I finished work at 6 am today. The wind was backing Easterly, and had a keenness that indicated the onset of winter. I watched, while sat in the Jeep, the leaden clouds perform their dance across the early morning sea of grey. The Beech trees bowed, their branches giving to the power of the wind. Golden leaves rustled and flew across the tarmac. I turned the ignition, and heard the V6 roar into life. The drive home along lonely, empty roads gave me the time to adjust to a new day.
The woolly feeling began to lift from my brain, and as I left the “vibrant” town behind me, I began to feel alive. I drove, the hum of the engine, mixed with the dulcet tones of Richard Allinson`s early morning show coaxed the last fug from my mind. I would ride!….Its not the usual thing I do at 6am, but I felt the need, and as I wasnt doing anything else on a Saturday morning? What the hell!
I turned the Jeep into the farm entrance, the headlights casting their long and powerful beams along the rutted and water logged track. I slowed as the wind whipped the branches of the hedgerows against the car. The farm is situated ontop of a hill, while the land dries quickly, there is never a day without wind.
As the nearest horse, Barney found himself saddled and heading off down the track to the open fields. He seemed keen, and although only 14 hands, he is built like a tank!
Despite the recent rains, I had the thought to cross the nearest river, at 60 yards across, it wouldnt have presented a problem at any other time. But today, there was water! However, Barney had never really been across open water, so I wasnt sure. But the way I see it, in for a penny in for a pound! We stood at the waters edge, and I waited.
Barney is no deep thinker! He is a working horse, a load carrier, and with that in mind, a small squeeze of the legs, and we were in! Of course, down we went! Into the deep, and somewhat flowing river Annan! But although my boots filled with water, and I began to have doubts about the wisdom of this idea, I neednt have worried.
The water rose past Barney`s belly, it was totally immersed, he manfully plodded across, finally rising out of the deep onto the shallow gravel of the far side. It was totally “Outstanding!” he never batted an eyelid! Unfortunately, I wasnt ready for the sudden stop, and then the violent shake! water flew everywhere! So why is it, when you do have marvellous moments like this, there is no one else to see it, and no one to share it with? But I know, Barney knows and quite frankly, I really dont give a damn who does know. So there we are, I thought I would share it with you out there. We rode home after another ten miles, it was a good mornings work for this little horse, who says size is everything?
The plod home, it was really cool, his demeanour had changed, he felt stronger, more confident, and some how, more mature. This 6 year old horse has made me re think my intentions to sell him.