Wednesday, 9 September 2009

A Good Scare (2)

Apologies for long radio silence on blog: contrary to popular opinion, we haven't all been washed out to sea by recent floods OR given up and gone home!

However, as will hopefully become clear, we HAVE had some adventures...

Now where was I? Ah yes, crossing the Black Mount estate...

The stalker's track on this side is not quite as fine as the one in Glenkinglas: bit of a Friday afternoon job in places actually. However, it's serviceable, and infinitely preferable to the surrounding bog.

When I'm riding on tracks I don't generally lead Doogs: he just follows on behind loose. As usual, he was just moseying along behind us, having the occasional munch.

We came to a somewhat dodgy looking bridge. While Yeoman and I were hesitating, looking for a better place to ford downstream, Fatty-I-Know-Best-Doogs barged past us and over the bridge. Well, half over, before it collapsed under his weight with a sickening crash. Good way for a pony to break a leg, and to make matters worse he was now firmly jammed.

I knew the nearest help was at Clashgour, four miles (and three large fords) away. The only tool I had was for removing horses' shoes, plus I found an old fencepost to use as a lever. It took me almost two hours to free him: luckily he stood like an angel. DIDN'T HAVE MUCH CHOICE, DID I? I WAS STUCK! DOOGS

Unbelievably, he didn't have a broken leg- indeed, barely a scratch.

Once I'd got him out (and he was grazing , two hours without food being a bit traumatic for old Doogs), I turned my attention to what was left of the bridge. Oops, it did look somewhat- er - wrecked. I thought at least I might tidy up the sleepers, ready for repair. When I tried to move them I couldn't even lift them: it must have been adrenalin which gave me the ability to get them off Doogs, like mothers who can lift cars off children.

We made our way down to Clashgour: the rivers were high to wade but in retrospect I think all that cold bathing would have been good for Doogs, minimizing swelling. OH YEAH? DOOGS.
With some trepidation I knocked at the door of the keeper's house, to admit and apologise for our wanton destruction of estate property.

The door opened. 'Bloody Hell, it's Kate!' came a voice- which turned out to belong to Calum, who'd had stalking ponies from us years ago, when he worked in Wester Ross.

A small world, and one in which errant vandalism was rewarded by supper and a bed for the night, as well as excellent grazing for the boys. Calum also said that, once he'd repaired it, he would put up a sign: 'Doogs' Bridge'- perhaps it will end up on a future edition of the OS map, along with other local landmarks like Victoria Bridge and Bridge of Orchy!

Now that WOULD be a fitting tribute to a brave (and very lucky) pony.

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