Alezane's Diary Archive May 2005
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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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wall flowers not wallflowersSunday 1st May 2005
May Day! May Day or, as we used to say in France ‘m'aide' which means something quite different. HE was beginning to think that it applied to me again, this morning, when he was picking out my feet. My one bad foot was hot in comparison with the others which, for those of you who haven't been brought up properly to worry and care about horses, is not good news. HE mentioned the fact to HER and SHE felt all up my leg and reported that the whole thing was warmer than it should be. The pair of them went off in a quite sombre and gloomy mood after their expectation, of last night, that things were getting better.
Around lunchtime THEY came back. As usual, I didn't look up as visits at irregular times are usually not a good sign. I'm afraid Treggy gave the game away however and just stood and stared. HE walked round the back edge of the field and SHE took the direct route across the stream and up to the field shelter. Then, THEY closed in, in a sort of pincer movement to where I was grazing. It soon became too obvious to ignore and I gave in and went up to greet him. A few polos later. SHE reached us and started to check over my leg. And, do you know what? The heat had gone away. Having checked all around, SHE told HIM the good news and then THEY started to lose interest in me. At that moment, Jasmine with her human, Margaret came along and THEY spoke with her for a while. Finally, with a ‘bye, Alli' they were off, out of he bottom gate and into the bridleway. I later learned that SHE went to find Mathew, the guy who trains and liveries horses just up the path to see if he would like to take away the hay that hasn't got eaten this year.
Coming back to May Day. THEY learned something that THEY didn't know from the radio the other day. THEY had been noticing that the May (Hawthorn) blossom was now out and looking very pretty. THEY had been discussing it in relation to the old saying about not casting clouts ‘til May was out because there is a confusion as to whether it means until the May blossom is out or whether it means until the month of May is over. Regardless (oh, and by the way for those who are not familiar with th saying ‘cast a clout' means leaving off some clothing or, at least, winter woollies),; as I said, regardless of which is correct, THEY found out that not all the white blossom that looks like May is actually Hawthorn. If the blossom comes before the greenery then it is Blackthorn not Hawthorn. Hawthorn gets its leaves first. THEY now know that we have both kinds along the Throwleigh Road and even in the hedgerows round Ninefields. As they say, ‘you live and learn'!

Handsome WickMonday 2nd May 2005
”Wick?”
”Treg?”
”Do you think there's something wrong with me?”
”Er, that's rather a sweeping question Treg. Did you have anything special in mind or do you just mean in general?”
”No, Wick. It's my coat. I've just noticed. I'm turning sort of two tone and worse, it keeps moving around.”
”Now you come to mention it, Treg, I have noticed it this last week or two but I didn't like to mention it. Are you feeling alright man?”
”Well, I think so. is it serious, do you think?”
”I'm not at all sure, Treg. You've had us all worried lately as you've not been lying down like you used to. Maybe the two symptoms are connected in some way?”
”Oh dear. You're right, I've not been lying down, have I? Do you think it is the result of global warming or all that gas in the greenhouse?”
”I'm not at all sure which greenhouse you are referring to, Treg. I've not seen one around here, have you?”
”Can't say I have. It's just that all the humans are talking about it so I thought that it might be connected in some way.”
”Can't see what that would have to do with the colour of your coat. You've not been rubbing up against some painted fence or anything, have you?”
”Can't remember now, Wick. Anyway, it would smell of paint, wouldn't it?”
”Yeah, you're right Treg. Still smells the same as usual. Awful! Drop of paint might improve it come to think of it.”
”There's another thing. When HE brushes me it's coming out in handfuls. HE has to keep stopping and cleaning the brush. You used to have that too, didn't you?”
”Yeah. Not any more though. Best thing I could have done, had all that lot clipped off. I feel much better for it. Hey! Maybe you've got what I've got. That cushion disease. Makes you hair swell up so they stuff cushions with it. That could be why it's falling out. So they can stuff their cushions and the funny colours is because they are giving you dyes to eat so that it matches their furniture?”
”Shouldn't think so Wick. If they stuff their cushions it'd all be on the insides so you wouldn't see what colour it was.”
”You know what Treg. You're not so silly as you look, are you? You spotted that right away.”
”Yeah Wick. You're right there. I'm one pretty smart cookie, me.”
”And have smart cookies never heard of shedding winter coats?”
”Yeah. ‘Course I have. That's what snakes do and ….. Oh? Do you mean that it's what I am doing? Shedding my winter coat? You mean I'm alright? Really?”
”Hold on there Treg. Don't get carried away. Yes there's nothing wrong with your coat hair coming out and the summer coat underneath being a lighter colour. But no, not even climate change is going to make you ‘alright' in terms of your thinking capacity.”
”Oh, good. That's alright then. I think. Isn't it Wick?”
”It's perfect Treg. Just perfect!”

Alezane's birthdayTuesday 3rd May 2005 (Alli's 21 st Birthday)
””Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Alli,
Happy Birthday to you!””

”Thanks boys. Very nice of you to remember.”
”What did THEY get you, Alli. Something really good?”
”Funny you should ask, Treg. THEY never even mentioned it.”
”What, lassie? THEY never even wished you a happy birthday or sung to you.?”
”No, Wick, although, for the last bit, I have to admit I'm quite relieved.”
”But THEY always seem to spoil you, lass. I wonder what went wrong. Surely THEY must have forgotten or something especially when you've not been so well lately.”
”I know Wick. To make matters worse she squeezed my chest at the front there, you know, where I've got that sort of lump. Made me jump, I'll tell you. I just run away it was all I could think of doing.”
”Did SHE hurt you, Alli. That's not very nice on your birthday.”
”It's not very nice on any day Treg. But I don't think SHE meant to. I think she was feeling to see what it might be.”
”What it might be? It ‘might' be anything. An extra large polo mint. A sheep tick with a big appetite, a very h…..”
”Don't be daft, laddie. Alli's got enough problems without you getting silly. Come on Treg. Let's do something nice for her birthday. What do you think? Oh, think? Now I'm being silly.”
”Can we sing her another song. How about ‘The tyres on the tractor go round and round'?”
”It is a birthday, Treg, not a punishment. No, let's take her up to the top field and eat nice new grass all day?”
”It's her birthday, not your's Wick. We ought to do something that Alli would like”
”Hello. Hello. I'm here you know. Talking about me as if I wasn't there. You could always ask me what I want to do.”
”Alli?”
“Yes, Treg.”
“What do you want to do?”
”I want to ….. Er, for my birthday treat, I would like … er ..I would like to … er. Oh fetlocks, what does it matter. A birthday is just another day. I don't know why humans make such a fuss over them.”
”Ours don't, do they lassie?”
”Er, no, Wick. They don't, do THEY? Never mind, I'll mug them for extra treats tomorrow. Come on. Stir your old stumps Tregony. Up we go Wick. I think our idea was a very good birthday idea. Let's go eat!”

Treg in the sunWednesday 4th May 2005
Don't be alarmed but Treggy died AGAIN today – at least in our heads! Wick and I were just grazing round him because he finally decided to have a bit of a lie in again this morning. He's not done that for ages now. Not since I became so lame, I think. Anyway, he has been doing so often that, when THEY turned up with our breakfast, THEY just smiled and made a bit of a joke about it. SHE called Treg down but, of course, he just cocked a deaf ‘un as cobs are prone to do. After HE had seen to our feet and our sponging, HE went up above the field shelter where Treg was lying and gave him a few carrots and mints, thinking the taste might wake the old guy up. But no, HE walked back down the hill alone. No worries, Treg's done this many times before now. Wick and I finished our breakfast and got as much spoiling as we could and then we let THEM go. THEY had just got back to the gate when Treg decided to get up. After a couple of attempts (which is normal) he made it and I heard HER say to HIM, “come on, let's go back and give him his breakfast”. They turned round and started coming back down the hill when SHE called out, laughing, “Look at Treg, he's cantering, he must be hungry”. And they both watched as Treg charged down the hill, trotting, stumbling and cantering. It made THEM both laugh at the funny old man. But then, when Treg got up to THEM, ran in the field shelter and out again, lurched down to the stream and then, still leaning very sideways, ran back up to the field shelter, THEY started to think things were not right. As first HE said that Treg was not properly awake yet and tried to guide him into the field shelter to eat his breakfast. By then, Wick and I were also concerned and we came to see what was happening (although Wick may also have been looking for another mouthful or two). He put Wicks head collar on and tied him up outside while SHE tried to give Treg his bucket. But Treg was staggering and in danger of falling on HER and then he went shooting out of the field shelter and up into the Throwleigh Road field again, still staging and still leaning over sideways and bumping into things. THEY knew then that it was serious. Both agreed in the end that Treg must have had a stroke and it was a case for the emergency vet. As THEY hurriedly left the field to get in their car, Treg was looking as if he would blunder into the stream and damage himself further.
HE told me after that THEY spent a very gloomy half hour waiting for the vet to ring back. SHE even got out Treg's passport and filled in the bit of what would happen to the body when he was dead. When the vet phoned back, he was told the story and was prepared to have to put Treg down, if he hadn't dropped dead already. And then, HE told me, THEY drove back to Ninefields, slowly and in gloomy silence. And when THEY got there – there were the three of us, up in the top field, quietly grazing!
To cut a long story short, Johnathan (the vet) turned up, they drove , in HIS jeep, up to where we were and, after a thorough examination, Johnathan pronounced that Treg had suffered an anaphalactic shock as an allergic reaction to falling in a pile of nettles. That was confirmed when they drove down, past the spot where Treg had tried to get up and had fallen. There was a very large clump of crushed nettles!
Treg was given a steroid injection and then Johnathan turned his attention to me. You see, the funny thing was, THEY were going to call the vet in today anyway because I had developed a hard lump in my chest where I had had an antibiotic injection. SHE had been worried that it was another abscess but, after putting a needle in to prove that it wasn't, that was diagnosed as a reaction the the carrier of the antibiotic and nothing to worry about.
Worry? As if THEY would!

