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Things go bump....twice
10:20am Saturday 17th July 2010 in Features
We should have guessed it would prove prophetic to praise Alexander, our new thoroughbred, as “almost too good to be true”.
His proud jockey Steve was brought back to reality with a hefty bump – two in fact – on Sunday when he was twice propelled from the ex-chaser.
“Good job I’m quick as a racehorse,” puffed Daniel as he and Sophie pursued a riderless Alexander for the second time.
Steve’s first fall was when Alexander shied violently away from a hedge as the pair cantered a line of fences at Craven Country Ride. Minutes later, he hit the deck again when the tall thoroughbred jumped him off with a particularly exuberant leap and a twist on landing. Steve lost his hat silk and suffered a scraped arm and bruised back but was otherwise none the worse. Ladies at the Yard gave him a round of applause as he limped past their stables later that afternoon.
Despite the mishaps, Steve reports having a positive day. Alexander added the hanging log, roll-top in the water and straw bales to his repertoire.
As well as rounding up the fleeing racer like a cowboy horse, Daniel jumped many challenging obstacles.
He was too tired to eat his haylage but tucked into a large dish of oats and mint-flavoured nuts.
After almost five years, we are growing Daniel’s hogged mane out. He is currently passing through the “Stegosaurus phase” when his hair stands on end but we are hoping his trademark bog-brush style will be back by Christmas.
His tail is so far undamaged by sweet itch this summer but he has rubbed raw patches on his face and ears.
He persistently scrapes off his fly masks, and his protective clothes are rubbed into holes. But his upland meadow catches any cooling breezes and he is frequently bathed with insecticidal shampoo.
Jenny was preparing for one of his baths on Saturday when the sponge fell from her grasp. It lay momentarily on the wash room slats before slipping through to land tantalisingly within reach on a build up of sludge a couple of feet below.
Daniel looked on in satisfaction at Jenny’s bungling efforts to hook it out with a fork. “Looks like baff time’s gone for six,” he said.
Luckily, Jack saved the day by spearing the sponge like a fish with the prongs of the fork.
Daniel and Alexander seem to be forming a special relationship. Daniel neighs for his new friend in the field.
And after dropping Steve, the steeplechaser came meekly to Daniel’s side when he chased anxiously after him.
Daniel even listens – ear glued to the adjoining stable wall – to what Alexander is doing next door.
“’Ooda thought I’d be pals with a fancy racer,” he said.
Steve Wright & Jenny Loweth