A horse’s take on half term

By Nicola Jane Swinney on |


A horse's take on half term

Ever wondered what your horse makes of the extra time he gets to spend with you (or your children) during half term? Here’s Benji’s view.

Benji is absolutely bouncing. They’re going hunting this half-term. Benji doesn’t really know what “half-term” is, but he likes it because it means Holly’s around more and they get to do more exciting things than bumbling about in the sand school.

Whatever hunting might be, Benji has decided he likes it too — it appears to mean that he gets more grub, much to the disgust of Angus, the Shetland in the next stall. Angus can get fat on concrete so is on minimal rations and reduced grazing. He has to wear a sort of bucket thing over his face when he goes out in the paddock, which Benji thinks is hilarious.

Not that he dislikes Angus, despite his occasional bad temper; the two of them are mates. And Angus has been filling him in about this hunting caper. Apparently, you go and stand outside with lots of other horses and lots of dogs (“You must call them hounds,” Angus chided) and you wait around for ages, but if you’re quick you can snatch bits of sandwiches and cake off trays or from the riders, who just loll around in the saddle gossiping.

Now the day has come. He does a double-take as Holly walks into the stable — she looks super-smart! — and he gets to go into the trailer, which he likes too. They don’t travel very far, but when they stop and Holly leads him down the ramp, Benji’s eyes are on stalks. He’s never seen so many horses, and those little four-legged things that aren’t horses must be the dogs — no, hounds, he remembers. He’s so eager to join the throng that he bounces a little on his toes, and Holly lightly increases the contact on the rein.

“You’re going to love this, Benji,” she whispers, “so please be good.”

Benji’s offended; he’s always good. But before he can even think about sulking, an amazing sound — a majestic trumpeting — fills the air and, en masse, the gathering falls into line behind a man in a red coat on a huge, handsome grey, followed by the hounds (Benji is getting the hang of this). They stream away from the meet and out into the open fields and, in no time at all, Benji is galloping flat-out, surrounded by other horses and riders, and Holly is shouting with pure joy, urging him on.

If this is hunting, Benji loves it!


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