BEST OF BRITAIN: THE HORSE
Why are Britain and horses synonomous? There are so many aspects of British life that involve this extraordinary, dexterous and generous animal. And there is so much we owe the horse. For instance, our nation has been so reliant on the horse for millennia through hunting and battle – the fundamentals have not really changed, only what we wear.
There is a vast range of jobs that a horse has been trained to do over time, many but not all of which happen on these islands, and no other animal is so dexterous and able to be trained to so many varied ends and often through varied even conflicting dictums.
The reason I feel this is possible is down to the willingness and generosity of the spirit of the animal, and its ability to commune with the passion of his rider. Witness the hunter who follows the movements of the hounds, the polo pony who, unridden, follows the ball, the event horse who loves to streak across country, or the Riding for the Disabled horse who knows exactly how to take care for his charges- examples of all these amazing situations are legion. He cannot talk but I believe the horse has evolved a sixth sense instead – he can pick up what those he associates with are thinking and feeling and react to it.
With an historic love of animals these small islands have become a world leader in many aspects equine and I am sure it will continue to do so. Roll on the British – keep loving our horses and the spirit that motivates both.
* Follow Country Life magazine on Twitter