Here's a clip of Dick Sparrow driving 40 horses. It's an amazing sight, particularly when the shot changes to show the team from the rear and you get the great incongruity of modern American corporate architecture as a background to the wagon and horses. I love the anticipation in the video: the sense of something amazing being just round the corner is palpable.
Thanks to Christina Wilsdon for telling me about this world record 46 Percheron hitch (alas just stills) but you get the idea.
I do love this trilogy: Susan Ketchen’s Born that Way books first came my way last year when I read the
first of the series, Born That Way. Sylvia, Susan Ketchen’s heroine, is a brilliant creation.
She’s funny, observant, and absolutely devoid of self pity about her condition,
Turner’s Syndrome. It means she’s very small for her age, and she hasn’t hit
puberty yet, and won’t either unless she gets hormone treatment. The fact she
looks different makes her a target for the school bullies, but Sylvia tackles
this in the same way she does everything else: with a quirky resolve.
In many ways, she’s far more sorted out than her parents,
and quite a few of the other adults she comes across. As an adult, it’s quite
easy to forget that relationships are two-way: that your view of a child isn’t
all that matters. They have their own view, and oh goodness, does Sylvia have
her own views. I love the fact that we see where she doesn’t understand things,
and see how she works them out. I love her a…
As you have probably realised by now, as a child, I was pony-obsessed. My favourite monthly reading was Pony Magazine, which I read cover to cover: every advert; every word. I recently bought a set of Pony Magazines from the 1960s. I actually took Pony in the 1970s, but there wasn’t a lot of difference between the decades in the style and contents of the magazine.
One advert which took me instantly back to that state of childhood wanting; longing for things I couldn’t have, and trying to work out what I could do to afford them, was for Jacatex riding clothes. How I loved that ad. The Pat hacking jacket; the Pat riding mac and the Pat jodhpurs. Who was Pat? Was there a Pat? Or were the clothes just something that was off pat? It was never explained. Jacatex adverts didn’t change much over the years. The 1969 ad below is the same one that I remember from the 1970s, a cheerful pony girl in immaculate clothes. I don’t know whether Jacatex ever did haul themselves into the modern age and r…