Real life

If the tofu munchers had their way, horses would sleep on mattresses in bespoke tents like a Glastonbury VIP area

Never mind that these animals prefer to sleep in the open

22 November 2014

9:00 AM

22 November 2014

9:00 AM

Before I go any further, I would like to make clear that no animals were harmed in the making of this column. You might think that goes without saying, but I don’t take anything for granted when a woman I know has just been censured by the RSPCA for not providing her horses with a ‘comfortable’ place to lie down in their field.

‘What is she meant to do, give them four-poster beds?’ the builder boyfriend asks me when I tell him. Possibly. Or mattresses inside bespoke tents, like a Glastonbury VIP area. Never mind that horses don’t like enclosed spaces and prefer to sleep in the open. Even if you give them a shelter they often won’t go in it.

Never mind that it is normal horse behaviour to lock their knees and sleep standing up. As prey animals, they like to remain vigilant. Never mind all that. The tofu-munchers who think they speak for the animals are now making Jo-Lo style dressing-room demands on behalf of horses on the basis that because they would not like to lie on grass then neither will a horse. You’re in danger of having your nags taken off you nowadays unless you provide them with white lilies and Kabbalah water. So please, if you are reading this, members of the animal welfare brigade, do not jump to conclusions. What I am about to tell you is intended to be humorous.

Right. Here we go. It was time for Tara, the retired chestnut mare, to have her teeth and vaccinations done. Once an aggressive bucking bronco, Tara is now in her late twenties (about 85 in human years) and lives peacefully in a field with a skewbald cob called Dandy, her horsey husband. But my vet thought it would be easier if we brought her to a nearby stable yard to give her teeth the once over.

To look at her now, you wouldn’t think she was the same horse that used to catapult me through the air. She mooches about placidly, only showing Dandy a hoof every now and then to make sure he doesn’t get ideas above his station. When the builder boyfriend and I visit her he’s not allowed to approach the fence. ‘These are my people,’ she tells him, pushing him away with her nose, ‘and they are here to see me, so get lost. If there are any carrots left over, I’ll let you know.’


She has become quite tactile. She likes a massage. She stands still while the builder rubs her back and shoulders. She is almost affectionate. So when the vet told me to bring her to a stable yard I thought it would be no problem.

The headcollar went on fine and out of the field she came. But the minute she was in the road she caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of her eye and a split second later she was the old Tara Lee again. From nowhere, the fiendish energy exploded out of her and she was a raging beast. She must have gone five feet into the air on the end of the rope. When she came back down she slipped and collapsed on to the ground in a heap pulling me with her.

I tried to scramble away from her huge bulk but she kicked me in the back as she struggled to get up. Screaming expletives, I staggered around. The builder grabbed the lead rope. Tara pulled him back down the track to the field at speed, tail in the air, hissing like a cat.

‘I think she saw a white car. She doesn’t like white,’ I called.

‘I don’t care what it is,’ the builder shouted. ‘She’s going back in this field and she’s never coming out. Not until…’

He didn’t finish the sentence. When the vet came, I took him into the field, limping and holding my bruised back. ‘Just jab her with the vaccine, quick,’ I said. ‘If her teeth are bad they’ll have to fall out and she can have a set of false ones.’ The vet felt inside her mouth. ‘Oh, please God,’ I thought, ‘don’t let her clamp down with her jaws and put a hole through his hand like she once did to me.’ I still have the puncture mark. But he declared her teeth were fine.

‘Good, now step away. Don’t wake the beast,’ I said. Tara sighed languidly, head low, eyes half closed.

‘She’s obviously a very old horse,’ he said. ‘Let us know when the time comes and…’

‘Listen,’ I said, ‘there’s only one thing I worry about with this horse.’

‘What’s that?’ he said. Tara raised an eyelid as if wondering whether it was worth murdering the vet. I pushed him towards the gate. ‘That she’ll outlive us all.’

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  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “tofu munchers”
    If you don’t like it you don’t have to eat in.

    • Signed, Jack, the Japan Alps Brit (real nationality: Japanese).

