I chanced upon this beautiful boy whilst ambling through Ayot St Lawrence with my hubby a few months ago, in September 2012… I am totally smitten! Isn’t he simply gorgeous?!
The concept of entering into the year 2013 is a very science fiction notion for me and I find myself conjuring images of fantastical mounts that take to the skies to arc and swoop, gallop and glide amidst the realm of sun and moon and stars. Needless to say, the embers of my imagination have been fanned, and I find myself building many a castle in the air of late, with my most recent fascination lying with the intriguing idea of the magical and ever elusive hippogryph.
- No fiction wrought magic lore,
- But natural was the steed the wizard pressed;
- For him a filly to griffin bore;
- Hight hippogryph. In wings and beak and crest,
- Formed like his sire, as in the feet before;
- But like the mare, his dam, in all the rest.
- Such on Riphaean hills, though rarely found,
- Are bred, beyond the frozen ocean’s bound.
- Drawn by enchantment from his distant lair,
- The wizard thought but how to tame the foal;
- And, in a month, instructed him to bear
- Saddle and bit, and gallop to the goal;
- And execute on earth or in mid air,
- All shifts of manege, course and caracole;
- He with such labour wrought. This only real,
- Where all the rest was hollow and ideal
Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto’s (1516)
The faerie tale thought of procuring a creature such as this, for even just the briefest of fleeting moments, would truly be fantastical however, at this point in my life I am not going to be fussy and if truth be told any old nag will do. Well almost any old nag will do…
My luck with horses over the past year or so has been lousy to say the least (I am without a horse once more) and because of all that has come to pass I was in the frame of mind to give up all together in regards to pursuing my equine and equestrian ambitions and dreams, as well as to delete this blog for I saw no purpose in continuing on with it
However, after perusing some of my posts prior to the deletion of The Merry Mare I decided against removing this little chapter of and from my life. I soon realised that instead of feeling utterly defeated I found myself to be feeling more determined than ever thus, I shall simply have to…
…for the time being at least
Although things (dreams, desires, goals) in my world of horses seem impossibly out of reach at the moment I have come to realise that it is not the end of the world; but rather that I have chanced upon a hurdle that needs to be cleared, and that there is no need for haste. Hope forever remains, and where there is hope there is a will, and where there is a will there is the ever clichéd way.
Hope is a waking dream - Aristotle -
Therefore I am not yet ready to give up on hope nor have I the desire to snuff out my dreams before they have been realised. Each breath and every small step leads one closer to one’s desires and the fulfilment of one’s dreams.
So for now I have decided to simply turn the page in order to begin a new chapter from which I may continue ever forward.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
Please click on the photograph above to view more spectacular Art by Devils-Horizon
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.
The sun beamed her radiant face across England three weekends past and with the level of rainfall we have experienced this year it would have been truly sinful to be wasteful of such wondrous weather.
Much of Saturday was spent with Hubby and the Puglets; busying ourselves in the garden, basking in the sunshine, playing fetch and find it, and later enjoying a scrumptious BBQed meal accompanied by crunchy fresh salads, deliciously crusty garlic bread and a few glasses of a full-bodied red wine. Simple pleasures at their finest and a most fine and pleasurable day it was indeed!
Sunday arrived all too soon but it was another day of leisure that I was looking very forward to; as with every Sunday, in addition to every Thursday, it was to be a day spent with my new loan horse, Diablo. Upon arriving at the desolate yard where D is being kept I made a dash for the field to fetch him in. Upon seeing me he let out an animated whinny in greeting before walking to the perimeter of the fence where quietly he stood with patience for me to enter the field and happily allow me to secure his head collar. And so, side by Side we ambled along past the ramshackle building towards the stable block where we would to prepare for our afternoon ride out together.
A hack was on the schedule for the day and, as I was feeling rather inspired by the glorious weather and the beauty of the surrounding countryside, I had decided that there was no better time like the present for a splash of adventure and splodge of exploration. Brushed down, tacked and geared up we were raring to go so off we set upon the rambling trail that leads towards the crossing at the Quarry Bridge and which in turn would set us upon the path that would lead to our eventual destination.
Given the heat we took our journey in good stride past harvested fields and along hedgerows; whilst all the while breathing in deeply of the fresh warm autumn air and enjoying the sights and sounds of the Hertfordshire countryside. Feeling my skin drinking in the sunlight and the tension melting away from my body the warming sensation of Bliss spread through me as we ventured forwards into new and exciting unexplored terrain.
This was how we chanced upon what is now known as the Ellenbrook Fields; an area of rugged beauty that is steeped in a rather varied and interesting history…
In 1863 the Sinclair family arrived in Hatfield from Scotland to farm the land. The land provided the family livelihood until 1930 when Geoffrey de Havilland, founder of the de Havilland Aircraft Company, purchased some of their farmland to expand his aircraft company.
Between 1930 and 1993 the site became a major aerodrome and important centre for aircraft design and development. Innovations that took place on this site and in the skies above you have shaped aviation history worldwide. One man’s passion for exploration of the skies brought forth an exciting new era of pioneering aircraft design, technical development and exciting urban and social development that would change the shape of the land and the country town of Hatfield forever. Geoffrey de Havilland was a keen entomologist. Many of his planes were named to reflect this; like the Gipsy Moth, Tiger Moth, Mosquito, and Sea Hornet.
