Diary Sunday 14th March R.I.P Blue

14 03 2010

Saturday 13th March

Very busy with tiding up living area which is awash with what turns out to be half a wheelie-bin of papers. Then write for some time while watching my first Blu Ray purchase which is Star Trek. Take a break to see if I can visit Blue in his yard but discover the gate is locked. End up visiting a delightful big bay in Blue’s former box who is a real sook. He delicately takes three carrot pieces from me then decides he prefers lovings, Have to stand there making a fuss of him while the stable cat who also prefers lovings, tries to climb up my leg. I have the horses head and its entire weight leaning on me and trapping my arm between it and the stable door. Therefore with one hand I manage to unhook the cat. The horse then rouses itself to look at the cat and they both decide they love each other – and me. If a fellow astrologer were passing and witnessed this they would not have to ask my sign.

Sunday 14th March

The day does not start well. I awake feeling something is wrong with my fizzog but get on with things as normal – in other words, I make coffee and chat to friends and loved ones on Skype before deciding I should get ready for Cassandra’s birthday lunch. I then look in the mirror. Not only do I have a stye but I have had a huge allergic reaction to the wine I drank the night before. It was red I hasten to add. I look like I have just gone eight rounds with Mike Tyson!

In desperation I rush downstairs in search of frozen peas but there are no frozen peas – only a half packet of frozen mozzarella which I now have to clamp to the swollen fizzog now knowing why certain men would not want a girlfriend who not only would admit to having Hammer pants and then proving it by de-pantsing in front of strangers but also one whose face puffs up at the sight of two glasses of Merlot and who has to treat this with a packet of frozen cheese. I ask you.

With some time to spare I take my puffy head to Gay Kelleways yard with a bag of carrots and a tube of mints with the rationale that I can see the nice bay if I can’t see Blue. Upon arriving there I find the door to the main yard locked but a nice guy coming out of one of the houses.I wish him ‘G’day’ and ask him if the lovely bay is in his stable at which point he says ‘Yes – and he’s waiting for you.’ He joins me at the stable with a tube of mints and opens the door telling me the horses name is Kingscastle and that the horse has won many races and is a complete softy. He’s a big boy. Over 16 hands but as gentle as a lamb. My new friend, whose name is Tomas, says he is five years old and has trouble with his knees but is still racing but about to be retired probably after the present season.

We talk about horses and dogs, interests we both share and then I ask about the stables previous occupant now in the main yard – or so I think – Blue. I ask him about the ‘mouthy chestnut’ and there is a sudden silence between us. Finally he says ‘We shot him yesterday’.

I think he has to be joking. I say ‘You’re kidding.’ But he’s not. Blue was three years old. The reason he was ‘mouthy’ was exactly as I thought. He was teething. He was a big baby. What’s more- nobody had given him a name. They couldn’t be bothered. He died on a trial run when he fell and broke his leg. They called his owner. It would have cost £60,000 to fix him. The owner did not have that. They shot him. He was a commodity. Labelled the horse ‘nobody likes’ by the yard. I recall the last time I visited Blue, when he banged on his door because he wanted to come with me. I liked him. I loved him. He was a horse with personality. Highly intelligent. Beautiful. I worked with him. I taught him that biting me was not on even though I knew he was in pain with his teeth. He responded. Greeting me gently. Soft whickers of delight when he saw me approach. Wanting to go with me when I left. The horse that was too unimportant to name according to his owner was True Blue Boy to me.

I wonder what his last moments were like. As he laid there with a broken leg before they came to end it. The horse that even his owner didn’t name because he didn’t care enough about him.

The Native Americans had no name for horse. They called it ‘Big dog’. They delighted in the fact that here was a creature highly intelligent who would take you wherever you wanted to go and would be your friend for life. But to us, here in the First World, horses are just something to exploit like anything else. The reason so many thoroughbred race horses break legs in this way is because they are made to do things before their bones have matured. They are racing at three years old. Look at my new friend Kingcastle. Five years old and a winner and his knees are shot. Normally at three years old for a riding horse you are only just starting to get it used to a rider on its back – much less making it gallop miles under stressful conditions. The demise of Blue and others like him – I discover from Tomas that Blue is the second horse from the yard who has been shot this year (hello – it’s March – does anyone else see a problem here?).

I tell Tomas that if Kingscastle is to be retired to call me. I will buy him. With what I don’t know. I want to save him like I could not save Blue. I did not like the fact that nobody liked him in the yard. That nobody would give him the time to see the biting was a baby thing and that he was just highly intelligent and needed stimulation. I had no money. I did not have the £5 – 8,000 that would have been necessary to buy an untried racehorse and bring him on as my own riding horse much less what would have been necessary on top of that to keep him. There is no way to make this right. None at all.

But it’s Cassie’s birthday. I go over and in my grief and anguish drink all of the expensive bottle of Chardy I bought her and bang on about injustice while she sits and listens to me. But that’s what friends are for.

R.I.P Blue. Somebody loved you enough to give you a name.

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