sheepThursday 5th May 2005
”And how are you feeling now, laddie? Stopped running around in circles?”
”Cor, I don't want to go through that again, Wick. Didn't know where to turn to get away from it. Sting, sting, sting, ow, ow, ow. Nearly drove me mad.”
”Not a long journey then, Treg. Still, it's good to have you back old son. I was beginning to think the whole herd was falling to pieces, what with Alli's foot and all that.”
”Whole herd, eh wick? That's got a nice ring to it, aint it?”
”Well, you have to make do with what you've got, son. Times were when I was part of a real herd, roaming free about the moor, going where we wanted and doing what we wanted. Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days.”
”You were a bit smaller … er … younger then, I expect Wick. Bit of a nipper, eh?”
”A youngster, Treg. Full of potential, I was. Could have gone anywhere in the world. Could have done anything my heart led me to.”
”An' it led you to Winkleigh, eh, Wick?”
”Yes, Treg. I will admit that was not top of my list when it came to dreaming. I think my most cherished dream was to go to America and become a rodeo pony.”
”Do you have to change colour, then, to go to America . Couldn't you just have stayed a grey?”
”Rodeo's not a colour, Treg. Rodeo's where you thunder out of a stall and buck and leap and throw your rider high up into the air.”
”Oh, just like you did at Winkleigh then. You didn't need to go to America after all, did you?”
”Well, yes. I have to admit I have done a bit of that. But its not the same. At least, it's not the same style-wise. You see, in America , you become a cowboy pony and have flashy saddles and riders with lasso ropes and you run around after cows and things.”
”We could go and chase those sheep Michael's just put into the field. We could become lambboy ponies. How about that, Wick. Bring back some of your dreams, eh?”
”I don't quite know what it is, Treg. Can't quite put my finger on it. But somehow ‘lambboy' doesn't seem to have the same ring to it as ‘cowboy'. Can't quite see Michael and Sue heading toward each other at noon with their fingers around their six guns. The image just doesn't seem to work.”
”Don't see how even Americans can shoot six guns at once. Just showing off, I think. There's nothing wrong with being a good old Dartmoor lamb and pasty pony, I say. Why even Alezane, with all her French la, la, la ways, wants to be a Dartmoor horse just like us, don't she?”
”Aye laddie, but it will never work. She hasn't the feet for it, for a start. Then there's the winters when she goes and spends all night in her nice warm and cosy stable. No, Treg, I'm afraid it's each to his own. You're a cob, I'm a Shetland X and Alli's a racehorse.”
”I wish I had an X in my name. It sounds real posh, Wick. I didn't know you was so harrstocratic.”
”Well laddie, as I said, each to his own!”

Wick's wonderful tailFriday 6th May 2005
”You know, Wick, I'm not feeling a bit tired. Let's rush up to the top of the field.”
”Tregony, you old ****tard, there's a reason why you're not tired. Also a reason why we are all a bit frazzled.”
”Oh, feeling a bit off colour, Wick. You ought to do what I do. Have a little nap.”
”A little nap, eh Treg. A little six hour nap!”
”Well, it was a nice warm sunny morning, I just thought I have a little lie down in the sun, that's all.”
”Don't you know you drove the rest of us wild with worry? Alli and I stood around you for all of those six hours, thinking that they were your last. And THEY came up several times, that last time THERY were even crying.”
”Well, I don't know why THEY were crying. I was up by then.”
”Don't you think that THEY might also have thought that THEY were coming along to say a last ‘good bye' to you?”
”I can't remember when THEY said the first one.”
”Oh THEY have, Treg. And a second and a lot more than you could ever count up to.”
“Yeah, well that's easy, I never was one for that rythmetic stuff. More of a classics man myself, you know, poetry and stuff.”
”And stuff you, Treg. Alli and I are not at all impressed with your performance. Why do you think she ran and bit your bum tonight when we were going in to supper?”
”Love bite, Wick? That's what I thought it was. Upset is she?”
”I dare you to go up to her and ask her yourself.”
”Bit busy at the moment, Wick. Maybe later.”
”And, Tregony Bay , layabout supreme, do you know what SHE did when she got back home after seeing you were alright.”
”Had a cup of tea?”
”She looked up somewhere that cares for old buffoons like you and asked them if your behaviour is normal.”
”Yeah, Wick, I've often wondered that. What did they say?”
”They said they had a whole field of elderly retired horses who went out in the sun this morning for a prolonged lie down. Perfectly normal, they said.”
”Oh, drat. And I was hoping I was sort of super normal or something. Da da - Supertreg stikes again!”
”The nearest you will get to a strike you old fool will be my hoof up your backside.”
”Oh, everything is normal then, just like you said!”
”Listen Treg, I think that's Alli calling you. Run along before you get into more trouble.”

 

the middle fieldSaturday 7th May 2005
It's been an interesting week, the first week in May. Don't let's dwell on it. Let's look forward to the rest of spring and summer and hope it's not Wicky's turn to be a casualty. Funny old supper tonight. We greeted THEM, as usual, at the Throwleigh Road and then, just as we started to walk down the field, there was the sound of a quad bike at the bridle path gate. By the time we had reached the stream, Mathew, the horse trainer, came riding up to our field shelter, towing a trailer. So, instead of going into the shelter for supper, HE went and got our tyres and set our buckets in them along the path to the shelter. Actually, I don't have a tyre now because I like to throw my bucket around and the tyre, instead of stopping this, makes the contents fly even further all over the place. But you know what I mean. Anyway, why did HE do this? Because Mathew was opening up the gate to the hay store and starting to take the bales of hay and load them onto his trailer.
I said before it had been an interesting week. Actually, as far as the hay was concerned, it's been an interesting year. Last year, THEY filled the hay store to the roof and still had to order some extra before the winter was out. This year, we've eaten hardly any. I think HE filled the three hay nets only once just before Xmas and then he uncovered the bales in the store so that we could reach them over the gate. It was a bit interesting at first to take a few bites and break up a few bales but the problem was that if you did that you almost had to eat the stuff and who wanted it when there was lots of nice grass left in the fields? To make matters worse, early on in the winter, when I was in my stable at home, THEY decided to change me over to haylage as the hay always affected my breathing and gave me a runny nose. So there are another fifteen bales sitting in the tack room at home. In desperation they had taken a few bales and placed them round the walls of the field shelter to sit on and had thrown a few of the most broken up bales on the poo pile. In the end THEY had been going round to people with horses asking them if they could use some free hay. Finally Mathew, who said tonight he only has fourteen horses to look after at the moment, said yes thank you, he would take some. He took all his trailer would take tonight and he will be coming back for more as he needs it.
Another new development I don't think you have heard about is HIS new car. I say ‘new', meaning new to him. You see his old jeep has now rusted so much that you now have a fine view of the road, not through the windows but through the floor. It's a great shame because HE is very attached to that car as it is so reliable and has never let him down, always starting first time. I may have told you of the time it got him out of trouble over Dartmoor when HE was stewarding for the ‘Riding for the Disabled' Fun Ride and HE took a route that was OK for horses but definitely not for motors. But now, it won't be very long before it just falls apart, still with its engine running perfectly. So, when HIS eye was caught by virtually the same model but 8 years younger standing outside the village shop with a ‘for sale' notice on it, HE was quite interested but still loyal to his old jeep. A few days later, HE had to rush out at lunchtime for a bottle of wine and noticed that the price had been reduced by 20%, HE took the plunge and went and got the details. To cut a long story short, HE bought it and is now in the process of getting the garage to give it a check and service and then HE will begin the process of changing over. And, do you know the best bit? The spare wheel cover is decorated with the sign “Racecourse Garage”. It must be good, mustn't it?

