Wednesday, 18 December 2013


Today, I am mostly sitting very, very still.

Except for this morning, when I had a canter on my red mare of such gloriousness that I felt my heart fly out of my chest and into the cool Scottish air.

Then we looked at the hills, for quite a long time.

I suppose at some stage I shall have to get ready for Christmas. But not yet. I need a small pause.


Just enough energy for one picture:

18 Dec 1


That was Red, doing her weekly schooling with the Remarkable Trainer. It is not the best photograph I ever took, but I love it because my old duchess is walking back towards me with her Didn’t I do well? face on. I am quite hard line about letting horses be horses. I don’t believe in coddling them or wrapping them in cotton wool or putting human emotions into their equine heads. But there is no doubt that they do communicate across the species divide, and it is perfectly clear that they feel what a person would describe as pride, when they have done a good job.

With their astonishing telepathic sense, they can tell very well when their human is delighted with them. A lot of jockeys will say, of a good racehorse, that it is really willing to please. Tom Queally used to say of Frankel – ‘he just wanted to please everybody’. They do get a keen sense of achievement. Their ears prick and their heads go up and a little swagger comes into their step. It is fascinating to watch. It is very touching too.

Anthropomorphism is a treacherous habit, but I believe that horses share with humans a strong sense of self. The more confidence you can give them, and the more you can build their pride, the more defined and expansive and grounded that sense of self becomes. It’s one of the best parts about working with a horse, watching that develop. The technical stuff is important, and can be tremendously rewarding, but the thing that gives me the most singing sense of satisfaction and joy is watching this good mare grow into her most authentic self, at one with the world.

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