8 months ago


GOODNIGHT ‘The ponies

GOODNIGHT ‘The ponies are getting on my wick’ Enticing her children to ride when the weather is grim proves tricky for Tessa Waugh — and means she has ponies eyeballing her through the kitchen window as they stand by the gate THE ponies are getting on my nerves at the moment. They are in a field near the house and every time I look out of the kitchen window they are standing at the gate, eyeballing me, as if to say, “yoo-hoo, we’re over here, come and do something with us”. It’s intrusive. I wish they would go away and graze or something. It is a rotten time of year for ponies. There isn’t much going on until Alec gets back from ‘He soon came looming out of the darkness with the whites of his eyes showing and an expression that screamed, “get me away from her”’ school for some hunting, and enticing Mary on board is proving difficult when it’s cold/ wet/windy/all of the above. The sheep have eaten most of the grass (very selfish animals, sheep), so I’ve been feeding the ponies hay and bringing them in when the weather is bad. One evening, to save time, I opened the gate and let them bring themselves in. Joshy, the old boy (and only sensible one) trotted down the road and straight into his stable, followed by the new one, Rusty, who could smell food. Typically, our resident “mutton” and sex pest, Custard, sashayed (albeit slightly arthritically) in front of Jim as if to say, “fancy a ride, big boy?” before disappearing behind the muck heap with Jim on her tail. He soon came looming out of the darkness with the whites of his eyes showing and an expression that screamed, “get me away from her”. THERE was sad news from Wiltshire this week that got me thinking about the special nature of hunting. Dave Acreman, lifelong follower of the South and West Wilts, has died after a short struggle with cancer. Dave was a perennial on the South and West Wilts scene; recognisable for a sartorial combo of flat cap and black coat, belted up with binder twine. We weren’t exactly friends — most of our conversations didn’t go beyond “Aaaarrr Teeessss”; “Morning Dave” — but there was, certainly on my side, a deep regard borne out of our shared love of hunting. Dave was there on the last legal hunting day when the fox was caught in the twilight after a fast-paced hunt on Salisbury Plain. It was a very emotional day and everyone felt it as we packed up in the twilight. “Aaarrr Teeesss,” said Dave, and wrapped me in a big bear hug. I won’t forget that day and I won’t forget Dave. H&H The Nespresso machine TERESA arrived at the yard a month ago in a cloud of Jo Malone, dressed from head to toe in Pikeur. She brought with her two super-shiny German dressage horses, four Hermès saddles, a top-of-the-range Whittaker lorry with pop-out sides and a Sky dish — and a Nespresso machine. “I really can’t drink instant; I’d rather die,” announces Teresa, looking in horror at the catering-size tin of supermarket own-brand coffee and UHT milk. “Do help yourselves,” she adds generously, putting a By CATHERINE AUSTEN big box of capsules next to the machine and four pints of Waitrose semi-skimmed in the fridge. The other liveries are pretty suspicious. What’s wrong with instant? Why are the capsules different colours? But, like foals edging towards something new and strange, eventually someone is brave enough to try it. After a couple of disasters when overfilling the milk-frother, they are addicted. They like the purple and black capsules best, and feel rather cosmopolitan, standing round the tackroom heater sipping their Nespressos after riding. “And Teresa says I can borrow her Equissage pad whenever I want,” chirps Cheryl. “She says she can give me a lift to Addington next month,” pops in Trisha. “And she suggested I shared her lesson with Spencer next time,” adds Jo. “I think she’s actually all right...”H&H NEXT WEEK The moody mare rugby shirt Illustration by Emma Earnshaw. Picture by 90 Horse & Hound 8 February 2018

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