Simple Pleasures

8 05 2012

This morning, we had perfect weather for riding; clear blue sky, bright sunshine, warm enough not to need to wear long sleeves but not baking-hot or stiflingly humid either. Which was a shame in a way, as I didn’t actually get to do any riding.

Nevertheless, I had a lovely time just helping out around the stables. There’s always plenty to do; today, the high-schoolers were back, which meant there were plenty of pairs of hands to get on with jobs like mucking out stalls, sweeping up and whatnot, so rather than fetching myself a fork and a wheelbarrow I got to work collecting feed and water buckets, which, with the help of another first year, were then hosed, scrubbed and returned; water buckets to the stalls, feed buckets to the food preparation area. When they go back there, the horses’ individual buckets are lined up in two rows so each bucket’s position corresponds to that of the horse’s stall within the stable. This is done to make preparing the food easier since every horse has different amounts of everything.

After that, I was supervised in helping to tack up Shirika after cleaning her hooves and brushing her tail. I’m getting the hang of it, but there’s so much to remember! I was still hopeful at this point that I might get to ride. However, I stood watching the upper year students practise for a while, and then watched them ride them out of the arena, dismount and lead them back into the stables.

I don’t know if the weather was a factor, but I found myself not minding too much on this occasion, and just feeling happy to have been around the horses at all. On my return indoors, I was put to work checking all the horses had enough water and fetching more for the ones that didn’t, in the course of which I stole a hug from Hokon, who I obviously must not therefore have fallen out with, and narrowly avoided letting one of the ponies escape. It was Shiro who tried to make a run for the door as I went in with my pail of water; even though he’s tiny, he still carries himself very much as though he thinks he’s the alpha male of the herd. Amusingly, I once saw him drag one of the riders across the yard on his rope lead trying to charge at Yuki (possibly the biggest horse of them all – certainly the most majestic), who was startled and tried to run away. It’s quite comical really.

Last of all, I washed all the horse boots that had been used, hung them and some fresh laundry up to dry in the sunshine, swept up outside the stables and then went to seek permission from the team captain to leave as I had a Japanese class starting at 10:40.

Aside: Immediately after horse riding, I always want chocolate milk of some description! When it was colder I specifically wanted hot chocolate, but now it’s getting warm I’m just as happy with a chilled chocolate milkshake. I don’t know why, but what’s convenient is the abundance of vending machines in Tokyo, the majority of which have it in some form or other, enabling me to pick up a can of the stuff on my way from the stables…




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