Harold has featured a lot on this blog. He’s a long-term grazer on our property and has been my “victim horse” – the horse I use to practice things like how to throw on a horse cover or how to feed a carrot to a horse without losing your hand. Harold looks to me like a sky-scraper. He’s tall, huge and dark. Every time I’ve taken his photo, he ends up looking like some devil horse because of his colouring. But get him in the sun or good light and his coat is rather superb – a lovely chestnut colour. Harold is an ex-racehorse and now that I know his story, I feel sorry for him.

Apparently, Harold had “food issues” and when he was in the racing stables, the stable hands found him difficult. So they would avoid feeding him or steer clear of him. By the time he came to graze with us, he was pretty scrawny. He would get a little narky if you came up to him while he was eating hay. But he’s been with us for some time now and his owner has taken very good care of him, loves him to pieces and is now teaching him how to bow when he meets someone (no joke: I will bring you photos as evidence).

The other day, I was shoved into the round yard with him (well, invited would be more accurate). In I went, with mouth pretty dry because the round yard is a rather confined space and Harold towers overs me. He came towards me. I looked sideways at the gate but his owner was keeping it firmly shut. Obviously, some sort of Kiwi revenge on Australians – did we just beat the Kiwis in some cricket match?

I was forced to give him a carrot whilst praying to all the gods humankind has ever worshipped. Harold sniffed my hand. I did look longingly at one of my favourite rings, thinking it was probably about to be gulped down with the carrot. But my fears weren’t warranted. He took the carrot gently and then ended up smothering me with sniffs in his search for more carrots.

So for today’s post, I thought I’d bring you Harold in all his glory, including some shots I took of him in the sun whilst he was being fed and cared for.

Harold - the sunlight on his coat illuminates his lovely deep chestnut colouring.

After patiently waiting, Harold gets his food but....scoffs it down so fast that he ends up getting chaff caught in his throat. He coughed and choked, sounding a bit like a camel to me!

Harold is given some water with molasses - horses like the sweet taste apparently.

After recovering, Harold waits to be saddled up for a ride. Check out how humongous this horse is - that's a pretty large building he's tied up to.

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