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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Equine communication

Out running in the pouring rain - and listening to the Reith Lectures - I realised that there was someone shouting behind me. I turned and saw a horse coming flat out toward me. The rider was shouting, 'I can't stop! When going this fast I can't stop!' There was a second horse in close pursuit, with a lead rope flying - she must have been leading it. In the background I thought I could see another rider on the other track, watching.

I thought, I'll stand in the way and try to stop it. Yes, right. A galloping horse. In a field. The horse went round me. The girl was still saying, 'Sorry, I can't stop!' So I started shouting back, 'Can I call anyone?' Like she'd be able to scream a mobile number from a bolting horse going at 25mph. I think she said, 'Don't worry!'

Don't worry??

She swung the horse at the bottom of the field - the loose horse had already peeled off and seemed to be circling back to the track where the other rider was. My girl did a huge loop and as the horse swung back across the crop - whatever it was - the muddy ground was taking its toll.

I shouted out, 'He's slowing! Oh, well done you! He's slowing now! Oh, well done. You're doing brilliantly!' I was crossing the field toward her. She met up with me, the horse still jittery and dancing, but under control. 'I was so worried he'd trample you,' she said. 'At that speed, you can't stop them.' I considered the slippery treacherous ground and the horse's fine legs. Yes, she was right. He'd have broken a leg. In fact, if he'd swerved and slipped when I stood in front of him, I'd have caused him to break a leg. Well done, Crone.

'Do you want me to hold him while you dismount?' I asked.

'No,' she said. 'I'm fine now.' And she was.

The dog and I went on.

At the top of the hill we saw this guy in the photo. Poor chap lives alone. He used to have a pony and some sheep as company. For a while at least. Now he's alone again. He was watching over the hedges and fields to where the riders were. He must have heard the shouting, the galloping hooves.

Maybe more.. there's a story of an old elephant, the last of her troop, standing alone by the African coast. In the water, a blue whale was singing. On the earth, the elephant made her subsonic rumbles. Could they speak to each other?

Did the horse hear fear in the hoof beats - or anger? Do horses dream of open spaces and freedom, without these man-made accoutrements and the humans clinging to their backs? In their DNA, is there a memory of wide plains and life without humanity?

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