Alezane's Diary Archive November 2005
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Mims gets her feet washedTuesday 1st November 2005
You wins some, you lose some. This morning, THEY had a new tactic with Mimi. Instead of him walking up with the buckets while she followed along behind, which allowed Mimms to do a spot of pushing and bullying, this time SHE walked on quickly and held Mimms (I forgot to tell you that THEY have left her head collar on full time for the moment) until we three were settled at our buckets. SHE then led Mimms in to hers with no trouble at all. Good, the morning went well.
The weather was very good, dry and sunny and it really was not much of a surprise to see THEM again just before lunchtime. This time, we were standing grazing just above the shelter and HE walked up to us and put a lead rein on missy and took her down to the shelter. I must say, I was proud of her. She walked on well, with no problems at all. We three all followed both out of interest and also just in case there might be the odd treat around. But that wasn't the object of the exercise. Poor old Mimms has some nasty rain scald on her back and this was going to be the first attempt at dealing with it. As I understand it, rain scald is not what it sounds like but is a bacterial infection which causes a rash of little bumps under the skin. It can be brought on by a number of things like stress, bacteria in a field and is sometimes encouraged by wet conditions, hence the name. Anyway, unless it has progressed further into a really bad case, the treatment is down to grooming and prevention and the sterilisation of the grooming kit to stop re-infection. So, while SHE held Mimms, HE gently but firmly made a start of brushing away at the scabs and dead hair while making much of Mimms and giving the odd treat or two. And really, she was a star. Obviously it wasn't pleasant for her – itchy at best and possibly even sore. But she stood there and allowed herself to be groomed without any trouble whatsoever. At the end of the session, everyone walked away in the sunshine feeling very pleased with themselves. Not finished by a long way – a medicinal bath is really needed but the weather has to be right for a couple of days – but still, a good beginning.
And then what? This evening, when THEY brought our supper along, what does Mimms do? Runs and bucks and actually kicks Wicky and is so much of a pain that even I had to step in and give her a warning. As HE said, it's two steps forwards and one back with her. But really, it is only a matter of time and some training. She is a lovely natured filly but is young and full of high spirits. And, I tell you what. Her coming has done Treg the world of good. He's even getting a bit pushy himself. Well, pushy for Treg, if you know what I mean?

GorseWednesday 2 nd October 2005
Since ***** came (I promised myself I wouldn't mention her today) there has been no lack of things to write about. To set the scene for today. It has been pouring with rain, both last night and intermittently today. So, the stream across the fields is quite swollen and fast running. Comes supper time, THEY came along and put THEIR scheme into practice, SHE went in front and put ***** on a lead rein while HE walked on carrying the feed buckets. Since that certain filly has been with us, HE has had to carry four buckets instead of three. In addition, THEY have changed the shape of the buckets so that they are shallower but wider. The result is that HE cannot get a good grip on the now heavier load and so HE tends to walk slower than before. Because of this, ****** and HER got to the stream in front of all of us. Wicky naturally holds back to walk alongside the buckets to ensure they are safe. I hold back out of politeness and Treggy, well Treg just likes to be last. So, they get to the stream ahead of us and SHE leads on first walking through the fast flowing water. Now, for some reason, maybe she doesn't like to get her feet wet, maybe she thinks she is training for the racing season. Whatever, she, the filly decides not to walk through the stream but to jump it. The fact that SHE is in front of her didn't seem to cross her mind, that is, until she had knocked HER over, into the water. If there is anything that can be said in her defence it is that she was careful not to trample on HER after knocking HER down. Instead, the little minx just carried on, lead rein trailing the ground, up to the field shelter, where she waited outside until we had all gone inside. SHE told him to carry on and give us our buckets before helping HER up so first Wicky, then me and finally Treggy walked in and started to eat. Whether out of shame or embarrassment at the trailing rope I don't know, but ****** waited until he came out and led her in. She then started to eat like the rest of us and HE went back and helped HER up out of the stream edge.
Really nothing else compares with this latest bit of foolishness so it will be a short diary tonight. I will just say though that none of her behaviour is naughtiness. She is just a young, gauche creature living her life however she can. It is just a week and a day since she has been with us and she has settled in very well. Even Wicky is learning to get along with her as long as she doesn't come between him and his food. And secretly Treg loves being called Granddad. I might even get round to using her name again tomorrow. That is if I can't find something else to talk about. As long as she doesn't do anything else silly that is. Oh, mind out, that pig just missed your head!

Meeting MimsThursday 3 rd November 2005
“Ere Wick, know what I'm looking forward to?”
“Now, Treg, let me see. Fireworks night? Supper? Xmas? Mimms going home again? I don't know, Treg. You tell me. What are you looking forward to?”
“I'm going to have a long lie down, that's what. I've not had a lie down for over a week now. Ever since Mimi came to stay. It's been jolly interesting but now it's time to get some routine back into my life.”
“You call that routine, Treg. Just laying down? What's wrong with locking your legs and having a doze standing up?”
“Not the same, Wick. Oh, I dare say it's OK for you youngsters. But, when you get to my age, nothing beets a good long proper sleep.”
“Oh well, if it's an age thing, I expect that's what you'll do. You can't expect us to stand around with you though. I mean, a few hours is one thing. But, if you are going in for one of your marathon lie downs, we can't just stand around. Still, you'll be alright. There's nothing can harm you in our fields. And even if something should come along, those two long legged lassies could be back to you in just a few strides. What will you do about supper though?”
“Well, if I could Wick, I'd give mine to you. But you know how SHE worries about you getting laminitis so I know SHE just wouldn't allow it. The best you can hope for is that HE will rescue the bits of vegetable from it. You can have that.”
“Yeah. But I only like the carrot. I'm not really keen on apple at all and swede is too tough for my teeth unless it's cut up into very small pieces.”
“So there are some things that you don't eat? Everyone says that you eat everything. It's a bit of a joke around here.”
“I know. But it's no joke really. Not having proper teeth that is. There was a time when I would eat most things but now, now I am always the last to finish my feed bucket, aren't I?”
“Age gets us all in different ways, don't it? Even Alli is starting to show it now. It was all right when she was just compared to us but now there is a ten year old in the herd, you can see just how mature she really is. Don't say anything to her though. She's the best natured mare in the world and I wouldn't want to upset her.”
“Of course not. So tell me Treg, when were you thinking of having this lie down?”
“I'm thinking of it now, aren't I Wick? That's why I'm talking to you about it.”
“OK Treg, I'll re-phrase that. When are you going to have that long lie down?”
“Oh, soon. As soon as I've found a suitable spot to do it.”
“You need a special place, do you? What kind of place do you need?”
“One with a bottom to it. A tree branch wouldn't do, nor would the stream, would it?”
“You're so very right there, Treg, why didn't I think of that?”
“I don't know Wick, that's a very hard question. Let's go back to your other one.”
“My other … , oh, where are you going to lie down? Right, well, where are you?”
“You know, Wick, I've been thinking about that while you have been talking and I think I have found the perfect spot.”
“Oh, good. Nice one Treg. Where? Where is it?”
“Here, good night Wick, good night!”

Pony in a fieldFriday 4 th November 2005
Quite a quiet and uneventful day today. Mimi is getting better and better, still high spirited but nothing naughty. If she does get too exuberant, all I need to do is lay my ears back and she calms down. Really, she is a very good girl.
Treggy had a very long lie in yesterday. He started before lunch time and stayed down until night time. But then, he hasn't done it for over a week now, not since Mimi came to stay. There are no problems between her and Treg (or granddad, as she calls him). No, it's rather the other way round, he finds her very interesting. But, at his age, he can take only so much excitement and, by yesterday, he just needed his rest. Today he was up and about, good as new.
I'm not looking forward to tomorrow night. I've heard Mimi is not good at thunderstorms and I am not at all sure how she will cope with the fireworks from the fireshow. Still, if she stays by me, she will be alright. And, she usually does these days. I was pleased this evening when THEY brought her proper rug back. Treggy's other one did her a turn (as they say) while her own one was being cleaned and re-proofed but it was a bit skimpy and I didn't like a daughter of mine going about in such scanty clothing and getting herself a bad name. At least her own one has a decent flap at the back, which is pretty important for someone who is constantly swishing her tail. I must ask her why she does that. Even more importantly, I'd like to know why she has only half a tail. THEY used to say my tail was thin and weedy but Mimi's is only half the length it should be and is sort of moth eaten and raggedy. Goodness only knows how it ended up like that. I will have to make it one of my tasks over the next few months to get her to grow a respectable tail. There's not much she can do about her forelock, it is very much like her mother's. SHE had a look at her back today when THEY were changing rugs. SHE says it is good that it is getting worse it that makes any sense. What SHE means is that the scabs are getting bigger and are falling off. THEY have been looking at the weather forecasts, looking out for a couple of good, dry days, so that THEY can give her a medicinal bath. But every time there are a couple of good days forecast, as it gets nearer, the forecasters change their minds and say no, it's going to rain. SHE has now said that THEY may not be able to do it until the spring.
THEY bought her a nice leather and brass lead rein today. It came from the second hand tack shop in Okehampton and needs a very thorough lean up before it is usable but SHE says it has been well looked after in the past so it just needs bringing back into use. I know what THEY have in mind. The grandchildren will be coming along sometime in the Xmas holidays and I think they would like to, at least, lead Mimi and I out with the kids on top for a little holiday ride. I think that would be really nice. It is some thing to look forward to anyway.

