morning I felt full of life and up for anything. I was sure I heard some very interesting young male calling out to me, while I was waiting for breakfast. I heard him again when I went for my morning stroll down to the recreation ground, only this morning, it was more like a run up to the starting gate than a stroll. If I had still been racing, I’m sure I would have won, today. It was just on of those times when all your nerves are on edge and you’re raring to go. I’m sure SHE didn’t understand me, at first, as SHE decided to give me a strict talking to. I did try to hold myself back for HER but, with the best will in the world, I couldn’t control myself. You should have seen HIS face, as I dragged HIM up the Throwleigh Road. HE was so grateful when we stopped for carrots, in our usual lay by, that it made my heart really feel for HIM. Mind you, I couldn’t hold myself back for HIM either and we went off again at a rare old pace. You only had to take one look at Treggy’s face to see that he realised he was in for a bit of a hard time. I tried to jolly him up and, to be fair, he did his best but I still had that stallion ringing in my ears and nothing was going to pacify me. I stood there and called out to him over and over again but I am afraid that I have never been blessed with a very loud voice, so I’m sure he didn’t hear me. In the end, I had to content myself with a really good roll in the mud and a bit of mad frisk and a buck afterwards. In fact, I was right in the middle of this when THEY turned up again. Strangely, THEY drove right in the gate and up to the middle field where we were. I feared the worst. It’s usually the vet or the dentist or something when THEY do that. But no, instead they took, first Tregony, then Wicky, took their rugs off and proceeded to take their photos and note down the whorls and markings on their coats. Then they put their rugs back on, got into their car and drove off. I wondered what on earth THEY were doing and why THEY missed me out. It was not until this evening, when HE walked me home that HE told me what was going on. Apparently the old boys are going to get passports, like me. I hope they don’t start getting ideas above their station. I shall have to watch out!

horse facesThursday 13th November 2003
I heard yesterday that all the local horses are getting passports, in fact all the horses and ponies in the country have got to have them. Apparently it’s some new rule to do with medications getting into the food chain although HE won’t explain this to me in detail, so I just have to take his word for it. I feel HE is probably shielding me from some unpleasant fact about human behaviour again, as he often does. Anyway, what I started to tell you was about my friend Pepsi. I don’t see anything of her, these days but once, not so long ago, I used to share her field and, after a rather shaky start, we turned into real good pals. She is, I have to say, a fairly wilful character and not without her silly side. When we first met, she was not used to being with other horses and she rather resented me coming into her field. But when she found out that HE took over her feeding, grooming and cleaning duties in exchange for my being allowed to be in her field during the day and she also found out what a soft touch HE is, she decided it was OK after all. It did make a difference, I think, that I went home at night and was no competition for her food. HE would come in the evening, make her supper, call us both in and take me home, leaving her to eat in peace. In fact, in the end, she used to look forward to me coming back, in the morning and would call out with a silly, little sort of giggle. I as said, she had quite a sense of fun. And that brings me to where I started. Passports. Apparently, HE tells me, Pepsi heard about how she would be needing a passport so she took herself off to one of those machines, you know, where you sit on a stool and the machine takes a sequence of passport size photos of you. Well, all went well until Pepsi got an attack of the naughties and started making faces at the camera. Well, I leave it to you to decide, is she a naughty girl or what?





playing in the snowFriday 14th November 2003
A funny day today. At least, the morning was. It seemed to start out just like normal. I had my breakfast while HE went over to Nine Fields to take Treg & Wicky theirs. While he was away, after I had eaten my breakfast, SHE took me over the recreation ground for a short exercise and a mouthful of grass. The only embarrassing thing about that is that SHE uses a (whisper this) retractable dog leash instead of a proper lead rein, to walk me up and down the road. SHE says it is to allow me to wander about on the grass while SHE sits down on the park bench so that SHE doesn’t get tired. That bit is fine, it’s just that I dread being seen by another horse, while being lead on a dog leash. Anyway, we came home as usual and there HE is, waiting for us. HE puts my outdoor rug on, I do my party trick of walking into THEIR kitchen and eating four sugar cubes off the kitchen table and then off we go, walking the half mile down the Throwleigh Road to Nine Fields. HE dropped me off there and SHE came and picked HIM up in HER car so he doesn’t have to walk home, and that was that. Well, blow me if THEY don’t turn up again, twenty minutes later with Mark, the farrier. Well, that put me in a right bad mood. If the farrier is coming, I have my shoes done at home, not out in the field, like the common ponies! I took one look and decided that I was not going to stay and I was just about to charge off, dodging HER with my head collar, when HE grabbed me in a very un-gentlemanly manner and yelled at me to stand still. Well, I knew when I was beaten, so I went fairly quietly and suffered the indignity of being shoed in the field shelter. But, I got my own back later on. I gave Tregony a good old nip on his rug and that made me feel a whole lot better!





