Incidentally - regarding my four personal male horsemasters:
DP, was a world renowned stuntman, an ex professional boxer and a life long horseman , trained by his father who owned one of the last commercial livery yards in London. As a bruiser he could be frightening but watch him with a disturbed horse and then witness his magical touch. He had performed in numerous films and TV productions but it is his work as stunt horsemaster for which he will always be remembered. His eye for a horse’s movement is exceptional. In him, I have had my own personal Monty Roberts.
KR moved over to England at the beginning of World War 2 to fight Hitler. He had been a professional rodeo rider in Canada, but he never went home after the war. He created and ran a Western Riding Club down in plush leafy Surrey. Much later when I first read the writings of Tom Dorrance I realised that I could have been reading the words of my own bow legged Canuck cowboy. KR taught me to ride and handle horses the Western way.
LL was the charismatic son of an English aristocrat who had taught officers to ride at Weedon the old British Army riding school. He’d spent much of his later life watching, riding and training horses in the classical way of Portugal. He had a winning smile which he used on both horses and, I suspect, the females in his life. One week with him riding his Lusitano stallions brought home to me just how fascinating horses can be. His eye, his way of teaching, his relationship with horses was exceptional. His death was a loss to the equestrian world.
His wife carries on with his teaching but for me she lacks his touch.
PT was born into a horsey family and ran the family’s unique trail riding centre. When not chaperoning riders up in the mountains, his hobby was team chasing - British style - that is indeed a rough way of racing. He brought me, by then an older man, back into fast and furious riding over uneven moorland terrain and introduced me to a fast sure footed Welsh/Hannoverian cob. When one day I was privileged to ride his personal team chaser, the half brother of my own regular mount, I peeked into a whole new world of horse riding. If I was judged competent by him to ride his equine racing machine then I was competent to ride a spirited horse. It was a lot of fun being around the guy. The cob which I rode so often with him has proved to be irreplaceable in my life with horses.
Each of these four horsemasters, to whom horses were the stuff of life itself, taught me something different in their own individual ways. Whenever I was stumped by a behavioural problem, invariably one of them would come up with an answer which usually worked. And all four of them were a lot of fun to ride out with.
Over the course of years, I will never deny I have learned a lot about horses from experienced lady riders but if ever I were to write my equestrian CV, those four guys would certainly be on it.