After the closure of the Aerodrome in 1993 the skies fell silent and the land and industrial buildings lay abandoned. Over the years many of the ancillary buildings collapsed and fell into a dangerous state. In the 1990′s the vast scale of the site made it popular for hiring by film companies. Under the guidance of Steven Spielberg, whole replica French and German villages were constructed on this site for the filming of the Second World War epic, Saving Private Ryan. It was such a success that he followed it up with the TV series, Band of Brothers, once more shaping the land. Once the film crew disbanded, the remnants of the film sets, the props, dug out trenches and exploded villages were lost in amongst the vastness of the site. Polystyrene trees used for explosion screens could still be found until recently in the woodland.
Goodman began the process of clearing and making safe the land for use by the public and its management as a natural resource in 2009.
A 400 acre country park on the former aerodrome site between Hatfield and St Albans is now open to the public.
The site, to be known as Ellenbrook Fields, was once part of the British Aerospace site and was at one time used as a jet engine test area and airfield. It has now been converted into a large open space for the public to enjoy.
Back in 2000, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and St Albans City & District Council secured the site as green space as part of the planning permission granted for the development of Hatfield Business Park by developers Arlington Land – the company formed from the aircraft manufacturer’s property division.
Following land surveys and substantial landscaping, the site has been converted into parkland with footpaths, hay meadows, a bridleway and woodland. It will also retain the taxiway for heritage and access purposes and have information panels, picnic benches and seating. Approximately half of the remaining park land will then be used for cattle grazing with Longhorn Cows introduced into the park
Being a curious George and ever eager for new adventures I decided to veer off the path and enter into the bordering woodlands. However, this proved unsuccessful upon our first attempt as Diablo was suddenly infused with nervous energy; which was perhaps due to the sudden coolness of shadows, the closeness of the forest and the snapping of branches beneath his feet. As there was no defined path I decided to play it safe and returned us back towards the designated path.
Totally absorbed within our surroundings we reached the “end of the road” which much to my dismay was a tall gate that was barred and bolted with no way through. Forced to turn back I spied yet another path leading into the woods and thought to give it another go…
Cloaked in an aura of immediate coolness dappled with sunspots and shadow we ventured forth into the welcoming embrace of the trees. Serenity and silence interrupted by birdsong, rustling leaves and hoof-trodden earth presented an Opus of harmony as we made our way deeper towards the within of the forest.
Massive logs, fallen trees and low hanging branches created obstacles along our path, often barring our way, but we managed to maneuver our way round, over and under these hurdles without a hitch before we were, once again, forced to turn back due to there being no possible way further forward upon horseback.
And so we began our journey home where, once safely out of the woods and upon safe ground, we picked up the pace to enjoy and exuberant gallop along the flats. It was during this moment of abandonment that I came to realise that when one endeavours to plough through life with an entangled soul nothing comes close to breaking the shackles of torment than the freedom and connection one feels to the universe when riding upon the back of the majestic beast we know as horse.
Whilst wandering through the market I happened to chance upon a fascinating stall displaying a number of various items from ages long since passed; which was watched over by an extremely knowledgeable and bright-eyed gentleman from the local museum who chatted amicably, enthusiastically and happily about the various artefacts that were on display.
What caught my eye however, among the display cases containing items such as ancient Roman coins and finger rings, Saxon belt buckles and brooches, was a pair of rather unique looking horseshoes.
I was lucky enough to be given permission to handle and photograph these shoes in addition to being given a brief description of each item which I have included along with the photographs incorporated below…
- Saxon horseshoe dating back to around 1066 -
It is said that the Saxons would only have the front hooves of their horses shod with these heavy groove-edged shoes. The reason for this was that, as battle mounts, their horses were taught to rear up and strike out with their armored hooves (which acted as rather lethal weaponry) whilst warring and battling against their enemies.
- 1800s Victorian split hoof mender -
As the name suggests this “shoe” was used to mend split and/or damaged hooves; by attaching and securing it to the base of the damaged hoof it would prevent the hoof from splaying and splitting further when the pressure from standing or motion was placed upon it. Thus dressed it would encourage the hoof to heal.
(I for one am very pleased to see that things such as this hoof mender have evolved somewhat with the passing of time!)
And finally a photograph depicting a modern, Saxon and Victorian horseshoe displayed side by side… Remarkable!
With our relationship in its fledgling stages, and my recent return back into the equine world, for our first ride D and I ventured out for a gentle hack; where together we explored the surrounding fields and neighbouring countryside…
Although our outing was short it was very sweet indeed. D is an absolute gem; so very gentle and rather quite sensitive, and although he tends to be a little lazy at times he can in turn be extremely forward going and receptive when he understands what is being asked of him.
We enjoyed a range of varied paces and I was thrilled to discover that D is wonderfully comfortable and an obedient mount to ride. He is a horse that I feel completely safe with in all aspects and I look ever so forward to developing a long and lasting relationship with this gorgeous Andalusian boy.