 

having a chatSunday 8th May 2005
A bit of a mix, today. Pump clips and nettles. Oh, and Wicky's wheeze.
Where shall I start. Breakfast normal, Treggy standing up, no needles or poultices in sight. HE spent a bit of time tidying up the remaining hay bales so that THEY can get in the store to the tack and grooming stuff etc. In fact, HE spent so much time on that, HE forgot to feed the birds. You should have heard the complaints when THEY left. The other thing that went wrong for HIM was his camera. No, not HIS posh new one, HIS small one that fits into his pocket. HE had decided that, as it was a sunny morning , HE would get a few shots of us for the diary. HE had switched it on at home first to check there were no shots on it, then turned it off and put it in his pocket. When he took it out for a test shot at Ninefields, it seized up. The lens was out but nothing would happen. Fortunately, it appears that it was just the batteries that had run down so no harm done although no diary pics today.
The next thing was THEIR arrival, driving up the field to where we were standing above the field shelter. THEY both got out and SHE started to give us treats which was most unusual if SHE comes at times other than meal times. I went over to see what HE was doing at the back of the jeep only to be shoo'd away, of all things. Then, HE put this great big tank thing on HIS back and started to walk around the field looking for and spraying nettles. SHE explained that it was because of last week when Treg got so badly stung. They were here quite a long time and he went over most of the lower fields. I would have offered to show him the nettles in the top fields but the stuff he was spraying smelt to nasty so I wouldn't go near HIM.
Oh, and lastly – pump clips. What are pump clips, you ask? Well, I didn't know either until HE explained them to me. Apparently they are labels that are put on beer pumps in pubs with the name of the beer and the brewery and some kind of picture to attract you. It seems that the Church House at South Tawton that is being restored was originally, in the 14 th century, both a community centre and a brewery. It made and sold Church Ale to make money for the parish and they are now going to revive the selling part of this, getting a local brewery to make it. HE is involved in taking pictures of the restoration and has seen the various proofs for the Church Ale pump clip. There is a bit of give and take going on between the brewery and the designer and HE was looking at pictures of other pump clips on the Internet before HE brought our supper tonight. Which is why HE bored me with that news over my meal and I am boring you with it now!

leavesMonday 9th May 2005
”You sure you don't need a bit of a lie down, Treg?”
”Quite sure, thank you Wicky. Good of you to ask though.”
”Sarcasm is quite lost on you, isn't it laddie?”
”I'll have a look for it in a minute. Just let me finish this mouthful.”
”Oh, oh. I know the sound of that car. I wonder what HE wants now?”
”You all look down as if you've not heard anything and I'll keep a look out.”
”Right you are Treg. See anything yet?”
”HE's got out of his jeep and now HE's gone round the back and … er …oh, yes, HE's getting a big feed bag out of the jeep.”
”What? That's good news. A big feed bag, eh? THEY must have realised how little we have been getting lately. Probably made THEM really sorry, eh Treg?”
”Sorry, Wick. I don't think it's got feed in it. The top's all opened up and there's bits of twigs and brambles and stuff sticking out. Right, there HE goes. HE's taking it over to the poo pile. Now HE's emptying it out. Thought so, it's all old garden rubbish. Probably been having a clear up at home.”
”Bother. Oh well, at least HE's not come to interfere with us, that's something.”
”Hey, what's HE doing now? HE's got something out of HIS pocket and HE's bending down and moving bits of hay around. Oh, what's that. Look. A flame. A great big flame shooting right up into the sky.”
”Maybe it's not HIM. Could be one of those Suzy Side bombers we keep hearing about.”
”No Wick. It's HIM alright. I can see him moving out of the way of the smoke. Don't think I'll see HIM much longer though, the smoke's going crazy!”
”Now what, Treg? There's someone at the Throwleigh Road gate again.”
”Shame, with such good hearing you've got such short legs, eh Wick? Can't you see anything that goes on down there?”
”Of course I can. It's just you are in the way. Come on Treg. What's happening now?”
”Oh, I know that guy, he came last year, if I recall. Adrian something or other. Yeah, same guy, I recognise the quad bike. Looks like he's towing his praying gear again. Do you remember last year. He sprayed all up in the top fields?”
”Aye laddie. I remember him now. Wonder what he's come to do today? Spray the sheep maybe?”
”No, look, he's putting the bar across the stream. Looks like he's going to spray those old reeds in the road field.”
”Good job too. They looked like taking over. All right if you're a goat but not the kind of thing we horses like, is it?”
”I don't know how humans can do that, Wick. Look at him. Up and down, up and down. Just driving up and down over the same old bit of ground. That'd bore me to tears.”
”Aye, your right laddie. Me too. Don't let's waste any more time watching him. Let's move on up the field to the next bit of grazing. We've not been there since this morning!”

TregonyTuesday 10th May 2005
I think the pendulum has swung a little bit too far the other way now. The day turned out fine and warm and so, what does Treg do? You guessed it. He lies down for a little doze. But now what happens? The sound of a car driving up. We look up and it is HER coming into the field. Now, on previous days, the sight of Treg laying down would have brought on worry, if not panic and calls for the vet. What does she do today? SHE walks into the field, down the hill, across the stream and up the hill to the field where Treg is laying, and then? And then – SHE lays down with him! My responsibility suddenly increases by 33%. I now have three beings to watch out for. Wicky doesn't mind. He gets as many treats as he can get and then drifts off to graze nearby. I am left being the one in charge who has to watch out for the herd, particularly the two lying down. Treg loved it the smarmy old devil. He just lay his head in HER lap and allowed HER to say nice things to him while he dozed. Eventually though he needed to lie down properly and had to give HER a nudge to make her get up. It's hard to tell who enjoyed themselves the most. Even I really did enjoy watching my old Treg having a bit of a cuddle.
And now, I'm afraid, more vet talk. It wasn't something I saw but rather something HE told me the next morning. Just before THEY were coming out to bring us our supper buckets, HE looked out of the back door and saw a very large rat running about near the barbeque. As HE watched, this one ran away through the hedge but was then replaced by a second who was sitting under the bird feeders, eating the peanuts that the birds had dropped. HE mentioned it to HER, as SHE likes rats, and SHE came and had a look, remarking how large it was. As HE was getting ready to go out, Thomas, the one remaining brown Burmese cat positioned himself on the stairs and jumped on HIS shoulders when HE bent to put HIS boots on. HE made a joke that Tom should be out chasing rats rather than leaping on HIS shoulders and then THEY went out to bring us our buckets.
When THEY drove home, the neighbour Margaret came along to ask after our health. While HE spoke to Margaret, SHE went indoors to the kitchen and let out a scream. She later described the kitchen (and then the rest of the house) like “the chain saw massacre”. HE went running in and found the table, chairs and floor covered in pools of blood. She rushed to the stairs and there was Thomas, sitting at the top of the stairs in shock, his paw bleeding badly. A hasty phone call (as it was the vets closing time), a fast car ride and then Tom was found to have a big vein bitten right through. He came home, after much complaining, not at the pain but at the car ride, with his whole leg bandaged up and with an appointment to go back to the vets tomorrow.
So you see, it's not only us horses that have found a way to spend THEIR money faster than THEY can earn it. Not only us that can worry THEIR heads. An interesting month so far, you must agree.

 

Tom's bad legWednesday 11th May 2005
First a quick update on Tom. He was taken back to the vets today, shouting in the car all the way. After a quick look at his wound, the vet decided to play safe and keep it covered and put Tom on a course of antibiotic powders until Saturday. The only other alternative would be to sedate him and close the wound surgically but she hopes that the bandage can come off at the week end. Tom was quite indignant at having to work another bandage to a comfortable shape and shouted all the way home as well. His only consolation is that the medication powders have to be given in a nice gravy covered cat food.
My leg is still troublesome. Nothing that can be seen but I am still limping on stony ground or uphill. THEY are hoping that it is just tenderness either as a result of the abscess or due to the fact that I only have three shoes on now and my bad foot is unprotected. Whatever the cause, it would be nice if it went away because the weather these last couple of days has been beautiful and it would be lovely to enjoy if fully. Funny, but part of the reason it is so nice is that it is not too hot. In fact in the mornings and evenings, whilst it is bright and sunny, it's a bit on the chilly side. But that doesn't worry us horses at all and it does keep the flies down which is a real godsend.
I have to say that the work HE put in a few days ago, spraying the nettles has also benefited from the weather. Just as HE was finishing there were a few spots of rain and THEY were afraid that the weed killer would be washed off or diluted. But the spots were only light and soon disappeared and a few days of sunshine has resulted in most of the nettles wilting and obviously dying. It is a bit strange that this effect is not uniform and some clumps, that HE is sure that HE sprayed, are still looking no different. I suppose only time will tell.
Wicky is his usual cheerful and irritating self and Treg has managed to stay upright for all his meals of late. SHE was a bit worried by one ewe (the stray who appeared in our field with her lamb before Michael put his sheep in) who appeared to be shivering the other day. However, this morning she was fine and so SHE thinks that it might have been because SHE approached to near to it. This year the sheep appear to be better behaved than in past years as they have kept themselves to themselves and haven't raided the hay in our field shelter even once.
In summary, a contented and panic free day today!