Dartmoor sceneSaturday 5 th November 2005
Notable? Treg misses tea and Mimi behaves herself. Well, nearly. There was a nice chestnut that rode along the Throwleigh Road and down the bridle path that caught her attention. She just stood and made eyes at him as he went along and then came back for her supper. And that's about it. The weather was fine to start the day but turned into a drizzly cloud by tea time.
The ground is starting to be permanently wet now and the stream is always fast flowing. It's strange with the stream. As it brings sand and stones down from further upstream, the sandbanks and deep parts keep changing. However, the ford part always seems to stay much the same, just getting deeper on some days. HE is having a continual fight with the squirrels over the peanut holder. They have bitten a hole in the bottom so when it gets filled up with nuts, it empties just as quickly. First HE tried filling the bottom to cover the hole with hay and ramming it down with a stick. This worked for at least a day until they learned to pull the hay out of the holes so that the nuts could fall down. Then HE tried binding the bottom of the holder with sticky tape but this just takes one or two days to get bitten off. In the early days, HE tried buying a new holder on the basis that it would be stronger but that was bitten through in a day as well. Mind you, they don't always bite through it. Often they will crawl down it upside down and take the lid off and take the nuts that way. I think now, HE has just given in. But, for the squirrels it is a bit self defeating because HE often just leaves it empty now rather than just try to beat them. Some days HE will just throw the peanuts on the ground. This way everyone – squirrels, jays and small birds get an equal chance.

And now we will just stand around and wait for the fireworks. We are not too near them but the rocket display goes on for at least ten minutes and we do have a very good view. I am just wondering if they will make Tregony get up or if he will just sleep through them?

 

 

StreamSunday 6 th November 2005
Top story of today has nothing to do with Mimms or even about horses. I have told you before about PC the elderly cat. Last time, if I remember, was when he fell down the stairs and knocked himself out. Well, he's in trouble again. HE told me that THEY were just getting ready to bring our breakfast buckets along this morning when SHE saw PC trying desperately to get in the cat door when a springer spaniel dog grasped him in his mouth. SHE hurled her boot at the dog (and HE tells me, said some rather unpleasant things to it) and PC got away, only to be chased and caught again. SHE rushed at the dog and it ran one way while the cat ran the other. By the time that HE got to the door, there was no sign of PC. He got his boots and coat on and drove down to the entrance to the recreation ground that backs onto their garden. HE then walked along what is normally a quiet pleasant stream. After the extremely heavy rainfall that had been coming down all night and was still falling at that time, the stream was a raging torrent and HE hoped that PC had not got caught in that, for he would never have got out alive if he had. Anyway, HE had no luck in finding him and had to go back home and then start to prepare our feed. As HE was doing so, HE looked out of the window and there was a barely recognisable PC, making his way up the road. HE ran out and called him but PC wouldn't stop and started climbing up the very steep hill that leads to a neighbour's house. When HE finally caught up with him and brought him home, PC was soaking wet and needed drying off. When SHE tried to dry his tail PC let out a yell so he is obviously hurt there. Having dried him and left him to wash himself, THEY brought our breakfast. When THEY got back, PC was nowhere to be found and the other two cats were acting very strangely. Cutting the story short, the day passed in gloom, worrying where PC had got to but after lunch, HE found him lying under a radiator in THEIR bedroom which THEY had searched twice before.
HE told me this evening that PC has spent the day wrapped up on THEIR bed with a sore tail and a nasty cut on his rear leg. THEY are hoping that is all that is wrong with him. If not, it is a trip to the vets tomorrow.

Back to last night. In the evening, after the fireshow bangs had finished, THEY set out in the wind and rain to check that we were alright. Of course, THEY couldn't see a thing but, as HE had brought a torch, THEY came in the field and walked up to where Treg had been laying. Of course, he wasn't there any more which reassured THEM and Wicky called out to THEM from the top of the highest field where we had all gathered to enjoy the fireworks. So, at least THEY went home wet but less worried than before.
This morning, as I told you, the stream (which is the same one that runs through the recreation ground) was very high and swift flowing and HE had to help HER to cross first and then come back for our buckets. THEY remarked then that, although we have a nice dry field shelter to stand in, we prefer to stand in a field with a hedge as a windbreak! And THEY were talking about maybe making our shelter bigger for us.

Sunny silhouettesMonday 7 th November 2005
“Mum?”
“Yes, Mimms. Something troubling you?”
“What's the matter with granddad?”
“How long have you got?”
“No, I mean, why is he hobbling about like that? It's even worse than usual.”
“Oh, I see what you mean. Tregony has had a bad set of abscesses in his foot for a while now. He had a very deep one and the vet had to cut right down to release the puss. And because he is old, his foot doesn't make new growth very quickly any more so sometimes the hole gets infected again.”
“Do you think that is why he has started lying down again?”
“Could be, Mimi. Could well be. Things are bad enough with his old joints and his arthritis but at least THEY can give him medicine for that. But when your foot starts to hurt so bad, it's probably best to lie down and take the weight off.”
“Is that why SHE came and wrapped his hoof up in that smelly stuff and awful yellow bandage?”
“That's called a poultice dear. It gets warm inside and is supposed to draw the puss out. I know that is no excuse for the colour bandage but you just have to put that down to human bad taste. Rather like making you wear that mauve rug when you first came here.”
“Yes. At least THEY have seen sense there although this one I am wearing now is really a bit big for me. Even SHE calls me ‘Polly long-frock' in it now.”
“Changing the subject my sweet. What was that all about this morning?”
“This morning? I don't know what you are talking about?”
“I'm afraid you do, my darling. Why was HE shouting at you and shooing you away?”
“I'm not really sure. Maybe HE was in a bad mood about something. You know what humans are like.”
“And I also know what naughty girls are like as well. Do you think that because I was on the other side of the field that I didn't see what you did?”
“It was only a little nip. Honest. I was just being playful.”
“A little nip wouldn't have nearly knocked HIM over, would it? Come on. Tell me what really happened.”
“Well, HE was giving me some treats when that midget came along. And do you know what HE did? HE turned HIS back on me (funny how you can get used to talking in capital letters, isn't it?) and HE started to give the little sh .. er .. squirt treats instead of me. That made me mad so I just thought I'd give HIM a bit of a bite to remind HIM that I was there.”
“Mimms, Mimms, Mimms. What am I going to do with you? You've got to grow up my girl and realise that there are much better ways of getting THEM to do what you want than that. I am afraid that if you bite THEM, you will get into big trouble. And, worse, THEY blame me for not bringing you up correctly. Now, you come along with me up the hill and I'll tell you a few tricks on how to deal with humans.”
“OK mum. I won't be a minute. Just got to go and give that rotten little midget a bite. See ya soon!”

DonkeyTuesday 8 th November 2005
Isn't it strange that a day when nothing goes wrong is a day when there's nothing to talk about. But that's what's happened at Ninefields today. Treg has been running about like a two year old with his yellow poultice bandage on, Mimi has not had more than a dozen arguments with Wicky and the weather has been normal – rain. So nothing to talk about from here.
So, let's talk about THEM. THEY had to go shopping today to get the carrots and apples that go into our feed. While THEY were out, HE decided to go and pay the vets bill, which was largely Tregony's fault this month. All went well at first, except that SHE decided to get some flea stuff for the cats at the same time. Apparently the vets now have to account for all medications that they sell and as their order for the flea stuff had only just come in, THEY had to wait until it had been put into the vet's computer system so that the proper labels could be printed out etc. etc. Well, after waiting quite a long while, it was all sorted out. That is, until it was time to pay. HE gave the lady his debit card and waited to punch in his number but instead it came back ‘void'. This happened twice and then the lady found out she was required to phone the authorisation place. She did but then it all went crazy. To cut a long story short, HE got upset because this was the second time in a couple of days that the bank had queried a payment, even though agreeing that there were funds in the account to pay it. The end of the story is that THEY went round to the bank to see the Bank Manager and to demand an apology for the embarrassment and inconvenience. THEY are now waiting to see what happens but it did rather put a bad mood to the day.
So, what with nothing happening at Ninefields and feelings running high at THEIR place, I think I will cut it short for today and hope that things turn out better tomorrow.