... and rollingSaturday 15th November 2003
I don’t know whether you have noticed but HE is using a lot of old photos for this diary, lately. I am afraid that there is a good reason for that. Well, actually, it’s a bad reason really. You see, HE dropped his camera, a while ago, when HE had decided that HE didn’t have enough recent pictures of us. HE took it out of his pocket one morning when HE got out of the car, to take some pictures of the sheep, which had moved into the Throwleigh Road field. After taking the first, HE placed the camera on the gate post while HE opened the gate. When HE reached out to get it again, HE knocked it onto the hard ground and it stopped working. HE tried to get it going again while Wick and Treg were eating their breakfasts but, to no avail. In truth, HE wasn’t too upset because HE has had his eye on a new, bigger, better camera now for quite a while and this could be the opportunity to get it. So, HE didn’t rush to get it mended, as HE expected to have the new one in a few days. Then, when HE investigated, it turns out that there is another camera available, better suited to HIS needs and quite a lot cheaper. Or, at least, it is a lot cheaper if you hunt around on the internet. So, HE places HIS order with a firm which is new to HIM and waits. Then, HE checks and finds out that the camera is out of stock and wont be here until the end of the month. HE panics and takes the old broken one in for repair, only to be told that it would be best if HE sends it off to the repair factory himself, as it will be quicker and cheaper than if the shop does it. So, that camera is sent off with no date set for its return. Gloom sets in and HE sets about digging out some old photos from last summer and also from last winter! One piece of good news yesterday. They phoned HIM to say that the new camera has arrived and HE should receive it early next week. And then wont we be in for some photo shoots, until he tires of his new toy. Men!

Treg sitting upSunday 16th November 2003
I don’t know what it is, I’ve been real laid back lately. When I walk down to the recreation ground (on THAT lead) in the mornings, it’s as much as I can do to place one foot in front of the other. And then, when we walk down the Throwleigh Road to Nine Fields, I have been walking behind him instead of pulling him. THEY are quite worried about me. ‘Yes, it’s nice not to be pulled along’, they say, ‘but it’s certainly not like her’. HE says it is because I am disappointed after last week when I was very up on my toes and listening out for a stallion and none came my way. SHE says I am eating properly, so I don’t appear to be sickening for something although, I have been taking a longer time than usual over my buckets and I’ve not been finishing off my hay overnight, as I used to. Then HE says it might be because the hay nets that he puts out over Nine Fields are getting eaten up during the day so that I am probably full of hay by the time night comes. And me, I just don’t know. I don’t feel ill, as such. No tummy pains or anything. And yet, I am definitely not myself. I know that. Maybe it’s like they all say, you know, hormones. Who knows. At least it’s nice to know that THEY will be keeping an eye on me. Oh, that reminds me. HE has started another nice habit. Straightaway, when HE gets up in the morning, while HIS kettle is boiling for THEIR morning drinks, he comes out to see me with a carrot tucked in his back pocket. I only have to endure a little stroking and whispering and then I have a little appetiser before breakfast. HE really is trainable. Much more so than HER. SHE means well, I know, but SHE doesn’t realise who is in control of who and SHE deludes HERSELF that SHE is training me! It certainly makes hard work for me sometimes. I am quite happy for her to be the dominant mare but that is quite a different relationship to that of master and slave. And anyway, I don’t want her as my slave. Just a little more adaptable towards adopting new, mouth watering habits. Ah well, we’ll get there. It just takes a bit of time!

blue titsMonday 17th November 2003
It’s a wee while since Alli asked me to tak’ over a page o’ her diary, for a bit. I think she’s just, for now, having a wee break from the pressures of authorship. I dinna ask for the job, mind, but the auld Treg was also having some time off. Leave, he calls it, from his law keeping duties, ye ken. So, when the lassie asked me, I said I would, on the understanding that she wouldnae make any comments about my pseudo Scots accent. I’ve had it for so long now that it’s become part of me. I keep finding that I hae a grrreat urge to say ‘the noo’ but the trouble is that I don’t really know what it means. I know what ‘ken’ means, ye ken. Or should I say I ken what ken means, the noo? Anyway (as herself would say), if I try to keep it to a few ‘lassies’ here and a few ‘laddies’ there with the odd single quote mark to replace the final vowel on a few things, we should just about understand each other and remind you that, in truth, I was born and bred on Dartmoor, up over!