 

groomingThursday 12th May 2005
”Ere, Wick?”
”Hold on Treg. Won't be a minute. Just got to get these last few mouthfuls. Ah, that's better. Now, laddie what can I do for you?”
”Well, nothing really.”
”What do you mean ‘nothing really'? So why did you call me?”
”Just, … just feeling a bit lonely, is all.”
”Lonely? Why on earth should you feel lonely? You've got me and Alli and, look, look up there, all those sheep. No need to feel lonely at all.”
”Yeah, I know. But it is looking at all those sheep that's made me feel lonely. I was thinking …”
”Never a good thing for you to do, Treg.”
” … I was thinking, where are all my family, all my brothers and sisters and aunties and un …”
”Alright man. Don't go on. I think I get the idea. So, alright, tell me. Where are they?”
”That's just it, Wick. I don't know?”
”Well, where did you have them last?”
“No. I mean I don't know if I've got any or not.”
”Well, let's start with your mother. You must have had one of those. A father, well? Maybe not so sure. But a mother, definitely. What did you do with her?”
”I was very little when they took me away from her. I don't really remember her much at all. I know she was very big. I think I may have been descended from a race of giant horses, Wick. It's really surprising that I've not reached my full height yet.”
”Treg. Are you sure that your mother didn't just seem big to you because you were so small?”
”Er, … wow, Wick, I hadn't thought of that. Your right. I am normal after all.”
”Now, don't rush things Treg. I didn't say that. But maybe not a giant, eh?”
”Then I can stop looking at all the other horses and trying to find those very, very big ones in the hope they might be relations. That's great. Thanks Wicky.”
”Of course, that means that any of the horses passing by could be a relative Treg. Maybe Maxwell or Meadowsweet or Amber or …”
”Or even you, eh Wick!”
”Steady Treg. I don't think so. I mean …”
”Oh, I know you are not as tall as even a normal horse but I just …”
”I was about to say, Mr Bay, that my colouring is different from yours. I am just as tall as any horse or pony would wish to be. And now, if you don't mind, I am going away from you and your nasty size' ist ideas and you can be as alone as you deserve.”
”But Wick …”
”Bye, Treg!”

sheep on a wallFriday 13th May 2005
Don't speak yet but I think we've got through the day without anyone else getting a bad foot. I mean, it is Friday the 13 th , isn't it? HE tells me Thomas is now walking all around the place limping and waving his bandaged leg in the air. He has managed to get a few strings of bandage loose but every time he grips one in his teeth and tugs, he jerks his leg up in the air and nearly makes himself fall over.
Back at Ninefields we've had a lot of company from that stray ‘Littlejohn' sheep and her lamb. That's what we call her, Littlejohn, because that is the name of her human apparently. We are assured that he treats all his sheep like pets and that is why she is not very afraid when THEY turn up here to feed us although she does tend to go in for rapid breathing if HE or SHE get too near. The rest of the sheep (Michael's) ar not unkind to her but she does prefer her own company and is just happy to wander about looking after her little lamb. Actually, he is not so little now but all those lambs seem to act like babies for a very long time.
Adrian 's spraying seems to be having some effect or, at least, the combined spraying of HIM and Adrian. You can't notice anything yet with the reeds, which only Adrian sprayed but he said that they are very tough and take a long while to show any effect. The nettles however are really looking distressed as are some of the foxgloves which were not deliberately targeted but happened to be in the path of the quad bike spraying. Also, I am glad to say, the docks are starting to wilt. This is another tough old weed. None of them are bad on their own, it was just that unchecked they were multiplying and could have eventually taken over the whole field.
Oh, I just remembered something that Adrian told HER on the phone the other day. They were talking in general about the care of the pasture and, as usual, the subject came round to Wicky's habit of stuffing himself and getting laminitis. SHE happened to mention about Wick's Cushing's disease and his always growing coat and Adrian responded by saying that he has a Shetland too and that his exhibited the same signs as Wicky, particularly the yellow coloured coat. It would appear that this could be due to a copper deficiency but when we reminded HER that Wick goes about with a member of the Human Watch Constabulary, we were told it was not that kind of copper but the mineral. Adrian is going to do what all sensible men do and will consult his wife and will then get back and maybe recommend treating our pasture with copper chemicals. In the meantime, SHE has changed our salt lick for one that has supplementary minerals including copper (and tastes of carrot) and SHE has also started adding some trace element supplement to our feed.
On the topic of feed, it will soon hardly be worth our coming down the hill for. It grows less and less every time I see a bucket. This does tend however to alter the ratio of bulk to treats slightly in our favour so I wont complain too loudly!

AlezaneSaturday 14th May 2005
I've had a funny kind of day today. It started when we were in the field shelter this morning. SHE decided to put us all under the tape measure because HE had been noticing that the amount of feed we were getting had been diminishing of late so SHE wanted to check that we were not losing condition because of it. Of course, SHE knew and we knew that, with the new spring grass, we are actually getting as fat as pigs but I think SHE needed to prove it to HIM. There was one good result of HER using the feed tape and that was that SHE didn't have time to groom me. Nevertheless, that tape always makes me a bit grumpy and, I don't know what came over me but as I was turning and walking out of the field shelter, there it ws, big and juicy, right in front of my eyes – Treggy's bum. I just couldn't help myself. I gave it a good swift bite. Then, to make matters worse, I did it again! Well, Treggy jumped, HE shouted at me, I jumped and SHE walked smartly out of the shelter and into the field. And really, that set the tone of the day. I don't like being shouted at, as you know, and I was pleased that, when I returned to the field shelter, HE seemed to have forgotten all about it.
But, for the rest of the day, I have been a real race horse, racing everywhere as if I need to get things done. I haven't even waited for the others. Usually, I have to gather Treg up from the home paddock and then wait for Wick to finish his cleaning up housework before we all troop up the hill. Today, I have just had to dash up and expect the others to tag along behind. When SHE caught me doing it tonight, SHE told HIM that it must be my hormones. I dashed down to the bridle path gates leaving HER to follow on, gulped down my treats and rushed back before the old guys had even finished their buckets, got what I could out of him and charged down to where SHE sits giving Treg sugar lumps. And then, before Wick even came down from the field shelter, I was up and off again. Having a foot that has stopped causing so much pain has helped, of course. I am striding out properly now and only being a bit cautious when walking over hard and stony ground.
Enough about me. We have all been amused by the Littlejohn lamb which seems to have formed a very strong attachment with a prickly gorse bush on the slope by the field shelter. He seems determined to eat every single leaf off the bush before he moves on elsewhere. His mother just stands a few feet away and smiles in a proud sort of way. As THEY were leaving this evening, the mother decided to go down the slope and walk along towards the bridle path in the lee of the little wall that divides the fields. For a minute, the lamb was nowhere in sight and then he appeared and seemed to be going to follow his mother. Then, at the last minute he turned and started to go along the other side of the wall. Just when he was going to be lost out of sight, up he popped to walk along the wall. It seems all little lambs like to play ‘king of the castle'.

 

dandelion clocksSunday 15th May 2005
Well, we had a tea party tonight. We three were there, of course, and HIM and HER, although they didn't eat anything. But then we had this lady pheasant who was busy looking for food when we came up to the field shelter. She was so busy that she didn't move out of the way and Wick had to go round her to get to his bucket. Then HE threw out some handfuls of corn for the birds and through some in her direction as well. I think this one makes Tregony look intelligent because she sort of ducked the corn and it took her quite a while to make the connection between that and the few bits and pieces that the birds had left from this morning. She finally got the message and started to peck away at a speed to make Wicky envious. This then gave HIM an idea. HE has a little drum of peanuts from which HE ills a bird feeder hanging in the hedge. If she likes corn so much, I wonder if she'll like peanuts HE thought. So, very carefully so as not to frighten her, HE rolls out a handful or two. Once she made the connection, peanuts were going down as fast as corn grains but I guess she soon got filled up and had to top for a breather.
Then, from over the hedge there was a flutter of wings and her ugly, thin sister appears. I say thin. She may have been or maybe not. I'm not really an expert on pheasant dimensions. But, she was thin in comparison with her peanut gulping sister. After a while you could see why. Whereas the first one just stood and ate regardless of what or who were around her, this one had to keep darting into the edge of the corn scatterings and then running away again. She kept this up for about six or seven forays and then ran away altogether with about six grains of corn in her tummy. She's not going to get fat on that.
Things quietened down then for a while and then there as a rustling of leaves in the hedge and a pretty little grey squirrel appeared. We thought he was going to come along and start eating the cord as we have seen him (or one very much like him) doing before. But no, after coming only a very few steps, he stopped. And then it became apparent why. He had stopped underneath the bird peanut feeder. Now, quite often a bird will grasp a peanut and go to fly away and the nut will fall out of its mouth. There is (or was) quite a little scattering of nuts on the ground under that feeder and it was these that our friend sat down to enjoy.
We have all the usual assortment of birds coming to eat with us. As well as the feeder HE ties a fat ball (fat with seeds stuck in it) hanging from a branch. The blue tits like this as well as the nuts. We get quite a few nut hatches at the feeder, of course and the chaffinches go for the corn on the ground. For some reason the rooks and magpies only seem to come in the mornings and, although we get a few, blackbirds are now a rarity these days. Maybe they are too busy rearing their young. Oh, and I forgot to mention, the swallows are back inside the field shelter. It is not too easy to see if they have started on a permanent nest as they are in the back of the hay store and HE doesn't want to go too near for fear of frightening them away. One last avian visitor we have been seeing lately (but not to eat) is the Jay. It flies along above the stream and then veers off to fly over the field shelter but somehow never seems to stop. But then, they are very shy creatures.

