Saturday, 27 February 2010

Pony trotting

I rarely run. I don't really see the point and never have - even in the days when I turned out for various incompetent rugby and hockey sides. A brisk stroll from scrum to line-out is all the exercise a man needs.

So it came as some surprise to find myself hubba-hubbaing up Westray's main road in wellies and padded boiler suit, puffing, wheezing, hoping the heart attack would decide not to arrive at this particular moment.

Our Shetland ponies, Teddy and Merlin, have been a little fidgety since Dotty the mare left. They were jumpy as I led them out of the bottom field, across the road and into our lane.

I noticed Merlin's headcollar was loose, made the mistake of trying to sort it out one-handed and he wriggled out of the thing altogether and took off up the road. It wasn't the best time to find out that the clip on Ted's lead rope had broken. He headed north as well, a breathless pig farmer in pursuit.

The lads headed half-a-mile up the road where they met our neighbour Chris. He parked across the road and herded the boys onto a track. The track led over the spine of the island. The pig farmer collapsed into the passenger seat of Chris's car and (with scant regard for the vehicle's undercarriage) we set off in pursuit.

Relieved not to be stuck in mud at some point, we found the boys socialising with Hannah's (another neighbour) horse. Chris blocked the exit while the lads and I had a frank discussion about lead ropes, running away, the pig farmer's knees and suchlike.

Securely tethered, the boys followed me the mile or so home and I was quietly satisfied to see both looking pretty knackered by the time I led them into the stable.

I managed to keep it together until I collapsed in the kitchen, hand reaching out for a reviving mug of tea.


Dave said...

Still, at least ireland won, eh?

Quran said...

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Rog said...

Howay the lads!

Arabella said...

I have and will never run for a bus.
A pony is different though; a pony wouldn't stop at the lights and refuse to let you board.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Bravo! It sounds like an episode from "The Archers"...or maybe "Father Ted"...I my self very appreciate with this blog also.

I, Like The View said...

did Ireland win? excellent

Richard said...

You have the advantage in that you're on an island. They couldn't get far.

zIggI said...

in my experience of pursuing errant ponies, which is large (the experience) it's better not to chase cos that makes them run away, but to go and fetch a bucket of food and rattle it. This has yet to fail me, but it probably isn't 'good' horsemanship. Still it works :)

Writeous Indignation said...

Made me smile! I've never chased a pony myself but have chased runaway lambs and dogs. This isn't a great help in the handy hint department.
Therefore, I simply repeat: It made me smile :-)

Gin said...

I agree with the feed always worked for me. And you should have ridden one of the little stinkers back!

Hi Malc!

Malc said...


I felt relieved, more than happy. I've really got to stop taking it so seriously.


Don't mention it!


Over the hills and far howay.


Was it the 79?

Yorkshire Pud

My horses aren't so lovely.


I thought so too.


11 miles long is quite enough.


The trouble was, by the time I'd got the bucket, they could have got anywhere - and they were running against the traffic.


Try chasing pigs - it's what you do when you catch them that's the puzzle.


Hello stranger! Ted's got a dodgy shoulder, so would buckle under my weight. Merlin is about the size of a big dog, so me getting on board would be just ridiculous.

Gin said...

Hahaha, Okay, I was picturing a bit bigger pony...but then maybe you need a man-sized horse you can use to chase ponies!

Every time I read your blog I think of the wonderful books by James Harriot. If you haven't read them, I highly recommend them! He was a country veterinarian in Yorkshire, I believe. Very funny stuff!!

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