A childhood spent in the saddle sparks special memories. Here’s a snapshot of the halcyon days before busy traffic, health and safety, and comfy girths
Simple but Sparky
I was three years old in 1974, when this photo was taken, at the Mid Surrey branch of the Pony Club under-10 show at Walton-On-The-Hill. I was riding my older sister Clare’s pony, Red Spark (Sparky), who was 12.2hh. He had a huge buck in him when Clare was riding but always looked after me; I used to sit in front of Clare on the pommel while she cantered circles in our field.
My mother had to make the jacket I’m wearing because she couldn’t find one small enough to fit me. The elastic strap holding my hat on wouldn’t pass health and safety tests these days. I love the fact that Sparky’s wearing a simple eggbutt snaffle and cavesson noseband; you so rarely see a pony in such a straightforward combination these days. But I don’t miss the old string girths.