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Listening

May 2018 by Jill Griffiths

A couple of days after a big ride, I turn up at the horses’ paddock. Dante looks up from eating and watches me as I come through the gate. I reach out to stroke his nose, and he turns and walks away. He goes and stands behind the dominant mare in the herd and eyes me across her back. I walk around in front of her and reach out to him. He ducks back around behind Magic, keeping her between us. 

I approach Dante again, but this time he’s having none of it. He turns tail and canters off to the far corner of the paddock. I’m left standing there, halter in hand, dumbfounded. This isn’t the Dante I know. What have I done? What has caused this behaviour?

I walk over to where my daughter, Lauren, is saddling Floss, our old mare. “I can’t catch Dante,” I say.