Twitter never fails to amaze me – anyone who knows me will know that I’m a big fan (Saturday evenings prior to Christmas see me with phone in one hand, fork in the other, as I attempt to eat dinner and tweet along to Strictly Come Dancing simultaneously). I’ve made fantastic friends via this particular form of social media, and connected with brilliant people and brands.
Last week, I stumbled upon HorseHour by accident, and found yet another new way of spreading the word about my own work, whilst at the same time finding new methods of inspiration and interesting people to discover. HorseHour takes place between 8pm and 9pm (UK time) on Mondays, and in honour of this dedicated hour of equestrian e-networking, I’m giving a sneak peek into this week’s horsey blog post. The full post will go live on Thursday morning, but for now, here’s something to whet your appetites.
Let me know what you think – both of this post and of #HorseHour
For a variety of reasons, I’ve been thinking recently of the many horses and ponies I have known throughout my life. Part of being a passionate rider is your relationship with the animals: it doesn’t end when you dismount and shove them in the stable – it truly is a loving relationship. Where are they? Are they alright? Are they cold/hungry/happy/sad? Do they behave better for other riders than they do for me?
To those who haven’t experienced it, this could still sound familiar – it’s the same as the feelings you have for other people, whether they are friends, family or something else. You can’t help but wonder what happens when you walk away. These characters mould you, and for good or bad reasons, they are an unforgettable part of your history as a rider.
So I thought I would introduce you to the horses and ponies of my past – and possibly my future. I had hoped to have at least some pictures here, but sadly I fell out with my blog’s media tool a few weeks ago and we have yet to be reconciled. Instead, I’ll hope to paint some pictures with my words…
The One I Left Behind: When I was eight, my family moved from Kent to Sussex. We’d lived in the area since I was a year old, meaning that I was halfway through primary school with a group of children I’d known since before I could talk. But what upset me the most was having to leave my riding school. I had to leave behind a place where I felt comfortable and inspired, as well as the pony I was completely in love with. Peanuts was a yellow dun gelding – he was the first I’d seen, and little did I know at the time that it would be almost 20 years until I’d see another – and now, that’s about all I remember. Back then, it felt like the end of the world.
The One Who Broke Me: I’ve mentioned Stanley on my blog before. He was the bay ex-racehorse who was mostly dead to the leg and lazy… except when near a puddle or feeling my fear of him. He was a wind-sucker with terrible conformation as a result, and was supposed to by my stepping stone into the world of “proper” horses. Instead, he sent me back down the helter skelter, retreating into the safety net of ponies…
The One Who Fixed Me: Cherry wasn’t what most people would call special – to me, all riding school horses and ponies are special, but I suspect I’m in the minority. She was the pony I chose when I ran away from the scary ex-racehorse and back into the arms of my previous and friendly riding instructor when I lost my nerve. I vividly remember my first lesson back at the riding school on board this bay mare: I was 12 years old, had been riding for eight of those, and had left two years previously as a confident young rider. I returned broken, choosing to spend most of my hour-long group lesson in walk, being cajoled into a trot at the very end. I went from a leggy Thoroughbred to a 13hh Heinz 57 mare who didn’t bat an eyelid despite the other ponies whizzing around the indoor arena that evening. Step by baby step, she got me back on track.