But after 12 years in France, my perspective has definitely changed. I got my first horse, realised how much I didn't know, started questioning things, learning new things, going to clinics, riding with lots of different people and gradually things evolved from me having a horse because I wanted to ride to having a horse (or two, or three) because I also like being with them and working with them, and wanted to understand them better and make their lives as pleasant and stress-free as possible as domestic horses.
|Ali and Seraphina competing at Porte Ste Foy|
In France, Ali and I hacked out on hairy, muddy horses. We rode in rope headcollars or bitless bridles, we showed up at TREC or endurance competitions in hi viz gear with never a thought of plaiting, or turnout. Yes, you were expected to put a jacket (if it wasn't too hot!) and light jodhs on for jumping, but that was about it. Never even saw a sign of hairnets or tweed......apart from on the ex-pats ;-)
|Gandalf and I at a TREC competition in Cleyrac|
In France, no one mentioned the fact that you were riding a draft cross, cos often they were too. No one saw the need to comment that your horse didn't have shoes on, cos often theirs didn't either. And in all the years of riding over there no one ever felt the need to tell me that riding in a headcollar on the road is dangerous because I don't have control over my horse without a bit. Here on the other hand.........
I miss France!