Say Hello to Haroun

I’m dedicating this one to Amy :

Amy attended a Lycee Agricole (Agricultural University) for several years. She chose this particular Lycee as it had Stables and had Horse Husbandry and Riding etc as part of the curriculum and ever since she was little she has had a passion for the four-legged House …sorry – Horse 🙂

The Lycee would put “old”  horses out to retirement to their students if they felt they would give them a great retirement home. You know what’s coming next, don’t you?… You guessed it….”Mum, Dad, the horse I ride at Lycee needs a retirement home and they’ve said, as he adores me I’d be a good choice!”

Now, the brief history on H (his nickname) was that he was a champion French Trotter in his field (no pun intended) and after an unfortunate accident with his back legs couldn’t carry on. So he was nursed back to health and put into the Lycee Riding school for an easier life.

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Amy’s first time on him was, in fact, a mistake! She was told to go and saddle up a particular horse and the description was the same as H as in colour and size but wasn’t H.

He wasn’t a good idea for anyone without serious horse experience. Amy saddled up the horse she thought she’d been told to get and was happily riding along with the group when the tutor suddenly looked at Amy and asked was she ok. Amy said she was fine. The tutor said is the horse behaving? Amy said yes why? She was then told that Haroun was a stubborn old boy who was unpredictable. The short version is, he adored Amy – their love was sealed from that day.

 

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So, back to the question – “Can he come home?”. I said no, Dad said yes! I said I’d have nothing to do with him as I know nothing of horses except they are all shapes and sizes (Amy had had a couple of horses at Bel Air over the years but nothing as big as H) and I don’t ride them. My thing is cats and dogs. Haroun was the size of a house in my eyes.

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Even if you’re not a horse person, you can see he was a stunning horse. And yes they were best buddies. He had such a character. He loved Amy taking selfies with him – it was hilarious, I swear that horse would actually pose with her 🙂 He was her confidant, when life got at her she’d go and talk to him. She always said she was better when she was with him.

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He was obstinate in my eyes! Amy would board at Lycee Monday to Friday and Brian and I would feed him. Would he come to see me? No. Would he move when told to so we could clean his stable? No. Would he come to the fence when called? No. So I nicknamed The Donkey. Amy said that wasn’t fair he was an ex-French Trotter, not a donkey – I said he behaves like a donkey, therefore, he must be one! It was all in jest of course. I actually fell in love with him – it was hard not to, and I too miss him.

Haroun led a charmed life with us and he moved to a friends field for a while when we moved house and no longer had a field for him. He lived with another horse called Jo for a while, and when it came time for him to move when Amy’s work and commitments didn’t allow her the time with him, he moved in with Cherie. Cherie looked like him and they bonded well and I was told he brought out the best in her and she finally came to her owner when called! Haroun must’ve learned in his old age 🙂

 

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Haroun crossed to Rainbow Bridge November 2017, he was 22 years old. He had a fantastic life with us and with Jo and Cherie.

“Do not mourn my passing,

For if you could only see,

By slipping all my earthly bonds, I’m young again and free.

By Day I run the heavenly fields,

My body well and strong

At night I sleep at angels feet, lulled by celestial song.

So do not mourn my passing,

Just close your eyes, you’ll see,

I’m once again that gallant horse,

As you remember me.”

Author unknown.

 

 

 

 

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Driving Donkeys

Today I found myself reminiscing over our donkey…I was reading something about events in France and a show is being held at the Haras du Pin here in France where normally its horses on show, but they are doing one on donkeys.

As I mentioned before, we started out here with a large property with land and lots of animals so this is an introduction to Maxou, our adolescent donkey. We knew nothing about donkeys but decided to give him a home when we went to see some Alpine goats..as you do! 🙂

We went to collect the Mummy goat and her two kids ( Poppet and Pumpkin – yep I was responsible for those names!) in our large van. Whilst there we were persuaded to give Maxou a home too but we weren’t sure how to transport him. The people we took him off said: “do what the French do, take him in the van and we’ll follow with the three goats in our van!” So, we did.

Driving along the D34, Maxou was fine in the back with Brian driving and Amy and I sat alongside. Five minutes from home, Mr Gendarme happened to be on the road. You need to picture this in your minds eye: We pulled over as instructed and Brian wound down the window to talk to said Gendarme, “Bonjour!” said Brian, Mr Gendarme stood close to the window and was about to say Bonjour back when Maxou decided to put his head over Brians’ shoulder and arrive face to face with Mr Gendarme! You can imagine the surprise on his face cant you!

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“Monsieur! you ‘ave a donkeee in your camion!” (that was his best English accent!) Amy and I just sat giggling and Brian said: “Oh, where did he come from!”  After Mr Gendarme had recovered himself with Maxou still staring him out over Brians’ shoulder, he said: “you cannot transport animals in a camion like this, you must go ‘ome on the back roads”  At which point Maxou let out a very load eeyore noise! We said ok to Mr Gendarme and drove away very carefully watching him stand on the side of the road shaking his head.  I would love to have been a fly on his wall that night over his family dinner! “Crazy Engleesh people driving donkeees around in vans!” 🙂

The people in the other little van with the three goats got away without being stopped – can you imagine if he had stopped them too – he’d have thought he was on candid camera!

So, Maxou arrived along with the goats and Bel Air was alive with animal sounds. The goats were ok in with the sheep and Maxou had his own space in the field next to them.

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It wasn’t long before Mummy goat got bored with the sheep and decided she wanted to torment Maxou! She would jump the fence, leaving Poppet and Pumpkin in with the sheep and get Maxou to chase her then pretend she was stuck in his field and needed rescuing! Poppet and Pumpkin would cry out to their Mummy and she would hide in Maxou’s stable – not sure if she was trying to get a break from them but she would never jump back immediately. Then one-day Poppet and Pumpkin decided to jump with mummy!

It came to a head when we thought Maxou was going to hurt her, he didn’t like sharing and would kick the stable. So we decided to intervene and help them out. Well, all I can say is Benny Hill would’ve have been proud of our little performance because that’s all it needed was the Benny Hill music…you know the one…..

Brian was trying to catch Maxou to hold him back whilst I got in to help Mummy goat back with the babies. Maxou didn’t want to be caught. So he went on the run. After several attempts and with me trying to coax the goats out with food, Brian had him. As soon as he saw the goats leave the stable he was off again – wanted to play chase. I stood back by the stable and Mum decided she was going to pick up the food bucket from the middle of the field and try and help. At the same time, Maxou ran past mum and kicked out – I swear he missed her head by inches….I’m shouting at Mum to leave the field and Amys outside the field shouting “catch him, dad!”  At this point, Maxou turned into Buckaroo, running around and kicking out – I too left the field. Brian decided to try then to tempt him with the food bucket as the goats appeared really stressed and we wanted to help them.

Maxou edged up to Brian with the food bucket and turned around and kicked out just missing Brian and started running. So in all the frustration, Brian threw the food bucket in the direction of Maxou (who had his back to him at that point) and Maxou just kicked out and hit the bucket straight back at Brian!!! OMG I was crying with laughter as was Amy. At that point, the goats jumped the fence back into their own field!!!!! Would you believe it! I can’t repeat what Brian said but you can imagine cant you?

From that day on, whenever the goats jumped out, they were left to their own devices, and do you know what? They survived! So much for us soppy idiots trying to help them!

There’ll be more stories to come but that sprung to mind today – I hope I’ve made you smile today 🙂