So what’s been happening with us? In one word – sheep! Sheep have been happening – we’ve been sheeped! When HE comes in the morning, with our buckets, HE busies HIMSELF, while we eat, by filling three hay nets and hanging them up, one for each of us. Then HE goes away and fetches Alli, leaves her and goes off for HIS breakfast, happy in the knowledge (ken?) that we have enough fodder until HE returns in the evening. Wrong! As soon as HE goes off, down come the sheep and start eating our hay. And they are not even tidy eaters. They drop a lot. And, instead of eating it up off the floor, they proceed to tread it all in the mud with their nasty little spiky feet. The other day, one even had the cheek to come up while I was eating and tried to put her head in my bucket. I showed her how well and quickly I can kick out and that put paid to that. Treg and Alli have given up and just slope off up the field to graze but I’ve taken to standing guard in front of our field shelter. And that is how HE found out what they were doing. I think HE suspected and THEY came along in the day to check on us and saw me on Guard with the sheep queuing up for a feed. HE went out and bought some more hooks to hang our hay nets higher. I’ll have to let you know how that works. I’m off now, back to my sentry duty.



leavesTuesday 18th November 2003
Well, HIS new camera turned up today, so we can expect all kinds of pictures now, while HE plays with er.. practices with it. I’m not sure when Treg, Wick and I will feature, however, as it is still very rainy and HE will not want HIS new toy to get wet and dirty, will HE? The trouble is, HIS hands are always full, when HE comes to see us. Either HE has his arms around the buckets or HE is leading me along. And, the new camera is not as small as the old one, so HE can’t just slip it in HIS pocket and just take it out when HIS hands are free. And another thing. The old camera was very simple, just point and shoot with a bit of zoom and automatic flash. This one is really clever. It can do so much that it has to have a 117 page manual to tell you how to use it. Which reminds me. When HE was looking round to find the replacement camera, he used a web site which compares the prices that various firms are charging and, naturally, HE chose the cheapest. It was a firm he had not used before, but they looked OK from their web site so he went ahead and ordered it. It was only when HE was having a bit of trouble with delivery and HIS e-mails received automatic responses in French, that HE realised that the firm was in France. But, having never been a Europhile (don’t ask Treg, I’ll explain later!) HE didn’t let that bother HIM. In fact, it added a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the whole (I’m sorry, Treg, there is no other way of saying it. No, I’m not showing off my French education – they taught me to gallop not to talk) … er… sorry, where was I? Oh yes, so HE just accepted that HE would get a better deal because of the exchange rate or something. Well, today, as I said, the camera turned up. And guess what? The whole 117 page manual was in French! I think HE must have spent all the money HE saved, just finding a copy of the English version on the internet and downloading it.

Now, Treg. Let me explain. A Europhile. No, it’s not a tool used by French farriers. No, nor a box for keeping my passport in. Treg, just be quiet and listen …..



Ramsley LaneWednesday 19th November 2003
I think I should explain, for once and for all, that I am NOT French. I have nothing against the French and would be only too happy to be French, if that were the case, for they breed some very fine racehorses. But, as it happens, I have English and American parentage but I was born and schooled in France, for my early years. That is why I have to endure HIM trying out HIS long forgotten schoolboy French when HE walks me up to Nine Fields some mornings. I think HE means it kindly, as a way of letting me know that HE knows about my past and that I might gain some comfort from hearing words that I heard as a filly. The trouble is that HIS accent makes them nothing like what I heard then, even if HE gets the words correct, which is not all the time, to be honest. Mind you, If you think I have trouble with HIM you should have heard me trying to explain things French to Tregony. To start with, the old boy has no concept of Europe as being a place across the English Channel. The only large stretch of water that Tregony is familiar with is the River Tamar that he had to cross to get to Engla…. er … Devon from Cornwall. (Nearly slipped up there. You’d be surprised how many Cornish think that they are not part of England!). Trying to explain the concept of a sea to Tregony is like trying to explain ‘diet’ to Wicky. It is just not within his experience. ‘You mean a lot bigger than our stream, Alli?’ ‘Yes, Treg, a great big lot bigger!’ And so it went on. Another country? ‘Oh, like Sticklepath?’ he said. ‘Bigger than Sticklepath, Treg. And they talk funny.’ I won’t tell you the rest. It embarrasses me and it might even offend some people from places other than Cornwall and the Throwleigh Road. I suggested that he might like to see if he could go on a course with the Human Watch force to learn all about the Paris headquarters of InterHuW and he sounded very interested in this and went straight off to his office behind the field shelter to note it on his log. I’ll say this for him. He is a very keen member of the force and he appears to work very hard. What it is exactly that he does is a trifle mysterious but then that is what he would call ‘hundercover work’. He has never been so lively for a long time. What with the new shoes and the cooler weather, Treg is a restored character. Let’s hope he stays this way for many years to come.

