Horses

Can we forgive Gordon Elliott?

What has happened to forgiveness? That question hangs heavy over the Gordon Elliott controversy. He’s the racehorse trainer currently in the eye of a media storm after a photo emerged showing him sitting on top of a dead horse. There has been virtually no discussion about forgiving Elliott for this error. Instead the knives of cancellation have been drawn. He must be destroyed. It’s the only way, apparently. The fury has been relentless. The photo, taken in 2019, shows Elliott atop one of the racehorses that he trains. The horse had just died from a heart attack. It’s an unpleasant image, for sure. The horse’s eyes are glazed over, its

What’s a squashed dog between neighbours?

Not long after he took on a smallholding for his cobs, the builder boyfriend found a couple walking through his fields with their dog. They had appeared out of nowhere, apparently by squeezing through a small hole in the hedge with a neighbouring property. As there is no footpath through his land, the BB was perplexed. ‘Can I help you?’ he called. But the smartly dressed couple waved him away. ‘No, thank you!’ the man called back politely enough, as he and his wife walked on with their spaniel, which darted this way and that, soon entangling itself with Jimmy and Duey, the builder b’s black and white cobs. The

Beware cars with National Trust stickers

Always the National Trust sticker. It feels like every time a car parks across the gateway to my horses’ field there is a National Trust sticker in the windscreen. Sometimes there are several stickers in varied colours, the permits of different years, one above the other, like a star rating system for lefties. A few weeks ago, a shiny black car with five National Trust stickers parked sideways on, blocking not only the gateway but the stile beside it so people couldn’t access the footpath. When I caught up with the two men who got out of the car, asking them to please go back and move, they were, in

If the office is ‘too dangerous’, why is everyone jetting off on holiday?

The whole of Surrey and south-west London seem to have gone abroad on holiday so I’ve got my sanity back. All the people who were working from home because they couldn’t risk Covid-19 but who had to go out walking and cycling in the countryside all day long have simply vanished. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of the Covid-phobics have got on planes and enthusiastically breathed as much re–circulated air as it takes to get them to a villa by the sea. The cyclists and the runners and the ramblers with backpacks with cooking pots sticking out of the top have all evidently decided they didn’t need to bother me

Spare me the ‘furbabies’ – the humanisation of pets has gone too far

‘Can my dog meet your horse?’ asked the woman, as her German shepherd lunged at me, making my thoroughbred jump up and down in panic. We had been riding through the woods, a friend and I, when we came across one of those dog-walking clubs. Up to a dozen of what looked like former guard dogs and their owners came round a bend on the track towards us. ‘He just wants to say hello!’ the woman persisted. How many times have we all heard that from a dog-owner in the park before said beast pounces and humps us half to death? So I told her very firmly: ‘Absolutely not. Do