Wednesday 9 th November 2005
What happened with the bank? Don't ask! Just enough to say that five minutes after receiving a letter from the bank saying how sorry they were and how THEY deserved only the highest quality service etc. , there was a phone call from a company where SHE had ordered two new rugs for Mimms, saying that the bank had refused to authorise payment on the order. Let us turn to nicer things.
SHE talks to MimsWell, maybe not nicer but different. Treg had yet another lie in. OK I know that is not really news anymore but I only mention it as it was really nice to see THEIR happy faces when THEY came along this evening and found that the old boy had kindly decided to grace us with his presence. SHE was saying it was HER fault as SHE stopped doing Treg's poultice and decided to pack his hoof with Stockholm Tar instead. Maybe, maybe not but SHE did redo the poultice while he was having his supper. There was a rather pleasant spin off from Treg not eating his breakfast this morning as Mimms and I shared the carrots and apples that were in it before the rest was thrown away.
I'll tell you something, my Mimms has got a really good appetite for vegetables. And, she has now, at last, learned to eat sugar cubes. What a strange girl, not eating them at first. I think SHE managed to surprise her and get one into her mouth without Mimms noticing. Of course, when it dissolved into a nice sweet taste, Mimms then changed her mind. I know it is a long, hard struggle but I think she is also learning some manners. She now only flattens her ears at Wicky but doesn't actually bite or kick at him any more. She is still ‘enthusiastic; (HIS word) when eating treats. I thought I was fast but she can grab a treat, swallow it and go back for more while I am still savouring it. But, she is lovely.
It's a little bit like ‘me and my shadow' now as we walk about the fields. Treg sort of ambles along behind (if he is up) and Wicky keeps about fifty meters away from us. I think he is still smarting from losing his second place in the herd to Mimms. That and feeling a bit put out as being the only pony among three horses. Mimms doesn't help by calling him ‘midget' all the time. I do tell her about it but really she only says it for a bit of fun and doesn't realise how sharp it can appear at times.
It's been a glorious day today, sunshine from morning to night. It is a bit on the cool side now but we horses don't mind that. Not only do we have a higher body temperature than humans but we are also wearing rugs to keep off the wind and rain and you have no idea how warm they can be on a sunny day.
Now Tregs is up again, I will see if I can get him and Wick to have a go at the diary tomorrow. It's been a while and it will give me some more time to pay attention to Mimms' schooling. I did hear that SHE has had a word with Michael the farmer to take Mimms along to the farm to get acquainted with tractors and things. The trouble is, THEY never seem to have the time to do it. And, I know if they do, I will worry myself sick until she comes back. I can't help it, I really am one of the world's great worriers.

Wick and I look onThursday 10 th November 2005
“Ere Wick?”
“Over here, Treg.”
“What are you doing there Wick? Why don't you join us?”
“Too many lassies, son, for my liking. Always wanting to boss ye around. I like to be my own man, you know. Go where I like, do what I like. Not being bossed around by a bunch o' girls.”
“Oh, how strange. I can't imagine not having someone to tell me what to do. I mean, there's so much, isn't there? It would take me so long to decide which thing I would do that it would be too late and I'd end up doing nothing.”
“Ay, laddie. Some are like that, I know. But still you must find it difficult to know what to do when there's two of them telling you.”
“Oh no. I just obey the one nearest and then, if the other one chases after me I obey her because she's nearest. That way I stay out of trouble and they often end up quarrelling among themselves.”
“What a good idea laddie. Grand. That'll keep ‘em busy and off my back any road.”
“How you getting on with that new one, now, Wick?”
“When I'm on that side of the field and she is on this side – fine! It's only when we get near each other that the problems start.”
“THEY make me eat next to her. There's nothing I can do about it. And, she's such a terrible fidget. Quite puts me off my dinner sometimes. I think she is a bit of a nervous case if you ask me.”
“Yeah, well, have you seen her back? THEY took her rug off tonight and her back is covered with scabs. They must itch like mad. It almost made me feel sorry for her. I know she jumps and bucks at me but that's just the high spirits of youth. When I saw her back, it surprised me that she is not more grumpy poor girl.”
“My goodness Wick. You've changed your tune. Are you going soft in your old age.”
“When I get as old as you laddie, I'll tell you. How's your foot, by the way?”
“Getting better I think. Still limping and it's still painful but not as bad as it has been.”
“Ay, I know. You've not had a lie down for several hours now.”
“In this weather? No. Best to keep moving, I think. Anyway, I've discovered a great draw back to all that laying down. You can't graze! I mean, you've got the little bit of grass in front of you but that's soon finished. And then what? Nothing, that's what!”
“I ken laddie. You've not noticed me lying down so often, have ye noo?”
“Wick? Why do you keep lapsing back into that fake Scots accent? There's no-one to hear you here but me.”
“I know Treg but if I don't keep practicing I might lose it.”
“And that would be a bad thing?”
“Not for you, maybe Treg. But it gives HIM something different to type when HE makes up the diary.”
“You mean ‘makes up' as in assembles, I hope Wick?”
“Aye laddie, what else the noo?

Dead and dying leavesFriday 11 th November 2005
I thought it would never come! I am writing this in the peace of my own stable, having walked home with him for the first time this year. Normally I come in at night in late September/ early October depending on the weather. This year I have had to stay out to settle Mimms in with the others. Well, she will have to do it all on her own now. I suppose as she has pushed Wicked out of his second place that now makes her leader while I am away. I can only wish her luck as Wick is not the easiest of ponies when he is feeling mischievous.
The only thing I am sad about is Tregony. Not that I am leaving him but because of his foot. This morning he was lying down when breakfast came so THEY left him to get up when he was ready. Then about an hour after THEY had gone home, THEY re-appeared with Mark, the farrier. We were all a bit on edge as we didn't know how Mimms would behave. Often, when HE picks out her feet, she would lift them too high and lose her balance. Anyway, this morning, with Mark, she was perfect. Not a totter or any playing about, just a very good girl. We were all proud of her.
Then, when Mark had trimmed Wicky, he went up the field to where Treg was still lying down and had a look at his foot. He said he could see pus coming out of it and when he squeezed it, poor old Treg struggled to get up but couldn't. I'm not sure if he widened the hole or not but he said the best thing would be for Treg to put eight on it walking and get all the pus out. That being all THEY could do, THEY went away and left us. Later on Treg did get up and had been pottering about near the field shelter. When THEY came tonight, it was all Treg could do to get to the shelter for his tea.

The last I saw was her going down to supervise the eating manners and to put a new poultice on Treg's foot.
It was quite pleasant walking down the Throwleigh Road and then under Dry Bridge into Ramsley. I did notice that the trees outside Amber's stable have been cut down although HE did tell me that Amber doesn't live there anymore. It would seem that her rider had grown up and lost interest in riding and now her mother is going to look for another horse to suit herself. I will keep you informed when someone new turns up. I was able to investigate a few new smells on the road on my way down Ramsley Lane and, when I got to my stable, I was surprised to see that the paving has all been replaced. Much better and smoother. I approve.
And then the heaven of being able to eat my tea in peace at my own speed with no competition. SHE came in when she got back from Ninefields for a spot of mutual grooming and now I have a nice long night to relax before going out again tomorrow.
Oh, one other thing. I gather that if it works out, Mimms and I are going to take turns coming in at night so tomorrow it may be her turn to walk down the road. I think he has got his fingers crossed!

The BeaconSaturday 12 th November 2005
Well, I had a nice night's rest but I was glad to be back again this morning. I did my best to walk at a slow enough pace for HIM because I know HIS breathing is poor. Also I know HE had already had a bad time this morning. When THEY took the breakfast buckets up to the three in the field this morning, Tregony was nowhere to be seen. THEY did think he might have been laying down somewhere but it didn't seem that he could just vanish into thin air. Wicky was in his normal place down by the stream and Mimms was up on the left side of the middle field. But Treg?
HE dcided HE would have to go and find him and started up the hill. HE got as far as the middle field when HE had to have a go at HIS asthma puffer that HE had in HIS pocket for walking me back. HE got right up to the left top field but still no sign of Treg. HE walked through to the right top field. Still no Treg and, walking down through the little field, it was obvious that Treg wasn't up there at all. Then HE had this brainwave. Treg must have gone and hidden behind the field shelter to get away from Mimms. HE walked back down, looked round the back but Treg was not there either. SHE said he must have gone and died somewhere and the only place HE hadn't searched was the bracken patch to the far left of the middle field. And, of course, that is where Treg was. Not hiding, not laying down, just standing there waving his poor painful foot. HE decided to go back and take Treg his breakfast where he stood and when HE got halfway there, good old Treg had limped part of the way to meet HIM.
So, by the time HE got back to walk me up to Ninefields, HE was already feeling a bit tired. I walked along like a good girl but really couldn't be bothered to wait to eat carrots at our usual stops. It was strange when I got there. The three others were all scattered over the field instead of being together. I went and found Mimms and we went off together as we had much to talk about and I had a lot to teach her before she went home tonight.
Later, THEY turned up again. This time in the jeep. THEY drove in, picked up some stuff from the shelter and drove up to Treg. SHE re-poulticed his poor foot while Treg just stood and enjoyed the sunshine. And now for my confession. I was really really bad tonight. HE had told me that THEY were going to take Mimms back to the stable tonight so, partly out of jealousy and partly just out of plain naughtiness, I stayed up at the top of the middle field this evening when THEY turned up and I kept Mimms with me. Treg was standing just above the field shelter so HE had to first take Treg's supper bucket up to him and then walk all the way up the hill again to fetch Mimms. While HE was walking her back to the gate and before SHE could get up to us, I went and started eating Treg's supper. I know I shouldn't but I just felt spiteful with Mimms being taken back to my stable.
I gather she was very very good on the way home although she was nervous and puffed a lot. She didn't make a fuss about cars but did a lot of sniffing in the air when she did get there. HE told me that HE had cleared out the tack room floor where the rats had chewed through a bag of feed and had then cleaned the whole floor with strong disinfectant. So much for the stable smelling of me. All Mimms could smell was Jeyes Fluid!

