Friday 27th July 2012
After ten days of confinement and inactivity, Molly was feeling very lively when I set out cautiously for a convalescent ride. She behaved well as she stepped onto the main road, bouncy but self-disciplined; she was very patient waiting for approaching traffic that had the right of way over the river bridge; she was sensible when overtaken by large and rattling vehicles. Then... I signalled a right turn and to avoid being stationary in the middle of the main road, I turned her to cross briskly.
She suddenly caught sight of a bright poster (advertising the Falstone Show) and stopped abruptly on the junction. She might have gone on if she hadn't just then heard something driving up behind. As she hesitated further, she noticed a new sight where a tree had been felled and a once-familiar road looked strange and menacing. This was too much and she cavorted around making it quite impossible for anyone to pass. She then planted herself firmly immobile, staring at the gap in the row of trees.
The driver had stayed a safe distance behind us and had by now turned off his engine. I tried to speak to him but couldn't ride back to him without accidentally giving Molly permission to turn and bolt for home. He wound down his window and I asked him if he could give me a little bit of help. He said that he wasn't coming anywhere near that horse.
I explained that she had been "in hospital" and was now feeling very nervous on her first outing. I just needed someone to walk past the fallen tree to show her that there was nothing to fear. He was much too afraid of horses to get out of his cab and his passenger also refused to get out.
Just then I spotted a rather timid lady with a small dog on the other side of the main road. I called to her "Excuse me. I wonder if you could just give me a little bit of help." Though too timid for conversation, she had no hesitation in walking past the fallen tree .... at which Molly took heart and trotted on behind her.
I hope the poor driver was reassured by the demonstration of how the horse really did need encouragement. Perhaps he had never realised that horses are not only big, strong and fast but also extremely sensitive and nervous!