A Word A Week Photo Challenge : Love

Skinnywench of “A word in your ear“, each week picks, at random, a word from her dictionary. Then challenges us to make it into a post. This week the word is “Love”….

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Horses: the love of my life

At 11 years old I, unexpectedly, passed the 11+ exam. In the 1950’s all children were inflicted with this exam to sort them into academic streams. It was more a common sense test with multi-choice questions, and not a test of your academic capabilities.

My Mother had promised me a bike if I passed as I would need it to get to the Grammar School approximately 20 kilometres away. I don’t think she really expected me to pass…

So now I had freedom in the shape of a brand new, 3 speed, purple Raleigh bicycle.

Living on the suburban outskirts of Hull, a large city in Yorkshire, the countryside, then, was only a 15 minute walk away and now I could whizz there in 5 minutes on my bike.

I had previously discovered “THE FARM”, I always thought of it in capitals….

It represented heaven to me as it was a stud farm breeding hackney horses and ponies and also New Forest ponies. I could now ride past it, with only a short detour, after school each day.

I was a horse mad child. I read about them,dreamed about them, doodled them all over my school books and fantasized about owning a horse of my own. In fact, at a very early age, in my mind, I did own an imaginary horse. Horses were my obsession, I idolised, adored and loved them. So that bike meant I could get to THE FARM after school at the time that the mares and foals were walked from the paddock into the stables and I could walk along behind the foals making sure they kept up with their mother.

Mare and her foal in the paddock

Me in school clothes talking to a foal. I am about 12 years old

Isn’t he adorable

On the weekends and school holidays I would hang around outside the gate into the stable yards and watch as the young hackney horses were trained and put through their paces around the arena. Have you ever seen hackney horses move? They are pure poetry in motion. They are bred to pull carriages and their gait is a high-stepping extended trot. They seem to float across the ground, with head and tail held high, fine boned and aristocratic. I would watch them for hours.

Two years quickly passed.  At 13 years old all my dreams came true…

I WAS GIVEN A PONY TO CALL MY OWN.

The owner of THE FARM came over and said “I have often seen you standing out here for a long time now. Can you ride?”

I could, sort of, I had read all the books, I had practiced on the old cart ponies that came along the street. (I have written an earlier post about them, you can see it by clicking here)

So of course I said “Yes”….

Mr Partington, or “Boss” as every one affectionately called him, took me round to the stables and introduced me to a young New Forest pony that had just recently been broken in. Pandora.

My Pony, Pandora

New Forest ponies are very gentle by nature and an ideal children’s pony. I could call her mine, until she was sold. I could ride her, groom her, clean out her stable and give her unconditional love. I rode my bike home that afternoon in a cloud of happiness. My Mother was very happy for me. As a widow she had worked hard to feed and clothe me, school uniforms were not cheap, and no way could she ever afford a horse, not even riding lessons. Later she told me it was also a blessing in disguise as she always knew where I was during those tumultuous teenage years…

Eventually Pandora was sold to a child in Holland and my next pony was Nymph a more lively grey.

Nymph,Beautiful grey New Forest Pony

Boss with Nymph

Five years of my life I almost lived at  “THE FARM”. Of course I had to go to school and I went home to sleep, but those teenage years from 12 to 16 I lived a dream, I made life-long friends, had fun, got up to some mischief (but I am not going to tell you about that).

During most of my life horses have played a part. I still love to watch horses, I love the smell and feel of them, but now-a-days I do not come into contact with them so often, but they will always be in a special part of my heart.

The photos in this post were all taken in the 1950’s with a Box Brownie camera…I have scanned them into the computer…

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Update…

In 1989 I went back to the UK to visit my Mother for her 90th birthday. That was nearly 35 years since I had been on THE FARM. Of course I went to see what it had become. Sadly it is no longer stables and paddocks but a used car yard and a housing estate now spread miles out into the one time country side…

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Categories: A word a week challenge, horses, love, memories, photography | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “A Word A Week Photo Challenge : Love

  1. What wonderful photos and memories – the colt picture is adorable

    • Thanks Sue I “love” the words you come up with, a great idea for a challenge I’m looking forward to next weeks

  2. This is wonderful to remember your love for horses! Excellent for love.

  3. julie

    Hi i love your photos of THE FARM. After the death of the boss it was run as a livery yard by a mrs naylor (you may remeber her). Myself and many of my friends kept our ponies there. Many years later my father was able to buy it He sold them about 3 yrs ago. The stables are still there but have just been given plannig permission to be converted into flats.My father has a dvd with the auction of the hackneys after the bosses death. Buyers came from all around the world. I NEVER MET THE BOSS SO IT WAS NICE TO SEE A PHOTO OF HIM IF YOU HAVE ANYMORE PHOTOS I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THEM

    • Hello Julie it was a lovely surprise to get your comment and update of the farm. What a coincidence you finding my blog. How did you find it?

      They were great years that I spent on the farm. Mrs Naylor was Winnie Woods when I knew her. I still keep in touch with my best friend from those days, Margaret Potts. She owned and rode one of Bosses hackneys She still lives in Yorkshire. I do not have any more photos of Boss but I think Margaret would have some. May I send her your email address? I know she would love to get in touch with you and see that video of the auction. If it is at all possible I would love to have a copy of the video as I was living in New Zealand when they had the auction.

  4. Pingback: Comments : the pleasure and power of blogging. « Memories are made of this

  5. Well, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that we share this love of horses! She is wonderful and what truly wonderful memories! The Holler is zoned for horses, so someday if I ever stop traveling………
    It is nothing short of amazing how people from your past find your blog! How truly remarkable, as of course are you, this story, and your beautiful Pandora~

  6. What a blessed childhood: your love was wonderfully rewarded. Thank you for referring me back to this post.

  7. You were so lucky to actually have a pony you could call your own, even though it was only temporary. I would have loved that. The only thing I had was an acquaintance who had a pony named Maybe. Maybe he’d let us ride the pony, maybe he wouldn’t. Maybe the pony would buck us, maybe he wouldn’t. I used to spend hours writing horse stories, galloping around my backyard over a jumping course we set up, and playing “horse” races with marbles on a multi-level marble racetrack. We spent countless hours giving the marbles horse names and writing down “horse-racing statistics.” All imaginary and sadly, I never got my horse. I still love to be around horses but never have the opportunity, and there’s nothing better than riding a horse. 🙂

    • “Maybe” that is such a good name for your horse. Oh yes I also had an imaginary horse from a very early age, I would go through the motions of mounting “Dynamite” and trot or canter every where… But it seemed that my visualization actually worked…

  8. Loved reading this Pauline.. And I could so feel your passion for the horses. Something I can so relate to.. How wonderful to get to groom and have a horse to take care of.. Loved the photo’s.. I failed my 11 plus lol 🙂 Perhaps just as well as the Grammer school meant my parents would have had more expence..
    I was like a lapdog following my farm friends around.. When I was 12 my Dad did allow me some riding lessons.. I think it was because he wanted to know I was safe when riding on the farm.. I had to borrow a riding helmet fromt the riding school when learning to ride as we couldn’t afford such items to buy..

    Sad isn’t it when we revisit places how much they change.. ‘Progress’ some call it.. but I often wonder have we progressed in all the right ways? .. A conversation for another day LOL

    Loved that you directed me here Pauline.. 🙂 Thank you ..
    Enjoy a wonderful weekend.
    Love Sue _/\_

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