Thursday, 5 July 2012

A small good news story about The Young People

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Tired today. Insomnia last night, which always leaves me feeling like an idiot. So this post may not make much sense.

To take my mind off the sordid details of the Barclays scandal, I had a quick peek at the afternoon’s racing. I had a little bet on a very nice sort called The Ducking Stool, and she duly romped home in the sunshine at Yarmouth. (It was the merest coincidence that she happened to be a bonny chestnut mare, not a million miles away from my very own Red.)

She was ridden by a young apprentice I had not taken in before called Shirley Teasdale. She sent the mare off in front, which was obviously where she liked to be; she was bowling along with his ears pricked. The thing about front-running is that you have to time it exactly right, and know the horse, and what it is capable of, otherwise you run out of petrol and get caught close home.

Teasdale not only timed her run to perfection, but when The Ducking Stool was tiring a little towards the end, and another horse was coming at them, she did not panic. Many young riders would. Teasdale did not start flapping about or scrubbing away; she stayed beautifully collected and kept the horse balanced. This is incredibly important, because otherwise they can break stride and lose momentum.

Dear Ducking Stool turned out to be a game and genuine mare, and, with her excellent rider keeping her straight and up to her work, she flashed past the post half a length in front.

It was a very happy thing to watch. It’s lovely to see a young apprentice doing something so well, and especially a female one. Racing is still very much a man’s business. I was so impressed, I sent her a little tweet, congratulating her on her cracking ride.

Just now, I got a reply. It was thanks to the very gutsy horse, she said. I went and looked at her timeline. A few people had also sent congratulations. Teasdale had not only replied politely to them all, but she gave credit to everyone but herself - the trainer, the team, the horse.

I tell this little story not so much because it is about horses, but because it is a good news story about The Young People. One of the things that makes me cross is the bashing of The Young People. They are often portrayed in the media as a bunch of internet-addicted, illiterate, workshy disappointments, not like the excellent young people of an imaginary golden age which exists only in the heads of the sentimental and nostalgic, the kind of people who start sentences with ‘in my day’.

Here is a young person who not only works very hard in a difficult job which pays very little and is exceptionally hard to break into if you are a female, but is very skilled at it, and tremendously polite to boot. I hope that Mrs Teasdale could watch her daughter’s triumph today. She must have been very proud.


I found the most enchanting picture of the dear Ducking Stool on the blog of her trainer, Julia Feilden. I hope she does not mind me using it. Since this blog is the spiritual home of the chestnut mare, it feels appropriate:

And here is Shirley Teasdale, who is going straight onto my one to follow list, along with William Buick and Richard Hughes:

See how neat and balanced she is. Really impressive.


Just time for my own little champions:

5 July 1

5 July 2

The hill:

5 July 3


  1. Thank you for this lovely story. I agree that Young People are too often portrayed badly, when so many of them are talented, hard-working, and delightful. Your post filled me with joy as I read it.

  2. I borrowed Backwards in High Heels from the library and loved it so much, I looked it up on the Internet and found your website. It's a lovely blog and what I love most about it are the beautiful pictures you post of the country side where you live. It's such a balm for the soul and I often use them as the wall paper for my computer... I love the trees, the flowers, the hills in the distance, the animals... it makes me wish I could live there... thanks

  3. Oh this is juts a lovely story. I am lucky to be not too far from young and to work with some smashing young people day in, day out. In fact I do sometimes hold them to a very high standard of behaviour, but it is because they show they can achieve that, which makes me cross when they don't, but then we all make mistakes sometimes, whatever our age!

  4. Came to your blog via my blog chum Janelle in Tanzania only to discover HORSES and the most wonderful looking dog.
    As an English ex-pat in NY it was a breath of fresh air.....

  5. oh that pigeon...

  6. Funny, but when I think of things that I don't like in young people, they are almost always the fault of my generation. In the US, for example, verbs have only two tenses (present and past) among the young. That's because my generation decided grammar wasn't important and quit teaching it. The truth is, for all the young troublemakers who make the front page, there are as many great kids who are more tuned in to living ethically than my generation is.

    Among people of all ages, there are those you admire and those you'd like to throw back. For those honest, true individuals, especially those with that rare little spark of exceptional talent, I hope success.

    This picture of the Pigeon is so touching. Everything is in her eyes.


  7. hi tania, just discoverd your blog page when i was searching google for photographs of me winning on the ducking stool. As i like to put the photographs in my scrapbook of winners as each one means so much to me. This blog has really touched me i appreciate the support its nice to know there are people out there cheering me on and wishing me well. I also just showed the blog to my mum who is now grinning from ear to ear as proud as punch. She has immediatly shared the whole blog with her facebook friends!! thanks again for the support it has made my day i will be sure to follow you blog and recomend it to others.

    kind regards,

    shirley teasdale :)


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