Dartmoor wallSunday 13th November 2005
Hi, this is Mimms aka Mimi and sometimes (often) Muddlehead. You see, I've got nothing to do. THEY brought me home again tonight when it should have been mum's turn. Just like humans. You can't trust them. One night in and one night out, THEY told me. Tonight, mum and me didn't even bother to hide up the field ‘cos we thought that she was going home. You see, she quite likes it. She's used to it I expect.
I have to admit that it's not all that bad – just a bit boring. See, there's nothing to do. I mean, the place is alright although it's got a funny floor. I dug at it and dug at it but couldn't find any grass or even any straw. The prob is (‘scuse me for being indelicate) but when you wee on it, it splashes up your legs! True. Now, how hygienic is that? It might be alright for humans but, I ask you? All I can say is that it's a good job I've got long legs. That midget would end up with a wet belly if he came here.
No, what I miss is being able to roam about under the big old moons that we have been having. When I was at my last place, I had to go indoors at nights in the winter but here, I was just getting used to wandering about with mum, under the stars. ‘s funny but after not seeing her for nearly ten years, we seem to have hit it off real good. I think she is really happy now, having someone of her own kind to knock about with. She was telling me that when she first came to live with THEM, she had no one at all to talk to. Then THEY moved her in with some cows who she said were really nice, kind and caring people but didn't really understand horses. Then she moved to Ninefields and she got granddad and the midget. Well, she really fell for granddad because he was not a cow and was of a reasonable height. Also, of course, because of his nice gentle nature. But the trouble was, of course, the difference in ages. When mum felt like a lark about or a good old gallop, poor old granddad wasn't up to it. He was fine to just stand there and applaud and tell her what a fine woman she was but it's not he same as having someone to play with. Now, the midget is the opposite. Although I hate him, I do have to give him credit. That first day when I come her, he ran me ragged, chasing right up into the little field. He's got go in him, alright. But, come on. How could a self respecting racehorse be seen to be having fun with a little short hairy legged creature like that? And he's not got a full set of teeth.
No, I think mum is really glad I've come along to give her someone of her own class to chat with. And now THEY've worked out this one in/one out scheme to keep us apart overnight. Mum says it's only for the winter but that's a lifetime when you're my age. Anyway (as mum would say) let me tell you about tonight. Because I wasn't expecting it, the walk own the Throwleigh Road was a bit scary. Worse than last night somehow. I don't mind the traffic, that doesn't bother me at all. But, unless you are a horse, you have no idea what all those new smells did to me. Particularly just before that place THEY call Dry Bridge (silly name). I don't know what it was because I couldn't see it, but the smells there were scary, I'm telling you. When we got home (there, I'm calling it home already after only two nights!) HE took my rug off and gave me my dinner but I was too wound up to eat it. HE did stay with me and we tried a bit of mutual grooming but he took his arm away muttering something about not wanting it broken. Rough me? Rubbish. He is just a puny human. Mind, HE got HIS own back later on when SHE came home. SHE got HIM to sponge down all my legs with some sort of antiseptic, then hose them down and then dry them. I did my best to get away by lifting my legs very high and hopping but, in the end, HE just grabbed a leg and kept hold of it. I can see we've got a lot of getting used to each other to go through now.
Right, that should do it. Mum said to try and keep it to about six hundred words as she knows what a blabbermouth I am. Nice eh? And that's family. I can see it's not just HIM and me that have got some adjusting to do. Good night!

Over the fenceMonday 14 th November 2005
Little Miss Blabbermouth! I said six hundred words max and she has gone over eight hundred. Well, that should let me get away with a short entry tonight. Both Treg and Wick are quite relieved as HE has taken Mimi back home for the third night in a row. I think the idea is that THEY work on her rain scald and try and get her coat back into some kind of condition. HE told me that THEY had bought some lotion that you put on the scabs and it is supposed to soften them up. Then with a lot of grooming, they will slowly come out and then THEY can put on another lotion that THEY have bought which is supposed to be both antiseptic and soothing. The other thing THEY are working on is her legs as she has got some quite bad mud fever. The trouble is, as always, with the white feet. I don't know why it is but white feet are much more susceptible than coloured feet, as I know and I've only got one white foot. Mimi has got three so she really is in trouble. I've rather taken to the name Mimi. I know it's not her real name but it is better than Mimsy Muddlehead, which is what THEY call her. THEY don't mean anything nasty by it, in fact I think HE has rather fallen for her. HE says he enjoys walking her up and down the Throwleigh Road and, poor girl, HE has taken to singing to her as well.
Enough of her for a while. Treg's foot seems to be getting a bit better with all his poultices. He is still limping but not so badly. And he has not had a lay down for a while. It's probably because HE doesn't mix Treg's food up (putting the sugar beet, veggies and medicine powders in with his short feed) until he sees Treg standing. And it seems to work all the time. We now all have to wait until HE has made sure Treg is upright and then mixes the food before HE brings us our buckets.
And the midg .. er .. Wicky (she's getting me at it now). Wicky is much the same as usual. Even when Mimms came running at him with her ears back this morning, he just turned his head as if to say ‘go away you silly lassie'. Mind you, even Wick got him going this morning. HE was sure Wick was missing because he wasn't standing in his usual place by the stream when HE came along. It was because we had the first hard frost of the season this morning and Wick had gone right up in the corner of the field where the grass was sheltered and so not frozen so he could have ‘a wee bite' while he was waiting for breakfast!

Wandering sheepTuesday 15 th November 2005
“Ere, Wick?”
“Here Treg. What is it?”
“What do you know about lepercorns?”
“And how would you be spelling that Treg?”
“Oh, I wouldn't Wick. HE does the typing. I only tell HIM what to write.”
“Oh, I see. And you told him the word ‘lepercorn' eh?”
“Yeah, that's it. See, you do know something, don't you?”
“Well, I know what a leper is. It's a poor unfortunate person with a very nasty disease. And corns are also pretty nasty. They are patches of hard skin on your foot that can be very painful. So, I would suppose that your lepercorns are something to do with that.”
“Oh, they're not my lepercorns. Mine are abcesses. I know about them. They are very painful too. Ere, I suppose I could have heard it wrong. Maybe she said peppercorns. I would imagine that they would be very hot painful feet, wouldn't you?”
“No Treg. I know what peppercorns are. They're little seeds that you grind up to make pepper from.”
“I don't.”
“No, when I say ‘you' grind them up I mean one grinds them up.”
“Which one?”
“Treg. Are you being deliberately thick? Still, no, I don't suppose you need to be, do you? Let's take it a bit more slowly, shall we? You said maybe she said peppercorns. Who is she?”
Who is who?”
“Who is the she that you were talking about?”
“I was taking about lepercorns not about any she.”
“Who, are you listening, who told you about lepercorns?
“Well, Mimsy did. She was talking about you at the time and then she sort of wandered off and I lost track. But I remember the lepercorns most specially.”
“She was talking about me, was she? And what was she saying about me?”
“Er, she was wondering about your accident.”
“Accident? What accident?”
“She said when you lost your legs. I didn't know you had but she seemed sure of it.”
“ …… “
“What was that Wick? What's the matter with your teeth? Something stuck in them?”
“The little witch! I don't know why you talk to her. You know she was just being rude, don't you?”
“No, I think she was really worried about you. I think. It was then she started talking about the leperco…. “
“ … leprechauns. Yes, I expect it was. She didn't say anything about Ireland by any chance. And green coats. I expect the dear sweet lassie didn't happen to mention the little people by any chance?”
“Oh, so you do know about them after all. Yes, that was what she said. I thought it was quite interesting at first but then I sort of lost the plot.”
“Ay laddie. But that's not all that lassie will lose if I get hold of her!”

