My father’s name was Chester.

But this is another Chester, a big chestnut Irish Sport x Thoroughbred. He’s keen and willing and sane, which makes a nice change from one or two of the other horses I’ve ridden over the past few years, and better yet, he’s mine till the end of the summer.

Last week we were cantering across the heath and nearly tripped over a stag curled up in the bracken. Chester stopped short, stood up on his toes, nostrils flaring, ears pricked — but he didn’t bolt or spook or do anything silly when the stag leapt ten feet in the air and flew off.  I loved him for that.  A rodeo-style nervous breakdown with a forward double somersault would have been the usual horse response.

Yesterday was beautiful and sunny.  Until I tacked Chester up.  Then it started to rain.

We set off in a new direction I hadn’t tried before, through beautiful meadows of wild flowers and deep purple heather.  In the rain.  I wear glasses so I couldn’t see, and every time I dropped the reins to try to dry off my glasses, Chester thought it might be time to turn round and go home, like sensible folk.

But we kept on.

In past years, the heath and wildlife people have imported ponies and sheep to try to keep the bracken under control, but this year it’s goats – big wild aggressive looking goats.  It was quite something to come round a corner in a streaming drizzle and find ourselves face to face with twenty shaggy, horned goats.

Chester puffed and glared.  First at the goats.  Then at me.

My glasses ran with water and steam, we were lost, and my companion ran out of patience.

I had no idea where we were but Chester knew the shortest way home.

Back at the yard I emptied my pockets of Polo mints and carrots and offered them up humbly. Chester didn’t seem to hold a grudge. Though I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had.


7 thoughts on “My Friend Chester.

  1. Caroline Coxon 8 years ago

    How wonderful to hear you have a Chester until the end of summer! So…no more crankiness, then?

    Alfie and Poppy send their best regards and assurances that they would DEFINITELY have spooked at the stag and the goats and possibly Dangerous Heather and Bracken That Moves Unexpectedly
    as well. Not that they’re flighty or anything.

    1. Meg Rosoff 8 years ago

      I’ve known one or two horses a bit like Alfie and Poppy in regard to Bracken That Moves Unexpectedly. Oh yes i have.

  2. Kathryn Evans 8 years ago

    However will you let him go at the end of the summer?! Surely more than a holiday romance…

    1. Amanda 8 years ago

      Maybe you will have to do some kind of “Grease” style duet, in which he finds out he really loves you and so the holiday romance actually blossoms into something more long lasting… Of course, you would have to wear those tight tight trousers and a blonde perm…
      oh, did I just type that out loud? Must be the pre-dinner wine…

  3. Molly 8 years ago

    Meg, I love knowing that you are having such a good time with Chester this summer. I’ve been thinking a lot about my late horse Rosie since I buried my dear dog Jasmine next to her last week up at my family farm in the Berkshires. xx

    1. Meg Rosoff 8 years ago

      So sorry to hear about your dog, Molly. It’s so difficult losing animals….they’re such good friends. Thinking of you. xxxx

  4. kokorako 7 years ago

    It is the end of the summer – Chester sounds a star. Do you know the horse coper’s description of a mad pony for sale is “gentle as a lamb” – they used to figure that people thought cute and so would forgot those crazy bucks and flips that lambs do when they play.

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