I turned Ruby out early into the field so the two adjoining stables would both be empty for Sonny's arrival. David appeared on the yard just as I poured my breakfast coffee, but I went out to see how things were going. Roger had driven up in the car following David and Sonny with the exercise cart, so he was already standing at Sonny's head while David unyoked and unharnessed. "He came over Pikey just grand," said David. "Got into trot to keep up his momentum and just kept going. Never bothered about the motorbikes either, and we met quite a few."
Sonny was quite sweaty after doing four miles over hilly country, and ordinarily I'd have washed him off, but I thought perhaps that would be a question too far on his arrival in a completely strange place. He was a bit worried by Sammy the sheepdog who made a couple of dashes at his heels as we walked round to the stable, but he only went a stride or two and obeyed the halter.
The stable was another matter. Outside the sun was bright and the stable looked very dark! He jibbed, but David told him firmly to "walk on" and after a moment's consideration Sonny walked in.
I left Sonny to look round while I fetched a haynet, and David and Roger went off back to Tebay, since Roger had to go to work. Once the haynet was up, I walked out to collect Ruby. Typical of his family, as soon as he realised the door was shut, he started trying the latch.
Out in the field, Ruby had her head down and was hoping nobody was going to take her away from the grass, but she came in obediently. At the gate she must have smelt Sonny, because she stood very still and he let out a series of loud whinnies. So in we went. Mother and son met nose to nose over the connecting door and stood like statues, breathing deeply, almost kissing, for several minutes, before Sonny's sniffing became too much for Ruby and she let out the classic indignant-mare squeal.
Graham wandered out to have a look and I went back for my breakfast. The coffee was still hot.
An hour later when both were settled, I took the grooming brushes and gave Sonny a firm going-over to loosen the sweat from his coat. He stood quietly, so that's no problem. He wasn't sure about me handling his right ear, which has a matted bit on the ear-tuft, but i persuaded him it was all right. I'll trim off the tuft, which is probably catching on things apart from my brush. Must find the round ended scissors (you don't use them much with Fells!). Then I picked up all his feet. After I'd handled the left side he said, "No, I know what you want but I'm not going to pick up my right fore." So I moved him about until that foot had left the ground, and asked again. He made me use two hands, but he picked it up, and the right hind, peacefully. That's going to be something to do at least once a day then.
Ruby meanwhile stood yearning over the partition, "Groom ME, groom ME!" and scratching her neck on a handy knot in the woodwork (which she hadn't had access to when in the other box.) I fetched a saw and got rid of the knot, and gave her a fuss and a bit of hay. Silly old dear.