The ugly truth about natural horsemanship

The rope riders came down the driveway slowly, their horses veering this way and that, side to side, forwards a few steps, then backwards nearly as many. It took them an hour to trespass from the bridleway that crosses the top of the drive and make their slow, dangerously shaky course between the paddocks full of horses until they made it to just opposite our smallholding, where their mounts gave up completely and just refused to take another step. There were four horses, but only one was wearing what I would call tack, as in a saddle and bridle. The other three, including a child’s pony being ridden by a

Back to Exmoor, scene of prep-school rides on rough ponies

Exmoor I am heading to Exmoor for the first time since I was last there in 1977 — and as the train pulls into Tiverton Parkway station my childhood rises back up at me like ground rush. We head north and pass Ravenswood, the gothic building where I spent six years of my life when it was still a prep school. And suddenly I am back on the same road we’d take on Thursdays, in a van heading up to a farm on the moor’s edge. Back then, 43 years ago, a shaggy-haired farmer’s boy called Kevin would lead us out hacking on rough ponies across the heather and marshes.

Sarah Maslin Nir enjoys the rides of a lifetime

The appeal of a book called Horse Crazy risks being limited to those who are. Yet many moments in Sarah Maslin Nir’s restorative memoir will chime with readers indifferent to things horsey. Part love letter, part reportage, it niftily braids together her family history, the history of horses, and the stories of the humans on and around them. The result is a tender and at times funny book about belonging. Nir grew up between New York City and the tip of Long Island. Her parents — struggling professionals, ‘two doctors seeking to climb a ladder of affluence’ — had bought a Park Avenue apartment for $45,000 and a beach shack