The watcherWednesday 16 th November 2005
“Hi, granddad, how's it going?”
“Er .. what? How's what going?”
“Things, life, you know.”
“Oh, things. Yes, very well I expect. Why do you want to know?”
“You are a funny old man, aren't you granddad? I like you though.”
“Well, er yes, that's nice. I like you. At least I like you when you're not bouncy. I can't take a lot of bounce now, at my age.”
“Bet you were a lad though, when you was young, eh?”
“I was a colt, if that's what you mean. Sort of obvious really."
“So, what we gonna do today gramps? Fancy a run up the hill. You can see ever so far up there. I want to go and see if I can see my old home at the seaside.”
“You lived near the seaside, did you. I bet that was nice. Did you ever go paddling?”
“Nah, bit too far for that. But we could see it, the sea I mean. It was all blue on a sunny day. Very pretty.”
“I've never seen the sea. Alli , sorry mum, told me all about it though. Ere, Mimi, are you French too?”
“Not even French one, granddad. No, Devon through and through, me.”
“You don't have an accent though.”
“I do, it's just that HE can't type it.”
“Oh, you mean just like HE can't type Wicky's Scots one?”
“Yeah, something like that. You know what granddad, it's pretty quiet round here, aint it. What do you do for fun?”
“Me? Oh, usually I try to count my feet. It's not a lot of what you might call fun but it does keep me bust for quite a long time so I forget to be bored. Or, if I was bored, I can't remember so I stop being it.”
“Counting your feet? One, two, three, four. Right, dunnit. Then what?”
“Oh my goodness. That's marvellous. Do it again.”
“Best not granddad. Don't want to get burn out, do we? No, really. What is there to do around here? For someone young, I mean?”
“Oh, there's plenty to do. There's … er …, and then there's … Tell you what kid. Why don't you ask Wicky, he's got a better memory than me.”
“How can it be better? It must be tiny. Anyway, he don't like me. It's best I keep out of his way.”
“Doesn't like you? Of course he does. He's always thinking about what you would like. He keeps saying, ‘you know what that lassie wants?'. Trouble is I don't, so I can never answer him. Anyway Mimsy. Be a good girl and run along now, I'm starting to feel a bit sleepy.”
“Oh, right'o granddad. That's cool.”
“Oh, don't worry about that girl, you've got your coat on, you'll be warm enough.”

cat FlapThursday 17 th November 2005
Some news today. Not earth shattering but interesting anyway. The first concerns that kitten, Cat Flap. Now, I've only been home and seen him once but I was impressed with how big and active he is. He has big ears, big legs and a big tail (for a cat). And active! HE tells me a few days ago, he brought his first rat home. A small one, admittedly but a rat nevertheless. And then followed a couple of (already dead) mice but at least he was practicing. The following day there was a dreadful noise in the kitchen and THEY rushed out to find Cat Flap with a magpie, its head firmly clutched in his jaws. They managed to relieve him of this and set it free again unharmed but the bird was very large, nearly the same size as Cat Flap himself. But this is not the news. His legs and tail and ears are not the only features of Cat Flap that were large and so today he found himself making that once in a lifetime visit to the vets. To be honest, THEY think the hardest part for him was having to go without breakfast, for he has a healthy appetite and a frequent one. When he came home this evening, his first stop was his food dish and, apart from hunger, he was looking no worse for the experience.
The other item of news concerns, surprise, surprise, my daughter Mimms. She has had a mixed day today both surprising THEM with how good she has been and also excelling herself with naughtiness. She had spent her fourth night in my stable and had already been very good having her final scab picking session on her rain scald, it will just be normal grooming now, and when she was taken up the road to Ninefields, she behaved impeccably with no huffing, puffing or pulling. So, this evening, when THEY took our feed buckets up and SHE went to put Mimms' head collar on, to be taken home, THEY were astonished by her burst of enthusiasm. Well, that's putting it n a nice way. What happened was that Mimms was by the hedge talking to Maxwell and hen SHE tried to put the head collar on, Mimi ran and bucked and generally evaded it. And, what was worse, she unintentionally kicked HER in the stomach. She then ran all the way up to the field shelter and then back to the Throwleigh Road field again, still bucking and showing off for Maxwell. She finally came to a halt at the shelter and HE threw a rope over her head and held her until SHE came along with the head collar. And then, to confound everybody, she walked home ass good as gold and went straight into the stable and ate up her bucket of feed (which she has been in the habit of leaving after picking out the vegetables treats). Thankfully THEY all put it down to Mimms feeling good and just showing it with high spirits. I think I must have a little word with her about manners tomorrow!

Waiting for someoneFriday 18 th November 2005
Well, now I've got to wait until after the week end to go home to my stable at night. Apparently Mimms has been so good walking up and down to Ninefields and back and now she is even eating up all her buckets that THEY want her to do a few more nights to consolidate her success. It's really funny. When the autumn comes and I have to go in, I hate it and I want to stay out overnight for ever. But now that I have to stay out, I don't like that either. I don't make a fuss but I just look at THEM in a very sorrowful sort of way to make THEM feel guilty. What was nice tonight was that Amber's mum (that was) was talking to HIM as HE walked Mimms home and she offered the use of her stables if THEY needed them. It was a very kind offer and it the weather turns really horrible or one of us was ill or something THEY might well take her up on it. She would like it, she said because she would love to see a horse in her stable again. She has been trying to get another horse since Amber went but has so far been unlucky. Three times so far she was going to get one and each time it was turned down on the vet's report. She said that they were considering going to the Irish sales to find one.
I have to report a very bad happening today. It all started because old granddad (as Mimi calls Treg) decided to have another lay in again. When HE brought our breakfast buckets, Treg was well into the middle of his rest period. He watched HIM walk down to the stream and then just flopped back over again and went back to sleep. HE had made Treg's feed up this time so HE just put it into the hay store and covered it with a sack to keep it moist. When SHE drove up (while HE walked Mimi up the road), SHE found that Treg had woken up and drifted down in search of his breakfast. SHE got it out of the hay store and was guarding him was he ate it when HE came along with Mimi. After all the hellos, good mornings were over, HE began to give the three of us, me, Wicky and Mimms, some treats while Treg carried on with his bucket. The trouble was, HE wasn't expecting this so HE had nearly emptied out his pockets before setting off with Mimms. This meant that treats finished a lot sooner than Wicky would have liked and he took the opportunity while HE was talking to us, to rush in and grab Treg's dinner. HE ran back in and barged Wick off the bucket and shouted out load while kicking his wellie in Wicky's direction. It was enough to make Mimms and I retreat far away into the middle of the field but Wick (who is naughty but fearless) just walked a few steps away and, would you believe it, got cuddled for his cheek. Eventually, we could see that the shouting was only of the moment to make Wick get his head out of Treg's bucket, so we wandered back in time to see Treg finish up. One good thing though. I think Wick and Mimi are finally coming to tolerate each other. I will now have a go at getting her to give him a bit more respect when she talks to him. Maybe ‘uncle' would be better than ‘midget'?

barkSaturday 19 th November 2005
Uncle Midget? Hmm, possible, I'll think about it. I must say he hasn't been so bad of late. It's just that fake Scots accent I hate. I may have several possible names but ‘lassie' is not one of them. What's he think I am, a stupid dog?
I'm pleased to say Granddad is a lot better now. Hardly a limp in sight. Well, except for, you know. And he can't help that at his age. Actually he really is a dear, you only have to go up behind him and say' boo' and he will be off like a shot. Mum said I should try saying ‘wormer' and see what that does, but she was only kidding, she wouldn't let me torment the old guy for the world.
Funny but I am still being brought into the stable at night. I thought it was supposed to one night in and one night out but HE says it is better for the two old ‘uns if they are out alone with mum rather than me. That was just because last time Mi .. er .. Uncle and I had a row and Granddad went and hid right over in the brackeny corner of the middle field. SHE says that I won't do that again but, while she is treating my rain scald and mud fever it is better for me to get the habit of coming in.

Max's human came along this morning with some creams that she is sure will cure my scabs. Apparently her old horse Harry was cured by it so SHE says she will use it on my worst places now which is on my knees and some of my tummy. The amount of creams and stuff that I've had rubbed into me it is a wonder I don't slip and slide out of their hands.
You know, I'm not very good at this diary writing lark. Nothing seems to happen worth noting to me. Mum says she knows but it is good practice. ‘What do you think happens to us that is so different?', she asked me. ‘It is just a question of making the most out of what you have got.' Which reminds me. I didn't see that nice lad Max in his field today. I go over to the wall and definitely make the most of what I have got but I think he is a bit thick or something ‘cos he doesn't even smile at me. He just stands there looking. The way he does that makes even Granddad look clever. I think it is something to do with girls growing up faster than boys and all that. Still, he is good looking so I can at least enjoy looking. I'm not after an intellectual conversation after all!