 

cow parsley and buttercupsMonday 16th May 2005
Tonight the Jay flew right up to the field shelter although, when it saw HIM, it flew up into the tree. What I meant to tell you but forgot yesterday was about the behaviour of the sparrows. They have taken to flying up and down round the hanging fat ball for all the world like humming birds, flapping their wings very fast and hovering. Of course, they are not as good at it as humming birds but for sparrows it is a pretty good effort.
And now to today. I'll start with this evening, or at least, the late afternoon. And who else has made a fool of himself again. You've got it, Tregony! We were all standing grazing and dozing up above the field shelter. Treg was right over by the wire fence that HE put up several years ago to stop us rushing headlong over the very steep edge when we came cantering down the middle field. He then got it in his head to start pawing with his foot. For some strange reason Treg often does this when he is near a fence. We have been told he would do it as well when he was in his stable – pawing at the door. Anyway, I decided that it was getting near to bucket time and that we should go down and across the stream to wait by the gate to greet THEM. I started down and expected first Treg and then Wicky to follow but when I looked back, although Wick was hard on my heels, Treg was still standing where I had left him.
I just stood there and looked at him. That usually does the trick when he gets into one of his silly cobby moods but this time he just stood there like an idiot and looked at me. After a while, I decided the best thing would be to go up and give him a good old push to get him started. However, when I got up there, I could see that he had one leg either side of the wire. Silly old duffer. I just told him to lift his leg higher and bring it back over to the same side as his other three but then he tried to lift the fore foot that was on this side of the wire and I could see what had happened. Somehow, in pawing the wire he had got it trapped under his metal shoe and it had slid right under and was holding him fast to the ground. He must have put his other foot over the fence in an effort to get free but all he had done was to get stuck even faster.
All this time Wick kept calling me saying we would be late to meet THEM and, after a few moments thought, I decided there was nothing I could do for Treg here and that my best move would be to greet HIM at the gate and tell HIM. You see, I knew HE would know what to do. How did I know? Not because I have such great faith in him. You see, this is no exactly the first time Treg had done this silly thing. Nor the second, nor the third, nor the …. Well, I won't go on. When HE walked across the stream and got close enough, HE could see exactly what the problem was and ent straight to the shelf in the hay store and got his wire cutters.
Funnily enough, THEY are waiting for the man to come and take the wire fence down and replace it with a post and rail one (among other jobs). This was decided the last time Treg got stuck and pulled down half the fence to get free. The rest of the fence is so full of holes where Treg has been cut free I'm surprised he could find somewhere to get stuck to!
And really, that's the excitement of the day. I won't bother you with the rest. I'm off to see the old fool doesn't get into any more bother.

 

mutual grooming againTuesday 17th May 2005
”Don't go here, Tregony…don't go there Tregony … up the hill Tregony …mumble …mumble… “
”Hello there, Treg. What's that you're saying?”
”Don't lie down Tregony … go over there Trego …. Oh, hi Wick. Sorry. Didn't see you there for a moment.”
”I should think not, laddie. You're getting yourself all worked up over something. What is it old chap?”
”What is it? You mean who is it! It's her, that's who it is. I dunno what's got into her today. I've not had a moment's peace all day.”
”Her? You mean Alli? Why, what's she done?”
”Ever since she's feeling better, she's started bossing me around.”
”Oh, come on Treg, she always bosses you around.”
”Not like this she don't. It's on and on, all the time. I've not even had the chance to go to the toilet in peace. ‘come on, hurry up, no time to waste doing that' and on and on and on. It's driving me mad.”
”Have you tried telling her, Treg?”
”Chance would be a fine thing. ‘come on, hurry up, no time to chatter' and on and on an …”
”Alright, alright. Take it easy now old son. Where is she now? How come you got away?”
”I hid. That's what it's come to Wick. I hid when she was charging up the hill. Soon as I saw her running off, something snapped and I went off behind the bushes there and I hid.”
”Oh boy. Are you going to be in trouble when she finds you. What on earth will you tell her?”
”I could say that there are limits to what a chap can take and ….. Oh? No good eh? Well, what if I said that I was suddenly taken ill. You know like when I got stung by all them old nettles? Oh, the nettles have all been killed off? Snakes. That's it. A great big snake leapt out and ….. What then? You tell me. Help me Wick.”
”I think you've just got to face up to it like a cob. You know, Stoical and all that.”
”Oh gawd. ‘Ere she comes. Quick, stand in front of me at least.”
”Sorry lad. I've just remembered something I've got to do up the hill. See you later – I hope.”
”Rats. Oh, Alli. There you are. I thought I'd lost you. I've been looking everywhere for you. I was just asking Wick if he'd seen you.”
”Sorry about that Treg. I just had to get away on my own for a while. I mean, it's very nice to have you following me around all over the place but, you know, there are times when a girl just wants a bit of peace and quiet. You don't mind , do you?”
Oh? Oh, oh well, if you put it like that ….”

Alli and the farrierWednesday 18th May 2005
I got my shoe back on today. We had just had breakfast and I wondered why they wanted us to all go into the Throwleigh Road field. Well, I'm just suspicious like that. I stood for a long while watching THEM but, in the end, I succumbed as HE waved a rather large carrot at me. Then, HE ran round behind me and shut the gate across the stream. I got my carrot but then THEY just got into their car and drove off. We did what any sensible horse would do, we settled down to graze.
It wasn't long before THEY returned and then I looked at HIM with suspicion again as HE approached me with my head collar. However, just before HE put it on I saw Mark's van pull up behind THEIR car and then I realised what was going on. I'm not sure Treg did however, because he shouted out and tried to follow as he saw HIM lead me out of the gate. You probably remember that Mark likes to work just in the bridle path out of the way of the traffic, so HE lead me round there and the two old boys crowded up to the other side of the wall to see what was happening. It's funny that SHE had told HIM not to forget to have a bucket of water ready for Mark to douse the hot shoe in. He went and filled a bucket from the stream and had it ready on the mounting block by the gate, only to find that, as it was only the refit of one shoe which the vet had taken off, Mark had decided it didn't need heating and he didn't need the bucket. It was all over very quickly and we were soon heading up the hill like we always do at that time of the morning.
The day turned out quite nice and sunny and I was not surprised to see THEM back again after lunch, just to hang out with us for fun. What did surprise me was when SHE threw a great big stick at me. I'm sure SHE couldn't have meant it and I hope SHE didn't really think it would be funny. I hope so because it wasn't. Not for me anyway. SHE laughed and laughed when I jumped in the air and ran away. To give her the benefit of the doubt, it must have either fell out of her hand or it went in the wrong direction, rather like some of the carrots THEY throw for Treggy. In fact, HE did it yesterday. HE threw Treg a carrot from the other side of the stream but unfortunately it landed badly, broke in two and one piece flew up and hit Treg on the bottom. The old man definitely didn't find that funny and stormed off in a huff.
And then, lastly, this evening. There is always something, it seems. My foot has got better now, Tom the cat's foot is on the mend (although he has to go back to the vets on Friday) so now, guess what? As he brought our buckets up, a hen pheasant got in the way and we all had to walk round her to avoid treading on her. HE thought she might be waiting for the corn HE throws down so HE got a handful and threw some directly to her. Strangely she left it and came right up to HIM so HE held out a handful of corn to see if she would eat out of his hand. Then, HE saw that she was blind, one eye missing and one blocked up. She also had a bald patch and her head looked damaged. She came to HIM as if she just wanted company and both of THEM felt that something must be done for her. She couldn't just be left to starve or fall to any field predator. To cut a long story short, SHE phoned the vets and THEY left us to take the poor creature to be put down. A sad end to the day!

