Tuesday, 15 December 2009


I'm never too sure whether I like horses. Of all the animals on the "farm", horses are the ones I haven't really got the hang of.

I'm always painfully aware that the whole human-horse relationship is based on nature's most gigantic confidence trick. Horses are big (even the small ones) and, by and large, pretty strong. People tend to be much smaller and less powerful, especially, it would seem, in the case of those who ride horses. You don't see many jockeys playing prop for Harlequins on their days off, do you?

That's why I struggle to like and respect horses. If they had the brains of, say, a pig or a Jack Russell, they'd probably be standing for Parliament by now. . . well, county council at least.

Another reason I'm iffy about horses is that they're unpredictable. Dotty the mare is from the darkest bandit country of South Armagh, which probably explains a lot. All those late-night raids by the SAS can fray the nerves of the strongest among us. Why they can't turn up at a reasonable hour (11am for coffee, perhaps?) is beyond me.

Anyhoo. . . Dotty's also in foal, which explains even more, but only up to a point. I recall ex-Mrs Malc being a tad on the kranky side while pregnant, but she never tried to remove my head with a well-aimed hoof. Maybe she just never thought of it.

All the old goalkeeper* reflexes have come in handy just lately, especially at dusk (about 3.45 here at present) when Dotty is in a hurry to get at the dinner-pail.

I quickly realised that chasing her wasn't going to work, even if my knees had been up to it. Stalking her proved to be a pain in the rear and gentle persuasion was a dismal failure. We have a professional horseperson in the family and Amy even tried to talk me through it over the phone in the manner of a 70s disaster movie. "Use the bridle, show her who's in charge," she said. "If I can get f**king close enough, and she knows exactly who's in charge," I thought.

Yesterday, in a change of routine, she gave up trying to kick me with her back feet and tried bucking and rearing in the style of Champion the Wonderhorse, alerting the townsfolk to a landslide in the pass.

"What's up Champion? Is there trouble down at Broken Wheel Ranch?"

"No, I'm just worried those two shortarse Shetlands will get to my tea before me."

I then pulled my masterstroke. Bribery. A quick visit to the veg garden later, carrots were handed over, bridle was applied and the pig "farmer" was leading herself in like he knew what he was doing.

You never have this kind of trouble with pigs.

* Shrewsbury hockey club 3rd XI 1982.

Dotty and Amy in action before some big competition winner had his way with her (Dotty)


Anonymous said...

"...you never have this kind of trouble with pigs..."

Bit of a memory lapse there, Malc?

Sandra said...

If you're short on carrots then apples work too. Horses rule!
Best always, Sandra

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Why are British people so averse to eating horse meat? This could be the way forward. If a horse gives you a hard time simply shoot it humanely and then have the blighter butchered. Later you could also reupholster your sofa and the tail could be tied to a stick for swatting flies in the summer....PS 3-0 at Old Trafford with a weakened team is not so bad. Co-incidentally, Mick McCarthy resembles a horse.

I, Like The View said...

I was about to write how your horse situation reminds me of my struggles with The Teen (six three since the age of 13, built like a brick****house, intellectually outsmarts me everytime I open my mouth etc etc)

and how bribery (money, or something similar, not carrots) works everytime. . .

. . .of course, he knows that he can hold out until I cave in. . .

. . .but now I'm humming the theme tune to White Horses

(crikey - thank g*d I'm humming it, not singing the words!! "candyfloss"???? what's that all about!)

Dave said...

Ever thought about arable farming?

Rog said...

Makes me think of the Byrds' "Chestnut Mare". Nutting you in the chest.

zIggI said...

Oh yes I have that T shirt! :)
Mares and hormones and females the world over - we all respond to judicious bribery - how come it took you this long to work it out?
Oh yes, you're male :)

Malc said...


Good point. However, with pigs, there's always that feeling that the feed bucket will sweep all problems aside.


Horses rule? Has anyone told Gordon? It explains the whole economy-going-tits-up thing.


If it's good enough for the Belgians, it's good enough for me. Very underrated country, Belgium.
Weakened? Understatement of the week.


That takes me back. I never really liked the White Horses - a bit to girly for someone with as traditional upbringing as meself.


Only if you're going to buy me 1,000 acres of Fenland's finest.


Is your usual script-writer on a day off?


You'll be telling me I can't multi-task next. I'll have you know I can drink beer and watch football at the same time.