Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Joe Is Off To Aintree This Afternoon

I'm agnostic about horses.

I can see that they're handsome, noble beasts and all that and I like watching cavalry charges in the movies but otherwise....

We have horses in the family. My mother owns several. They keep her young. She's in her eighties and she still attends race meetings. 

I went to a race meeting with my mother once. I won't say I was bored. I was too busy trying to keep warm to be bored. A lot of horses ran round in a circle and a lot of people near us did a lot of shouting. And we drank tea out of a thermos off the bonnet of the car. Then we came home.

I learned to ride when I was a kid. It's tough on the knees. I can remember cantering across the Quantock hills and that was fun. But you'll have guessed I didn't keep it up.

And then there's Stubbs. I really don't get Stubbs. Here's Andrew Graham Dixon saying he's a major European painter and totally ignoring Wright of Derby whom I love. It seems to me they're the same sort of painter in terms of technique only Wright painted interesting things like experiments with an air pump and volcanoes while Stubbs painted horses. 

When I was a practising pagan people  tried to persuade me that the English love horses because we used to worship a horse godess. I'm not convinced.  Besides,  the chalk horse at Uffington- which is probably some sort of tribal totem- may not be a horse at all. 

It may be a dragon.

I'm agnostic about dragons too. I think they've been done to death. I prefer sea monsters. 

But to get back to horses, I think it's a class thing. The Normans rode horses, the Saxons fought on foot and the Normans won. Ever after it was the mark of an aristo that he rode a horse.

The Sherrif of Nottingham rides a horse. Robin Hood is a footman or sits in trees. 

*Draws an imaginary bow and lets fly an imaginary arrow* 

Phweeeeeeeee-donk!

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