Spring

What have bluebells and miniature horses got in common?

Last Sunday I was in Killinthomas near Rathangan to see the bluebells.

While enjoying the natural display of bluebells for which the wood is famous we came across miniature horses in a nearby field (or were they ponies?)

First the bluebells. We saw them at their best, covering large spaces and carpeting the old forest. They are native only to the west coast of Europe and are loved so much that they are a protected species in the UK and on the logo of the Botanic Society of Britain and Ireland. The great thing about them, besides their ability to change a landscape, is that there is no need for anyone to look after them. They are 100% natural and independent.

The miniature horses were eye-catching also. One of them had the best covid haircut ever.  But were they miniature horses or small ponies? Is height the only difference? Miniature horses were originally bred as pets for royalty but then, in 1842 when it became illegal for children to work in the mines, in England small horses replaced small children. There is also an ancient breed of small horses in China called Guoxia, literally ‘under the fruit tree’. Was it because they were small enough to walk under fruit trees or did they actually work in orchards?

What started out as a relaxing stroll among the bluebells ended up with time spent on google trying to distinguish bluebells from Hyacinth and between miniature horses, Shetland ponies, Connemara ponies, dwarf horses and Guoxia.

Maybe it would be more relaxing to stay at home watching TV. Immersing oneself in nature can bring up all sorts of inviting questions that would never bother you if you stay indoors.

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