Wick looking for ediblesThursday 19th May 2005
”What do you want to be when you grow up, Wick?”
”It's rather a long while since anyone asked me that, laddie. You see, I thought I was grown up, you know.”
”Yeah, but suppose, just suppose you had he choice all over again. What would you want to be?”
”Hm? That's a hard one, Treg. You see, I quite being what I am. I'm having quite a good life at the moment.”
”Right. OK. But forget right now. Imagine you are a very young colt and one of the herd comes up and asks you what you would like to be. What would you have answered then?”
”Oh, that's easy Treg. I wanted to be in the circus.”
”The circus? Goodness Wick. Doing what?”
”You know all those cowboy acts where they come into the ring and gallop round and round with someone standing on their back. Or maybe standing half on one back and half on another. That's the kind of thing.”
”Well I never, Wick. I would never have thought that. I didn't know you fancied a life in show business.”
”Well, not rally show business, more throw business. You see what I wanted to do was wait until my rider was standing there on my back and he as only holding on ith one rein while he waved his hat to the crowd and then I would stumble. You know, not really but just sort of drop a shoulder. The I could watch as my rider went sailing over my head and landed in a heap on the floor. That would be really good.”
”Oh dear. Oh dear, dear, dear. You didn't really want that did you Wick?”
”Never mind what I wanted laddie. Come on. What you are really leading up to is telling me what you wanted to be, isn't it?”
”Me? Oh, I never wanted to be anything.”
”Lucky chap. You got your wish then.”
”No, no really. I was quite a happy go lucky sort of lad when I was younger. All of life was a new experience for me and I enjoyed all of it. It's just that, looking back, I sort of wonder if I should have had some ambitions.”
”Funny, you've not really changed much, have you Treg. You still just take things as they come. You may not like some things but it's very rare that I hear you moaning. You're quite a good sort really, aren't you?”
”I'm a bit like you Wick. I'm having quite a good time at the moment. Well, apart from the stinging nettles that is. Didn't like that an awful lot. But the rest is good. And I've got good mates as well. Not much more a chap could want is there?”
”A few sugar lumps and a bucket of short feed would be nice.”
”Oh, come on Wick. You're only saying that. You get a lot more treats than loads of ponies. And you know you have to watch your diet. Look at you now. You're swelling up like a barrel as it is.”
”Condition, laddie. condition. That's what that is. Nothing wrong with a shape like mine.”
”It's not the shape. You know it Wick. It's the danger of laminitis. You eat too much rich food and your feet will be in real trouble.”
”Well, that's alright then. No danger there ‘cause there's no such thing as ‘too much' rich food, is there?”
”I'd be very sad to see you with bad feet, Wick. You know how bad you were last time. You could hardly walk.”
”You know what I want to be when I grow up, Treg?”
”No Wick. Tell me?”
“A racehorse.”
”What? Like Alli? Why?”
”So I could run away from your moaning. Now shut up and eat!”

the old blue jeep retiresFriday 20th May 2005
Something new this evening. THEY stopped as usual outside the gate and HE took the buckets up to the field shelter while Wicky and I took turns to chase Treg out of the way. Then, when we were all standing getting on with our suppers, HE walked back up to the gate and drove HIS old blue jeep into the field. HE drove it down over the stream and then up to the field shelter. But, HE didn't stop there. HE drove round in a wide arc and then went and parked under Treg's second favourite tree. And then, when THEY went, that's where THEY left it. The others don't know but HE whispered to me that it is going to stay there until Mathew's friend takes it, if he wants it for spares. You see, although the engine was still good and very reliable, the bodywork was rusting so fast that, as HE said, you could see more of the road through the floor than you could out of the windows. So, HE has gone and replaced it. What with, you ask. Guess. Another beat up old Suzuki jeep, just like this one but with less rusty bodywork. Oh. And it's white. Well sort of off white with nice red streaks. Not ‘go faster' streaks you understand. It's just that white is a real good colour for showing up rust streaks. I just remembered that I told you a little about this new one on the 8 th May hen HE first got it. I told you then that the spare wheel cover has got ‘Racecourse Garage' on it. Well, HE tells me now that he has covered the central picture of a rhinoceros and instead painted an outline picture of me on it. He says it is not HIS best work but at least it is an attempt to make up for losing the other jeep which had our names painted on it's sides.
Not much else to tell you today. It rained all night last night and again most of today. The only difference was that last night's strong winds abated a bit. I've spent my day dashing in and out of the field shelter for, as SHE says, it's one thing being a wild Dartmoor horse when you have a rug on but quite another, if you have a thin coat like me, when it is taken off. Oh, that reminds me. Wick's coat is growing apace. It's not going to be long before they get that lady back to give him another clip. That is, if she will come!

 

the new old jeepSaturday 21st May 2005
Do you know what's written on the spare wheel cover of his new (old) jeep. Two things really are interesting. The first is “Racecourse Garage” because the car came originally from Chepstow where there is one of the country's main racecourses. And then, along the bottom is written “Anything but Ordinary”. Now this seems almost as if it was meant to be. You see, before I came to live with THEM, I was a racehorse and my name was Always Special. Now tell me, if that isn't the same as Anything but Ordinary? And in between the two sets of words is his picture of me.
A changeable wet day today. We don't go too far from the field shelter in this weather so when HE turned up about mid morning we were standing just above the shelter having a quiet graze. I wasn't sure what HE wanted so we stood and watched. He had a metal tool in one hand and a can of something in the other and HE headed straight for the old jeep parked under Treggy's tree. We didn't move however because I have been caught like this before when HE has pretended to do one thing and then it turns out that HE is after me for something all the while. So we watched as HE opened the rear door of the old jeep and appeared to be doing something just inside so Treg and I moved down to the home paddock to get a closer look. Just so HE didn't catch us watching him, we started on a mutual grooming session which allowed us to keep and eye on him just the same. It turned out what HE was doing was taking something off the old car to fix onto the new one. When HE had finished HE went up to the field shelter to wipe his hands on the cloth there and then HE got HIS camera which was slung around HIS neck and started taking pictures of me and Treg. Of course then we couldn't stop. Just then up comes Wick who has no qualms at all in being seen and goes straight up to him for a treat. At least it stopped HIM taking photos and HE soon went away.
And that was about that for today. The only other little bit of news was that just as we were finishing off our supper treats there was a loud gunshot quite nearby. Wicky jumped, Treggy jumped but would you believe it, me, a highly strung thoroughbred didn't move a muscle. There were more shots, someone was out shooting in the nearby fields, but still I remained unperturbed. And why? Because, when I first came to live with them and my stable was over on the Wood Home Farm, this was the home of the local shoot who used to meet there on a quite regular basis. Of course I jumped at first but after a while you can get used to anything. And I did.
And that's about all for tonight. I might not mind the gunshots but the rain has settled in for the night so it doesn't look as if I will be venturing far tonight.

 

Wick, HER, Alli & TregSunday 22nd May 2005
”Treggy?”
“Yes Wick, can I help you?”
”You know the other day you were asking me about what I might like to be? Well, I've had an idea.”
”Cor, Wick. You are clever. I wish I had them.”
”Yes. Right. Well, now listen. How about if I were to become a bookie?”
”Er … ye . e. s?”
”You do know what a bookie is, I hope Treg?”
”What? Me? Course I do, Wick.”
”Well?”
”Not too bad. Bit of a cough now and again, but on the whole, yeah, pretty good.”
”Are you listening Tregony or am I going to have to nip your knees?”
”I'm listening Wick. Honest.”
”Then what do you think? About me becoming a bookie?”
”Yeah! Er, no. I mean … “
”You mean what?”
”Well, it's just that, … er, I don't know how to put this, Wick. Er, can you read?”
”Can I read? What kind of a question is that? Horses don't read Treg. They have better things to do.”
”That's just what I thought Wick. Now, if you had said to me ‘I'm thinking of becoming a foodie or a nippy or something like that. But, not a bookie, Really Wick. I'm afraid I have to disagree.”
” Tregony Bay ! You have no idea what a bookie is, do you?”
”Well, Wick. I've got some idea. It's really not all that clear yet but I'm sure it will come. Specially if you help me a little.”
”Treg. A bookie is someone who works on a racecourse. Someone who helps humans to get rid of any spare cash that they have. Really a sort of racing social worker.”
”Oh, that sort of bookie. You know Wick. IO had a suspicion that's what you meant. I just wasn't quite sure. You see, I don't really see you as a social worker. Not really. You're not the type, are you?”
"You're bluffing again Treg. You still don't know what a bookie is, do you?”
”Why don't you tell me Wick. I'm sure we'll get along faster if you do. You see Wick, I'm what they call a sort of retardant. ‘Means I sometimes hold things up a bit while I think out the finer points. Sort of a filos er a flosser . er a slower downer.”
”Do you know Treg. For once you and I are in perfect agreement. I wonder to myself sometimes why I bother talking to you at all.”
”Cos there's no one else, Wick?”
”Listen laddie. Time to get educated. A bookie is someone who makes a book, see. In fact that's what the word is short for – bookmaker! See? OK so far?”
”Loud and clear Wick. Please go on.”
“Well a bookma …”
”I won't even ask why you want to make books. Honest. No you just carry on.”
“Yes. As I was saying. A bookmake …..”
”Even though you can't read, I can't read. I even doubt that Alli can read. And even if she does, it'll be in French.”
”Will you shut up. Listen!”
”Sorry.”
”Shut up! A book maker doesn't make books, he makes a book.”
”Oh, I see it now Wick. Good idea mate. Now, you go off and make your book and I'll just go over and see if Alli wants me to do anything. I've really enjoyed our conversation today. Very enlightening. Yes. Really. Very enlightening!”

