Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (33) Love at a Gallop (Part 04)
Hazel’s first days training at Larkspur was on the afternoon of the 1st of June.
She was so grateful to Lynne for recommending her, it was perfect for her as the distance between her front door and the stables at Larkspur was less than a mile.
She met Chris first and was very impressed as he very much lived up to Lynne’s billing and they chatted briefly before she went in to meet her new charge.
He was a chestnut named Spartan and he was a former racehorse. There was a lot more to his name than Spartan but in his new career he would have to settle for the shortened form.
Her first session of training with Spartan was just a bonding exercise which involved grooming him and simply talking to him and while she worked Chris watched on from the shadows with admiration for her labours and found that he was rather taken by the skinny girl with the mad red hair.
Over the week that followed it was more of the same with Hazel grooming Spartan and Chris watching from a distance.
He liked to watch her working with the horse, although having said that he would probably have like to watch her do just about anything.
For Hazel’s part, she had noticed him in her peripheral vision once or twice over her first week and that made her smile.
But flattered though she was she would have to put a stop to it, she liked him well enough, and in fact she liked him a lot.
He was a nice man and he was doing great work but she thought her husband Bob was nice before she married him and that turned out to be a complete disaster.
So she was in no hurry to set foot on the rocky road of romance any time soon.
After 7 straight days of bonding she decided it was time to get him out in the paddock on the longe line.
It was important to get him to trot around with his head up and not as he had been accustomed to with his head down and focused on speed.
Despite her misgivings about Chris she found that she was disappointed when he didn’t appear to watch her at work with Spartan.
In fact he didn’t appear all the time she was there that day which disappointed her even more, but what she didn’t know was that he was in Nettlefield at the Downshire Light Infantry HQ to look at his latest potential recruit and furthermore she didn’t know that the level of disappointment he felt at not seeing her far outweighed her own.
He left Nettlefield having agreed to take on a gentle giant of a horse called Inkerman, though his name had been shortened to Inky which was quite appropriate as he was jet black.
Hazel finished with Spartan in the paddock and as he behaved himself she let him have a bit of a frolic around in the paddock before taking him in to be groomed, then she filled in the log book and left for home.
When he returned to Larkspur he arrived just in time to see Hazel disappear into the distance.
“Damn” he said and banged his hand on the steering wheel, he was hoping to share his news with her.
“Oh well there’s always tomorrow”
He parked in the yard and before going in the house he went and checked on the horses and read Hazels entry in the log.