Bucked off


As I sail through the air, blue sky, more blue sky and more blue sky, I think this is slow motion or one mighty big buck…

and then thud. I land in the sand, upside down, kind of on my head and do an unconventional forward roll.

Tosh carries on bucking and rodeo-ing round the track in such a crazy way I have to put my hand up and wave at him from my spot in the sand to make him change direction and not gallop over me.

Dazed, I pull myself over to the fence.

After three lunatic laps, Tosh comes to a halt in the corner of the arena: his reins tangled but not badly as he is wearing a martingale.

I catch him, get him to step out of his reins and walk him round the arena twice in hand and then climb back on.

Springing  back up on this 16.2 hh from the ground isn’t a problem. I must have more than the usual amount of adrenaline coursing through my veins.

I walk him round, hop off, straighten his pad and numnah and go and get on the mounting block to do it properly and finish on a good note.

I can’t help thinking, ‘what a shame!’ This is the best he’s gone. Admittedly, I’ve only sat on him about five or six times. He’s always been stiff on the left rein and tried to evade in left canter, but to think he even struck off on the correct leg for several left canters and this was my last ask before cooling him off. He even cantered a few strides before he got rid of me.

Am I asking too much of him? He’s a retired race horse and not a youngster. Would he be happier just hacking out? I’m sure if I ride him a few more times I’ll get what he’s trying to tell me!

However, I’m not overly looking forward to schooling him again. I can’t remember the last time I came off on the flat!

Sand does make for a soft landing but even so, I am getting through a goodly amount of Arnica and when any one comes near my back I almost scream.

I can’t help but feel there is something not quite right with this horse. Is it really just the thoroughbred in him? Or does something hurt? Apparently he’s been seen by a back lady and his back is fine?

I ponder the ‘have you got a body protector?’ question posed before I got on him the first time. And think this doesn’t sound like his first handstand!

Note to self – Google body protectors and make sure there is an infinite supply of Arnica, Deep Heat and Radox in the house!

Now, just how much are those inflate on impact body protectors?

A pig tale – part 2


The pig was through the gates and back on the farm. Fantastic!

But then… which pen was hers?

The pens stretched as far as the eye could see and we couldn’t just put her anywhere.

I jogged or rather slithered up to the farm building at the top of the hill, while Liz played British Bulldog with the pig – it must not reach the road!

At the top of the hill there wasn’t a soul about. However, on the horizon was a dot. The dot grew bigger and bigger and as it grew so did my euphoria as I realized that it was the pig man on his tractor.

The pig man got closer and closer, mud splattering and water spraying.

I waved at him. He waved back. And carried on waving and driving.

With my waving becoming crazy and my wellies sinking in the mud, the pig man stopped.

“You’ve got a loose pig,” I shouted above the noise of the engine.

“A what?”

“A loose pig!”

“You better climb in!”  he said.

Not standing on ceremony I pulled myself up into the cab of the tractor, a new experience.

My mother always said ‘don’t get into strangers’ cars’. There had been no mention of tractors.

We bounced down to Liz and the pig: the condensation running down the window.

We reached Liz and the pig and jumped down.

Meanwhile, Kerstin from next door had driven round the other way in her Range Rover to head off the pig.

She stopped to talk to the pig man.

She talked and talked and the pig ran off down the track.

Liz and l looked at each other in disbelief and yelled, “the pig!”

The pig man splashed after the pig, Kerstin drove off and Liz and I waited in the driving rain.

Finally having caught up with the pig, the pig man brought her back to us. He looked at her tag, ran his finger over his chart and he nodded, the rain dripping off his nose.

I think he could have managed but as he was rurally handsome, we helped him get her back to her pen and her piglets.

He said, “She’s slipped under the wire, the ground being so muddy.”

All I can say is, next time you’ve got a loose pig, I’m your girl!





A pig tale


Liz appeared in the door way of the stable; water dripping from the brim of her hat. She was brandishing a shavings fork.

“Can you help me? she gasped.