snow silhouettesThursday 20th November 2003
“Hi, Wicky, you seen Treggy anywhere? I’ve looked all over but I can’t find him”

“Oh, hello Alli. Yes, I saw him going up the hill a little while ago. He said something about having to go about his Human Watch duties.”

“Oh, yes. I can see him. Up there, along the far hedge, by that bush. I wonder what on earth he’s doing now?”

“You never know with the old laddie. He gets a bee in his forelock and away he goes. This po-licing thing really has taken over with him, hasn’t it?”

“He sure does take it seriously. Look, he’s moving off now, sticking to the hedgerow. Now he’s stopped again, under that holly. I think I’ll just have a run up there and see what’s going on.”

“Waste of good eating time, if ye ask me, lassie. But, you suit yourself. Let me know if the sky is going to fall or anything.”


“Alli. You come to find them as well?”

“Hello there, Treg. What are you doing up here? Find who?”

“It came through on the HW grapevine, Alli. In fact, I thought you’d know all about it.”

“About what, Treg? What are you talking about?”

“They said that there was a group of them. Going to an Alli, they said. Although, you’re probably not the only Alli around. If you don’t know about it, it must have been some other Alli.”

“Who are they. Who was going to an Alli? What else do you know, Treg?”

“Well, they were going to show us how to do something and they were going to test something but I’m afraid I don’t know what it is.”

“Then why would Human Watch be interested in this, Treg? Are they dangerous, whoever it is?”

“I don’t think so. No. In fact, they said something about being peaceful. And professional. To tell you the truth, Alli, I don’t know myself why the force is getting involved. I may not have grasped the full content of the message, I suppose. But, one thing I do know. I’m supposed to be protecting some bush or other so maybe they are going to cut it down. That’s why I came up here, by this holly. It might be peaceful people coming to steal the holly for Xmas decorations.”

“A bit early for that, don’t you think, Treg?”

“Well, it might explain what they were going to do. You know, show us how to make Christmas garlands or demonstrate the way to string holly and mistletoe together.”

“What was that word Treg? Demonstrate? Now, think carefully Treg. Try and tell me exactly what your orders were.”

“I don’t think I can remember, exactly, Alli, but it was something like ‘a peaceful crowd of professional testers in the West country going to an Alli to demonstrate something and we had to go along and protect George’s bush’. But the trouble is, I know which bushes are Clarence’s but I don’t know which bush is George’s.”

“Er, Treg. I don’t quite know how to put this. Maybe you should take a break now and come down with me and Wicky and we’ll go thought it again, so that you understand it properly. Eh, old fella?”

“Oh, thanks Alli. It’s a good job that you’re here to help me, isn’t it?”

window catFriday November 21st 2003

“Yes Treg?”

“Have you seen Alli around. I’ve got to find her, it’s urgent.”

“Ay, laddie, it always is with you. What is it now, son, not forgotten who you are again, have you?”

“I’m afraid I can’t tell you Wick. It’s for her ears only, I’m afraid. Top security and all that.”

“Oh good, nothing important, then. I think you’ll find her up the high field chatting with some sheep. Although why she would want to do that, I don’t know. Unless it is to get away from you.”

“Sorry. Can’t stop, Wick. I’m under orders, you know. Must get this message to Alli before something horrendous happens.”

“Off you go then, laddie. Remind her that it’s getting on for bucket time. If she forgets that, it will be horrendous.”…..

“Oh, there you are, thank goodness, Alli.”

“And what do I have to thank goodness for, Treg. Wait a minute, old boy. Catch your breath. It doesn’t do you any good at all to run up the field like that.”

“I’ve got some very important news for you, Alli. You could be in danger. I heard it on the news. Some chap was parked by the hedge along the Throwleigh Road and he had his radio on while he ate his lunch. And I heard it, Alli. What they said, on the news.”

