Ready for the circus

This week, once again, our ride was postponed to a beautiful, warm and sunny Friday – at least 10°C at the end of February.

Most of our snow has gone, even up on the high ground of the Seerücken hills. With the sun out and everything looking dry and with the promise – if few signs – of spring in the air, it seemed a great day to spend an hour out on a ride. We weren’t the only ones out enjoying the sunshine and I consciously picked a route with nice, dry paths rather than shady and possibly icy ones, passing dog-walkers and runners out for some fresh air. Sturuss, of course, wanted to take advantage of the last bits of crunchy snow along the edges, almost as good as wading through snowdrifts – something he adores doing.

I think I got my timing a little wrong, however, since as soon as we turned for home, the bouncy ball thing started again… There had been a horse and wagon just ahead of us, excitement enough, but Sturuss is not stupid and was well aware that his lunch was waiting for him at home and he simply couldn’t bear to keep to a sedate walk on a path that was still quite snowy! As the path improved and evened out, he agreed to alter this:

to a fairly normal, fast walk, and I breathed a sigh of relief that we weren’t likely to sprain a leg with overexuberance.

Well, they say pride comes before a fall, and how right they are! While smiling to myself at Sturuss as a circus horse doing high school lessons, we came to an icy patch. Taking a short cut across a field was an option, but I know that under the thin layer of snow, it’s ploughed, so a possible hazard on old pony legs. The surface looked very wet in the sunshine, with water several centimetres deep, so I made the assumption that the ice had melted… let that be a lesson. It’s an extraordinary feeling to have 450kg of horse do the splits under you, lose control of his legs, struggle to regain his balance and then skid over sideways! And extremely Thelwellian (yet again!). Fortunately, I was thrown sideways for my own little ice skid and didn’t get trapped under poor Sturuss, who also luckily, managed to pull himself up, give himself a shake and, with a disbelieving look at me (or was it disgust?!), set off purposefully in the direction of home.

I struggled up with a bashed knee and thick mud and ice all up my left side, carefully testing to see if I was alright and registering that Sturuss didn’t appear to be limping in any way. Straightening my hat and flexing the knee, I hobbled off after Sturuss – and bless him, after a few metres, he stopped, turned and looked at me and then wandered over to the side of the road for a nibble of grass while I caught up, wasn’t that sweet?! We plodded home, wet and dirty, and he was glad of a head-rub once the leather was off, followed, naturally, by a dive into the depths of the feed bucket 🙂

It seems that no harm was done, and it may be my imagination, but it did seem to me that he came over for an extra nuzzle to show that everything is ok between us, despite having shared yet another adventure!

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