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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pas d’un

9 days and counting to day ‘M’

The marriage is approaching fast, and months of preparation are falling into place. Or rather, they are falling into shambles.

As I divulged before, one of the things we wanted to do during the wedding party, was to show off our horse riding talents before the assembled masses of friends and family. The plan was to do a Pas de Deux, an exercise in which two horses make a series of figures riding either exactly next to each other or mirroring each other’s movements on both sides of the paddock.

For this purpose, I borrowed a horse, Irene. Our first attempts together were not exactly a success, she was difficult to handle. But after a lot of training, things started to look nice. I got Irene under control, we succeeded in doing the figures in a reasonable degree of synchronicity and low and behold, the new horse-riding centre got finished with a delay of a mere two months, so we even got a place to ride!

But it was not to be. When we went to the manège on Saturday, our teacher had to break us some very bad news. Irene had suffered a heart attack.

I wasn’t even aware that horses could have a heart attack. As far as I could tell, Irene never smokes. She follows a healthy vegetarian diet and never drinks any alcohol. And she does sport at regular intervals. Nevertheless, she was found laying on the floor of her stable a couple of days ago, breathing heavily and shocking over her whole body. The teacher got her up against the wall to support her, but a couple of times she almost fell down again. Later the vet confirmed that she had suffered a heart attack. ‘With humans we put a pacemaker, but with horses there’s nothing much you can do’, was his verdict.

So that’s the end of poor Irene’s career. She has to remain calm now, without any excitement. Maybe she’ll live for a long time to come – she’s only 19 – or maybe she’ll die tomorrow.

So the Pas de Deux is off. Even if we could find another horse, I don’t have enough time to practise with it to reach a decent level. Months of hard work are down the drain, but I’m especially sad that I won’t be able to ride her again now that things were going so well.

We considered alternatives, but we decided against me running on foot next to she-who-looks-stunning-in-black-leather-boots-and-handles-the-whip-with-grace-and-ferocity. I tried some of the dogs running around in the centre, but the saddle was just too big.

Instead, I will give a solo display of dressage on Julia (my fiancées horse) and after that she will also mount Julia and do a small obstacle course.

Nine more days to practice, or rather three evenings. If we even manage that, because there’s so much more to do that we may have to postpone the whole wedding until 2045.

Posted by Bart at 7:20 PM
Categories: Animal Farm

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