OK it wasn’t Robert Redford. His name was Paddy, he was Irish, bald, twinkly and chewed gum. The 17.1 hands 4 year old Andalusian filly we have been trying to load into our horse trailer intermittently over the last six weeks turned her soft brown eyes on him and took a slow pull from her haynet as he approached. A snack was called for while she mulled over the developments in her morning.
Paddy strolled into her stable (her bedroom to all intents and purposes), said hello and gave her a cuddle. She kissed him on the ear. Bit forward I thought. They headed together to where we had parked up the trailer and Land Rover.
There was no whispering – wasn’t needed. He sang Blue Spanish Eyes to her as he rubbed the star on her forehead and told her she was a good girl. Now clearly deeply in love, Lulu walked up the trailer ramp. She stopped for a little while. This is as far as we’d managed to get her every time. We sighed.
Paddy gave her a little rub on that star of hers again and began another rumbling verse of the old crooner’s ballad. She followed him in. They stood there, together, loved up and happy. Horse totally relaxed, Paddy happily chatting to her (chatting her up?). Then they trundled out of the front unload ramp, ambled around to the load ramp and did it all over again, no pausing on the ramp this time. Did it another ten times or so, trousered my wad of cash and gave us homework before departing. Us – 6 weeks and zip: Paddy – roughly 20 minutes and yes, Lulu put out on the first date.
Now when you’re trying to get a huge, and I mean HUGE horse into something it doesn’t want to go into, brute force is useless. This may have been Irish charm at its pinnacle. And it works on ladies whose first language is ‘horse’ and second language is Spanish. Now that’s something.
What shone through is that Paddy actually loves what he does, and the horses know it. I learned a few things that morning.
1. You can’t always lead a horse to anything, but Paddy can
2. He taught us, that the horse’s learning is in direct correlation to your own heart rate. Which, roughly translated from the Celtic I took to mean: if you lose it you might as well go home.
3. My horse is clearly a tarty piece who likes a bit of Irish blarney and a good craick
4. Love can move upwards of half a tonne with a cheesy song where a yard brush up the bottom fails every time
God I hope he remembers to write, it’s her first time.