Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Dotty the mare (pictured, left) let out one last - very loud - whinny, disappeared over the brow of the hill and was gone.
At the fourth attempt, Dotty has set off for her new home in Essex where she will be cared for by my stepdaughter Amy. Bad weather prevented her travelling on the ferry to Aberdeen for two weeks, then the lack of a trailer left her kicking her hooves at our place for another week.
Everything finally came together today and, surprisingly considering our somewhat fiery relationship, she was good as gold. She was happy to let me give her a rubdown and put a light travelling rug on. Then she hesitated only briefly before trotting calmly into the horsebox.
Regular readers (Mr and Mrs Wainwright) will remember Dotty and I have a love-hate relationship. I hate dealing with her and she loves to make my life difficult.
I put it down to the Irish temperament - you can take the girl out of South Armagh, but you can't take South Armagh out of the girl. This morning, for instance, I was walking her out to the field when Little Kim came harumphing out her pighut, ready for breakfast.
This happens every day and has done for the last four or five months and Dotty never pays the least attention. Today, she decided she was scared of pigs and came to a standstill, nostrils flared, eyes ablaze, before turning round and making for the stable again with pig farmer in tow.
It took a couple of carrots and an armful of haylage to calm the nerves (Dotty's, not mine) and the second attempt proved more successful - Little Kim being busy inspecting the mud in the far corner of her paddock.
The whole episode summed up our relationship - a concerted power struggle involving stubbornness, bloody-mindedness and moments of genuine terror.
Nevertheless, I'm going to miss her and - considering she's due to give birth to "a future Badminton winner" in May - glad she'll be in far more competant hands than mine.