 

new fencingMonday 23rd May 2005
We've had lots happening in the field today. THEY went home after our breakfast at about 8 am and we settled in for a quiet moment's grazing before we could decide how far the weather would allow me to go away from the field shelter. The next thing we heard was at about 8.30 am when all hell seemed to break loose. The road gate was opened and in drove two tractors and trailers and a van. The trailers were carrying some very large logs and some reels of wire and they positioned themselves down by the bridle path gates. The van stayed up in the Throwleigh Road field and parked just inside. What with his old jeep parked here as well, the place resembled more a town car park than a quiet grazing pasture.
We all decided we would get a better view if we moved up the hill a bit, above the field shelter. I can assure you that this had nothing to do with cowardice (at least on my part) for once up there, the exertions of the night capped by a full breakfast overcame me and I had to lay down for a little nap. And that was the state I was in when THEY came back to talk to the workmen. THEY didn't stay long but Wick and Treg, to give them their due, didn't desert me to go treat hunting although I am told, Wick did look a bit mournful. I awoke just before THEY left and I heard HER telling the man that SHE wanted all the barbed wire removed because Treg was always leaning over the fence to eat the hedge and kept catching himself on it.
Then THEY were off and we settled down to watching the men erect two sets of post and rail fences around the home paddock. The one above the field shelter was again down to Treg as this was to replace the wire fence that he keeps putting his foot through and getting stuck. The other replaced another wire fence which used to separate the very wet part of the field before it was drained and has now dried out. The fence still serves a purpose in that, together with the one previously mentioned, allows THEM to pen us into the home paddock. I'm actually not so sure if it is to pen us in there or to keep us out of the rest of Ninefields when the spring grass is just crying out to give Wicky laminitis. Whatever, sure enough, that is what the workmen did. They shut us in. I think they only did it to make sure that the old ‘gates' fitted. I say gates but, in fact, they are just two long bars joined at both ends. It was HIS idea to make a gate that would keep us in/out but would allow Michaels sheep to pass freely under. They have a clasp on one end as, when HE first put them up, Wick used to put his head under them and just heave them open. He doesn't bother anymore. I think it was more ‘seeing if he could' rather than actually wanting to be the other side.
So, that was our day. I will admit that the fences look good now. It wasn't the only thing they did. They also put some fencing up on a corner of the top fields which the sheep used to get though and escape. I've not see it properly yet but if the weather holds out, we'll be up there tonight for an inspection

 

Treg and his shadowTuesday 24th May 2005
We've all gone our separate ways today. Most times we all have breakfast and then wait for each other to tidy up or whatever and then off we troop, all three, up the hill to graze. But sometimes it just happens that we seem to drift our own ways and only meet up later on for supper. This happened today and it had HIM puzzled. HE came driving up into the fields today in HIS new white jeep. First HE stopped off to throw some rubbish on the Throwleigh Road poo pile and then HE got back into his car and drove across the stream. Now it happened that Treg was happily munching away at the top eastern side of the middle field while I was central at the top of that field, a good hundred metres away. HE noted first Treg and then me as HE drove past on HIS way to the little field. Then HE got out and went up to the new fencing at the top of the little field with HIS camera and took some pictures. I was ideally placed to watch HIM and saw that HE got attracted by some sheep and lambs in he top field and HE clambered up there where HE had a good view of the whole field.
After taking some photos of the lambs, HE came back down to the little field, got into the jeep and drove down just past me. HE got out to take a photo of me and then, HE told me later, it struck HIM. No Wicky! HE hadn't seen Wick anywhere. HE got back into the jeep and drove round to where Treg was still munching. Still no Wick. Getting out, HE walked over to Treg to look down the dip but it was empty. HE then climbed all up the steep hill to the top field, searching all the while and there, in the little lane that separates the middle and top fields with walls either side was Wick, quietly munching and working to satisfy his never ending greed. HE drove off, happy to have found Wick but hot and sticky from the climb.
This evening it was Treg's turn. THEY came along with the buckets and, instead of being up by the gate as normal, Wick and I were standing waiting on the other side of the stream. This time no Tregony! Well, of course, THEIR first thought was that Treg must be laying down somewhere. But no, when THEY got down to the stream THEY could see Treg, standing up, eating, up the top of the middle field. It took quite a lot of shouting and bucket rattling to get the old scoundrel down and even then, he had to politely stop at the new gateway to allow the Littlejohn sheep to move out of his way.
He told me tonight, there's never a dull moment with us three. Huh! He should listen to Treggy's stories sometimes!

 

I've told you before!Wednesday 25th May 2005
”Well I've not seen it, I don't know why THEY keep asking me.”
”What's that Treg? What haven't you seen?”
”Well Wick, there's lots of things I haven't seen. I haven't seen Exeter Cathedral for a start. I haven't seen Chepstow Racecourse, I haven ….”
”Hold it old man. I know all that. What I mean is what were you moaning about just now?”
”It's HIM. HE's gone and lost a day of Alli's Diary and she's all upset about it. Apparently HE lost it once and she had to dictate it all over again. Her best work, she says. And now HE's gone and lost that as well. She's in a terrible mood. I wouldn't go near her if I was you. She'd give you a kick as soon as look at you.”
”But it's not our fault, Treg. Haven't you told her that. It's HIM that has lost it, not us.”
”When she's in one of these moods, you can't tell her anything. Best keep right out of her way, that's what.”
”But how did HE come to lose it again?”
”Well, apparently the first time HE had a friend round right after THEY got back from feeding us and he just forgot to type up what Alli had told him until the next day when HE realised what he'd done.”
”Yeah, well, fair enough. It could happen to anyone, I suppose. But what happened then?”
”She took a lot of trouble to tell him as much as she could remember and then she had to try and be as creative as possible to finish it off. HE says he went home on the Thursday and typed up two days, Thursday's and the lost Wednesday one.”
”So how come it is lost then, if HE typed it up. It will be saved on his computer somewhere, wont it?”
”Er, well, yes and no. You see HE typed it up and, yes, HE did save it. The problem comes about because of HIS security system.”
”His security system. I should think it is a insecurity system if you ask me.”
”Yeah, well, you see, HE always keeps two copies of the diary, one one on computer and one on another in case one of them breaks down.”
”And did it. Break down?”
”No. What HE did was to take an old copy without the new Wednesday on it when HE went to do the Friday Diary and then save two copies of that, overwriting the good copy and so loosing Wednesday.”
”So then tell me Treg. If you know what happened to the lost day, why are you looking for it?”
”I got to Wick. Alli asked me to.”!

 

Tregony - still handsomeThursday 26th May 2005
And Talking of Tregony, we had another one of his lay ins this morning. Of course, SHE has to go and try to get him to get up. The old fraud had no intention of doing so until he was good and ready but he always pretends with HER. Waving his leg about in such a pathetic manner to indicate that he is really trying very hard to stand but it is all just too much for him. However, he is the one who loses out in the end because he goes and misses his breakfast. There are days when he makes the supreme effort, when greed outweighs idleness but not today. After SHE had given up talking nice to him and waving HER sugar bag in front of his nose, HE went over and gave Treg a cuddle and a carrot. And that was all he got this morning.
There is a bad side to this, however. Treg always has some medication in his breakfast for his arthritis. Because he didn't have his feed he missed his medication and it really did show today. He has been stumbling about the field even worse than usual and SHE noticed this evening that he was badly down on one hip. Unfortunately, SHE noticed it after HE had thrown away Treg's morning bucket so that he would have a nice fresh new one. Anyway, THEY have now decided to double the old guy's medication for a few days until he is looking stable again.
It has been one of those days when it is very cloudy and dull but the temperature has gone up almost to summer levels. And we all know what that means, don't we? That's right. Flies! Horrible flies. Flies over your body, flies over your legs, flies over your eyes. I suffer more than the other two because of my thin coat but all of us are irritated by the ones on you face. Humans probably don't realise how terribly annoying it is for, unlike them, we have no hands to brush them off with. Our tails are very useful for keeping them away from our hind quarters but not from our faces I'm afraid. Some horses do practice a variation on mutual grooming where they stand nose to tail and brush the flies away from each other. The problem is that while you are doing this you can't carry on normal grazing.
I just realised I am moaning. Sorry didn't mean to. At least we've had no rain today but then, if we had, Treg probably wouldn't have missed breakfast, would he?

 

Mark the farrierFriday 27th May 2005
What treacherous creatures humans can be. A normal start to the day, I wasn't pushy or nasty in any way. We all ate our buckets up and had our treats as usual. Then, instead of just going away like THEY usually do, THEY got us to follow them up into the Throwleigh Road field and THEY shut the gate behind us. We should have realised then but like fools we followed THEM into the field. And then, before we knew it, SHE put that horrid wormer syringe down our throats and poured all that nasty tasting stuff down. Do you know what that does to a horse? Your whole throat goes all funny and tasteless and you want to throw up but horses can't so you just feel very nauseous for a very long while. I went and told HIM about it but either HE is so silly HE didn't realise what I was telling HIM or HE didn't care.
Then, while we are having this wormer discussion, who should come along but Mark, the farrier. Now, I don't mind having my feet done as a rule but, unannounced and with a mouth tasting like ****, I was not in the best of moods to greet him. And then do you know what SHE did? I bet you can't guess. She only went and took Wicky out into the road while Tregony was being shod. I ran up and looked over the hedge at him. I shouted and let HER know that Wick must come back at once. And what do you think? SHE just ignored me and carried on walking Wick up and down. Well, I went ape. I ran about and called to Wick and called to HER to bring him back at once.
I started this diary saying how treacherous humans can be, Would you believe what she did next? As soon as Treg had finished with Mark, she did bring Wicky back inside the field. And then, she got Tregony with his head collar on and SHE took him out onto the road in place of Wick! I was furious. I went completely crazy. I shouted and ran round and round. I leaned over the fence and called out to him and HER. I had several accidents with my nether regions I have to admit. And then. I just got it into me to gallop as fast as I could down the field and then up again, bucking and kicking as I went. Now, whether it was this performance that did it or whether SHE decided it was enough I don't know, but SHE did bring Treg back into the field. As soon as SHE did, I took charge of him again and herded him down to the stream ready to cross and go up the hill properly.
SHE did let us out of the Throwleigh Road field and, as Wick was now finished with Mark, we went about our proper business much later than normal. To cap it all, this evening, who should turn up for supper buckets but James and Tanya. Actually I like them both, very much but it was a bit much HIM getting them to give Treg and Wick a brush and then to pick out their feet. I did notice however that HE didn't suggest that they tried anything like that on me although HE did have the good sense to get Tanya to give me my BIG mouthful of mint sweets. You know, I could quite get to like that girl!

