Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Falling into place.

When I was little I could hardly contain myself as Christmas approached. In the middle of the night (probably at the witching hour of around 8.30ish, and probably from early November) after hours of lying awake I would kneel up on my bed, stick my head under the heavy curtain and feel the shock of the cold air between the curtain and the window. I would wipe the foggy condensation away and as it dripped and dribbled down my arm and the glass I'd peer up at the moon, certain that I'd catch a glimpse of Father Christmas and Rudolf flying past en route from the North Pole. I was confident that Rudolf would find his way.

 I clearly hadn't grasped that he would only be out on Christmas Eve at this point. I would wring my hands together and pray fervently that he'd bring me a pony. Praying to Father Christmas? I obviously hadn't grasped the difference between Father Christmas and God at this point either. If only I'd known that it was Dad I should have been pestering. Once I discovered that little fact I must have been the child / teenager from Hell. From 11 years old I used to buy The Farmer's Guardian with my pocket money, circle any suitable ponies in thick felt tip pen and leave it lying on his chair. 
I sectioned out his garage ( linked to the house next door on a large housing estate) carefully manouvering around his beloved car to write on the wall where the hay rack / manger/ stable door could be fitted. I left a book called 'So your Children Want A Pony' ( by Victoria Petrie-Hay) by his bedside - big mistake there - it was far too accurate regarding responsibilities and costs! I was the epitome of the pony obsessed girl.

 I don't know where it came from, this intense love of horses. No-one in my family had them. No-one I knew had them. But from as far back as I can remember I ached for one. My parents went as far as they could to accommodate my passion, and I went for riding lessons every Saturday, learning on a little fat pony called Little B whose name went over my head in the same way that I regularly went over his. He certainly taught me how to stay on and could have been the inspiration for the Thelwell ponies. At the stables I hung around for hours afterwards just to groom ponies and clean tack and sit in the field with them.

 And then there were the toys. For the most part my family carefully stepped over my 200 strong herd of little plastic toy horses that I'd set up on the sitting room floor. Except for when my brother 'inadvertantly ' fell on them, as big brothers do.  And of course there were the specials;

 Action Girl's Horse - with a mane and tail I could actually brush with the mini grooming kit!!

 The Lone Ranger's 'Silver' - with moveable legs!!

 And Tonto's wonderful skewbald 'Scout' - even then I preferred the 'oddly' coloured ones.

(pictures courtesey of ebay)

  -  a succession of ten inch high moulded horses with removeable tack that delighted me for consecutive Christmases and years afterwards.

 Way back as a seven year old I vividly remember my Dad finding Mary O'Hara's book 'My Friend Flicka' for me on our weekly library trip and introducing me to the joys of the horsey novel. If I couldn't have my own I could lose myself for hours in this fictional horsey heaven.

  Although it never happened (Dad tells me he was rather more focused on putting food on the table - honestly, talk about having your priorities wrong!) and I had to wait until adulthood to buy my own horses, I can clearly remember the excitement and anticipation of those childhood Christmases and I mention it now because something similar is happening again. 

   I started this blog as a record of my search to find a house with its own land so I could keep my horses at home, right outside the door and manage them despite my back problems. It's funny how things work out. 
The house didn't sell and I couldn't see how I was ever going to get my horses at home but as is the way of life other opportunities came along.

     Earlier this year the local farmer agreed to fence off a couple of acres right outside my back door for me to rent. I should probably mention that I utilised the talents honed on my poor parents and pestered him for six years before he gave in and opted for a quieter life. I knocked down an old rotten wooden garage and replaced it with a new wooden stable - so you see, that early garage/stable conversion plan was just a few decades premature! I abandoned the need for a decent kitchen / car / furniture / TV / holidays/ clothes etc in favour of making the outside of my home manageable and somewhere along the way that included the realisation of a dream.

       As I approach 50 I finally have my own modest little stable yard right alongside the house. 

With direct access to grazing that I can see from the kitchen window.

I keep going out and looking at it. And smiling. All being well there will be horses arriving soon. Horses at home, where they belong. Much more of a challenge than I could ever have known as a child but hey, what's life without challenges?
I. Can't. Wait.

In the middle of British Summertime that childish overwhelming excitement of  Christmas past is back.

And it feels good.


  1. Oh Denise... it looks wonderful! I can't believe how much has changed since I was visiting a couple of months ago. And it just goes to show that dreams do come true, just maybe not in the form we initially thought! Happy times to you x

    1. Thanks Vee. Yes you'll see a big difference on your next visit. The stables will probably be more appealing than the house!