On this cold morning I take two ponies out to graze some grass at the end of the lane. My grass is severely rationed and I feel for them. Hay just does not cut it. We have a hard frost at night now and today there is a light icy rain falling. It feels bitterly cold and despite thermal everything I can possibly have my finger tips are frozen by the time we have to go in.
To my surprise, Cloud is the most cooperative about this. Poor Ben is on the hunt for more grass, and more and more and more. And we have been outside for an hour. Maybe Cloud has satisfied this longing for grass by his occasional incursions into the forbidden zone. We see him, in the morning, standing in the richest grass, fence barely disturbed, belly almost reaching the ground and still eager for his breakfast bucket.
Cloud and I are connecting, slowly. We are not sure of each other yet and I take opportunities to walk in-hand with him to grow this connection. I have been leaving him to my daughter but have felt that I seem to interact with him solely to impose boundaries. But he is great. He is very different to Ben. He has no aggression or sourness in him. He seems genuinely at peace with himself and the world even as he can very swiftly move Ben off a pile of hay that he wants.
Having Cloud here emphasises just how deep my connection with Ben is. Just a thought is all it takes, he reads my mind so often I am, almost, never surprised now.
I have just been outside and it is dark. In a minute I will cook dinner. But, having re-read what I had written, I relented and let them have a strip of grass to graze. There they are, heads down in the dark. I called to Ben as I went back inside. This time he didn’t look up.