JOE’S GOOD DEEDS.
It had already been a good weekend for Joe. The sun had shone, the temperature had risen and the ground was dry even after all the rain earlier in the year. We went out up into the Wood with a huzzy of a Welsh Cob mare. She proved to be a little flighty for our Boy on the soft ground but Joe could keep up well enough. She wasn’t quite so keen to get a move on over the uneven stoney tracks though and Joe had to show her the way. The Joe was, if nothing else, very sure footed and his broad hooves were just about right for making good speed over uneven stoney tracks. With his stubby legs and well muscled hind quarters the Boy was in his element on woodland hillsides.
We all had a good Saturday and Joe came back into the yard well exercised. The mare was a touch sweaty after her jaunt, but Joe, and I, suspected that she’ll come out to play with us again if we ask her to. The rider was tired but exhilarated. She was pleased to have overcome her initial nervousness.
On the Sunday, the sun shone again so there was no way that we could take the day off from riding but after the exertions of the previous day it would be a day for ambling. Anyway I wanted to spend a bit longer brushing the Boy down so that I could try out the baby oil. Joe’s winter coat does glisten naturally but his very full mane and tail are always a touch unruly. It had been suggested to me that what the hair needed was a drop of Johnsons and I must say that the oil worked. Joe began to smell like a poofter but his hair absolutely sparkled and for once lay down in an orderly fashion A proper Brylcream Boy.
We mosied down to the village. The pace was very different from the day before. There was no hurry and to be honest I still had a few aches and pains after yesterday’s exertions. Joe was content - on a loose rein he was doing his “look-around” thing. It took us 15 minutes or more to get to the church and then after just two chats with locals we headed off for the Rock & Fountain Pub.
Together we took in the rays; we listened to the birds and we ambled along.
Down at the pub car park we came across a tallish man in his mid fifties who was coming out from the bar to get into his car. He looked up, saw Joe and immediately called out:
“ What a magnificent specimen! Doesn‘t his coat shine”.
I replied on Joe’s behalf: ”Thank You”. (The baby oil obviously worked).
The next thing I knew was that The Man had reached across and was, in a slightly hesitant manner, stroking Joe’s neck. The Boy stood still and enjoyed the feel of the man’s fingers. At this time I was still sitting up on The Boy but as the conversation progressed I slipped off him and tied him up to the hitching point.
The Man was curious as to whether Joe would be content to be tied up whilst his master went off into the pub for a glass of wine. I explained that Joe was well trained, indeed, his role in life was to take The Old Man down to the pub and back. Joe would always stand and stare so long as, when his master came out of the pub, Joe got his carrot and half a packet of salt and vinegar crisps.
The Man told me about his sister who had the idea to provide over in the Valleys holiday accommodation for both horses and riders. We talked about the possibilities of the venture. In the meantime Joe was standing by, patiently, as was his way.
The Man and I got round to talking about carrots and eventually I fished out the one I had in my pocket. I broke it in two and showed The Man how to feed it to The Boy. The man dropped the carrot on the first attempt but I showed him again how to hold the carrot on the palm of his hand. I thought no more about the fumbling hand.
When Joe had eaten his carrot The Man broke off the conversation to make his way to his car.
As he went he called out :
“Thanks for introducing me to Joe”.
“You’re welcome, see you again some time”
Then he said :
“You really have made my day - I’ll have to tell my sister all about it. “She’ll never believe I fed the horse a carrot, she knows I am terrified of them”
“Surely not”, I said, truly quite surprised,
“Yes“, he replied.
“That was, in my life, the closest I have ever got to a horse’s head. Normally I am too frightened to get near. Somehow your Joe did not frighten me”
"Your Joe is quite a horse”
Indeed Joe was.
He had done two good deeds that weekend - one for the Welshie Girl, and one for the Man at the Pub
Last edited by xxBarry Godden; 10-02-2009 at 10:50 AM.