As we riders well know sometimes Mother Nature calls and waiting for an official rest centre no longer remains an option. On one beautiful summers day, my horse Joe and I set out for a long trail ride through the forest. In the area we were riding, the wood was centuries old and as such was the very silent and eerie place which only ancient woodland can be. Suddenly I found myself looking for a convenient spot where I could ask Joe to stop so that I could dismount and answer the increasingly urgent call of nature. However what gets off, must get on so I needed to find a spot where there was a convenient mounting block.
Finally along a stretch of path, where the wood was even more dense than usual, I espied a small clearing and most importantly the broad stump of an old tree, the felling of which had probably created the clearing. I brought Joe to a halt, looked at the stump and thought to myself that will do. And it did. Mind you I kept hold of the reins with one hand just in case My Boy decided to go home without me. But he didn’t move. He stood still and waited patiently for me to finish my business. Bless him.
I rummaged through my pockets and found a couple of horse biscuits, after all the Boy deserved a treat for service beyond the call of duty.
I mounted up, pushed on down the path and eventually found the road running below the wood. Within an hour we were back at the stables. We’d had a lovely day together.
A few weeks later I rode again through the same stretch of forest with Joe There were several little tracks running between the trees and finding the way was not easy but eventually we found ourselves on a pathway leading down through the wood towards home. Joe was on a loose rein and I was in a day dream listening to the sounds of the forest. That is what one does when one is out on one’s horse on a lovely day. Suddenly Joe stopped and I had not asked him to do so. I gave Joe a nudge - just a gentle one but Joe would still not move. Then I realised where we were. There was the convenient tree stump. Joe had decided for himself that Mother Nature had again made a call upon me. In fact there was no urgent need but I realised I had no option. How could I turn down his very considerate offer?
I slipped off his back but this time I did not bother to hold onto the reins. I turned my back and performed as suggested. Luckily I had a biscuit or two in my pockets as a tip for Joe but I usually do. Then I mounted up and gave My Boy a nudge. This time he walked on obediently as requested.
I suppose it was only fair. We’d stopped and waited for him often enough.