Even when she was old, she didn't seem to know it.
In her final years, Fern was a sort of 'classic sports car': not new but she still had a powerful motor! As we did not do much road work, about five years ago, I left off her hind shoes and a year later I left off her front shoes, also; she seemed quite content with this and her feet were fine. Although I had Claude to ride, Fern and I did go out for a very gentle hack from time to time, or she may have been ridden by a visiting friend so we could go out together.
I said Fern had a powerful motor and her she is on the move - one of my favourite pictures!
Early one bright Sunday morning, Fern and I set off from our mid Bedfordshire village for our usual hack across fields, around a wood, through more fields, across a brook and so on; it was the sort of ride that probably hundreds of happy hackers were enjoying that sunny morning. We had not gone very far when I realized that there was a strange but persistent sound that I could not identify, although it did not appear to trouble Fern. It was a bit like thunder but it clearly had a regular beat, like distant drums. As we made our way along a track beside a hedgerow, the sound became louder and was joined by a more musical undertone but, although I was a little anxious about Fern she was totally calm and relaxed. Eventually, we came to the end of the track at the top of a small hill and it was here that we had to pass through the narrow 'tunnel' in the tall and wide hedge to pass around the wood into an open field. By this time the melodic, southing sounds were as loud as an unamplified band but Fern was totally unphased. As we emerged from our shady tunnel into the bright sunlight, all was revealed.
Sitting cross-legged on the sunny grass was a young man chanting and vigorously beating two drums; he was bare to the waist but was wearing long and loose, coloured trousers and an elaborate headband. Your part of the world may be different, but this is not an everyday sight in our part of the county. As Fern and I passed by, the calm that had clearly enveloped the young man (and Fern) also enveloped me and the adrenalin was gone in an instant. I was entranced by the 'naturalness' of it all - the peace that he had found in his musical trance and that I had found being with Fern.
When we passed by on our way home an hour or so later, the young man was gone but the calmness that he brought remained. Now, whenever I pass that spot (sadly though, not with Fern), I feel an inner peace and I am reminded of her and the calm that she always brought to release my adrenalin.