Forest of Galtres Society

Can you ride a horse safely under a canal bridge?

April 20, 2010

Forest of Galtres Society members were delighted to welcome Peter McDonald to Yorkshire last Wednesday.  Plenty of technology to set up and off we went.  Peter had brought with him a series of films taken for television broadcast, and for these he had written the story and the commentary himself.  The films were professional and well photographed, and in them we saw many nice touches.

Peter had decided to take a ride on horseback with a fellow surgeon (he had effected two gall bladder operations only that morning before setting out for Yorkshire and Easingwold) through part of Middle England (his home patch) and doing this while at the same time avoiding modern routes and the relentless rush of motorways.  Quite a challenge!

Horses can easily go lame, and that of his fellow surgeon did so, before many days of the fifteen day journey had passed.  The replacement, a pretty and reliable grey, was brought to them – by motor horsebox – surely the wrong method bearing in mind he was intending to avoid modern transport?  Taking the tow-path beside a canal presented the obstacle of going under a canal bridge with its restricted head space.  Also, how do you get a horse out of a canal if it is so foolish as to fall in?

The various episodes of the story continued, and we only had to stop because time was passing and Peter had to drive home.  Some CDs of the journey changed ownership, and we all appreciated the little stories of welcome and incident along his route.  What a different view, that from the saddle, with shoeing and the Civil War vie-ing for space on the film.  I thought it was just about right to see the two friends, each with a pint of best brew in their hand.  It showed how the gentler pace of walking a bridleway and cantering on the greensward give such a thrill to the lucky few.  It gave an appreciation of what it used to be like when turnpike roads saw horse-drawn carriages as the fast traffic of their age.

Summer beckons,  and we look forward to a full programme of outings and warm weather in which to enjoy them.

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