Sasha & Alan riding

Some people presume that my fashion editor credentials and urban lifestyle mean that I don’t do country. They would be wrong: I grew up in a small village in Kent in South-East England, and spent most of my holidays playing on our friends’ farm. I know my slurry from my silage, can dam a stream, drive a tractor and milk a cow.

If forced.

Sasha & holly riding

On my mother’s side I come from a very, very horse-y family, (Grannny & Grandpa were known as Granny & Grandpa Horse, and G’pa even had his racing colours painted on his car bonnet mascot), so I was taught to ride from the age of six.

Unfortunately lil’sis inherited the riding skill  and I, in the immortal words of my hard riding to hounds grandmother, have hands of lead and a seat like a sack of potatoes. I would fall off jumping over cavaletti (a mere 12″ jump) and never managed to go faster than a very bumpy rising trot. But it’s enough – on a docile horse I can  fudge it to go on a hack or trekking cross-country. Knowing how to hold the reins, give aids with your legs and mount/dismount  gets you surprisingly far, I’ve found. (Knowing how to do Scissors or Round the World on the saddle has proved less useful.)

Sasha riding gloves

It stood me in good stead a few years ago when I was commissioned to write about horse riding in Central Park for The Sunday Times, and spent two hours perched up on the most enormous police horse. The lovely Parks Mounted Policewoman breathed a visible sigh of relief when I told her I could ride – she had been expecting a total beginner and no doubt had been envisioning me splatted on a sidewalk somewhere.

The piece is here, and researching it remains one of the most extraordinary things that I have done in Manhattan.

Images:

Top: with my Uncle A at this home in Somerset
Middle: with lil’sis perched on my saddle bow
Bottom: at riding school in Kent

I’m dedicating this post to my lovely, lovely friends in Los Angeles, Bumble & H, who really CAN ride. In fact H rides so well, she wins show jumping prizes. She has serious guts to go with her serious skill.

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20 comments

Reply

what lovely photos – they must bring back lots of memories. and you were such a sweet, cute little girl…and of course, you still are! 🙂

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That is really cool! I’ve always wanted to try horseback riding. Cute pictures 🙂

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I’ve found that Round-The-World can prove amazingly useful although not in the situations one would normally imagine.

You look absolutely at home on your horses, LLG, and I hate to say this, but you may want to take it up again. Come to California and we can ride like The Virginian and Trampas over the grey tumbleweed.

The best thing is that a fashion icon is in fact an authentic country girl. Brava! Always so good to keep them guessing.

Love,
Miss W xx

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Ponies! I rode for a good part of my childhood, until it became too expensive to get to higher levels (shows and whatnot) and too much of a time commitment to mesh with a high school social life and getting into a decent university. Reading your Times article has caused me to decide that, at some point this summer, I’m going to spend $100 of my student loan/summer job on a ride through the Park. This is responsible because a) I’m taking out all these damn loans for the experience/reputation of NYC and NYU in the first place and b) I can easily spent that much in twenty minutes of wandering through Soho. Thanks for the inspiration to get back to my early joys!

Also (1.5 comments late): Hi, I’m Esti, discovered your blog a week or so ago and am quite hooked and enchanted. Thanks for the comment, and still wishing you the best with your family (and the b&b, which is gorgeous).

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Very much looking forward to the cow-milking post LOL!

Ali xxx

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Lovely!

Apparently here in Australia you can do wine tours on horseback, which I do think would be terribly fun. And surely would be shocking to the Manhattan Mounted Park Enforcement Unit: “Alcohol and horses?! Only in the wild outbacks of Australia would that be permitted…”

Poppy xox

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riding in Central Park would be delightful I think- I have always wanted to ride in Hyde Park too- though it might be a bit alarming if the horse took off! the horses they use are normally school master types not hot heads though aren’t they

i really want to make another NY visit this year- it’s been too long- this would be a really nice thing to do on a rest day- though I might need to take taxis the day after- the riding muscles are not what they were!

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Miss Whistle?! I’m shocked 😉

My friend took me horse riding in London recently as a birthday present – have never ached so much as I did the next day. Good for the legs and stomach that’s for sure!

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I rode all throughout my childhood and then, like so many girls, discovered boys. I can recall winning a ribbon at a horse show and then dismounting to take off with boy in a red Camaro. No more horse perfume for me!

Loved the pics!

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Love that you got to go riding in NYC, sounds like a fabulous thing to do. I love seeing people riding through Hyde park sometimes.

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