“I don’t think they would have me on the radio, Treg. I know I’m famous but not so much now that I have retired.”

“But I heard it, Al. On the news, like I said.”

“What did you hear, Treg?”

“You know you was telling me the other day, how you spend your time when you are in your stable to Ramsley? You know, with that hinsect?”

“I said that I watched a spider making its web. In fact it’s around all the time, it’s a sort of pet of mine.”

“That’s it, Al. Don’t have nothing to do with it. It’s terrible dangerous. That’s what they said on the news. It could blow up any minute. They been doing it to turkeys. Probably horses next. All this terroristum. It’s Al’s Spider. They said so. I just had to come and warn you Al, before it’s too late.”

“And a very good job you did, Treg. I’m very grateful. Now. Did Wicky say anything about bucket time? Come on, old fella. We mustn’t be late for that, must we?”

autumn treesSaturday November 22nd 2003

“Yes Treg?”

“I was having a dream, a little while ago, and I had to look at myself, all over when I woke up, to check that I was really me.”

“That’s nice, Treg.”

“And when I saw that I was really me, I must admit that I was a little disappointed, although, at the same time, I was very relieved, as well.”

“Oh, yes.”

“Yes, Wick. You see, I had been dreaming that I was someone else. And not only that, I was someone else, as well.”

“Treg. Do you really want me to listen to you properly? You’re going to have to do better than that, if you do. You’re not even making as much sense as usual and, I have to say, Treg, that usually, that isn’t a whole lot of short feed, if you know what I mean.”

“I know it’s confusing, Wick. It’s hard for me so I expect you will find it difficult, as well. You see, I dreamed that I was a very powerful and frightening character from the past – Treg the Destroyer. And I was going about, the scourge of the land, biting and kicking all the stallions and taking all the mares. In fact, having a really good time. But the trouble was that, in the background, I was still me, so I knew it was wrong, really. But I didn’t care, at least I cared but he, me, the other me didn’t care at all. I was enjoying it. That is, being really bad. Being terrible. Treg, the Dark Destroyer! I kept thinking of all those horses and ponies in the past that have laughed at me and called me silly. And, I thought, ‘I’ll get my own back now. You will get kicked like you’ve never been kicked before. And I laughed, a terrible laugh. And I sneered. You know, Wick. A bit like your guerning face. like that.”

“Do you think it’s something you’ve eaten, Treg? I’ve never known you to string a whole paragraph together like that before, let alone al that kicking and biting stuff.”

“But then I dreamed that I was Supertreg an’ I zoomed down out of the sky like a buzzard and nipped the Destroyer’s ear and warned him to go away or he’d get it from the mighty good doer. Or is that do gooder? Anyway, I was now the mighty Supertreg and I was going to right all the wrongs in the Throwleigh Road and kick all the Dark Destroyers in the process. Except, that was me, as well. And then, I woke up and looked around for those other mes and instead, I saw you.”

“Just as well, Treg. Just as well. I think we need to have a talk about all this suppressed hate inside you. All this desire to bite and kick and stuff. Look, you have a lay down there. That’s right. Now, I’m going to take you back to when you were a foal, in Cornwall, …….”

sheepSunday November 23rd 2003
We’re thinking about getting Treg to retire from this Human Watch thing. It’s really starting to affect his reasoning. And he keeps getting himself all worked up and gets all despondent when things turn out differently from what he had imagined. It’s hard to know what is for the best though, for it has given him an interest, something to keep him going. I have to admit, since he has been into it, he has never been so active. We just need to wean him off all this spy and terrorist stuff and get him to come back down to earth and deal with what he likes to call ‘mispers’ and stuff like that. Oh, and he can still keep his log up to date. That is, if there is one. I have my doubts. I’ve been round the back of the field shelter and I’ve never seen it. He says it is because he is so tidy that he always puts it away when he has made his entries but I have my misgivings that it is just another of Treg’s imaginings. A harmless one, I agree. But where does imagining stop and porkies begin, I ask myself. Oh, well. Wick and I will have a chat about it when the old guy is off up the field somewhere. It’s not urgent, just yet, although I’m keeping my eye on it.

