Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Curioser and curioser

I have been looking through a few of my old Countryman magazines (I seem to collected have 50 or so over the years and they will be coming with us when we move) looking for a particular piece about rat armies. I haven't found it yet, but have been wonderfully side-tracked by articles and snippets, including this one, from the Spring 1962 edition:


During last lambing season mysterious casualties were occurring: several lambs were picked up dead, generally with mangled heads, one of which was bitten right off. Yet it did not look like the work of a fox; the bodies were quite untouched. Dark threats were muttered against a neighbouring Alsation; and the next night, as the moon was nearly full, the farmer decided to sit up with his gun, taking turn about on guard with his shepherd. A cold February dawn was breaking, and he was thinking of throwing in his hand, when he saw his daughter's cob approach a lamb that had wandered away from the ewe. The horse laid back his ears, raised a shod forefoot and crashed it down on the skull of the lamb, which collapsed without a bleat. Then he savagely shook the corpse and bit into the back of the neck, before dropping it and walking off slowly with an air of unconcern. The culprit was hastily moved to another field, and no more lambs met that sort of sudden death. The cob is a good-tempered animal and had always been quite friendly with the ewes, although he had not previously been with them at lambing time. We wondered if this lamb-slaughter complex could be a form of jealousy. F.E. Welchman, Wilts.

I don't know what was going on in that horse's head, but our little rotund Itsy had a habit of chasing the cats if she caught them in the middle of the field, and unfortunately probably caused the demise of one of our elderly cats, Sooty, when she caught her with a hoof. I think it's to do with territory, as my Arab Fahly would chase off people he was unfamiliar with (my son on one occasion).


  1. What an odd thing to happen,and quite nasty too. I am a little nervous of horses since we had an experience a couple of years ago when a horse came charging past us when we were crossing it's field and we had to jump behind a tree! It was very scary, although I don't have a problem with horses I know and grew up with.(It's on my blog on 13th July 2008 but I don't know how to do a link to it)
    Those Countryman magazines are good, I keep them too! They are handbag sized to read in a queue or when you are on a journey somewhere.

  2. You have a magazine stash dating back to 1962?

    Honestly, I thought the lovely G was one of a kind. I am not allowed to dispose of magazines when {if} tidying until its been QA'd by her to see if its one she wants to keep. These go into the study to one of several piles about the room. Of course after a few months of neglect they quietly go in the bin anyway.

    Its my little rebellion against authority......

    and I quite enjoy the frisson of danger!!!

    interesting post {even though your a bit soft in the head}


  3. Goosey - I might add that it is unusual for horses to chase you in a field. My Arab was quite a character, and had written his own rule-book I might add! My son was still very unimpressed when Fahly played Champion-the-Wonderhorse with him!! Horses will usually ignore you, or wander over in the hope of some grub. If you are carrying something resembling a bucket though, then in a herd scenario the outcome could well be you surrounded by horses, who then re-assert their herd pecking-order with teeth and hind feet. (Not aimed at you but each other).

    Al - I hate to tell you this, but not only do I have a collection of these magazines (earliest is about 1936 I think) but I actively going out looking for MORE! There, I knew that would shock you . . . I hang onto my sewing magazines pretty well forever too. Now you know why we have a big house.

  4. Just gone to look at your Mad Horse, Goosey. Gypsy cob type, probably only a 2 or 3 yr old, and lonely rather than territorial. I expect you made his day when you turned up as you did!! Not that that would have been any consolation at the time I'm sure.

  5. You haven't shocked me.

    Just confirmed that I dont understand women........

    And didn't you mention downsizing?

    {OK confession time - I only throw out stuff so as to have space for my magpie instincts anyway.}

    but I'm not 'downsizing', am I?


  6. But the late, great, William Morris himself said, we are allowed to keep things that are useful or beautiful!

  7. Are you ganging up on me here????


  8. Al - Yup! I'm with William Morris on this one . . . I don't have EVERY copy btw, and it's the earliest ones I look for, but on e-bay they go for silly prices so I hunt in charity shops and car boot sales.