Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Liveries: the Younger Element


Families and children are the life blood of most livery yards. Enthusiasm for horses often strikes young – particularly in girls - and once it’s in the blood, that’s often more or less it: regardless of common sense or finance, it’s what you do.

Over the decades, Vaysey Pastures has seen many different kinds of youngsters. Nowadays the offspring of the aspiring middle classes seem to lead such pressured lives with out of school hours crammed with mini rugby, expressive dance, extra maths and jazz-tap. The tots don't seem to have time to play any more. Their activities seem to be divided between the useful and the anti-social: a strange mix.

In recent years we have the borderline psychopathic Hilton twins and the idol and raison d'etre of her parents,’ the demure but somehow terrifying Dorinda Miggins. Such offspring often seem to fill a void or even to justify an otherwise futile existence - but who am I to flag up the aching pointlessness of the lives of some of my customer's?

If I was to be honest, I would have to admit that I don't care for children very much - but fortunately no-one has ever asked me and, in any event, such frankness has never been compulsory or a useful tool in running Vaysey Pastures on the margins of profitability.

The yard is often an outlet for parental social ambition, expression and self-assertion, as is evident with the Plebbes and Penges and their daughters. Maternal love is "blind" - on or off the yard - as demonstrated by the at least "myopic" Brenda Hilton.

As you might expect in today’s hectic and complex world, involvement in horses often puts pressure not only on family finances but also on marriage itself – as you shall see…

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