So, what interesting has been happening? Did I tell you our sheep have gone? Not very far, I don’t think. Just into the fields above ours. Just as well really. They have done their job, cleaning up our fields. And then, they were getting naughty. Not all of them, but some. When they would drift down to the Throwleigh Road field, in the morning, there was a small gang of then would clamber over the wall and get into Clarence’s field. Or worse. They would get out into the road and slow the traffic down. They were never in any danger of getting lost or anything for when the rest of the flock would wander up again, they would just clamber back over the walls and join them. Like sheep! Anyway, they are gone now, so Wicky and Treg won’t get accused of eating too much hay anymore. Pity though. After a morning with Treg, I used to look forward to some intelligent conversation for a change!

looking outMonday November 24th 2003
It was a bit chilly, overnight, and HE had to scrape the ice from the windows of THEIR cars this morning. As I thought, the frost spooks were out over the recreation ground, when SHE took me out for a bite. Most of the grass was frozen up, as we walked along the road, but, fortunately, the area where we go is sheltered by trees, so the grass there was cold but edible. Anyway, it’s more of a ritual than a serious eating expedition. And just as well really, for those frost spooks were all around and if I had got carried away concentrating on eating, I could very well have been taken advantage of, by the spooks. But, I was careful and nothing happened and we came back just in time for HIM to be ready with my coat and lead rein. I was a bit wary, walking up the hill, under Dry Bridge, because there is always a trickle of water there, which can freeze over and make walking under the bridge and up to Amber’s entrance, quite hazardous. Also, it’s hard to tell if it is black ice or just wet. The only way to tell is to step on it, or preferably get HIM to step on it. However, everything was fine and we made our first carrot stop, as usual, and then started to make our way up the Throwleigh Road. It’s amazing how many fans I have made, just walking up that road. Mainly it’s due to the time of day that I go. It is the same time that some folks are going off to work and also the time when parents are driving their foals to school. I get HIM to wave to all the vehicles, as they go past and now, they all wave back, particularly the youngsters. Mind you, the adult humans seem to like horses just as much as their offspring. It is very rare that we get a car , van or lorry drive past us at a dangerous or frightening speed. This morning, we must have been a bit late or Clarence was a bit early, for we met him driving his great big tractor back along the road after delivering one of those huge cotton reel bales of hay to his cows. Now, I don’t mind tractors, I am very used to them now, but I don’t like it when there is very little space between me and it, on the road, with nowhere to run, if I need to. But Clarence, being a farmer, knows all about animals and he very kindly stopped his tractor to allow me to pass. In return, to be polite and not delay him too much, I trotted past, with HIM running beside me. It was a good job we were not far from carrot stop number two, for I think the run just about finished him. It’s a terrible thing, old age!

Treg and WickedTuesday 25th November 2003
“Hey, Treg, my man, here, come here a moment”

“What? Oh, yes Wick, I’m coming.”

“Have you heard, eh? Have you heard what SHE is doing?”

“Making our supper, Wick?”

“No man, I mean, apart from that. Have ye no heard?”

“Funny that Wick. No, I’ve no heard, if that’s how you say it.”

“I’m talking about her web site. You know, the one Alli says is hers.”

“Oh yes, I have heard about that, thank you Wicky. Can I go now?”

“Not that, yer big lummox. No, it’s what SHE’s doing wi' it, this month.”

“Oh. I see. What SHE is doing with it. Right. That was very interesting, Wicky. Well worth going without those few mouthfuls, that I was just about to have over there. Was there anything else, Wick, before I go back?”

“Great colt’s forelocks! I do despair o’ you some days, auld Treg. Just listen. Oh, hello Alli, I was just about to tell Treg what you told me. You know. About don …”

“About donkeys, Treg. Donkeys! What do you think of that?”

“Donkeys, Alli? What do I think about them? Not very much, Alli, to tell the truth. I don’t mean I don’t think much of them. No, what I mean is that I don’t think about them much. Do you see what I mean?”

“Well, think about them now, laddie. Alli told me that SHE is going to devote the whole of the December issue to donkeys. Donkeys! Those great, stupid, long eared lumps of grey stuff. Donkeys! How can SHE do it?”

“Don’t look like that, Treg. Wicky is only telling you what SHE told me. I think the idea originated from the Christmas story, you know, when the animals all stood round the baby, looking all adoring and all that.”

“Oh, Alli. Ain’t that lovely? All christmassy and warm and soppy and that.”

“What’s not warm and soppy is donkeys, Treg. They are just an insult to the equine race. Don’t you think so Alli?”

“I didn’t realise you were so prejudiced, Wicky, or I would never have told you.”

“Yer, Wick, don’t let it put you off your grass. Eh, Al?”

“Quite right, Treg. There is room for all sorts. They can have the December issue, if they like. Peace on earth and all that. What do you say, Wick?”

