Sarah, Jonathan and Nugget
Lion's Den Hotel
4th June 1994
Woke up this morning to the sound of constant rain, and with that very familiar feeling of responsibility, urgency.. .there's work to be done.
Ever since dreading my first exams at school, I haven't enjoyed this feeling - yet it's something that has developed beyond the simple sense of unpreparedness brought on by procrastination. It's something I now seem to actively seek - taking on challenges like this.
Combined with this, is this overwhelming - no, undermining, sense of my inadequacy with the horses. "It'll take them a couple of weeks to get to know you" - I think they know me very well already! And they haven't even tested me yet.
Not that I'm a pessimist. I may have brought this experience on myself, and as negative and unknown as it all may seem, I know we can make it work and that I'll always treasure this. Rewards are never easily won.
Well, it's stopped raining for the moment, so I went out and saddled up Nugget - he's very jumpy and really needed to give everything a good look and sniff before putting it on (a set of packs and my sleeping bag) - but once I had stopped fiddling around, and moved back around in front of him, he realised I'd left these big green scary things on his back. Well he was off!! Mud flying everywhere, trying his hardest to get rid of them, but only making them flap around
- even scarier!
Eventually I'd retired to the bar once he'd settled down, and after a few beers I heard this almighty row coming from the paddock - Nugget trying to gallop away from. his hobbles and a big green scary lump that had slipped underneath him! The surcingle on this cheap saddle was not a good fit - even after buying a longer one - so I'll have to fix that up somehow. He soon stood still and listened to reason, although his eyes still rolled wildly as I tied them back on. He'll soon get used to them!
Nugget is an adorable chap... a very stocky gelding.. .obviously with a trace of Clydesdale in him. Hope his jumpy nature doesn't ever become a problem, though. Sarah, an older (about 9 years old) grey mare, is very gentle and quiet. Both ideal for the job, and both stick together. Taking one for a ride away from the other - even at this early stage - is a battle to keep them apart. And Sarah was right beside panicky Nugget when the scary green things attacked.
Oh well, after beers and a naartje for breakfast, and a bowl of oats, milk powder, drinking chocolate and water (Soon to be followed by more beers and a meat pie) I wonder what sort of precedent I'm setting for my diet. (And Hester has just informed me that there are no rabbits north of Mackay!)
Rain, rain, go away! For the third day in a row now... The roads are in a bit of a state. The big four wheel drives that roar in from the treacherous coastal road - covered thickly with red mud -have some interesting stories to tell. I'm just glad to hear Dad made it out safely.
The horses seem quite happy though. I extended their grazing strip this morning by reeling off some more wire from the portable electric fence unit I will be carrying. It certainly will take a certain amount of worry off my mind once we're on the road.... I'm hoping at this stage there
won't be any need for nightlining them, with hobbles and this fence to keep them from nocturnal wanderings.