ON a spring day like today when the sun is shining, it is hard to accept that a virus has effectively shut down the world. My heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones and to folk who are poorly right now, both at home and in hospital.

I want to say that at times like this, thank heavens for our animals for giving us a sense of normality and every now and then making us smile in spite of everything. But the truth is that during our lifetime, there has never been “a time like this”; a time when the world has effectively had to stand still.

A time like this will go down in history, to be studied in years to come by our great and great, great grandchildren during their history lessons. They will talk about the time when almost all the shops had to close and when folk couldn’t go to work.

How everyone had to stay at home, but how once a week they all came together to cheer and clap for the brave and selfless people in the NHS, who risked their own safety to care for the sick and comfort the dying and to work their magic, in order to make the world a safe place for us to live in, once again.

At this moment in time, I feel that I am very lucky. I have had to close my business (temporarily I hope) but my family are well, I have good health, I have a roof over my head, food in the cupboards and, of course, I have my animals, who are blissfully unaware that anything is amiss.

The dogs think it’s great that I am at home so much. So what if they only get one walk a day, at least when we get back they have unlimited access to the sofa, the sunny spot in the conservatory where Brigadier likes to snooze and the garden where Jamie likes to run off some of his boundless energy chasing butterflies. The cats don’t seem too bothered either way, but I find their presence comforting and calming during these stressful times.

But I must admit, I have been a wee bit concerned about my pony. Diamond is kept on a DIY livery yard. It is normally quite a busy yard and understandably, the farmer who owns it has decided that he doesn’t want lots of comings and goings during the present time.

So three weeks ago we were told that all the horses at livery were to be turned out. No riding was to be allowed for liveries and once turned out, all horses had to stay out 24/7.

Now in the nine years that I have owned her, apart from a couple of weeks one very hot summer several years ago, Diamond has never lived out. Three weeks ago, she was living in a stable, wearing two rugs and getting turned out, weather permitting, for a couple of hours every other day. Overnight that was all to change.

Since getting involved with horses as a teenager, it was always my understanding that changes to a horse’s routine should be introduced gradually; as if that wasn’t bad enough, on that first weekend of living out, we had hailstones too.

Well, I am happy to say that up to now at least, all my worries have been unfounded and Diamond appears to be loving life as a semi-feral pony.

All rugs are now off and there is nothing that she enjoys more than a good roll in the sunshine, which is also helping to get rid of her fluffy winter coat, as well as providing plenty of nesting material for the birds. She has a new best friend in the shape of her paddock companion Em, a little grey Connemara mare, and, of course, this also means that one short visit a day, just to check that everything is okay, will suffice.

So on that note I would just like to add, please stay safe, please stay at home as much as you can, eat your greens like Diamond, and don’t forget to look out for a rainbow …because one day soon, this storm will end.