I am, without apology, a ride-or-die Thoroughbred enthusiast. When I was very small and going to the local riding stable whenever funds allowed, there was one Thoroughbred gelding there, owned and ridden by the stable’s yard manager – and to me, that meant that riding a horse like that meant you’d really earned your stripes in the saddle. My admiration for these special horses only grew when, sometime that summer, I was playing with my model horses in the sunshine outside my house and saw a smiling woman hacking down the road on a leggy, elegant, Munnings-esque stamp of a gelding. Decorum be damned; I dropped my plastic ponies and wandered out into the road, begging to be allowed a golden opportunity to stroke her perfect horse. She did me one better.
“Is your mummy inside?” she asked. I nodded. “Can you go get her?”
I did, dragging her away from something that was likely considerably more important, but thank god: when we got outside, the woman had dismounted from her perfect, wonderful, magical gelding and was letting him pick away at the little pitch of grass in front of our humble abode.
“Would it be okay for your daughter to have a sit on him?” she asked. My mother – who was never able to afford to let me ride, not really, not in the way I know she’d have liked to – gave her blessing. With one quick hoist, I was blissfully high up, my chubby little fists proudly holding the reins correctly between my ring and little fingers, as I’d been taught on those rare trips to the stables, and that kindest of ladies was telling me all about the horse’s previous career as a racehorse as she led me in a little circle around the lane. And you know what? Thoroughbreds – and particularly ex-racehorses – have never lost any of the magic they held for me back then, when one lovely neighbour and one sweet-natured gelding gave me a spark of hope that horses could be a part of my life.
I know I’m not alone in finding something extra-special in ex-racehorses, and so I was delighted to see that British vlogger Lucy Robinson of FootLuce Eventing‘s newest project is a particularly smart stamp of a Flat horse called Ember. I suspect we’ll see him putting some exciting results on the board out eventing pretty soon, but for now, it’s a pleasure to tune in for the early parts of the journey. And yes, it’s totally okay to fall in love.
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