Tuesday, 23 February 2016

An Equine Obituary.

I’ve mentioned Ben on this blog before. Ben was Ange’s old hunter who lived in retirement at the top of the lane and to whom I used to feed apples, having to make sure they were sweet ones or risk losing his favour. He was 29. The last time I saw him was a few days ago when he declined the final piece of the quartered apple I offered. He had little muscle mass left on his rump, seemed to be having difficulty chewing, and didn’t look happy. Yesterday he took the final journey, and it seemed a poignant fact that I was left with one apple still to give him.

I recounted the amusing story recently of how he used to steal the hats of walkers crossing his field. Apparently he was quite the character in the hunt, too. Wherever he was in the pack, he would race at breakneck speed until he reached the front and then nip the lead horse, presumably to establish his primacy. Ange said that all she could do was give him his head and stay onboard. He was strong and wilful in everything he did, but never dangerous as long as you could handle the ride. It was a privilege knowing him.

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