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Here are the most recent contributions (last four days) from Mad George, the Rochdale retard. Now here’s a guy that’s not playing with a full deck, a couple of cans short of a six-pack, elevator don’t reach the top floor.
        Spectator policy: Keep the looney around for laughs. This really does amount to a mocking of the afflicted.

        George Smiley (deceased) Jackthesmilingblack a day ago
        Bullying people in the name of Aspergers (because deep down, you are really quite thick) does not learning or education equate.

        George Smiley (deceased) Jackthesmilingblacka day ago
        Give it up! Everyone regular knows that you are Japanese schizophrenic wind-up, with Aspergers!

        Real life
        George Smiley (deceased) Jackthesmilingblacka day ago
        Signed, Jack, the Japan Alps Brit (real nationality: Japanese).

        George Smiley (deceased) Jackthesmilingblack2 days ago

        According to the insightful knowledge of someone who returned in Japan and lives there since the year 1992…pack in it, mate! Trolls like you don’t even know the concept of “Home Nations”!

        George Smiley (deceased) Jackthesmilingblack2 days ago
        But you live in Japan, remember?!

        Should old people start wearing stilettos?
        George Smiley (deceased) Tom Chivers 3 days ago
        Your ironic wit is wasted on him! The man is an autistic Japanese schizophrenic with a tendency to make up slogans of his own! His trademark (“The Japan Alps Brit”) is one of his many bouts of textual diarrhea! Half of the time he is checking up if people are spelling Millliband and Savillle correctly!
        I reckon that he probably did go to some boarding school somewhere in Oxfordshire from 1986/88 to 1992.

        Emily Thornberry resigns over Rochester Tweet
        George Smiley (deceased) Stephen Milroy 3 days ago
        Tell her to bring it on!

        George Smiley (deceased) Jackthesmilingblack 3 days ago
        Emily Thornberry and smart?! Stop talking rubbish! You are not British, you don’t live in Britain, and you nowt about British politics! You are a Japanese and you are also a schizophrenic!

        There just aren’t enough Brits getting killed in Syria
        George Smiley (deceased) 3 days ago
        Jackthesmilingblack: Give it up! You are a Japanese paranoid schizophrenic, who likes to use your own made-up words a little too much! Spending a few odd years in England as a teenager does not a British subject make (and yes, being British means being a British subject (for now!); you don’t get to choose the terms! Britain is not a republic, nor should it, in my view!)

        George Smiley (deceased) Jackthesmilingblack3 days ago
        Making 2 replies to one comment: Obviously mentally ill. But then you have no problem with it, or with your own made-up words, made-up terms and made-up slogans! I might be an autistic, but I am not stupid enough to not able to spot that you are not (just) an autistic, but actually are a paranoid schizophrenic—making up words is one of those obvious signs.

        George Smiley (deceased) Jackthesmilingblack3 days ago
        No, this is called being seriously mentally ill, to the most of the rest of us.

        Why the Hunting Act is still dividing opinions ten years on
        George Smiley (deceased) Jackthesmilingblack4 days ago
        Or it is because you are never actually British for a single day of your life, and thus unable (and unwilling) to hold down a firm opinion on such a controversial British socio-political issue?!

        There just aren’t enough Brits getting killed in Syria
        George Smiley (deceased) 4 days ago
        Jackthesmilingblack: The only remote grounds for your dubious claim as as British as every single one of us was going to some kind of a boarding school in Oxfordshire as a foreign pupil, probably only for 4 years, from 1988 to 1992! What utter rubbish; and you are an embarrassment! You are just an embarrassing Japanese (wrong colour, mate!) male groupie of David Irving! Defending Irving was the reason why you started trolling on the Telegraph, in the year 2007, remember?!
        When was you first diagnosed as having Aspergers?!

        George Smiley (deceased) Jackthesmilingblack4 days ago
        All right, if you are really as British as you claim, then prove it: The Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and UKIP: pick one, and one only; and give a half-plausible justification. I know that you can’t, of course.

        Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

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