Saturday, 30 January 2010

Murphy the spaniel and Crazy Mazie the Shetland pony

My Saturdays are usually the same - up early (no lie on for me EVER), walk the dog, have a brew, and then drive the short distance to the farm with the dog in tow. He spends the 2 mile drive jumping round the inside of my landrover like a lunatic as he knows he now gets to spend a couple of hours chasing chickens, rabbits and sheep whilst I muck out the horses, then he gets to tear down to the field racing Crazy Mazie - who I never bother putting a headcollar on as she finds her own way just fine.

He is quite funny actually as he doesnt know quite what to make of Mazie my teeny weeny miniature shetland pony

Here is Mazie with my friend Laura

Murphy has been around horses all of his life - from an 8 week old floppy eared puppy when I first introduced him to my girls, and has seen them every day since over the past 9 years. He is used to huge things stepping over him, and dodging hooves in the stables at feeding times, and he knows that he is not allowed to chase them and must never ever bite them.

But Mazie is a complete mystery to him. She smells like a horse. She sounds like a horse. But she isn't much bigger than he is - so he STILL cant help walking up behind her and giving her a doggy hello (ie nose up the bum for a good identifying sniff). And likewise, SHE still gets a look of complete horror and shock on her face at having a spaniel suddenly put his cold wet nose under her tail. I really do need to video this at some point because the same thing happens every day. And every day I end up laughing so hard that I cry just at the look of outrage on her face. Thank goodness she has never tried to kick him.

Mazie came to me when I heard that she was about to be put to sleep as her owner no longer wanted her as she has a dislocating stifle (that would be her knee joint if she were human). I went up to see her and amidst a herd of beautiful healthy and obviously well cared for mini shetlands, there was this manky bedraggled and underweight little mite, and my heart melted.
She had been overlooked and ignored because she was no longer of any use as a breeding machine. I promptly drove home, got the trailer and went back and picked her up.

And how very glad I am that I did. She is the sweetest, most adorable, and comical little thing you could ever meet. Cheeky is her middle name and everybody loves her. If she were human she would have been the class joker, always wearing the dunces hat and standing in the corner of the classroom. Or Bertie Bunter, as she will scoff anything she can get to before you can. I have, on more than one occasion, chased her around the farm with a bag of apples in her mouth that she thinks most definately shouldn't be shared out amongst the other horses, and which she grabbed as I climbed out of the car. Maybe I should have named her "The Artful Dodger"?????

This afternoon, her poor leg was a bit stiff and so instead of the usual gallop to the stable to see if she can steal everyone elses tea before I can get there, she hobbled along behind us. And when I glanced round to check if she was ok, there was Murphy, shoulder to shoulder with her, as though he was making sure that she was ok as a thank you for never kicking him. If Mazie stopped, Murphy stopped. When she walked on, so did he. It was beautiful to watch.

But the real tear jerker came as I was about to leave. I put their rugs on, made sure they were ok, kissed them on the noses and as I went to lock Mazies stable door, there was Murphy standing in the straw with her, licking her nose.

I could almost imagine her saying in a very "Violet Elizabeth" type voice
"Dont you dare put your nose near mine - I know exactly where it's been"

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