Writing about horses: nearly a mis-carriage

small_178297231“Idyllic, unspoilt lanes where cars must give way to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders,” say the tourist brochures, “and motor vehicles are not even allowed at certain times of day.”  This refers to the romantically named “green lanes” on Jersey, largest of the (British) Channel Islands, where my young son and I went on holiday some years ago. Sounds idyllic, right? Not necessarily…. [Read more…]

Writing about horses: why stallions should have their teeth extracted

medium_340848452“Oh, you little b*stard,” I shouted as the stallion’s jaws snapped shut around my shoulder blade for the umpteenth time that evening – each time, in fact, that I walked past his box pushing a barrow as I mucked the horses out.

I tried tiptoeing. I tried crawling along so my head was level with the barrow handles. I tried giving his box a wide berth by pushing my barrow along the grass beyond the concrete path. But each time he was waiting for me, and despite being a horse he had a neck like a giraffe and jaws built on an extending gantry system… [Read more…]

Writing about horses: how to ride a small piano

HTWB thelwellIn the good old days when I weighed a mere 8 stone (112 lbs, 51 kilograms) I could ride smallish ponies without collapsing their lungs or creating S bends in their spines. This fact did not go unnoticed by my Belgian godmother, a successful national showjumper, riding instructor and livery yard owner who still lives just outside Brussels, Belgium.

Having taught me to jump on some of her horses, all of whom were the size of elephants but beautifully schooled, she decided that I was the perfect choice to help teach her young son’s pony a few manners.

This pony, unlike his larger stable mates, was not well schooled and like many vertically challenged individuals (at 12.2hh or approximately 1.20 metres) had all the social skills of a cornered rat. [Read more…]

Writing about horses: surely ewe are joking?

small__8644933753“B*gger off!” I screamed at this particularly large and pesky ewe. Day after day she would hang around while the horses were eating their feeds out in the field and no sooner had one come up for air for two seconds than the great white woolly head would zoom down into the feed bowl.

“You great wimps!” I’d yell to the horses who would just stand there, staring meaningfully at me to do something about it.

Usually shouting and stamping of feet and the odd Greek expletive (only words I ever manage to learn in a foreign language) would get rid of her but on this one occasion nothing would budge the woolly head.  [Read more…]

A writer’s weekend with the wrong kind of horse power

small__7275334132When I was young, slim and foolish, there was this man I really wanted to impress. If I met him now I would dismiss him as pompous, bloated idiot with an IQ level in single figures but way back then all I could see was a handsome guy with a big grin and a Porsche. His parents had a weekend home in the New Forest in southern England, “just a little cottage” with about 20 acres and a mile of beach frontage and more en suite bathrooms than I’d had hot dinners in a week.

After we had driven down from London on a Friday night in the aforementioned Porsche and endured his father’s anecdotes about the insurance industry for three painful hours over dinner, I awoke the next day [Read more…]

Horsin’ around: new words to use when you write about the “neddies”

Suze with "Merrylegs" ... (Suze is the one on the right...)

“Moi” with the delightful “Merrylegs”
who wanted to bite my fingers
but decided against it…

Horse jargon is spreading beyond horsey types, although some journalists try to use it and get it wrong, hence making prize fools of themselves, especially when writing articles about equestrian Gold Medallists and Zara Phillips, the UK Queen’s grand-daughter who is a wonderful rider and must grit her teeth when she reads the cr*p such journalists write about her.

Here is a brief look at some new horsey terms that might give those journalists a bit more than a run for their money. Read on for some good (horse) laughs… [Read more…]

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