Sunday, 1 May 2011

8. David Doesn't Do Mornings

David Doesn't Do Mornings

The yard was quiet, only a few birds were singing and the usual hustle and bustle that accompanied busy stables was nowhere to be found.

David yawned and shivered. It was early, far too early for his liking. Normally at this time he was unlikely to be doing anything other than lying in his bed, fast asleep. Still, he mused, he wouldn’t be the only grumpy one in a minute. He still had to wake up Tam.

The stallion snorted at him as he opened the top door and David smiled. “Glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t like mornings’ he said quietly as he gave Tam a fuss.

Leaving the Lusitano to wake up properly, David made his way to the feed room where he made up Tamarind’s breakfast. His stomach grumbled loudly as he mixed in a few pieces of carrot and he fought the urge to take one for himself. Note to self he thought, dry toast doesn’t make a very appetising breakfast. The feed finished, David brought it back to the stables and placed it in Tam’s stable. He smiled as the grey wolfed down his food like there was no tomorrow.

“Morning David” a voice said from beside the other box. David turned round to see Abigail opening the top door.

“Ready to meet our latest resident?” She motioned towards the door. David frowned. “In there?” Abigail nodded and stood aside to let David have a look.

“Since when have we had a donkey?” David cried. Abigail grinned. “Since last night! Someone dropped him off just after you went home - no name, contact details, nothing – it seems that they just wanted rid of him.” She stroked the jack’s nose gently. “I’ve decided to call him Todd. I don’t know why but it seems to suit him. “ She trailed off and David stood, looking a tad awkward as she fawned over the donkey. She eventually came to her senses and straightened up abruptly. “Erm...right David, I umm...think you should find something to do…” She pondered for a moment before her face broke into a broad grin.

David gulped. This didn’t bode well.

Several minutes later

David grumbled as he rubbed some more saddle soap onto his sponge and attacked the saddle with it. He hated cleaning tack and Abigail had got him scrubbing every last piece in the tackroom. From the saddle and bridle that Tamarind used every day, to the old, tatty, vintage saddle that was only brought out on special occasions, he had cleaned them all.

He straightened up, rubbing his aching back (Abigail had neglected to tell him where the chairs had disappeared off to) and glanced over at Tamarind. The stallion had his head over the door and looked like he was falling asleep. Typical, thought David. How come he gets to doze all day? He looked round to locate Abigail but she, like the furniture, seemed to have disappeared. “Abigail? Where are you?”

“I’m in here” a voice said from the stable next door. “I’m just cleaning out Todd’s box, he’s made an awful mess.”

David smirked. Obviously this donkey had his downsides as well as being very, very cute. “Need a hand?” he ventured, laughter threatening to break into his voice. “No thank you David, I’m quite alright.” came Abigail’s haughty response. David chuckled and put the tack and cleaning equipment away. When he was finished, he popped his head around Todd’s door. He smiled. The donkey looked very pleased with his new accommodation and David hoped that he’d become a permanent resident.

Abigail finished Todd’s stable and handed David the wheelbarrow and spade. “Your turn. Tamarind has been in all night as well so I’m sure you can find something to dispose of from his stable!” She winked at him, eyes twinkling and held the door open for him, gesturing for him to go inside. David rolled his eyes dramatically and went in.

Round one to Abigail.

Several minutes and two large piles of poo later, David emerged from the box, the tiny wheelbarrow laden with dirty bedding and manure. Abigail held the door open for him and then headed off to the tack room while he dumped the stuff on the muck heap.

“Right then” Abigail said, striding towards him with the grooming box. “I suppose you ought to have something in return for cleaning all that tack, I hadn’t realised we had quite that much!” David laughed. “So you want me to groom all the horses as a reward? Yeah…fun” Abigail gave him a withering look and put it down next to Tamarind’s door. “Give him a quick groom and then you can go out for a ride. Just don’t do anything silly and be back before lunch.” She gave him a quick smile and disappeared back into Todd’s box.

David grinned, picked up a selection of brushes and went in, thanking Abigail as he did so. He gave Tam a pat and then got to work.

Tamarind was given a thorough clean and within ten minutes he practically sparkled in the sun.

Leaving Tam to his haynet, David fetched his tack from the tackroom and went inside.

He tacked him up…

…and led him outside.

Abigail handed him his hat (which, true to form he had forgotten to pick up) and waited to see them off.

David gave Tam a pat, tweaked his hat and prepared to set off.

He got on, adjusted his stirrups and turned to look at Abigail. “Right, we’ll see you later on then!” He gave her a quick wave and he and Tam trotted out of the yard.

He fancied some jumping, so after a few minutes of warming up in one of the fields, they cantered towards the jumping field next to the old ruined castle. The first jump was a fairly simple cross and Tam flew over it without any difficulty.

The second was much bigger and David almost lost his balance as they landed.

Tam snorted and tossed his head - it was easy for him, though he didn’t like to show it.

David got off and lowered the fence. It was just a little on the big side for him. He wasn’t really comfortable jumping anything that size.

He popped over it without any problems and moved onto the last fence, another fairly simple straight.

He looked at his watch. They’d been jumping for almost half an hour and the light was beginning to go - it looked like rain. Sighing, David trotted Tam out of the field and onto the gallops. They had just enough time for a quick gallop around the track…

They arrived back at the yard half an hour later. Abigail smiled when David explained where they had been and helped him to untack Tamarind.

“Honestly David, where on earth were you galloping? Tamarind’s filthy!” Abigail exclaimed as she scrubbed at Tam’s coat with a dandy brush. “You need to stick to the clean areas next time…” David chuckled and rolled his eyes. "Try telling that to Tam!"

When she had finished grooming him, David put Tam back in his box and they both went off for lunch. Unbeknownst to them however, Tamarind decided that he didn’t like being clean…

He had a good roll and greeted them after lunch with a maneful of shavings.

“Awwww Tam!”

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