It occurred to me this morning, for some reason, that I don’t have a single photograph from my childhood of me with a favourite pony. Not a one!
My mother, a single-parent earning her living as an opera singer, rehearsed and performed odd hours during the week. She was too busy, too tired, too distracted providing for my brother and I (including paying for riding lessons) to attend too closely my equestrian exploits.
My father (rather a deadbeat), and the rest of the extended family, lived thousands of miles away in Canada. Thus, there was no one around to capture my moments of triumph or my sheer joy of being with the ponies.
All I have are memories.
I don’t feel sorry for myself … just sad, in a way.
I suppose that’s why this image, that I’ve posted in this blog many times before, is so important to me. My first official portrait, as a “mature” horse crazy girl, with a horse; my horse.
I revisit my memories fondly. Learning to ride in England was a special experience. Britain’s culture is steeped in the horse and I was rapt by it.
The other day a good friend forwarded a link to a comedy sketch poking fun at the culture of the horse crazy girl. It features brilliant British comedic actresses Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, and is called simply “Ponies.”
If you haven’t seen it before, please check it out via the link below. It’s a lark laced with the truth and innocence of a young girl’s love of horses. When I view it I laugh so hard it brings tears to my eyes.
It brings back so many memories — of the old stable yard (a little more sophisticated than depicted here) where I first learned to ride; the frustrations of trying to catch ponies that just won’t be caught; and yes, playing “show jumping” over the jumps while the horses are otherwise occupied (usually eating.)
The memories are so thick around me it feels like just yesterday I was a young girl lost in pony novels, immersed in Follyfoot Farm on the television and galloping across a huge field and jumping ditches while on the back of a dark bay pony called Bimbo. Never mind the fact I have nothing on photo paper to confirm any of it.
Girls and ponies. Women and horses. Nothing changes. I am just as delighted to be spending time with Bear now as I was as a little girl with all the other ponies and horses that captured my heart. Only now, of course, I am that horse crazy girl with one to call my own.
Please enjoy …
Nurture what you love …
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