Friday, May 30, 2008

Horse sense

When I was a child in Australia, the expression "horse sense" evoked common sense of an ordinary kind: nothing to do with the ability to whisper in horses' ears, or anything of that kind.

Bob's charming teenage daughter Alison, my unique neighbor for several months, is an expert horsewoman who reminds me of my sister Jill back in Australia. Alison has been playing around with horses for years, and she doesn't even bother to put a saddle on her beige Bessie and white Aigle before riding around on the slopes of Gamone. Bob informed me recently that his daughter plans to move down to Spain, next September, to work in a professional equine context. [This information concerns me primarily in that it means that Bob will surely put his property up for sale... and I won't have any neighbors at Gamone for a while.]

Although I admire Alison's expertise with her horses, I'm not convinced that the girl has a great degree of horse sense, as I defined it earlier on, because she doesn't seem to be able to prevent her two adorable animals from cantering across my lawn every so often, eating my rose plants, digging up tufts of earth and transforming the slopes alongside my house into mud.

Generally, as soon as Alison realizes that her horses have escaped to my place (where I immediately set up an electric fence to keep them in a field beneath the walnut trees, where they can't do any damage), she strolls down here to take them back up home. I tell her constantly that I would prefer to have her horses here permanently, where there's a lot of grass to eat, rather than find them arriving here on my lawn in the middle of the night, as they did yesterday, or early in the morning, as they did today. Bob himself tells me he doesn't understand why his daughter won't turn on their electric fence to keep her horses at home, instead of imagining that the huge beasts will remain calmly in place behind a few flimsy pieces of string. My own explanation, as I said, is that it's basically a lack of horse sense.

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