Tuesday, 1 May 2012

John... meet baby

Talk about stress! Saturday was one helluva day for it with two new horses arriving at the yard and one, sadly, leaving. First to arrive in the morning was a 14-month-old gelding who is normally so laid back he's almost horizontal. But not that day. As soon as my friend Clare led him into his field - he jumped out again. An impressive feat from standing and all the more so because the fence has to be four feet tall.

When I arrived Clare and baby were in a stable, Clare a bag of nerves and baby not much better. After much discussion and too'ing and fro'ing we decided to try him in the field with my boy John. As you know if you read this blog, John is a gentleman, not a mean bone in his body and the loveliest, cuddliest horse you could ever have the good fortune to meet. We started off with them in head collars and us holding on to lead ropes, but pretty soon we let them loose. John immediately took charge of the scared youngster and made it his duty to be daddy, mummy and babysitter all in one and within minutes.

After that, wherever John went baby followed and vice versa. I have to say baby could not have a better teacher in the ways of being a horse - yesterday John was teaching him how to groom. We are keeping them together as they are so happy in each other's company, are besotted with each other, and both are completely chilled.

I think my boy was bored - there's nothing to do all day in the field except eat grass and even if that is your favourite thing in the world it becomes too much at times. As he's retired now he can't even look forward to going out for a hack and I think that was getting to him. Since our frightening illness at New Year he seems to come down with something every few weeks and he seemed depressed. But not any more - he looks younger, his coat is shiny and his appetite has increased loads (it's such a hard job babysitting). He loves having company in the field with him, not just someone to say hello to over the fence.

And at night he is quite happy to hang up his babysitting shoes and relax in his stable, eating his tea and haylage. We thought we might have a problem when we separated the two in the evening as their stables are not close to each other, but not at all. I think John is glad to have the evening to himself to recharge ready for the next day and spend a few peaceful hours chomping away before a well-earned sleep. They are so lovely together it brings tears to my eyes to watch them.

Just hours after meeting and already the best of friends

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