Maw in his fieldSunday 20 th November 2005
Oh dear, Mimms is suffering with her hormones. At this time of year, it shouldn't happen but whether it is the extra feed or what, I don't know. All I know is that she is behaving very badly in spite of herself. She is trying to be good, she told me. But then it comes over her, all in a surge, so to speak.
HE told me it was strange this morning. Normally HE goes out while HE is waiting for his kettle to boil to make THEIR tea and coffee in the early morning, to give Mimms a couple of treats, just like HE does when I am at home. Normally Mimms is in the back of the stable in the dark and, instead of calling to her, HE just stands still with HIS back to the stable door until she sees HIM there and comes over and nudges HIM. Then HE acts all surprised and turns and gives her (or me) a bite of carrot. Anyway, this morning, instead of being at the back of the stable, Mimms is standing with her head out of the door and when HE goes to give her the carrot, she just snatches at it and turns round snorting. Apparently it got worse after HE had come up to Ninefields to feed us. SHE went in to groom Mimms and she just kept going to the door and then whirling round and round, all agitated. By the time HE was back and was ready to lead her up to Ninefields, she had made a very wet, sloshy mess of the stable. Then, after the last few days, when she had been getting better and better to lead along Ramsley and up the Throwleigh Road, this morning she was, once more, all tense and jumpy. As soon as she got here, instead of greeting me, for I had been waiting at the top gate for her, she just went waltzing over to the wall and looking out for Maxwell or any other male that might happen to come along.
That pattern occurred all day, particularly with regard to one of the boys over in Mathew's yard. She just stood and posed and called out to him all day long. And then, tonight, the worst of all happened. We were, all four, waiting up at the Throwleigh Road field for when THEY came along. THEY have now worked out that it is better to let Mimi do her own thing while HE carries the feed buckets down to the shelter and then to put her halter on just outside the shelter. Tonight, HE put the buckets down for us three and then went to put Mims's head collar on and she just shot off over to the far field and stood looking up to Mathew's place where the stallion is. THEY decided to ignore such bad behaviour and HE fed the birds while ignoring her. When HE had finished HE got the head collar and walked determinedly over to where she was standing. She stood and watched HIM for a while and then, when HE was nearly up to her, she jumped forward and cantered over to above the shelter. HE had to turn round and follow her and it was then that her good nature won over the hormones. As HE approached, she walked forward and let HIM put the head collar on.

After that, HE told her that they were going looking for her stallion and she just calmly followed HIM as HE led her home. As I said at the beginning, it's not the right time for this sort of thing. Let us hope that she gets over it tonight and is a much better girl in the morning.

two in the sunMonday 21 st November 2005
“Oh no!”
“What is it Treg, what's the matter old man?”
“Didn't you see? SHE's got Alli on a head collar, up at the gate. That means THEY are taking her back to her stable tonight.”
“Well, that's alright Treg. We've done without her before. I'm sure we can manage again. After all, it's only overnight, she'll be back in he morning.”
“I know we can manage without her, Wick. That's not what's bothering me. It's just that if Alli is going back that means we are stuck here with Mimms overnight.”
“WHAT? Oh no laddie. I hadn't thought. This is terrible. Stuck here all night with Miss Bossy Boots Fruitcake. Oh dear me, what are we going to do?”
“I think I know what I'm going to do. I'm off over to that corner by the bracken again. If I stand there very still and quiet, she cant find me. That's what I did last time.”
“You mustn't leave me laddie. There's strength in numbers. If we both stand together maybe she will just go away.”
“I always find it best if I go away. More certain, you see. I can always rely on me to be a coward but you never know with others, particularly others of the female sort.”
“Oh, don't remind me Treg. And it's hormone week as well. She'll be bouncing off the walls and hedges. Nothing's safe with them when they're like that.”
“Yeah, right. Where is she now Wick?”
“Up at the gate watching her mum being lead down the road.”
“Why don't we just tiptoe off now, while her mind is on something else. We could be up in that top corner before she gets back across the stream.”
“Er, well, Treg, you see, she hasn't finished up her supper has she. It would be a shame to leave it there, wouldn't it? How about you make a start up the hill and I'll catch you up when I've finished tidying up?”
“Oh, you don't need to do that Wick. Tell you what. You go on up there and I'll stay here and keep an eye out for her. I could do a bit of tidying up while I'm waiting.”
“No, no trouble Treg. You go along. You see, although I don't like her, I'm not scared of her. Remember how I chased her up into the little field on the day that she came? No, you make your way up to the top field and I'll stay behind and cover your tracks.”
“Hmm. Best we go together, I think. Come on, she'll be back any minute.”
“Here, what if she comes back and says that she's not hungry and that we could share her supper. It would be a shame to waste that, wouldn't it?”
“You think she would? I suppose she's not so bad now, since Alli's been teaching her how to behave. Trouble is, she does tend to forget herself now and then.”
“Maybe we should do what Alli does.”
“What's that Wick?”
“You know, she just sort of flattens her ears and inclines her head. Mimms always stops what she is doing then, doesn't she?”
“Shall we have a practice then?”
“OK Treg, look, this is what you do, like that.”
“Ha ha. Ha ha ha. Oh no Wick ha, stop it, it's ha too gruesome, oh no, ha, ha, ha.”
“You weren't scared at all?”
“Yeah. Scared I'd choke to death laughing. Don't do that no more Wick, please.”
“Well, alright Tregony. You do it then. Smarty hooves.”
“Oh, oh. Too late. Here she is.”
“Hi boys. What shall we do tonight. When the mares away … as they say. What shall we do for fun?”
“Tell you what Mimms. Why don't you take Granddad away over there and get him to show you his ear flattening joke. I'll join you in a minute, just got a bit of tidying up to do.”

Field shelter foodTuesday 22 nd November 2005
“Credit where it's due, Wick. She was pretty good this morning, wasn't she?”
“Was that before she tried to nick your breakfast or after?”
“Oh that. She was only looking to see what I had. She wasn't really going to steal it.”
“Well, not when HE shouted at her, anyway.”
“Oh come on, be fair. She was OK lst night, wasn't she. I think she even did her best to look after us the way Alli would have. It's not her fault if she gets things a bit wrong, from time to time.”
“Ay laddie, you could be right there I expect. I will say she seems to have quietened down lately. I think Alli has been teaching her how to behave properly. She's really not so bad after all. And she did leave me alone to finish my breakfast in peace. That's worth a lot.”
“Even better, she left about a third of hers so that I had some extras when I had finished my bucket.”
“I was going to have a word with you about that Treg. Do you really think it is fair for you to finish all her left overs when really I should have a share as well?”
“But you were busy eating Wick. I was sure that you had plenty of your own.”
“Is that the point? I don't think so old man. If there is any left, it should be shared equally, two thirds for me and a third for you. You know that.”
“I'm sorry Wick you know I'm not very good at maths. I'll try to remember next time.”
“Well, alright then. Anyway it wont happen tomorrow, it's Mimms' turn to go in so we'll have Alli at breakfast instead.”
“Oh, that's good, she always leaves me quite a lot of her breakfast because she is so greedy to go and get HIM to give her carrot treats.”
“Yes, I was going to have a word with you about that, Treg. You know that whatever Alli leaves we should share equally, five sixths for me and a sixth for you.”
“Oh dear, more maths. Tell you what Wick. Lets wait until Alli leaves some and then you can point out what is yours and what is mine.”
“OK Treg, good idea. I'll do that. So, what should we do today?”
“Don't ask me. Look Alli's back now. She'll tell us what to do.”
“Maybe, maybe not. Have you noticed how she is spending more and more time with Mimms and leaving us alone to do what we want?”
“Yes, I had noticed but I'm not complaining. I don't want to go far. My foot's killing me again.”
“I thought SHE had sorted that out with all those poultices.”
“That was more fore leg, Wick. This is my hind one now.”
“You know what Treg. You're a mess. You are just a great big mess!”
“Never mind Wick, you can have nine tenths of it. OK?”

foot (claw) printsWednesday 23 rd November 2005
Mimi and I had a lovely fast canter down to the shelter tonight. Although Treg seems to be walking better today, he didn't come up the field with us. Wick stayed behind with him so that he would be nearby when the buckets came along. So, when they did come, both Mimms and I were right up in the top field as high as you can get. As HE came in the gate HE called out to me and first I started walking along to the field exit and then I started to trot. Mimms must have been watching because she came running up after me and we reached the gate out of the field at roughly the same time. And then it became a game. All downhill and fun, we turned it into a race and both skidded to a stop at the mouth of the shelter to HIS consternation as there was only one bucket – one of us staying in the field and one coming home.

