My neighbour came round yesterday to show me how to kill, pluck and gut our 2 Guineafowl. What has this to do with horses? Well, my neighbour Josette is in her eighties, the house we live in used to be a bakery which was built by her grandparents and she has loads of lovely stories from her childhood when her parents ran the bakery.
Whilst she was sorting out my fowl (glad to see the back of them actually, they made a dreadful noise and kept attacking the chickens and even Aliénor!! But they do taste good......) she was telling me about delivering the bread for her father.
It was shortly after the war, and they kept a cob mare to pull the cart to make the bread deliveries. When Josette was about fourteen, her father entrusted to her and her cousin the job of delivering bread to various farms and houses dotted about the region. He harnessed up the mare, loaded the bread, and told Josette on no account to get the whip anywhere near the horse, as she walked along smartly enough without any encouragement. Josette duly set off conservatively down the road at a walk. Once out of sight of her father, however, she gave the mare a flick of the whip. The horse objected to this and set off at a gallop. This was OK on the straight main road, but they needed to turn off down a side road, Josette tugged on the reins to make the turn but the mare didn't slow and went round the corner at such a speed the whole lot went over, horse, cart, bread, and two girls ended up on the floor......!!! The mare skinned her knees, the shafts snapped off the cart and the bread was spread round the countryside. Luckily no serious damage was done but she was in serious trouble with her father!
"But I never admitted to him that I'd whipped the horse", she told me, he never found out til the day he died!