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TV and radio presenter Gilly Fraser’s monthly column, exclusively for cumbria24.com on her favourite subject – horses. A passionate horsewoman, Gilly talks about her life in the saddle.
The weather was fantastic for Dalston Show. I enjoyed writing that so much, I'm going to do it again. The weather was fantastic for Dalston Show. Given that it's an event held in the height of the summer, that phrase shouldn't really need to be written at all - it should be taken as read. But this year conditions have been so unremittingly dire, the organisers of Dalston Show must have wondered how on earth they'd managed to land so lucky. To steal a line from one of Julie Andrews' songs in Sound of Music - 'somewhere in their youth or childhood, they must have done something good!'
I wasn't competing at the show - I was there partly for fun - to cheer on my husband Malcolm in the showjumping (he got a fourth and a third) and partly for work, filming the best bits of the day. I’ll edit and package the footage into a short dvd to be shown on the big screen in the reception area at Paragon Vets in Dalston to keep clients amused while they're waiting. Unfortunately I didn't manage to film the Paragon team losing their heat in the 'It's A Knockout' - but maybe that's just as well!
One of the great highlights of the day was seeing my friend Amy Richardson win the horses Warm-Up class with Rockhill Strider - or Seth as he's known at home. Seth used to be mine and he's a gorgeous horse. A big, beautiful Hanoverian with glorious paces and a sweet, friendly nature. I loved him dearly and had some brilliant times with him.
Now as my long suffering husband will testify, I’m no good when it comes to selling horses. If I had my way, I’d still have every horse and pony I ever bought. They become part of me in exactly the same way as my dogs and cats - and I really hate parting with them. So why did I sell Seth? Because he decked me more than any other horse before or since, and he and I lost faith in one another. I wasn't good for him and he wasn't good for me. But he and Amy are terrific together. Do I ever wish I hadn’t sold him? No I don't. Do I ever feel a little melancholy pang when I see him - yes I do.
I regret that Seth and I weren't the perfect fit I once dreamed we could be - because sometimes we were - and when we were - oh it was glorious. We won a Discovery class at Barton Equestrian Centre when we judged every jump just right and we took chances with our short-cuts in the jump-off and every single one came good and I swear I couldn't have been prouder of my boy if we'd won at HOYS.
Another time at Greenlands, we beat one of Cumbria's best showjumpers and I sat there stunned as the red rosette was clipped to Seth’s browband, barely able to believe what had just happened. Those were glory days and don't let anyone ever think I didn't cherish every second of them and every second of the time that Seth was mine.
But he's Amy's now- and they're a fantastic team and I take pride and pleasure in seeing them together. Then I turn towards my own field and the pride and pleasure in seeing my own boys is every bit as great. We might never win any red rosettes, but it doesn't matter. I know they're right for me and I'm right for them. And that’ll do for me!
You can follow my blog at gillyfraser.wordpress.com RECLAIM THE ROMANCE!