Today saw the snow subside and the rain return. On the good side, at least I dared venture out. I embarked on my usual route to the stables (it’s actually a rather new route for me due to the appearance of a roundabout that appeared, quite literally, overnight and was indeed my first experience of going around a round-a-bout the *wrong* way). The route takes me through a couple of small villages. Now, I have a major problem over here in that Im quite clueless about the speed limits. Everything is in kmh rather than mph which is annoying as I have no idea of the conversion rate so spend most of my time ambling along at a speed that “feels right”. Some of the roads naturally have big signs telling you how fast you can go; some don’t. Much like the UK when you are entering a built up area, you are expected to *know* to slow to 30 mph. Its the same here, except Im actually pretty clueless on what Im expected to slow too. Of course, you can just go with the flow of the traffic but Denmark don’t use speed cameras so often people are travelling quite a bit above the limit.

I’ve mentioned before that Ive found driving over here really hard. Initially we brought our car from the UK with us. That resulted in me driving on the wrong side of the road but on the right side of the car. That wasn’t too bad, I could work with it. Eventually, we decided that car was far too expensive, particularly when faced with paying massive tax to re-register it with Danish plates (which, incidently, was going to cost us around 20,000 pounds). As such, we got me a new car, which is great! Except Im now on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car.

Anyway, back to today. Travelling on the usual route to the stables and I slowed down going through one of the villages, as did the car infront. The rest happened all rather fast. There was a van parked at the side of the road and it blinked at me. A very bright red blink out of the back of it. Then it hit me that the speed cameras over here are always placed in the back of an unmarked van; GOD DAMNIT! Upon returning home and explaining to my fiance where I was, it’s emerged that I was doing 60 kmh in a 50 zone and evidently there is now a speeding ticket winging its way here. I don’t see my defense of “my speed felt right'” cutting it to be honest.. although the car infront was doing about the same.

I spent the rest of the journey there feeling this incident was completly unfair since there was no signs telling me what the speed was. By the time I arrived at the stables, it was raining really heavily which was hardly filling me with enthusiasm to ride (yes, I know I have the use of two indoor arenas, but the fact it’s raining OUTSIDE still makes me not want to ride. Psychologically, I feel wet and rained on regardless of the roof.) I wandered in to Jack’s stable to find him missing which was kind of odd since I’d walked past the horse walker and he wasn’t on there. I noticed the doors to the small indoor arena were closed so made a dash for it (it’s raining remember). I opened the doors to find not just Jack wandering around but another horse; a friend!

Now, excuse the surprise here but let me clarify. Horses here rarely go out together. We have one field in summer that is used as group turnout but it’s literally a case of “the strongest will survive!” Its a relatively small field and its free for all… there’s no restrictions on who goes in there or for how long. So it’s a mixed group of mares and geldings with individual horses coming and going all day. For me, that sounded like a recipe for disaster. We then have a number of other fields where the horses go out in ones or twos. However as many of the horses on the yard are owned by the same people, the groups were already very much settled. Jack therefore, was going out alone. This suited me in a way as Id had an awful year with him being bullied none stop and a number of nasty injuries as a result. I did feel somewhat sorry for him as he’s a sociable boy, but the stables are set out in a way that they get plenty of interaction.

Fast forward to now, 8 months on and I open the indoor arena to see Jack with a friend.

“Hi! Sparrow out with mine”

Was the greeting from the groom who has now taken over looking after Jack since his former slave girl left. If a horse could smile, Jack would have been beaming, despite the fact that the rather over excited youngster was almost hanging off him and swinging by the neck cover on his stable carpet. I stayed with them a while chatting to the groom and actually started to pity the younger horse who clearly believed he was just out for a quick 5 minute stretch and role (Jack had different ideas and was running round bucking and squeaking like a crazy horse)

So thats it! Jack now has a friend; a rather enormous chestnut gelding belonging to the groom. Another interesting result came out of this conversation. I mentioned that Jack was 16 this year and the groom said I should consider paying for extra straw so he could have a deeper bed. (To be precise, he said i should pay for extra “yellow stuff for to lie on”) One thing I have always liked about this yard is that they don’t skimp on their beds. We don’t have areas at the front of the stable where it’s just concrete… we have enormous, thick straw beds spanning the full size of the stable. Extra straw sounds fun and images were beginning to pop into my mind of opening the stable door to be met by an avalanche of straw which I had to battle through to find Jack buried in the middle and obviously warm (Jack gets cold.. its why we have so many carpets).

“Extra straw? I’ll have some of that. Where do i sign?”

So now Jack has something scrawled in danish on his stud card which apparently ensures him a deeper bed. I cant wait to see it based on the fact that his bed is already usually well above my knees on “normal” straw rations.

Now, when it came to 2007, one of the biggest new products in terms of the technology scene was arguabley facebook. It seemed to replace MySpace really quickly and I finally gave in over summer and hooked myself up with a page. I must admit, I was surprised at it’s addictiveness and the “haha! I have more friends than you!” statements you could taunt real life friends with never seem to grow old (you know you all do it.)

The ways in which we socialise these days are getting more and more bizarre to be honest but last night, a discovery was made which Im still giggling over. Horsebook! Oh yes, a facebook application that allows you to set up a profile for your horse. Naturally when this was posted on the horsey forum I frequent, I had to join. Thats right, Jack now has a facebook profile and has befriended a number of other horses belonging to members of the forum I use. He has his own profile picture, a list of his favourite activites and treats and his own wall where his horsey friends can post messages for him. Indeed, he’s currently strook up a relationship with a certain mare by the name of Porridge who he now wants babies with. Clearly, this application is going to be a hit with horse owners but you have got to question our mentality for partaking. I was happily posting on Porridge’s profile last night.. posting AS Jack. Yes, I posted on Facebook pretending to be my horse. Seriously, you just KNOW that if a psychologist got hold of this, we’d be locked up somewhere. In this day and age we can get away with it (barely) .. imagine a few years ago though. Would my sanity have been under serious scrutiny if I’d sent a hand written letter addressed to Porridge with Jack spilling his feelings for her? Of course it would! (This is of course ignoring the practicalities of posting a letter addressed to “Porridge” and hoping it arrived. Incidently, I had a friend who stuck a stamp onto a banana and scrawled an address over it in black marker… that never arrived at its destination)

And so concludes todays update, with the exception of a couple of pictures I took of Jack and his new found real friend. I will undoubtedly continue to extend his virtual social network while pondering to myself the psychological implications of conducting relationships on behalf of my horse.

Dude! She has a Camera!