It turns out that I was the one coming home so SHE had the job of getting Mimms and the other two to settle down to their supper. I was told afterwards that it was not how everyone thinks with Mimi pushing everyone away. No, it was the other way round. First Treg started to eat her supper while she was not there and then, after she had looked into Wick's bucket and he had taken no notice, then instead Wick walked over to Mimms and pushed her off her bucket. So it would seem that they have adjusted to each other, after all. It's not actually as bad as it sounds because Mimms really doesn't seem very interested in food. If she is at home in the stable she will often leave what she is given (after picking the carrots out of it) and definitely in the morning when he wants to get back to Ninefields she will just walk away from her food altogether. I hear her favourite trick is to dig and dig at the floor with her front foot when she is impatient to go. It doesn't hurt the rubber mat but it does look funny. As if she is trying to get some grass or something.
They (the weather forecasters) have been promising snow by the end of the week. I will always remember when Treg, Wick and I were first together and we had snow that winter. We had such a good game, first rolling in it and then going for a good hard run. Yes, even Treg ran with us then, right along the bottom of the top west field. It's strange isn't it, the effect snow has. It's not just humans that start to play with snow men and snowballs. We horses find it fun as well. I only hope if it does come I get caught up Ninefields with Mimms so we both can't get home on the slippery roads and then we can have some good games together.

leaf carpetThursday 24 th November 2005
Humans are funny creatures. He told me that THEY had decided to leave us both out tonight because it would not be good is one of us, particularly Mimi was caught in the stable and couldn't get back because of the snow on the roads. This would have suited us both fine. Snow in the field would be no problem and even wind and rain can be dealt with by standing in the correct position in the right place. And, that is what we were doing this evening when THEY came along with the supper buckets. We had found a good place, up above the shelter, with a good Devon bank and hedge and three of us were just standing with our backs to the wind and rain and in a semi awake stage.
Wicky, of course, who had been up with us, went down straightaway as soon as he heard THEIR car pull up. I think he'd jump over a cliff if there was a bucket on the other end. But Mimi, Treg and I just carried on standing, fully weatherproof and comfortable, ignoring THEIR arrival. Eventually, after feeding the birds and squirrels, HE came up the hill carrying Treg's bucket and calling. I was all for ignoring HIM. I mean, there is plenty of grass to eat anyway. But, inevitably, Treg broke ranks and started to go down. What could we do? Mimms and I followed suit. And then to our horror, we found that THEY had changed THEIR minds and HE put Mimms head collar on to take her home like any other day. She was so stunned that she did walk a few yards until she realised what was going on. And then, what with the wind, which was gusting very strongly and what with the sight of Max, who was being lead home along the road and was plating up with the wind, Mimms just put the brakes on and just wouldn't budge.
There followed the usual ‘good girl', tug, ‘bad girl', tug routine that of course never works and this went on until Mimms decided that, alright, she would go home anyway. It was here that she showed just how brave she is. It was pretty dark with the snow clouds in the sky and the freezing, pouring rain and, as they battled their way against the wind up the road, two very big lorries came up behind them, one following the other. And what did Mimms do when they went to pass very close to her? Nothing! She made no fuss at all about the lorries, only the wind. By the time they got home, HE was full of praise for her. In fact, HE had been very pleased with all three of them this morning when HE took the breakfast feed along. HE told HER that, if the other morning they had been practically perfect then this morning they were completely so. No fighting, no stealing other horses food, just three of them standing eating side by side very calmly and politely.
Just one thing. When SHE came up later to change Treg's poultices on two feet now, Mimms did bite Wicky's bum. Maybe just a little way to go yet!

Snowy wallFriday 25 th November 2005
“Well, what do you make of that then Wick?”
“Sorry Treg, I'm feeling a bit full up. Could you come over her and repeat what you said, I don't think I can move for the moment.”
“Right Wick. That better? I asked what you thought of THEM going away and leaving both Alli and Mimi to stay with us overnight. Strange innit?”
“Oh, I heard HER saying, while you was having your foot done, it's because of the weather. THEY didn't want to get Alli home tonight and then find that she couldn't get back in the morning because the roads were too slippery. That's what made THEM do it.”
“Funny though. It makes the field shelter a bit crowded, don't it? ‘Ere, what was all that kicking about earlier? SHE said you started it.”
“I most certainly did not. HE brought the buckets along and I settled down to eat mine and then, while HE was just giving Alli hers, that female monster came along and bit my bottom. So, naturally, I wasn't standing for that so I did what was best when you want to keep your face in the bucket. I just gave a little kick. And then she got all in a tizz as usual and turned round and did a flying kick but only got the side of the shelter. She's so dozy she can't even kick straight.”
“So you weren't hurt then?”
“No, course not. Neither of us meant it really. Just a bit of jostling for position. I never feel her bites, particularly now that I've got two coats on. All she gets is a mouthful of cloth. Makes me laugh really and irritates her like mad so that's alright.”
“'Ere, Wick. My foot don't half hurt. I know Mark meant well when he went digging about in it but I'd swear he didn't make it much better.”
“Least it makes a change having the farrier poking about with it instead of the vet. D'you think THEY do it to save money?”
“If you listen to HIM, the only way to save money is to not have any horses.”
“Oh, HE means only look after ponies does he?”
“I'm afraid that the way HE said it gave me the impression he meant all equines, ponies as well.”
“Then HE must have been joking, of course. What kind of life would THEY have if we weren't around?”
“Yeah. I think HE likes us really or HE wouldn't keep coming up to Ninefields, would HE? Did you notice tonight that he brought HER up here with Mark and then HE turned right round again and went and got our supper. Only someone who really likes us would do a thing like that.”
“Treg, have you noticed that while we've been talking, those mares have been wandering off together without us?”
“Oh, let ‘em go. You're too full and my leg hurts too much to try and keep up with them. Let's just stand around here in the snow and tell stories.”
“That would be nice Treg. Who should start, you or me?”
“Tell you what Wick. First one to .. to .. oh, alright, I'll go first!”

Ninefields in the snowSaturday 26 th November 2005
“The foal opened one eye and stared straight ahead. For a minute he thought that he had gone blind. All he could see was white, just a white sheet filling his vision. Then, as he moved his head slightly, there was a red vertical line. He shook his head and the line took shape. It was a leg. To be more precise, for he had seen it many times before, it was his mother's leg. As he turned his head further, he found her other fore leg but the white behind was still puzzling him. Just then his mother's head stretched down to him. ‘Awake now are we? Time to get up and look at the snow. That's something you've never seen before my lad'. With a bit of a gentle nudge from his mothers nose, the foal raised himself to a standing position and he saw a sight, such a sight that he gasped in amazement. Where the fields that he had know since he had been born used to be, there was now a completely new landscape. The shape was right only maybe a little softer but instead of either green grass or black mud was now a soft brilliant white blanket. And the trees and hedges were still in the same places but their branches were outline, again in white. As he stared, the brilliance of it hurt his eyes and he looked away at his mother, who stood looking down at him with the hint of a smile on her face.
‘What is it, snow?', he asked. ‘Is it safe? Will it hurt me?' His mother again gave him a gentle nudge, this time in a very reassuring way. ‘No, it won't hurt you, son. In fact, it might give you lots of fun. Why don't you go out and explore?' He looked up into her face and saw nothing but love and, taking courage from this, he took a step forward, out of the shelter and put his first ever footprint onto the snow. For a moment he felt nothing, his hoof shielding him from the cold. There was a bit of a funny feeling though as he put his next foot down, it seemed to be made of something soft and scrunchy which gave way a little when he put his weight down. Gaining confidence, he strode forward for a few more paces. Then a wonderful feeling of joy spread all over him and caused him to break into a trot. ‘Steady now' his mother called after him but he didn't hear. The sun broke through the clouds and he seemed to feel an urge to go faster, to almost fly over this white blanketed surface that kicked up puffs of dusty stuff as he ran.
And then, next minute, he found that his leg wasn't where it should have been. He had put it down in one place and it had slid to somewhere else. Of course, this caused his next footing to also be out of place and it too slipped somewhere else. And, in a trice, the foal found himself sitting on his bottom in a cloud of the snow stuff. In fact, for a moment he had rubbed his face in it. It was cold. It was cold and wet. And it felt funny on his nose. Strangely, his fall hadn't hurt, the snow had cushioned his fall. He got to his feet again, careful not to let his foot slip this time but watching where he placed it. And ,as he watched, he discovered where the grass had gone. It was underneath the snow. He bent his head and nibbled a bit. Brrr. Cold. But alright. He was about to take another nibble when he heard a swishing sound behind him and looking up saw his mother walking along, her feet covered in snow. ‘I told you to be careful, Tregony', she said, ‘come along, lets go find the others and have some real fun'!”

Alezane in the snowSunday 27 th November 2005
“So that was a true story then Treg? That was you when you were a foal?”
“Well, sort of, Wick. Of course, I didn't remember all of it but my mother told me all about it, how I was so excited by my first snowfall and how I slipped on the icy ground and got snow on my nose.”
“What it does tell me Treg is that you had a very lucky childhood. Your mother sounds like a really kind and nice person.”
“Well, aren't all mothers nice and kind, at least to their own children? I bet you had a very nice mum too Wick, didn't you?”
“I think it's my turn to tell a story now Treg so you better get comfortable and listen about my family.”

