…my kingdom for a horse…
Attributed to Richard III on the battlefield at Bosworth in 1485 (though now they say his last words were “Treason, treason, treason”, which I think is a little unfair – most horses are really faithful souls!)…
Anyway. The classic British “horsy” look of interiors is attractive enough – especially if you happen to own a stately home or the perfect cottage with a double loose box, when tweeds, Stubbs’ reproductions of famous sires and hunting scenes and a lot of old leather are going to dominate, along with a grubby blanket or two attractively arranged for the lurchers and Jack Russell dogs to squabble over on the decrepit sofa.
Not so in my home. And yet there are a few clues to my horse-loving nature for those paying attention…
Firstly, my bookcases, which cover every phase from girlish pony stories and pretty pictures to serious tomes on veterinary conundrums and alternative training methods with brain-ticklingly complicated geometric diagrams and assumptions that you have the “eye” for collection and practically each individual muscle. I think these are a pretty big giveaway, actually!
Since we don’t have fireplaces in Switzerland, I don’t have a mantelpiece – but pride of place on the shelf in my living room does go to an antique creamware sculpture of two horses playing. I inherited this from my husband’s family – I don’t think it’s particularly valuable, but it’s been in the family for a long time, probably 100 years-ish, and since I’m the horsey one, it came to me! I do know that my husband’s great-grandfather was in the German cavalry around Berlin, so perhaps that’s the connection. Still, an heirloom.
I do like things to have a story, so this glass pony in slightly Scandinavian style fits the bill, as it was passed on to me by a dear friend who has had a difficult life one way or another and continues to do so, so that we have little contact these days. But it’s a nice souvenir of some good times we had – we both had Haflingers back in the day and her Negus was just as much of a character as my Sturuss, so we had some entertaining rides out as they imagined ghosts in the woods and similar frolics… such fun! Negus was an escape artist and only rideable in full Western outfit; although this glass horse is not a Haflinger, it still makes me smile thinking of those days.
Let’s stay with the Scandinavian theme. It’s always been an ambition of mine to visit those northern countries, and I will do one day, I’m sure. (I wouldn’t mind trying out a Norwegian Fjord pony…!) The colourful artistic folk culture really appeals to me, and I love the Dala horses which have come to represent not only the Dalarna region but the whole of Sweden. An acquaintance knew of my ambition and gave me this one as a gift; I didn’t know him all that well and was touched.
When I saw these shiny steel beauties, I squealed with delight and half a dozen have been hanging in my windows ever since – a bit of less conspicuous bling. Not only are they sleek, minimalist and modern Dala horses, but they were for sale in Lucerne, just before we began spending so much time there, plus it was my grandson’s first visit to that pretty city – so a great souvenir, especially now we’re not spending so much time there any more!
Mention Swedish and I suppose most people will immediately think of THAT store, and yes, you may well get your tea served on a colourful little tray of Dala horses! And I think there’s a scholarly-looking one somewhere about, too 🙂
And I hate to admit it, but the saddle and bridle presently sitting in my hallway are probably a pretty big give-away LOL. But they have their stories, too. I picked my saddle up secondhand when I first had Sturuss, 27 years ago, and it was not only a perfect fit but turned out to have been made by a distant relative near the small town I was born in Germany, and whose saddles I have never seen for sale otherwise in Switzerland! So it’s probably more like 50 years old and looking all the better for the 25 years of use I gave it. My bridle replaced a cheap one that was stolen from our tack room about 20 years ago, was made-to-measure and just got “seasoned” over the years – leather seems to do that, and with care, lasts almost forever. As does memory, which is why I simply can’t part with these, although I’ll probably never use them again! But where to store them?!
(I’ve just discovered a cake tin in the shape of a Dala horse in my cupboard… oh dear!)