“I think he said something like ‘Bath um Bug’, Alli. Maybe that’s Shetland for something?”

“I expect so, Treg. Yes. So it is!”

SHE lays downWednesday 26th November 2003
I did wonder why HE is singing me Christmas carols, as HE walks me up to Nine Fields. I mean, there’s still just under a month to go. Then I found out. It’s these blessed web sites. Both HIS and HERS are doing a monthly thing now, so everything they work on has to be a month ahead. They were seeking out Xmas carols as soon as they had published the current issue, at the start of the month. And, as you know, once you start playing that kind of thing, it goes on running through your head, all the time. I gather HE’s prone to it, not only when HE walks me up the hill but also when HE is washing up or doing any other repetitive job. HE is liable to break into Good King Wotsit when HE is cleaning out my stable or feeding the birds but it’s not always sung. If HE is anywhere where HE could be overheard, by humans, HE whistles. It’s only me HE favours with the full glory of HIS voice. Whilst it might well be a pleasant change from ‘The Good Ship Sails on the Alley, Alley, O’, (well, a change, anyway!) I can’t say I will be sad when this season of so called goodwill is over. At least, as far as the vocals are concerned. I expect it will be ‘Auld Lang Syne’ next. That’ll be a disaster too. Not only is HIS voice appalling but he will be just like all the other humans and not know many of the words. That’s when it gets really bad. See. HE makes up words, you know, little rhymes (or near rhymes) to cover up the fact that HE doesn’t know the real words. And worse. So that he doesn’t interrupt the tune, HE rushes the song with any old words, even if they turn into rubbish. And HE tries to make them about me or Treg or Wick or any of our friends. You know – ‘ Should old acquaintance be like Wick and never sing like Treg, should old bananas make you sick, I’ll .. something rhymes with leg’ – like that. Roll on when I can stay out all the time, I’m counting the days!

Treg on patrolThursday 27th November 2003
“What would you like for Christmas, Wick?”

“It’s a bit early for that, son, don’t you think?”

“Oh, no Wick. You’ve got to know ‘cos you have to let Santa know, so that he can put the elves to work on it.”

“Don’t tell me you believe in all that load of nonsense, Treg. You are joking, aren’t you?”

“What do you mean, Wicky?”

“You’re not seriou …. You are serious, aren’t you Treg? Yes, I can see you are. Now come on auld fella. Stop that lower lip trembling. I didnae mean Santa. Oh, no, no, no, no! I thought you were talking about – er – about … well, you know. All those adverts that you see for complementary medicine and that. Oh come on laddie. give us a smile. A wee little smile. Really. I didn’t mean anything.”

“What about complementary medicine, Wicky? Are you saying ….?”

“Only that it’s no complementary, Treg, you have to pay for it. that’s all. Now. Tell me what you Want For Christmas?”

“You won’t laugh?”

“No, laddie. O’ course not. Tell me.”

“I would like … screw my eyes up and wish… I would like … a racing saddle! There!”

“And why ever not, my man, why shouldn’t you have a rac..? A WHAT? You want a what, Treg?”

“There, I knew you would laugh at me. I wish I had never told you now. You’re horrid. I hate you!”

“Whoa, lad. Whoa. Calm doon now. I didnae say it was silly. I just was a bit shocked at the thought o’ you racing.”

“I don’t want to race, silly. Just to have the saddle. It’s just something I’ve always admired. Alli would understand. I know I’m a bit old now, Wick, but I’m not too old to dream, Am I?”

“No, Treg. Of course not. Here. Let’s get together and compose a letter to Santa, shall we?”

“Oh would you, Wick. Oh. You really are my best friend, you know. You really are!”

treesFriday 28th November 2003
I wonder what those two are up to? They’ve been in a funny mood since yesterday. All secretive and giggly and that. And they’ve joined HIM now, singing snatches of Christmas Carols. It’s nice that they are getting on so well though. You wouldn’t think that they were a couple of old boys, the way they act sometimes. Like a pair of naughty school colts. Well. They’ll get a surprise tomorrow. I’ve not said anything but SHE told me that the hunt’s coming past Nine Fields tomorrow. I’m getting all excited myself. You see. It was part of my training to be a racehorse, taking part in a hunt. I don’t know anything about foxes and stuff like that. All I know is the excitement and the meeting up with other horses and the fun of the running and jumping and all that. And, unlike racing, nearly always everyone is in a good mood. In racing, it’s all serious about winning and I think the humans place more importance on the money than the fun. With hunting, nearly all the humans are there for a good time. And after a stirrup cup or two, most of them seem to have a good time, as well. Anyway, I’m dying to see little Wicky’s face when they all go past. I expect they will be on the road, coming back, when we see them. I hope so. For if they come galloping across our fields, I’m sure little Wick will try to join them. He loves a good old run. Even with his little legs he can be a real speedy little lad when he wants to be. I’m not so sure about Treg. He used to be a real good jumper, in his day. And he was very popular at the riding school. Always being asked for. But now, time has caught up with him and he’s slowed down, almost to standstill these days. I think he will watch the hunt with great interest. But there is no way that he would want to join in. in fact. I’ve just had an idea. I will tell him before they come. It will give him a great chance to employ his Human Watch skills. There will be a large number of humans and he can watch the lot, until they have gone past. “Hey, Treg!”