 

BenSaturday 28th May 2005
HE seemed a bit preoccupied this morning. When I asked HIM about it, HE said everything was going to be a bit of a rush today. THEY intended to go along to a horse show this morning for HIM to take some photos for a story SHE is writing. However, HE also has to get to Exeter to pick up the kids from the station at midday . It was all going to be a bit of a rush and then SHE had discovered that THEY needed to go to the Farm Store to get horse food (very important) as it is a bank holiday week end and what they have will not last to Tuesday. So, HE was feeling that there was just not enough time to fit it all in.
This evening, when THEY brought our supper, I heard the rest of the story. While THEY were at the Farm Store, SHE decided that she probably would not have enough human food to feed all THEIR visitors so THEY decided to call off the horse show visit and go to the supermarket instead. As THEY say, there is sure to be another horse show around here soon. So THEY did the shopping and James and Tanya decided to go for a horse ride (thankfully at a local stable) and they booked this for the afternoon when HE could give them a lift to the stable. THEY spent the morning cutting up carrots and apples to add into our feed and then HE went off to Exeter to meet the kids at the station. Now, I didn't tell you yesterday that when HE went to pick James and Tanya up from the coach stop in town, HE was kept waiting about for an hour as the coach was delayed. That was yesterday. Today, when HE got to the station (early) HE looked on the arrivals board and saw that the train was advertised 12 minutes late. No bad compared with the coach, he thought. The trouble was that when the expected time came, there was no train, instead they just adjusted the expected time two minutes later. And they did this and they did this until the train finally arrived 40 minutes late. By the time that they got home, they had missed the time James and Tanya needed to go to the stables so SHE had to take his new jeep out for the first time. Apparently the steering is a bit what they call ‘heavy' and she had to get Tanya to help her turn the wheel to get the car out of the drive.
We later had an interesting evening as Abbie, Ben and Rachel all had a drive of the old jeep which is parked in our field now. It was fun to watch at first but then we just put our heads down and got on with our buckets.
Everything ended OK except James and Tanya had a longer ride than they expected and they were a bit sore when they came home. But HE told me that it turned into a nice family together evening so everything worked out well.

 

cows restingSunday 29th May 2005
You know I told you yesterday about the kids having a bit of a drive around in the field. Well, this afternoon we were having a graze while Treg had one of his usual lie ins and along came HIM with Abbie and the kids. They were carrying all kinds of strange bags and parcels which they put in the hay store and then they started up driving the jeep about. This went on for about and hour and then HE got up and left them still driving around. By the time THEY came back with our supper buckets, Treggy Wick and I had decided that the safest course of action was to go right up into the top field where they can't drive the jeep. HE shouted, SHE shouted but in the end, Ben had to come right up the hill with Tregony's head collar before they got us down to the field shelter. It was another family gathering because James and Tanya were leaving to spend their last night in a hotel. They had climbed the Beacon today so they were very tired but they wanted to come and say goodbye to us before they left.
Later, we found out what all those mysterious parcels and bundles that they had brought along were about. Ben and Rachel are camping in our field tonight and it was the tend and sleeping bags and stuff. HE returned later because they had forgotten to take the food along for their midnight feast and breakfast. They have also got two portable barbeques so I expect we are going to be surrounded in cooking smells before the sun is very high in the morning. We will give them a wide berth although Wicky did suggest it would be fun to creep up to the tent in the middle of the night and give them a bit of a fright. Treg jumped up and down at that and said ‘oh, can I trample all over the tent' but I had to explain to him that the people will be sleeping in it. ‘Not like you, in a nettle clump' said Wicky. Anyway, we did just quietly and discretely make our way up the hill. I wouldn't put it past Wicky though to get the sheep to go along and wake them in the night. I'll tell you how it worked out tomorrow.

 

Maxwell's fly protectionMonday 30th May 2005
I have to tell you. In the middle of the night, Ben heard a noise outside the tent. He went to the tent flap and looked out. And what do you think he saw? It was Tregony, standing quite close to the tent, going to the toilet! You see, I think they put their tent up quite close to Treg's special place. And a cob being a cob is a creature of habit and no respecter of persons. Still, apart from that and the fact that they also put the tent on a slope so they tended to roll down the hill when they slept, the night passed uneventfully and they were up and having a cooked breakfast over their barbeque when THEY turned up in the morning with our buckets.
By now we are getting used the home paddock being used as a car circuit. Abbie came over this afternoon with Rachel and they drove round and round, in and out of the new gateway between the fields until we all got bored and left them to it. Mind you, we were waiting for Aidrian to come over and roll the fields flat but what with all the car driving it is doing the same job.
It has been a lovely day today as far as the weather is concerned. I cant understand how some days can be warm and sunny like today and yet not be a problem with flies. Where do they all go I wonder? Or, I expect I should say, why don't they come from wherever they are? I tell you what. I'm feeling pretty sorry for old Maxwell. I don't know if it is his condition or if it is his colouring but he has to wear a rug even in this weather. He must get awfully uncomfortable but there again, if he hasn't known anything else, maybe he is used to it. I've known some horses who have to wear protection for medical reasons but I am pretty sure that Max doesn't have those kind of problems. He seems to be full of beans, always running about his field and bucking and shouting like he is having a whale of a time. That's one of the beauties of being young, I expect. You don't catch old Treg doing that unless Wick or I are following behind him and nipping his bottom.
Not a lot else to tell you about today. Rachel was pleased to see a couple of rabbits and the squirrel last night. The bunnies always seem to come out in the evening or the early morning. I expect she could have seen them this morning as well if she had been awake but you know how it is. If it is all new and exciting you can't (or don't want to) get to sleep and then when you do you sleep on longer to make up for it. Or, at least, that's Treg's excuse!

 

Alli and Wick over the gateTuesday 31st May 2005
Every evening, when THEY have given us our supper buckets and then we have mugged THEM for as many treats as we can get out of them, THEY go across the stream and put the gate across. Then THEY go up to the Throwleigh Road gate and lock that and put a padlock and chain on it. I think they do this last precaution to stop Wicky mugging strangers and tourists as they pass by the gate. However, the thing that HE learned to do on the stream gate was to put a metal chain and catch on it. You see, when HE first made the gate, HE only had a single bar across. The idea was that we horses couldn't cross but Michael's sheep could go underneath if they wanted to. The problem with this, HE found, was that Wicky could get under it as well. Plan B was to fit another bar about half a metre under the first one so that Wick couldn't get under but that the sheep still could. This was fine, except that Wick would put his nose under the bar and lift his head up and open the gate that way. Finally, plan C was developed which was to put the metal chain and catch on. This stopped Wick being able to lift it up.
Lately we have had several visitors – vets, fence builders, field sprayers, family etc. Not all of these have bothered to put the catch on the stream gate and so THEY said to themselves ‘Wicky has learned now not to do it, we won't bother with the catch'. This morning they were pleasantly surprised to find Tregony up by the Throwleigh Road gate waiting for them. On inspection they found that Wicky had lifted the gate and lowered it to the floor. It went something like this…..

“Go on, Treg. Go on through. They will be ever so pleased to see you.”
”Will they Wick? Should I go through Alli?”
”It's up to you, Tregony. I'm staying here. If anyone gets into trouble and gets shouted at it won't be me.”
”Och, come along ya great big lemon. Tak' nae notice what the lassie says, Treg. You go on through. THEY will really get a big surprise, won't they?”
”Er … d'you think so Wick?”
”Off you go laddie. Quick, you don't want to miss THEM now.”
”Oh, right. OK Wick, over here is it?”
”Just walk through it like you usually do, son. Kick it out of the way.”
” Tregony Bay . It's not my fault, remember. I told you not to didn't I.”
”It's OK Alli. Wick said it is alright”

And so it was. If it had been me, SHE would have shouted at me, I'm sure just like SHE did tonight when I stole that carrot out of his pocket. Well, it was sticking out. Asking for it, so to speak. I noticed that HE made a point of putting the metal catch on the gate tonight. Tregony was quite pleased with himself however. He was the only one standing at the gate so he was the one who got the carrot. I think there's no justice in this world, do you?


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