A very equine commute

This has been an unusual day.

Going in to London village this morning… Oh boy. There is a story and a half behind the words ‘Going in to London village this morning’, I’ll give it to you in bullets rather than go off on one:

* Just over three hours
* Lorry broken down in the middle lane of the M40 southbound
* No other reason
* WTF?

Is our transport infrastructure so fragile that one lorry breaking down in one lane of a three-lane carriageway can turn a simple one and a half hour journey in to a three hour trip to hell and back?

Anyway, on with this post.

Going in to London village this morning I noticed, somewhere along Hyde Park Place… a riding arena! With horses in it. Being ridden!

The arena was a little larger than a standard 20×40 and looked, from the coach, as if it was a pure sand surface.

But the sight of it – and the pones – lifted my spirits. And let’s face it, after a trip like that my spirits needed lifting.

And I’d been sitting at a table with two people who were on their way to a Youth Ministry meeting. I left my earbuds stuffed well in and refrained from being lured in to conversation, else the topic would probably have got around to religion (‘So, why are you going to London village today?’) and if we’d got on to that topic I’d have to confess to them that I was a Satan-worshipping, baby-eating, church-burning witch.

Or something.

So yes, seeing half a dozen equines take part in a riding lesson for a small group of children did give me a timely lift.

The day at work was very productive; there was much emailing, many phone calls and two excellent meetings.

Then I walked up the road and caught the coach home.


As we travelled northwards, crested the top of Park Lane and turned in to Bayswater Road, I noticed over there on our left… was a woman trotting along in the autumnal afternoon sunlight.  She was sitting on a grumpy-looking gelding. Mind you, I’d be pretty grumpy too if I was a horse and some weight-carrying woman who still didn’t have a grip on how to rise to the trot was trying to make me jog along and I was not 100% sound.

In fact grumpy probably isn’t the word for the faces I’d be pulling under those circumstances.

But the question is where do these horses live?

It’s ridiculous that I need to vocalise that question but I do wonder. I heard that there was a riding school in that area but I’m not the kind of person who would trog along to a riding school for a random lesson. And. What kind of a life do these horses that seem to live in London have?

It’s bizarre, I know there’s a riding school in Manhattan, NY because I’ve rented a horse from them and gone off for a gentle hack through Central Park for a couple of hours. I can’t imagine somewhere in the UK being so obliging. Mind you, back in Manhattan I did have to pass a brief test of competence which would have sorted out the knowledgeable from the less than. And that little Appaloosa mare knew what she was doing.

But the thought of concluding a day at the office, nipping off somewhere close by, grooming, tacking up and going for a hack in Hyde Park late on a sunny autumnal afternoon…

It’s very enticing.

Anyway, I did my own sitting on this evening.

I got to the yard at 18.55, by 19.10 (after carrots were dispensed, grooming and tacking up, natch) I was sitting on in the indoor arena.

We schooled flatwork (aka poncy dressage stuff) concentrating on transitions and Vin was a total star. After 20 minutes I called it a day and by 19.45 (after more carrots were dispensed, grooming and rugging up) I gave Vin a final pat and came home.

How was your day?


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3 Responses to A very equine commute

  1. Caroline Jones says:

    I looked into lessons there, because it would have been very easy to get to after work. It’s NOT cheap!


    They’re in Bathurst Mews – I took a walk past it one day and all I could see was stalls, no stables. I’d like to think that the horses are boxed in every day…

    There’s also an extremely exclusive livery yard somewhere near Kensington Palace, I think – I remember an article in H&H a few years ago about it being set up.

  2. Vicola says:

    Sweet Jesus, have you seen the prices at that stables? That’s ridiculous, I pay less than half that for my lessons.

    I’d love to own a horse but sadly it is somewhat beyond my finances.

  3. Brennig says:

    Wow!!!! I’m staggered at those prices. In fact I’m even more staggered at those prices than I am at the general increase in things equestrian I’m having to go through as a result of moving from Worcestershire to Oxfordshire. I know the livery cost is much higher down here but let’s face it, the facilities at Vin’s new home are beyond comparison. But farriery? Up from £50/set to £75/set! Not wingeing. Just amazed at the regional difference.