It’s no big secret, I really don’t like the wind! In fact I’m quite frightened by strong wind. The words, gale, storm, and structural damage are enough to make me feel a bit panicky, and that’s just the words! As a child I used to find it difficult to breathe when it was really windy. It was like the wind was blowing the air away from me. Then, one day, about 25 years ago, I was working in a building that had it’s roof torn off by a storm, on the same day, cars were blown across the carpark   and roof tiles were flying around like autumn leaves. At the small riding school where I kept my  14.2hh part bred Arab, Oliver Twist, back then, a block of 6 wooden stables was lifted off it’s concrete base and deposited about 10ft back from where it started. Luckily all the resident horses were turned out at the time! Also on this fateful day a work colleague   of my Dad’s was killed when a falling tree landed on his car. Wind is dangerous!

The other problem that I, and I suspect a lot of other visually impaired people have, is that wind is extremely disorientating. I use my ears to tell me where I am all the time. The ambient sounds around me, changes in air pressure depending on what is in front, above, or beside me, and even echo location are all everyday  ways in which I know where I am and what’s going on around me. However, when there’s a strong wind blowing none of these things are available to me. I might  as well have been spinned round and then dropped from a great height into a completely empty field.

There’s no way that I’m going out in this kind of wind if I can help it; and riding is a complete non-starter.   Horses, though, need to be turned out and brought in. Which, on a day like today, when it’s blowing an absolute hooligan, is quite a challenge. Hal and I take the horses to and from the field in tandem. Hal goes first with Mags, and I bring up the rear with Sapphire. This is because I can’t  walk quickly enough for Mags, and Sapph is surprisingly tolerant of me carrying a stick to help me find my way around. However, everyone knows that even the most docile of horses can be as unhinged by the wind as I am. Also, horses pick up on the mood and tension of their handlers. So I’m daily amazed, impressed, and greatful, that Magnum, and especially, Sapphire, don’t appear to be overly bothered by the current windy conditions, or my badly hidden terror. Neither of them seem in the slightest bit concerned by the potentially horse eating tarpaulin that is flapping savagely   in nextdoors back garden, and, although they did look at the  tarp that’s flapping on the car across the road this morning, it was more out of curiosity than fear. They really are amazing creatures the pair of them! I did manage to get lost on the lawn this morning though! So perhaps Sapph’s career as a guide pony isn’t quite in the bag yet.

I would really like it to stop being windy now though, please.

No Foot, No Horse

As I’ve said before, Magnum is quite an elderly chap. Only he really knows how old he is, but officially he’s 20. He is also not very fit. The dreadful wet winter we had last winter ment he did virtually nothing between November and March. Then moving house ment he did nothing from May to July. Before we moved I had his back checked by a Physio. She said there was nothing wrong with his back, but that , although he wasn’t actually lame, he wasn’t quite right in his feet and I should talk to my vet. This was no big surprise as Mags trips a lot, especially on rough ground. My then vet, came and examined him and said that he thought the problem was probably arthritis based and age related. His words were “I could do a lot of expensive diagnostic tests and x-Rays, but we know this is an old horse, and I think we both probably know what’s going on here”. He recommended giving Mags a low dose of Bute, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, from then on, to keep him comfy. He gave a box of 100 Bute sachets to see us through moving. So once we were here and all settled I began the process of getting Mags fit, but although he was keen to be out and doing, the more we did, the more dodgey on his feet he felt! The last time I rode him he felt so wrong that I got off him and walked home! This corresponded with me needing some more Bute, which an examination from our new vet. The new vet wasn’t very happy with Mag’s feet, and suggested having X-rays done. So, another couple months have passed while I organised that. Yet more time off for Magmum
However, good news! We got the X-ray results, and there’s nothing sinister , so he needs some clever shoeing.

I’ve told Magnum to stop thinking about retirement. It’s OK for him to be ridden, so he and I are back at the beginning of our joint fitness programme. Wish us luck 😉going on. However, his feet are badly balanced,

Winter Pursuits

Wow it’s the middle of January already ! How did that happen? Hope 2015 is treating you well so far.
So far our main concern this year appears to be mud. It turns out that there might be a silver lining to the huge black cloud caused by John Griffiths stealing our money and not providing the stables. Our back lawn floods! So if we had the temporary stables where we intended we would be up a certain creek, or at least in the middle of a lake, without the required means of propulsion😥
As it happens Magnum and Sapphire seem perfectly happy spending their nights in the garage. The only down side, apart from Tobina the Rav 4 having to winter out for the first in her life, is having to wade across the lawn and through the Valley of Death to get to and from the fields. Hal and I are trying to get freestyle downhill horse skiing into the next Winter Olympics. We should do quite well!

In the spirit of starting afresh in the New Year I feel I shp make a confession . Despite this blog being called Poo Picking in the Dark, I never actually poo pick! That delight is entirely Hal’s privilege. It just isn’t practical for me to poo pick. I do most of the mucking out though. So the answer to the question , ‘how does a blind person muck out a stable?’ Is, by hand and very very slowly! Don’t worry any of my massage clients who might be reading this – I promise you I wear gloves, and wash my hands thoroughly afterwards. It does worry me how slow I am though. It was taking me over 2 hours at first! I can do it in 1 hour 40 minutes now, but it’s only 2 horses. How will I cope when we’ve got 3? I saw an ad for a groom on a professional yard the other day. Applicants had to be able to muck out 4 to a high standard in an hour. Perhaps not the job for me then!😉