Skryfsels This Corner of the Earth smiles on me… (Belinda Gordon)

There is a place, more than any other, that remains constant in my heart, no matter where I am or how old I get. That place is the horse stables. A greeting whinny as I arrive. The nudge of muzzles testing my pockets to see what I have brought. The touch of supple lips taking the gift I offer. For me there never has been a better way of seeing the county around me than from the back of a horse.   Now I am too old to ride anymore, but part of the enjoyment at the stables was always getting ready for a ride. Saddling-up; girths tested, the bit adjusted, then setting off into the countryside: two pricked ears in front of me: the steady 1 2 3-4 rhythm of hooves on the ground: the joy of galloping on a beach, mane flying, water splashing round us: the wonderful feeling when a horse gathers his legs under him, and together we sail over a jump.These days I am happy just to help at the stables. Groom, fill buckets, and hang feed nets with fragrant teff and lucerne. While we work, the horses stand outside the paddock fence and watch us, impatient for their stables to be ready. Alert ears and anxious faces seem to utter, “What’s the delay? Can’t you see we are hungry?” When at last we open the gates, the horses charge into their stables. Hens scatter from the yard where they peck for tidbits, and stable-cats leap for safety.Then all goes quiet for a moment, followed by the contented munching and occasional splish-splash from a drinking bucket being used.Often there is a nudge from a nose as a horse comes to the door again to chat for a while before turning back to the feed-net in his stable.My chosen place.This corner of the Earth that smiles on me…more than any other.

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