My recent mongoose post reminded me of an incident involving one of them, a horse, and a cigarette …

(Wow!  Sudden interruption!  The mongooses just arrived on the front lawn!  My Nikon has suddenly given up the ghost – all pictures come out with bands like the mongooses – but I have just captured some stills using my Handycam – to be processed later!)

Anyway, I should first fill in the background as to how it came about that we had a horse here.

It started when, on a Drakensberg ride, Younger Daughter saw fit to dive face-first into some gravel. In spite of this she and Elder Daughter remained starry-eyed at the idea of riding, so after our return from the break we booked riding lessons nearby for the two of them. YD then chickened out at first, so I finished the course of lessons already paid for on her behalf, but then she un-chickened a bit later so the three of us had regular tuition until we reached jumping and cross-country abilities.

What helped YD a lot was a lovely little bay horse called Magic Socks.  Strangely, most of the kids were terrified of him, and when daredevil ED rode him, he was as wild as she was.  However, with YD he was as gentle as a lamb, and he built her confidence enormously.  We took half-shares on him with the riding school, and when he developed a bit of lameness and it was found that wading in the sea (transported by horsebox) helped a lot, we decided he should come and live with us over school holidays.  I constructed a paddock in the back garden, widened the beach path a bit, and all was ready.

Socks arrived very nonchalantly at the beginning of the hols, and after being taken to the beach seemed to benefit even on that first day. He and a half-Siamese that we had at the time, Coojee, promptly bonded and thereafter whenever Socks came to stay Coojee would camp at the paddock and they would sleep together.

Anyway, late that first evening I went to check that all was well and that there was enough water etc., and I left a happily slumbering bundle of horse and cat.

The next morning there was a complaining cat – but no horse although the paddock gate was still firmly closed. Panic set in, and I started dashing round the neighbourhood in the car while Much Better Half tried to calm hysterical kids and to phone at the same time.

SPCA: ‘You’ve lost a WHAT?’

Local vet, in voice used for humouring lunatics: ‘No, we haven’t had any horses handed in’.

I arrived back from my trip to find MBH receiving a phone call from a neighbour some way down the road.  As it happened, she kept a horse, as well as a cow and a warthog.  Yes, we live in a suburb, but she has particularly large grounds.  ‘Have you by any chance lost a horse?’ she asked. ‘You have?  Ah, good, I thought I remembered you saying something about one at book club …’

Apparently a youngster who happened to be abroad very early had seen Socks wandering down the road, assumed he came from their paddock, and inserted him through the gate. On getting up the next morning said neighbour had stared out from the upstairs bedroom window and announced hesitantly to her husband, ‘Er … dear … we’ve suddenly got two horses.’

‘Don’t be b***dy mad!’ was his reported reaction.

The mystery of Socks’s escape was solved when I caught him doing a limbo under the lowest bar of the fence I had constructed – I had to rebuild it to discourage that little habit.

Anyway, that was the first of many happy visits by Socks, whose lameness cleared up remarkably with the help of soft sand and seawater.  Wild gallops along the beach became a regular feature of our lives.  The daughters, in particular, had eagle eyes from horseback.  There would be a sudden screeching halt in mid-gallop, a dismount, and a pickup, to add another cowrie to our collection.

One incident from a visit will always stay in my mind. I was fondling Socks at his paddock when a set of pins jabbed painfully into my calf, and I swung round to find Coojee demanding some attention. So I bent over to stroke him – and Socks took umbrage at suddenly being ignored and gave me a good nip on my behind. I really did feel a bit hard-done-by that day!

(The mongoose/horse story will follow later.)

© Colonialist (24.Com/Blogs) April 2009; reblogged WordPress November 2013

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Beach, Cats, Horses, Personal Journal. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to OF LOST SOCKS

  1. Sea and beach and horses – couldn’t be more perfect. Great story.(My kid partnered up with a lovely Arabian on loan for lessons – but we never made it to jumping – her dad who worries was happy about that…)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the name Socks 🙂


  3. Wonderful story, Col! A nip on the behind is always forgiven, in my book, anyway. 🙂


  4. Loved this tale. Animals bring such joy and magic to our lives, don’t they? and a warning, too, to pay attention to them, sometimes a gentle reminder and sometimes not so much!


  5. pix & kardz says:

    enjoyed your tale/tails 🙂


  6. A bit cheeky of him to nip you behind 😉


  7. cupitonians says:

    Magic Socks looks stunning. Hilarious story about him managing to get out. Can’t wait to see how the Coojee and Socks love story evolves. And to see the photos of the mangeese (plural of goose is geese and I’m sticking with it!)


  8. Oh I LOVE your animal stories… this one has made my day !
    What wonderful characters all animals are…


  9. The Asian says:

    I hope this story isn’t as a result of you smoking your socks!


  10. Grannymar says:

    Great story, I look forward to the next episode.


  11. nrhatch says:

    Great write, Col! I enjoyed your pacing and the finale ~ Coojee’s pinterest, and Sock’s nips at your bottom.


  12. The joy of galloping along a beach on horseback is one of my most treasured memories. Alas a long ago holiday memory. I wish I could still do it, as there’s about 50 miles of flat sandy beach within easy reach of where we live. When we had ponies, we lived about as far as it’s possible to be from the sea, in the middle of England.


    • colonialist says:

      The thought of 50 miles of beach makes me drool.
      Still, you HAD ponies, and England is a lovely place to enjoy them. I have wished that far more opportunity had arisen for rides there during my visits.


  13. susielindau says:

    What a character! And he nipped you out of jealousy? So funny.


  14. cecilia says:

    what a cool story.. fancy that horse biting you on the bottom.. I used to love galloping along the beach, a perfect place for a horse and child to be.. c


  15. bulldog says:

    Ok … I await the next installment… fascinated as to the cigarette bit…


  16. newsferret says:

    Looks like it is a matter of keeping your feet on the Socks!


You have the right to remain silent - but please don't!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s