Thursday, 25 October 2007
Photos in pony books
Birte sent me this lovely photograph, which is from Golden Gorse's The Young Rider's Picture Book, published by Country Life in 1936. I love the group of Shetlands, with their solid little riders; presumably solid because they were wrapped in so many layers of woollen vests and tweeds. Is anyone else old enough to remember Chilprufe wool vests? These were thick, scratchy vests, made thicker and scratchier if washed at too high a temperature. A few years ago I found one my mother had saved: so I have proof her washing technique, at least when it came to woollen vests, ruthlessly suppressed comfort in the interests of thickness, and presumably warmth. These vests were a stalwart of my childhood, but by the time I started riding I had rebelled and no longer wore them.
Photographs, being of course of real events, transport you much more directly to the past than pictures, which, style of jodphur and total absence of the flash noseband apart, are reasonably timeless. Though thinking about it, the ponies themselves are timeless. A Shetland is a Shetland is a Shetland. The three on the right are having what looks like a fascinating talk, but can I, fan of Animal Magic, constant manufacturer of conversations for the dog to have with my daughter, think what they are saying? I cannot. If you have any ideas, do please say...