I did not have much time today. I have noticed clumps of Ben’s hair strewn around the track underneath trees. I approach Ben with a rubber curry comb and a dandy brush.
‘Hi’. He looks for a treat. He gets one.
‘May I just brush this coat for you?’ He positions himself by the fence, looking across some grass to the gate to the garden. I let them in there yesterday.
‘Yes, I know you would like to go in there. Can you wait a moment while I brush you?’
He turns to me.
I brush him, hair sliding off under curry comb and brush; long hair, soft and silky, extra long behind his back legs. As I work around him, bending down, he turns again and nuzzles my head.
‘Yes, you need to shed this don’t you?’ As I finish his other side, he looks away.
‘We’re done then. Just let me go to Rosie.’
A treat for Rosie and a brush. Rosie doesn’t talk, but stands there in that wonderful stillness of hers. Her coat feels completely different to Ben’s. Thick, short and woolly, very little of it comes off. I wonder again about the possibility of Cushings in this elderly, laminitic lady. But she looks well, her coat is gleaming, her topline looks good.
I finish and open the fence. Ben does not move, but looks beyond to the garden gate.
‘I know, this grass here is finished. Just let me open that gate.’ Now they both move, Ben first of course, and eagerly follow me out. I realise I have forgotten to shut the gate to the road. Both ponies are striding happily behind me. A car rushes past. Near the gate, I turn to face them, they stop and give me space to shut the gate.
‘I’m sorry’ I say. ‘In an ideal world you could follow me out there.’
They put heads down eating grass. It feels like second best.