A few days ago I had to venture into the loft looking for something and whilst looking through boxes I found a folder containing photos that I had forgot about. I was the sixth child of six and by the time I came along the home was a busy place, so I don't have many photos from my childhood and only a few exist of dogs that I was brought up with, but I have found a couple to share.
The first one is a photo of old Chloe, clipped out for the summer. She was a Working Cocker Spaniel we had from a pup and before I started to compete on ponies, I used to drag her to horse shows and enter her in the family dog shows that often were held alongside the summer horse shows.
I don't think she enjoyed it much and would of much rather preferred to be home with her two terrier mates, Pepsi and Bubbles hunting rabbits.
The next photo is of Chloe's mates Pepsi and Bubbles (as a puppy). Bubbles we lost once for four days and we had given up hope, when she appeared covered in mud looking very skinny. We think she dug into a burrow and it may of collapsed behind her, and she had taken four days to dig herself out, whatever happened I think we were lucky to get her back.
Next is a very special photo and I'm going to have to admit a mistake on a blog, I put our first Cavalier was called Ruby, which was a mistake, she was called Kerry. So here is the only photo I have of her. She was a lovely little girl and started my love of these little dogs.
Along with the couple photos of past dogs were also photos of my other love, horses. I've picked out some to share and a couple stories to accompany them.
First I'm going to pick out the photo of Bert who was a horse I looked after when I worked in Surrey. Bert came to the yard as a very nervous, leery 17.2hh four year old thoroughbred and I was given him to shape into a drag hunter for his owner Fred, who had eleven horses at livery in the yard. Bert turned slowly into a horse that could gallop and jump a hedge with ease and the photo of him is his owner Fred riding him to win the Mid Surrey Draghounds heavy weight division of the hunt race. Bert and I jumped our first hedge together and something I always wanted to do was ride around the Grand National fences and on Bert I got to do the next best thing to that and rode the Mid Surrey Draghound Hickstead lines and this poem sums up rather well, riding the Hickstead lines.
“And after this world’s travail, when you ride life’s final line,
Show the courage of a Dragman as you face your Life Divine,
Ride forth in Hickstead manner to your Maker’s great estates
As you jump the Stygian Waters and you ping the Pearly Gates.
On earth you've tasted Paradise; I speak not of cocaine
Nor of the false euphoria brought on by fine champagne,
But of the soaring ecstasy that’s only to be found
When you’re flying high and mounted, over Hickstead’s glorious ground.”
By Sir Edward Cazelet QC
The next photos I'm going to pick out, are the two of me competing on Lady. I had competed on horses in most disciplines and thought myself a competitive person and wanted to try my hand at racing, so rode a couple times point-to-point, which is amateur jump racing, but don't let the word amateur fool you, as this racing is as competitive as jump racing under rules.
It was the last time I rode in a race with Lady at Tiverton that my epiphany came. Knee high in mud and after a field of sixteen starting only three of us remained. Lady and me were way off the two in front of us (Lady should of not run really, because she had a flat action best suited to the top of the ground and it was a testament to her genuine nature, that she was still going) and I could of nursed her in for a third place, but she was tired and I did not have the heart to keep pushing her on, so pulled her up and realised I was not that competitive after all and what I enjoyed about horses was galloping and jumping, I did not have to have a prize at the end of it.
The last photo I'm going to mention is the one of my youngest brother Peter with our niece Sally on board Chutney a pony which we got as an unbroken six year old and turned into a very good jumping pony. This is my brother I blogged about in March 2013 when rattling my begging bowl as he completed the 6633 Ultra Marathon. In the photo he is, I think about 15 years old, as he is now 50 years old and Sally (my oldest brothers first born) is now 36 years old, married with two children. Time fly's and although Peter has a few wrinkles now and grey hair, he still could put most half his age to shame with his level of fitness.
The photos of horses and ponies below except for the one of Bert are horses and ponies that either my Mum owned or I owned.
The last photo below from the folder is me driving the carriage at Arlington Court in the late 80's and alongside me is sat ted. Yes, ted before he had a lot of work done, went off to Hollywood and became famous. ted and me had a lot of fun together and inevitably ted feel in love with me and wanted to take it that step further, but I had to tell him, "Your a stuffed toy mate, if you had not noticed, it ain't going to happen." Lol
Hope you realised I was only joking there, you will of had to see the film, "ted" to get the joke. The photo actually is a day at Arlington Court they did with a Teddy bear picnic theme and as it was so hot, Penny my Cavalier was not travelling with me, so someone produced a Teddy to keep me company. I took a lot of ribbing about this photo and I will tell you why.
Most weekends a lovely elderly local couple used to visit Arlington Court, as it has some beautiful walks around the property and their son, often accompanied them and he was a keen photographer. They would stop and have a chat and occasionally ride on the carriage and in passing conversation, they said they would get their son, to give us a photo of the carriage, as he often took photos of the carriage around the property, as did many people visiting the property.
A few weekends passed and their son appeared at the side of the carriage and handed me an envelope, saying a little shyly that there was a photo in the envelope "for you" and walked off before I could thank him even. Now I thought "for you" meant a photo of the carriage with the horses and the other person who worked as groom with me, he should of said, "a picture of you" rather than a picture "for you." I was a little busy with customers, so I put the envelope down on the sit beside me and Amanda who worked as groom, asked me what it was and I told her, "It's a photo of us with the carriage, lets get these people up to the carriage museum and then take a look at it, when we stop for lunch." So we went to have lunch, along with some of the stewards in the carriage museum and with a little excitement I opened the envelope to share what I thought was going to be a photo of the carriage and horses. When this photo appeared out of the envelope, we all went silent for a couple seconds and then they started teasing me.,"Looks like you got yourself an admirer Jane, maybe he's got a whole room of photos of you." One thought maybe he might even have a shrine to me. I learnt a valuable lesson, if someone hands you an envelope, before showing anyone else what's in that envelope take a look first, on your own. Lol
After all that self, self , self, I'm hopefully going to redeem myself with a little something I've been fiddling with. Best never to fiddle to much, so here it is,
At my knee
Please do not raise your hand, to break me to your demand
Gently place it on my head, and do not ask of me to beg
Do not tether me, let me be free, let me go and you will see,
the allegiance I shall give to thee, and eve, you shall find me at your knee.
When all of mankind leaves you in despair, a dog is a constant always there
Wagging their tail looking up at me, loyal as always at my knee
I beckon you upon my lap, up you come with an excited yap
Price for your devotion is my love, maybe there is a God, as I wonder, have you been sent from above
By Jane Howarth
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me with Bumble and Blottie, waiting patiently to be unleashed, November 2018
Hello, I am Jane, you might of guessed, I love dogs. We are situated in the North Devon countryside, England, United Kingdom. Our home is occupied by my husband, David, our children, pack of dogs and me.