Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A date with Harry

Harry's generally a guy who likes to get out there and do stuff. There is one day a year however, when Harry would just prefer to stay in his field: the day for his annual flu/tetanus jabs and dental check.

It’s a wildly windy day, but he’s calm as I bring him in from his distant field, accompanied by his ancient girlfriend, Snoopy. The only mare at the place, Snoopy is received with an enthusiastic ‘phwoar’ from the geldings on the yard. To us, she might look like a pony Norah Batty - to these guys she’s Elle MacPherson!

Stuart-the-vet arrives with a roar of tyres, leaps out, accepts coffee and approaches Harry. They eye each other knowingly. “He might be bargy,” I warn Stuart. I have a bridle on him (Harry, not Stuart) but still he makes a few token breaks for freedom before he succumbs to the needle, giving a theatrical start as it hits the mark. “That was easy,” says Stuart “It’s the anticipation he hates!” There’s more. I have requested a blood test to discover whether Harry has a tendency to lamintis, so Stuart jabs him again, and this time Harry is resigned. Extra strong mints help.

Bridle off, head collar on, Harry has his mouth washed out, scattering little bits of mint and grass stored in his cheeks. Then he has his teeth rasped – strangely, he seems to like it! He even doesn’t mind the dental gag that holds his mouth open while Stuart goes at his back teeth. Job done, Harry stretches his jaw this way and that - a chap feels a bit odd after a dental check-up!

Snoopy gets the once-over from Stuart, then I lead them both back to the field, through a hailstorm, with a huge warmblood galloping in circles in the field next to us. Harry tries to drag me past the scary monster at top speed, Snoopy hardly notices it and anyway, never goes above a gentle amble. I’m being pulled apart by two not-very-wild horses! We reach their home field, and I give them a load of hay. They munch happily whilst I pooh-pick in the hail. The joy of horse ownership.

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