IN January my black and white pony Diamond will have been with me for seven years and, as I think I may have mentioned on earlier occasions, she has had her fair share of accidents.

Her latest mishap, however, tops them all.

It happened back in May, just after the horses had changed fields for the summer months, thus marking the time when they can live out 24/7.

It also marks the time for them to enjoy fresh grass and freedom as the days grow longer and warmer and as for myself, summer would usually give me a break from mucking out and a chance to consolidate finances, in preparation for the forthcoming winter months.

Well, they had only been in the summer turnout for a week when I received a phone call at work to say that Diamond had been brought in from the field, extremely lame and it was felt that she needed to see a vet.

In my absence and providing a service of care that is second to none, the lovely folk at my livery yard arranged transport and accompanied her to the surgery so that investigations could begin.

The degree of lameness was certainly severe, but there was no heat and there was no evidence of swelling.

Over the course of the next day and a half, every joint on the affected leg was nerve blocked, numerous x-rays were taken, including a pelvic scan, but nothing untoward could be found.

I remember going to visit her in hospital after work on the first day, only to find her happily munching hay, looking relaxed and enjoying the attention of the two very handsome thoroughbreds boxed on either side.

The failure to identify the cause of the lameness was very frustrating for all concerned, not least the three vets in attendance.

On the plus side, possible fractures were ruled out and so the treatment prescribed was quite simply box rest, but for a minimum of 12 weeks, or in other words, for the remainder of the summer.

Luckily, D has one of the largest boxes on the yard, the view is good and in true Diamond style, she adapted incredibly well to her new regime.

This, I might add, is due in no small part to the excellent care and commitment delivered by the staff on our yard who, every day, have provided breakfast, lunch and a mid-afternoon treat ball, to help alleviate her boredom.

My granddaughters have also done their bit in keeping D’s spirits up with things like grooming, tail and mane washing etc. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a pamper session now and again?

We also tried a spot of apple bobbing at one point, but that was not quite so well received as D found chasing the apples around her water tub very frustrating, not being able to quite work out how to catch them.

Ultimately, the box rest did last a little longer than 12 weeks, but eventually the day came when she was allowed out in to the "poorly paddock" for an hour a day.

This small grassed area, with post and rail fencing allows her to mooch safely, but not to gather any speed and subsequently undo all our good work.

I have never been one to hand feed horses treats as, in my experience, it encourages nipping and bad manners, but several folk, I know, have taken pity and sneaked her the odd apple or carrot on passing.

Hence, whenever she sees someone and feels the need to attract attention, she simply pokes one leg over the bottom rail and lets it dangle through the fence which, she knows, is always guaranteed to elicit a reaction.

But today, the day that I had hardly dared dream about finally arrived, and I was able to sit on her back for the first time in six months.

At the moment, we can only walk and for only twenty minutes at a time, but I cannot begin to tell you how good it feels.

Next week, if all continues to go well, we can begin to introduce a few minutes of trot.

Today, it must be said, has been a good day.