Most little girls like ponies and get into horse-riding. Amy had had riding lessons in Germany before we emigrated and now wished for a pony of her own. The first we got for her was Sparky, but she suffered from laminitis, an inflammation of the hooves often caused by lack of exercise and overeating. She was soon returned and replaced by Rusty who stayed with us till the kids had outgrown a pony that size. To look after a pony entails a lot of responsibilities for a little girl: grooming,riding,feeding and mucking out, in the morning before school and last thing at night. Rusty was housed in one of the outbuildings next to the tack room. She would be prone to that disease as well if you let her feed all day and night in a field of fresh grass.
A keen horseman himself, Mac acquired a 3/4 thoroughbred to go hunting with,a good 15 hands in height, a filly of two years and just broken in. She was quite the primadonna under the horses and had a temperament.
I've always been afraid of horses and their sheer size. On the first day that Scarlett was out in the fields, she frightened the life out of me. It was in new surroundings and appropriately frisky.That was the day we decided to set Benny Bunny free down by the river(See previous blog).I carried him in a box and had both kids,7 and 4, tagging along on either side chatting away. Scarlett circled us for most of the way, coming dangerously close at times. The kids tugged at my arms, frightened, but I couldn't let go of that box. We increased our pace until we made it over the river. There, I reasoned, with out the encumbrance of the box I would be free-- to do what I wasn't sure though. When we stared climbing the hill back up, Scarlett came charging towards us, whinnying and circling us. Her hind legs were precariously close to the heads of my children. Hearts racing, we pressed on and back to the house. Mac appeared at the top of the hill, arms stemmed by his sides: "What's going on?" I shouted: "For God's sakes, grab your killer horse and lead it out of harm's way! It's attacking us!" He shook his head at my ignorance. " Don't you know you just have to shout to shoo them away? That scares them and tells them who is the boss." Hands cupped around his mouth, he yelled a piercing "boo" twice, and Scarlett cantered away, and we to the safety of the gate. After that I preferred to have a stable door between her and me. Both kids, however, overcame their fear and became horsey people, jumping and all.