baby Korka and AstiSaturday 29th November 2003
SHE was a bit sad today. She had heard of a scheme run by the ILPH for their site in Norfolk where you can plant a tree as a windbreak and dedicate it to some past equine friend. SHE had sent off for details and they came in the post, today. Together with the details was a form to fill in, with the dates of birth and death of your friend. Now, a long time ago, before I was even born, THEY had given their friendship to a little colt foal, who they decided to call Korka. A funny name, but you know what humans are like. Apparently his dam had been called Asti, which is also the name of a kind of fizzy wine, so the joke was that he, the foal, was the cork out of the Asti bottle. He was also what some humans refer to as a ‘corker’, so you see, THEY just couldn’t pass up on the joke. Oh well! Anyway, they not only gave their home to the little chap but their hearts as well. I say ‘little chap’ for that was what he was, at first. But the problem was – whisper this – THEY didn’t know who his sire was! The owners of the riding school where Asti worked, hadn’t even known she was expecting until just before it happened. And, to dock a long tail short, Korka grew to be 17 hands. But not with THEM apparently. Where THEY lived was fine. THEY didn’t have a stable or field of their own but THEY lived right next to a farm and Korka was stabled there and he could walk right up to the fence of their back garden, so he didn’t go without treats. No, the problem was that THEY were both at work and had very little spare time to spend looking after Korka, let alone enjoying and riding him. It was even worse in the winter when THEY had to get up and see to him in the dark, on the cold and wet mornings, before they went to work and again in the dark evenings, when they came home exhausted. In the end, THEY made the sad decision that Korka and them had to part. THEY arranged with the Ada Cole Charity that Korka should be placed in their care to put out on loan to a suitable vetted human, on the understanding that he would always be cared for by the Charity, till the end of his days. Korka went to a lovely man and good horseman who brought him on to be a great jumper and show horse and he had a fine career until finally he became poorly and had to be allowed to leave this world, back at Ada Coles.

And that is why SHE was sad today. Filling in the form brought back all sorts of memories, good as well as sad. How nice it is that such a bond can be built up between horses and humans. It’s nearly as strong as that between Wicky’s and buckets. And that’s saying a lot!

Korka at workSunday 30th November 2003
And that’s the end of November. A fairly grey old month on the whole, with a few nice days, a few horrid wet and windy days and a lot of, sort of nothing, days. But, whatever the weather, life goes on pretty much the same for us at Nine Fields. Some days we have sheep, some days we don’t. Some days there are cows in the field next door, some days it is empty and silent. Really, I don’t know what those farmers are up to, always moving things around. I was talking to Wicky the other day and we agreed that they must get bored very easily or something. I mean, how would it be if we changed our fields every week or so? You’d never have time to get used to things, to learn where the safe places are and where the good grass is and so on. We horses just move slowly round each of our fields, so that we can get used to things. And we develop patterns of movement throughout the day so we know what to expect next and what might be dangerous, as it is unexpected. I seems to me that the sheep and cows must be very unprepared sorts of animals who have no concerns about their safety. They just hang around until some dog or quad bike tells them to go somewhere else, and then they do (although in a very sloppy and untidy fashion, as if they have no idea what they are doing next so they just bumble along.) Mind you, Wick was telling me that when he was out on the moor in his herd, they drifted about a lot more freely than we can. Apparently their territory was vast, acres and acres of unfenced moorland, and they just worked their way through it, according to the seasons. I suppose they had to, for their was no such thing as the morning and evening bucket to look forward to. Maybe you could call our life now, boring but I like the routine myself. I wouldn’t mind a bet of excitement, now and again, as long as the re4st of my life was as comfortable as it is now.

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