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