22 January 2011

Old dreams...

Thank you for all of your comments on gardening from the heart!! I've been working on the garden, testing the soil and then looking at what will grow (just for once - lucky me - I have a perfect soil pH of 6.5), and I'll share that with you tomorrow, but for today, I'll tell you another story.

When I was young, I was horse mad!  Every Saturday morning I went for riding lessons, regardless of the weather conditions, which were sometimes pretty harsh in western Scotland.  I read loads of horsey books, and I particularly enjoyed the 'Jill' series by Ruby Ferguson.  I read fiction, non-fiction and learned pretty much everything there was to know about horses.

When we moved to Yorkshire, I kept on riding.  A riding accident halted my progress for a few months, but after that, much to my mum's horror, I was back in the saddle again.  It was never really quite the same though - GCSEs and the hope of doing A levels, and then further education - everyday life just seemed to get in the way, and eventually I stopped riding.  I suppose unless you plan to make it a profession, rather than a hobby, this probably happens to many people.

I still have a massive love of horses, and love to read about everyday life at Shiloh Horse Rescue- it's lucky I'm here in the UK, as several of their beautiful residents have caught my eye. Though none so much as the new arrival 'Chocolate' Moose.

My mum liked horses, but my eldest sister LOVED them - we used to dream about which horse we would have (chosen from The Observer Book of Horses) - hers was always a chestnut Arab and mine was always a 'Moose' .  She introduced me to the 'Misty' books by Marguerite Henry.  I loved the books, but I must admit, I loved the paintings by Wesley Dennis even more.

These watercolours capture the real lives of the ponies (of Chincoteague and Assateague islands) and especially the weather and atmosphere perfectly.

My sister died just before we bought the cottage .  It was totally unexpected, and it made me wish that I had kept in touch more, understood her better and maybe made allowances for some of her more unpredictable moments as she and I grew older.  I think we both left our 'old dreams' behind as we grew up and faced what is called 'everyday life'.

It's only now that I realise that those old dreams are the most important ones of all.

For my sister, Shona


  1. Dan,

    I'm sorry about your sister. Sounds hard. And, you are right. I think our older dreams and loves truly do define us.

    I just visited the Shiloh site. I'm happy to see that some horses find their way to rescue. So many animals need places.

    Take care,

  2. What a beautiful post and tribute to your sister.
    I too went horse riding every Saturday morning and like you wish I had kept the hobby up but I moved on to shopping, giggling at boys and it also got too expensive in the end. Still one day......

  3. We all must look back with some regrets, sadly we do often drift appart from friends and family. As you say, real life does take over.
    You sound like you did have a close friendship with your sister and happy times with your shared interest of horses. It must have been a shock to hear of her death, and it is natural that you Cherish these memories.

  4. What a lovely gift to your sister. Thank you.

    As an aside, I generally take a long weekend at Chincoteague every year; in the fall after the tourists have all left. Here's a link to my blog about my 2009 trip:http://agoodsnapshot.blogspot.com/2010/09/chincoteague-island-virginia-october_06.html.

    No ponies, I'm afraid. I didn't have the big camera then, just a dinky point and shoot.

  5. A lovely remembrance post.

  6. In our family, my sister and I split your passions between us ... she was the horse-crazy rider, who spent every weekend at the stable bartering work for riding time, and I read every horse book I could get my hands on. Chincoteague is only two or so hours from here, and the little girl in me SOOO wants to visit and see the ponies. This post is such a lovely tribute to your sister ... and a reminder to everyone to hold onto our dreams, no matter whether we can achieve them or not. Please accept my sympathy.

  7. Lovely to read this Dan. It just comes from the heart. Lesley x

  8. Oh, you are SO speaking my language here. I was in love with horses as a teenager It was my greatest passion then and I rode any chance I got. I still love the idea of riding today, but am more apprehensive about it.
    I recall no greater freedom or exhilaration then riding a horse and feeling the speed and the wind in my hair...

  9. I'm so sorry about your sister -lovely post, great tribute to your sister. And just very true words all around.
    I'm a horse lover as well, ever since I was really little. I still ride when I can, I just love being around them.

  10. I'm very sorry to hear about your sister. We grew up on a ranch in South Dakota, so luckily riding was a part of our lives. I read the Misty series to my little sister. Your blog inspired me to give her a call. I really enjoyed your blog and the beautiful photos. I have a friend in Denmark. I plan on visiting Denmark and Scotland in a few years. After seeing your photos I'm even more excited.