Archive for March, 2010

Friday afternoons

When I was growing up back in the 1970s I was one of those pony-mad little girls. I remember entering every “Win a pony” competition I could in the various pony related magazines I devoured (what were the publishers thinking running competitions like that???), and I’m pretty sure I drove my parents mad with my constant begging and pleading for them to buy me a pony. My poor parents, who were both brought up in the backs streets of Liverpool during WW2, and had never had a pet of any kind (or wanted one), must have wondered what rogue gene had spawned an animal-mad daughter like me (horses were my first love, but basically anything with four legs was a hit). They did try, in their own way, to let me interact with horses without actually having to buy me one, but with little success. A family trip to the New Forest, meant to be a special treat for me, was a complete disaster as the sight of so many ponies, none of which I could take home with me, was too much for my 7 year old brain to take in, and I cried the entire time we were there, and most of the way home.

I must have eventually worn them down because when I was nine I got a pony. Several wonderful years of gymkhanas and pony club later, school work and boys inevitably took over and we sold my pony. It seemed that my horseriding days were over.

Until we moved to France. When we made the decision to move here, one of the things on my wish list was to ride again. I didn’t want to actually own a horse as I know I don’t have the time needed to care for one and exercise it often enough, but hoped I’d find a way. We had the great good luck to have stayed with Fran when we were house hunting, and have ended up living only about 5 minutes away. She has two horses and was happy for me to ride with her.

I don’t get to ride as often as I would like as both Fran & I lead busy lives, but every so often, I play hooky on a Friday afternoon and we spend a lovely couple of hours meandering along the pathways and tracks that snake across the surrounding farmland.

I get to ride Pretzel

– a true gentleman. Perfect for the nervous 40-something who hadn’t ridden in over 25 years. It was quite scary the first few times, but my confidence has gradually built up and I’m once again experiencing that thrill of galloping flat out across an expanse of green, that moment when you and the horse are of one mind – “Isn’t this just the BEST fun!”


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