Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Article excerpt

Some people call their house Dun Roamin' to sum up their state of mind. After ten weeks ministering to my horse's tendon strain, I'm thinking of putting up a sign outside my house saying Dun Bandagin'.

Wrapping Darcy's front legs painstakingly morning and night for several months has been an interesting experience. In a way I shall miss it because it has taken me out of my own worries, apart from the main one, which is sinking into horse-induced poverty after attempting to train Darcy for the racetrack.

I've said it before, or if I haven't I ought to have: a thoroughbred is like a Porsche 911 -- when it's going well you think it's the only car in the world it makes any sense to own.

Why would anyone not sell their home and live in a ditch or indeed live in their 911 in order to own a 911? Surely even thinking of driving anything other than a 911 is the very definition of insanity because the 911 is so good?

But when the tiniest thing in a 911 goes wrong (I am reliably informed, because while I've driven one I've never owned one), you stop thinking it's the best piece of design engineering to grace God's earth and you fall to your knees crying out to the ghost of Ferdinand Porsche for mercy: 'In the name of all that is holy, help me!' you beg.'For this is a nightmare from which I cannot wake!'

That pretty much sums up thoroughbred horses. When you're on board and it's going well, the thoroughbred is the lightest, most responsive, most exciting horse to ride of all the breeds of horses in the world. As you glide down the road, you cock a snook at the poor sod on a fat cob, or the housewife on the Haflinger pony, kicking like an overgrown Thelwell character.

No kicking for you! Why, your steed barely has more than one leg on the ground at any one time. In canter, you take the corners slanted almost on your side like a Motocross rider.

But when the thoroughbred goes wrong, which is often, you are plunged into a state of almost total despair, responsible for putting right the most complicated living, breathing engineering malfunction known to nature. Open your wallet and get ready to squeal.

Darcy herself, I must point out, is quite happy. She has shown no sign of discomfort since her tendon strain. She was only slightly lame for a day, and then behaved as if nothing had happened. …

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