I spent last weekend away in the country staying with friends and was enchanted by the two ponies in the field overlooking our patio. Eventually I plucked up courage to go and have a word with their owner, and she told me that they were both rescue ponies. She showed me pictures of them when she first had them: they both had horrific injuries, but the mare, Dolly, was in an especially bad way with gashes down her legs and on her back. I couldn’t bear to look.
Fortunately, both ponies are now restored to good health, are properly loved and cared for, and are doing a little light work.
I fell in love with both of them, but was particularly taken by the little gelding, and he was very friendly when I stroked him – a tribute to his owner. Here he is with a wagtail. I adore the gorgeous feathers round his hooves.
As it happens, my own mare is also called Dolly, and Dolly is the name of one of Isobel’s rescue ponies in No Accounting for Death. In my mind’s eye, Isobel’s Dolly is a liver chestnut, just like mine, but my Dolly, thank goodness, has always been well looked after. She is part Welsh Section D, and, in her youth, she was a working lass on a Welsh sheep farm. These days she just goes on the odd hack round the local park, enjoying a good canter on the way, and then she spends the rest of her time with all her mates.