“ The wind whistled over the moor and brought with it sharp, stinging little pieces of ice which cut into your face and legs if you were unlucky to be caught out in it. It wasn't very late in the afternoon yet but already the light had gone and only murky shapes showed up over the ice bound ground. Little Flicket shivered. He was tucked in tight against the granite wall for some protection against the wind's unkindness. He was only a few hands high and his little legs were thin and spare. If there had been enough light, you would have seen his ribs sticking out and the bones of his haunches standing proud. He was cold and he was hungry. He looked over into the corner of the wall, where it bent to follow the shape of the human's road. He could just make out the sight of his friend Little Tor who was snuggling up against his dam's flank for the warmth and comfort. How he envied him. It wasn't just the warmth that Flicket missed, it was the company, the belonging. Yes, alright, he belonged to the herd. A lot of them were his blood relatives but there was no one special there for him. Only a few weeks ago, his mother had been killed by a speeding car while she was waiting for him to cross the road. The sound of the crash and the sickening sight of his mother spinning to a crumpled bloody heap at the side of the road were still vivid in his memory. He expected that they always would be, even when he was a grown up pony. He didn't remember much of his mother, he was too young to have realised what the relationship was. But he did remember the feelings of security and love that he had experienced in her presence and he knew only too well how much he missed them now.
Like most animals, his father was just a presence in his genes, not a reality in his everyday life. No doubt his father was one of the herd elders, maybe even the leader. He would never know and so this could never bother him. He also had aunts and uncles and even grown up siblings but these were just other competitors for food in his everyday life and, being the smallest, he could not compete on equal terms but had to depend on luck and his own innate cunning. For, cold he might be, lonely he certainly was but he had developed some skills in his few weeks of life that would enable him to survive, come what may.
His eyes now spotted what looked like an edible piece of vegetation just round the corner from the others. Moving steadily, with no apparent purpose other than to avoid the wind and snow, Flicket manoeuvred himself to place his body between the others and the food. Then, swiftly before anyone could take it before him he consumed it. An old, weathered pony wandered over and shoved him out of the way. ‘You know all food is mine, kid' he snarled. ‘You've not found anything have you?' Flicket just put his head down submissively and turned away. He knew that it was best to just avoid trouble, at least, until he grew up!”

“Poor little chap. Who was that Wick? One of your friends?”
“Didn't you know my name before I came to live here? Surely you did?”
“My memory is not so go… Oh, yes, that was you! You were called Flicket weren't you? Did you really have such a bad childhood Wick? Really?”
“Remind me to tell you some time Treg. Let's eat!”

Suzuki in the snowMonday 28 th November 2005
Well, the say you learn something new every day. What d you know, her name is spelled with one m not two, or should that be with two ms not three? Whatever it's Mims and not Mimms! And how long has she been with us and we only just found out? Mind you, that's not her real name any more than Mimi is. There is only one person who knows her real name and that's me. I named her when she was born as all our horses are. But it is a secret name that humans never know, That is why they always give us names that they make up. There! I've told you a secret now, haven't I? Very few humans know about our real names. We use them among ourselves and it is a very special thing. So, to us it doesn't really matter if you call me Always Special or Stick or Alezane or whatever. We don't really care if you call him Flicket or Wicked or call her Mimms or Mims. They are just made up things to help humans. We don't need them, we know who we really are. Anyway, for the sake of keeping our humans happy we will from now on call my daughter Mims (or sometimes Mimi if she is really naughty).

I am afraid Treg is still limping but also the cold seems to have crept into his brain so it is hard to tell if he cant do something or if he just isn't understanding what to do. He is still having poultices, now on his rear foot. Mark the farrier came and had another look at this foot and says that the abscess is quite deep. He did cut in and find some pus but he doesn't think he found it all by any means.
We've been having some really funny weather. You can stand and look to the south and see blue skies and sunshine while, if you turn round to the north, the sky is as black as ink and laden with snow. We have showers, sometimes rain, sometimes sleet and sometimes snow then we will have clear star studded nights and the ground freezes over. It was my turn to come home last night and when I went back this morning, the road was very slippery indeed and I had to be very careful how I stepped. Mind, I am luckier than HIM because HE lets me walk in the melted tracks while He is left the icy places. As we were walking along towards Ninefields this morning, HE grumbled ‘It's alright for you, you have got four wheel (foot) drive.!

Tuesday 29 th November 2005
“I couldn't help hearing you boys talking about your childhoods and how you got on with your mothers. I wondered if you wanted to hear my story?”
“But, Mims, isn't your Mother Alli?”
“That's it granddad, got it in one. That was what I was going to tell you about.”
horses in the snow“I'm sure you had a really lovely childhood, lassie. It must have been with a smashing mum like that.”
“Well, that's all you know Uncle Wicky sticky. You would think, looking at her, that she was a really nice and lovely mother, wouldn't you? You just wait and hear what I've got to tell yo…”
“… Mims! Mims, come here at once.”
“Oh no, it's her. Sorry lads, another time, eh?
…Coming mum!”
“Well, what do you thin of that Wick?”
“I for one just don't believe her. Lying little mare. Everyone knows how nice Alli is. She just couldn't have been nasty, not even ten years ago.”
“That's what I thought. Maybe she was just going to make up a story to interest and entertain us, Wick.”
“You know your trouble Tregony. You always think nice things about everyone, even when everyone else knows how nasty they are.”
“Oh, Mims is not nasty, she's just young and a bit hasty that's all. You see, she will grow into just as nice a person as her mother, just given a bit of time.”
“I think the trouble is, Treg, you and I don't have that much time left.”
“You're just upset because she came up to you while you were eating tonight.”
“And did you see what she did, she kicked me!”
“Yes, I did see what happened and, I'm afraid Wick, you gave the first kick.”
“Well, she was going to steal my supper, wasn't she?”
“Are you sure she wasn't just wondering if you had finished yet so that we could all go up the hill for the night.”
“Whoops. Mind your head Treg, a great big pig went flying past just then.”“What … ? Don't be silly Wick. Pigs can't fly.”
“And Mims is not able to just enquire as to my eating satisfaction, is she? Come on Treg, she was going to push me off my bucket.”
“She'd have to be very strong to do that. Once you get your face in there it would take an army of shires to shift you.”
“Mmm, maybe. Anyway, why are we wasting our time talking about her? How's your foot?”
“Well, I thought it was a bit better today but SHE says she can hear a clicking sound when I walk.”
“That's not your brain ticking over deciding which leg to put forward next, is it Treg?”
“Funny you should say that Wick. I was wondering that myself. Not that bit about ‘which leg to put forward', I know that of course. No, I was wondering if it might not be my brain working away at some higher mathematics or nuclear science problem like in the background. And then, one day, I will come up with the solution to global warming or world poverty or something and everyone will think how wonderful I am and I will be honoured and meet the queen and then ….. “
“Treg. Tregony Bay . Just shut up will you. You're being silly now, aren't you? Come on, let's go and find Mims and get her to tell us about when she was a filly!”

well, why not roll in it?Wednesday 30 th November 2005
St. Andrew's Day, the end of the month, and now into December and Christmas and all that! And what was November? It was Mims' month, that's what it was. At the end of each month, HE looks back over every diary page, mainly to see what photos HE should add to illustrate the diary. And, do you know what? It has been almost exclusively about Mims or Mimms or Mimi. Whatever you call her, she has been grabbing the limelight all this month. I think what you will detect if you were to read every day's page would be a growing liking for her. The thirty days start with a sort of wariness and in some cases disapproval of her silly ways. Then, slowly, a sort of understanding of the problems she has had to face in coming to terms with this new sort of life has brought about a better evaluation of her real true qualities, her lovely nature, her need to learn so that she can do the correct thing and her battle with her other side which makes her question every unfamiliar situation. Even her battles with Wicky can be understood if you see it from her eyes. Here she is placed in an impossible situation, rather like the son of the owner of a factory who has to overcome all the prejudice against him when he tries to take up the reins with employees who have much more experience and knowledge than he has. Mims has been left, on those nights when Alli has been brought home, to take over the herd from her mum while she has no experience of herd leadership and Wicky is such a loner and Treg (granddad) is now deep in his own battle for understanding of what is going on around him. She does the best she can to hold the herd together until her mum comes back and she needs to be understood if sometimes she has to lose her patience with Wick. To her credit, she is never anything but kind to Treggy and does her best to stay with him and look after him.
And so, I am really proud of my daughter. She has her faults but then, who hasn't? But her heart is in the right place and she is making great strides. And, if I say so myself, she is beautiful. Oh, I know she has those bald patches on her hind quarters where the rain scald scabs were, but they will grow out in the spring. Ok, she has some mud fever on her legs but so have I. Strangely the barrier cream that SHE puts on our legs is funnier looking than the mud fever but it is all for the best. HE always moans, when HE has to pick out our feet, that our legs are so slippery that they shoot out of his grasp when HE picks them up.

I tell you what, I am just going on and HE said that I have to make this a short diary page tonight as HE has to put up the village web site and add the coverage of the opening of the Church House as well. So, that's it for November. Hopefully December will have more holiday stuff and less dwelling on the problems that my daughter has caused. Let' hope that next month is a really happy and festive one for all and especially for my Tregs!

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