Friday, 6 April 2018
At last I have time to ride my flashy quarterhorse out in the expansive conservation area, which is a short walk from the farm. Marigold is a handful at the best of times, but today she's even more spirited and alert.
Frost has settled on the tall weeds, muting the browns and contrasting with the bright oranges and yellows of the turning birch leaves. But the undergrowth holds monsters of various shapes and sizes, all enemies of the horse, as far as Marigold is concerned.
We do a couple of spontaneous pirouettes but I manage to calm her with my voice.
A rustling ahead shakes some of the weeds and rattles Marigold. She spins around, bucks and takes off at a gallop, having dismounted me in the process.
As I lie on the ground and check for broken bones, I look towards the source of the trouble, and the movement comes nearer. The weeds are so tall, it could be a coyote or even one of those coy-wolves I've seen at a distance. A black-and-white face emerges and I think I must be suffering from concussion. This apparition looks just like Badger, my barn cat,who disappeared over a year ago during a snowstorm. I assumed she'd met some dreadful fate.
Badger comes sauntering over to me, licks my face, purrs, and I immediately feel much better. I pick up her thin, frail body and we stumble home to find Marigold.
Vicky Earle Copyright 2018