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15 September 2014

Me & Horses…..by Alison McKelvie

 

I would describe myself as a ‘casual rider’ and I don’t ‘do circles’. I just like travelling on horseback, being out in the countryside and enjoying big spaces from the back of my horse.  I also like horse-riding for being nosey and looking over people’ fences and into their gardens and houses.  Who doesn’t?

 My first pony was a hand-me-down from my horse-mad big sister.  She coerced my totally non-horsey parents into getting her a pony. Frosty was a 13.2 Welsh Mountain pony that lived until he was 36 and very grey. I was lucky to get a replacement model, a sturdy cob called Caramac. When she was delivered, my father muttered that she looked just like a brown cow – not quite the ‘my little pony’ image!

The ‘brown cow’ performed well at our one & only annual show, The Doune & Dunblane Show.  It was the highlight of our year.  With no means of transport we hacked to the show, my earliest experience of endurance riding as it included crossing a river, a railway line and the A9 road to get to the showground!

She won me several rosettes…… in the Fancy Dress class and a stunning 4th place in the Balloon Popping race.  It wasn’t a coincidence that most of the other entrants were too afraid of the ‘dancing balloons’ and failed to get near their targets.  When I went off to University, Caramac was sold to a small riding school, where she lived out her days.

I managed to dodge horse ownership for the next 24 years, and just enjoyed riding my sister’s horses and then started going on riding holidays…Patagonia, Rajasthan & most recently Uruguay.

Then, 2 years ago…..not one horse came along, but 2 at the same time.

My sister was having a ‘spring-clean’ and wanted to downsize her horse numbers.  I offered to take her TBx ID mare Katy away with a view to finding her a good home, not intending it to be my home!  This happened to coincide with me falling for a roguish piebald horse that was being kept at livery at Arnhall Farm, where I live. I’d heard that the piebald, Mission, was to be sold and in a moment of extreme weakness and in a position of having lots of grass on my doorstep, I bought him with the plan to have adventures with him.  I already knew that he didn’t ‘do circles’ either but was pretty adept at 180 degree spins and the fastest trot in the county (he used to be a trotter)

So, overnight I had an instant ‘horse family’.  I started taking horse magazines to bed, spent hours choosing new outfits for my horses (sounds familiar) The concept of a ‘horse wardrobe’ was completely alien to me & my biology degree did not prepare me for modern science of horse nutrition. Whatever happened to a good bran mash?  Anyhow, 2 years down the track, with a few steep learning curves thrown in, the 3 of us are still together.  The horses do earn their keep a wee bit – I sell fresh & vintage dung at the road end and have sold over 500 bags in a year!

I only started endurance riding in 2005, so I am still very new to it all.  Endurance is the only ‘discipline’ that I do, although I would like to try Le Trec. Both Katy & Mission have completed their BTQ x 2 and I hope that Katy will go on to complete her Bronze award in 2007.  I have all my rosettes hanging in the kitchen and I am very proud of my horses for their awards.

I am also proud of the fact that my horses are very brave & have both climbed Mount Keen in 2005 (see photo).  I am planning to have more adventures with them in 2007.

Happy riding and adventures for 2007

 

Alison, Mission & Katy