He was stardust and he was golden, and is now and forever in our Garden.
It's St George's Day, and George said you were a Tyke, and you were....
To all who continue to support us in our doomed but fabulous existence that gives sanctuary to nine cats and two horses, (and via the horses, because the fields include, and border, three small woods; a plethora, a host of bats, owls, deer, hedgehogs, foxes). In another life, we'd sometimes play music in, say, London, and be driving back the wearisome M1 the next day, and gradually fields of rape and agribusiness would turn to more rolling fields of green, and as we passed Sheffield, Wakefield there would be the occasional field filled with a riot of piebald cobs, racing each other under aching blue skies, and we were home: Yorkshire Ponies.
We lived in Bradford where you would still see the rag and bone mans cart pulled by a stolid black and white wise old cob. Then moved to near Emily's Haworth and Sam got to indulge her childhood love of riding, by paying toward the upkeep of Flick, a dignified old mare, living nearby, right by a big housing estate, but with the run of three lovely fields on the north side of the Worth valley. And the Horse friend who made this possible said wouldn't you like your own horse?
Flicks actual owner was a horse breeder, living in a trailer, up ont'moors, with a shanty town of old stables, and she had a pure bred Arab stallion, who after a life at stud, maybe deserved a regular horses life. Never ridden, seldom led, when I was brought to see him and offer my tuppenworth of opinion, we took him out on the moor road where he pranced and danced and screamed and frightened me and seemed unbiddable, but we spent time in the ramshackle stable grotto with him, and he was relaxed, and Sam was smitten. And the reason he relaxed was the old Cob in the next pen. Fugly was his name, and I'd never seen a wall-eye before, or rather I had, but not known, but one of his was black with white streaks, like a strange gem out of medieval alchemy (a carbuncle, a philosophers stone, a shewstone) and like Psyches Playboy (the fire arab) I agreed to trust.
Trade secrets: he cost £500, a token fee, less than his castration cost. And although he was a nightmare to walk at first, and we use no blows, no crop; our horses are barefoot and bitless, within six months of him living in our fields, Sam was riding him.
Three years pass, and there are two huge Cob mares, Beauty and Daisy live in the fields next to ours, and are joined by a gawky cob foal, he is, apparently, a 'weanling' a foal too soon parted from his mother, he was part of a rescue from a neglected herd, who'd ended up scared and alone, tied up all day, so Beauty's owner had re-rescued him, and bequeathed him to the care of her Mares, who tolerate him, but with a fairly relentless discipline.
This time I am smitten, and learn to whistle quietly so he runs up alone for carrots and treats. I watch him grow all summer, and in midwinter I am ready to try my hand as a gypsy horse trader. One offer, £50, a token fee, she is relieved to lighten responsibilities and knowing he's wanted and will be cared for. Leading him over icy streets, like walking on eggshells, he is terrified, but holds it in; one imploring eye, and the unknowable black egg of his wall eye, turned inward, and gazing beyond, to black yuggoth. Playboy promptly chases him across all three field til Domino leaps a five-bar gate and ends up in the far wood, but, grudgingly accepts, and finally loves in that deep, fierce way that you can love your herd.
April is the cruelest month, breeding proud stallions of the fire sign, for both Playboy and I were born on 19th April. Amen