Have you ever read Black Beauty by Anna Sewell? Chances are that you read it in your early teenage years, especially if you are horse-mad and female. I have read it many times and, like others, longed to have a horse just like the famous fictional horse. So when a short while ago, Rescue Horse No 4 walked down the ramp of the Pegasus Horse Travel lorry and into the yard, I couldn’t help calling her Black Beauty. There are a few obvious differences between them.  Jo is a young filly rather than a colt and she is a shaggy black Friesian cross instead of a thoroughbred-type riding horse. She looked more like a gawky teenager wearing bell-bottomed jeans than an elegant carriage horse. But she is all black. Jet black, like a large dark shadow. 

Jo’s new role in life is to be a companion to Lady who, you may remember, had recently lost her friend, Hannah’s Glory. Unusually, there was no screaming and kicking, which is often par for the course when introducing horses to one another. I took this as a good omen and decided to turn them out together the next day.  

Jo walked off across the field with Lady close behind and both started to graze. An air of calm enveloped the property. They continued to graze side by side and even shared their haynets. Lady half-heartedly maintains that she is the boss. She lays her ears flat and rolls her eyes but I am convinced her lips are smiling.  

I like to play with my horses; by that I mean I like to have fun and I want the horses to have fun too. Taking baby steps in training them means they rarely misbehave. They remain relaxed and easy to handle. Today, after I turned Jo out in the field, she came back to stand next to the fence. Not one to lose a good training opportunity, I climbed the fence and swung my leg carefully across her back. She didn’t move or get worried. I rewarded her calm behaviour with a piece of carrot and a pat. I won’t back her or ride her properly until she is four but, by then, if all goes to plan, she will be so used to the crazy human who looks after her that she will give a quick shrug of her withers and walk on quietly. 

Trot on!


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Yves Potter

© 2012