ANGUISH

24 07 2012

The stables are closed on a Monday, but that doesn’t mean the club rests entirely. There’s a rota for people to go in and feed the horses and see to various other matters as well over the course of the day, since there are no staff and the club manages everything itself. We receive updates via a mailing lists to the email address on our mobile phones about things we should all be aware of. I’m never rota-ed, and I receive so many emails in a day from the riding club that even though I read every single one they have pretty much become white noise to me.

Yesterday, however, I received one that sent me into floods of tears. As I understood it, it said that Hokon was going to be put to sleep in a week’s time due to illness. I received this in my university library, where I was conscientiously studying in spite of my exams being over. I collected up my things and stormed out, unable to contain myself.

As I made my way home, all sorts of questions went through my mind. Why Hokon – the horse who, in spite of the way he might have treated me on occasion, I love best out of all of them? And why just before I leave Japan to come home?

The question that didn’t occur to me until later was why – if he was suffering enough for it to warrant euthanasia – were they drawing it out for another week? However, when it did, I emailed a Japanese friend not connected to the riding club and asked them to translate the message for me. They said it meant that because Hokon is ill he will have a week’s rest. I can honestly not remember a single time I have ever felt so glad and relieved to have been mistaken!

Consequently, after the register was taken this morning, I made a beeline for Hokon’s stall and, to his haughty confusion, made it the first thing I did to lovingly rub his neck and give him a big hug. He melted at this, and hugged me back with his head in that way that horses do. It might be a daft thing to assume, but I think he realised that I’d been upset about something and wasn’t just there to annoy him this time. Heh. Following on from that, I cleaned out his stall, otherwise respectfully leaving him be. Later in the morning I gave him his feed. He had half a white cabbage in it, which he seemed really pleased about. It was nice to see. He does otherwise look quite fed up at the moment, and appears to be covered in hives. Poor Hokon.

Other than fussing Hokon for reasons he would find confusing even if I could explain them to him in a language he understood, I had a largely successful lesson in manoeuvring during a trot, on Kit this time. Although, I am much weaker at turning left than I am at turning right. This needs work. After that I was given five minutes to cool him down and then washed and groomed him. This was just as much fun as usual; he was largely well-behaved, but fidgety, and tried to nibble me whenever any part of me was close enough to his head for him to do so. He really likes having the top part of his neck groomed. He also sneezed right in my face while I was washing his. I found it hard to mind. Before I put him back, because he has some grazes on his back legs, I applied alcoholic antiseptic to them. This must have hurt because he kicked his legs trying to get me off him as I was doing it, but didn’t attempt to kick me – just sort of trying to get away from my hands. I got there in the end, and returned him to his stall.

Other than that I just did the usual sweeping, laundry and trying to look busy and keep out of trouble, although I’ve noticed recently that whenever I catch Max’s eye he pricks his ears forwards and looks pleased to see me, which is lovely. Especially considering there was a time when he tried to bite me every time I went near him! I knew we’d become friends.

I leave Japan a week tomorrow. It is going to be heartbreaking saying goodbye to all my equine friends!

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4 responses

25 07 2012
Sparrowgrass

I am so relieved you were mistaken too! I read paragraph 2 and was so upset for you and Hokon. Reading on though I was so relieved. Misunderstandings are easy enough when there’s no language barrier but this was more emotional than most!

12 08 2012
onahorse

Indeed! Sadly he continued to be unwell while I was still there and his condition got worse rather than better, but it wasn’t life threatening, thankfully – he just suffers with the heat, much like myself!

27 07 2012
mellchan

I have been reading your blog……at first I was thinking it was kind of repetitive..heh, but I continued to read all of them instead of studying as I should have. I love hearing about your riding adventures and misadventures…..more photos please! I used to live in Japan but now live in california and ride at a local stable where it seems I have been deemed trustworthy and can drop in for a ride at my leisure. Please keep posting and when you return to the UK and start taking lessons there you must also blog about that!

12 08 2012
onahorse

Hello there! Apologies for the late reply, I got more drawn into the whole moving two continents thing and just haven’t caught up with myself quite enough yet to update this thing.

I’m glad you’ve been enjoying reading! It’s always flattering to know others are interested in my witterings. I’ll openly admit to being rubbish at taking pictures while I’m riding, though; it’s because I get too caught up in what I’m doing, but I will post a link to my gallery of all the pictures from my time at Gakushuin in my next update, and I will try to get more pictures now I am back home in the UK where I can communicate more effectively. Heh.

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