Taken by surprise I said, “of course,” zipped up my jacket and stepped out of the warm stable I was mucking out into sheets of driving rain.

I followed her at a jog.

We had run half way to the road when Liz started gesturing.

Cars were slowing and stopping. A traffic jam had already formed and a barboured man was directing the traffic. In fact, there was quite a commotion.

Liz still couldn’t speak.

The barboured, traffic man asked, “Have you lost a pig?”

“A pig?” I looked at Liz, who echoed, “a pig.”

The barboured, traffic man looked at me expectantly, as if anticipating me to claim responsibility for the pig.

“It’s most likely from the farm across the road,” was the best I could offer, nodding towards the fields full of sties opposite.

The farm was not very far away, but I had never touched a pig in my life and I wasn’t sure Liz had either.

How had it got out? But more to the point how were we going to get it back?

“Here piggy, pig. pig, ” cried Liz.

The pig took no notice and rooted in the undergrowth by the side of the road.

“Here piggy, pig, pig,” cried Liz, waving her shaving fork. She moved forward. The pig ran off and then rooted in the undergrowth by the side of the road.

We checked the hedge to see if the pig had come through it. There wasn’t an obvious hole in it. That was good – she must have come through the gate. Though, I’m not sure that was actually good.

“Here piggy, pig, pig!”

Meanwhile the pig rooted in the undergrowth around the tree trunks.

The barboured, traffic man with frantic arms intermittently slowed or stopped irate drivers who thought 60 mph on flooded country roads was acceptable.

Or they did until they encountered the barboured, traffic man.

Meanwhile, Liz and I attempted to guide the pig along the road back to the gate.

Liz waved her shavings’ fork and I wiggled a fallen branch and we both ran to position ourselves to keep the pig moving forwards in the direction of the farm.

In the driving rain, Liz and I slowly edged the pig out of the undergrowth and guided her along the road and back through the gates to the pig farm.

No sooner had we guided the pig to the road, than she dashed back to the hedge and continued rooting.

Liz had clearly never touched a pig either.


Ted the Teeth


Ted the Teeth is a Welsh Section A pony or should I say show pony? He’s rising five and just over 11 hands, in fact I think he is 11 hands 1 inch. And do you know what? He’s the meanest pony in the paddock.

There are younger, crazier horses at the yard, but this pony is the one I dread leading to or from the field the most. Why? Well, for the reason that he is the one that actually goes for you: he bites and not in a playful nipping kind of way, but in a tear the sleeve off your jacket, rip your ear off, maim your face kind of way.

He has always bitten and bitten to bruise, but now he is faster, fiercer and more on target, and now he goes for your face. He has always reared, but now he rears to strike.

His antics were questionable even when he was on loan to the sweetest, kindest little jockey, Grace: he’d try to squash her against the wall when she was trying to tack him up; he bucked her off every time she sat in the saddle – usually more than once per session; and he’d bite her when she led him in or out.

Little Grace was too nice for Ted the Teeth. She even cried when she stopped loaning him.

If I were her, I’d have celebrated! I think her mum probably opened a bottle of Bollinger!

But now Ted the Teeth isn’t doing any work, while his owner, Laura is feeding him just as much, so he’s getting fatter and meaner.

He’s got so bad leading him out that you really can’t take your eyes off him to open the gate as he is now going for your face. I can just about cope with a bitten, bruised arm, but not a bitten face.

The sad thing is that Laura is a what you see is what you get girl, who would do anything for you. More sad is that she can see no badness in Ted the Teeth.

Sadder still, I struggle to see a glimmer of goodness in him.

In fact, I can’t believe that Laura has managed to end up owning Back legs Bella and Ted the Teeth. How unlucky can one person be?

I’d love to be able to say, ‘Sure, I’ll bring them in for you,’ without my heart sinking!

What is worrying is that she seems to think that doing no work for a period of time will do Ted the Teeth good. Yet, she is talking about sending him to be produced for showing.

Let’s hope she finds a yard that’ll have him soon!