Horses make a landscape look beautiful.
John Elsley – Shire Horses
“Get off your high horse,” my father quipped at me one day when I was a little boy.
Until this day, I had never really realized that I have always been riding a high horse. I have now lived three times as long as most horses, but I know I am riding the same horse. You see, in the past month I have dreamed about horses no less than nine times. For some people, this might even be considered a night mare – pun intended. The dreams produced the following conceptions:
The Return of the Son King, The Presence of the White Unicorn, The Invisible Green Horse, Horse in a Pickle, Horses Pulling Their Weight, Alive and Kicking, Horse in Shawl, Time out with the horses calling in the Future
So the question you are asking, as I was, is: Where is all this coming from and where does it lead? I remember now, my friend, Roger Hawksbury’s father had saved a great white shire. The horse had worked all its life and he believed that it should be put out to rest, put out to pasture to spend it remaining days in peace – and not to be exchanged for money and sent to the knacker’s yard to be turned into dogmeat, which was custom even in England where they are supposed to love horses. He was a good man and that horse deserved the best even when it was too old to work and worn out. But I only knew this part of the story later.
Roger and I were just a couple of young school kids and loved to be out to play, as it was called then. I had climbed over the wall with broken glass embedded in the top to join him and jumped down into the mental asylum, for the farm was now being used to keep the patients occupied. But we weren’t interested in them, particularly. First we visited the orchard and then made our way towards the lake, Duchess’s lake. It was our adventure because we had to keep out of sight of the warden with his stick – Roger had told me that he had laughed so hard when one day a big dog had run up to the warden and run off with his stick – There were carp in the lake – some say, as old as a hundred years – they were later caught and transferred to Bristol Zoo, I heard, when the lake was drained for the motorway to come through.
And sooner or later, we would tire and just sprawl in the grass and from the edge of the lake look up the hill at the Palace, already a hospital. And there to one side was a tall stone pillar, a memorial to the Indian Prince’s steed. And there grazing below the Palace was the magnificent white shire that captured my heart for ever. What I remember was the impression of white on green, for his white countenance shone at you and I swear that the grass radiated greener and greener. I was hypnotized. I remain hypnotized.
Boxer, His name was ‘Boxer’!
Well, I never did meet the white shire again but have chanced on five horses, which if we put them all together recreate his presence. And guess how you might sum up my life today, Yes, ‘ Time out with the horses, calling in the future, for, here, our horses literally create the landscape!
Horses enjoying life