“Riding is a completed joy, so full of promises fulfilled. There is never a totally ‘bad ride’. There are days when you ride badly, or the horse doesn’t go so well, but there is always something to find out. Nothing stands still. You never know it all. You learn something each time, even if it’s only that you are not as good as you thought you were. The truth about riding is always there for you to discover all over again . . .”
From Talking of Horses (1973) by Monica Enid Dickens
I’d like to thank my riding instructor, Caroline, for loaning me her copy of the book Talking of Horses by Monica Dickens. I previously used a quote from the book for my most recent “Equine Illustrated Inspiration” blog-post edition. I did so without realizing that my riding instructor knew the author personally.
After Caroline saw my blog post, she asked if I would like to borrow her copy of the book. Turns out that many years ago, Caroline lived across the street from Monica Dickens. She would take her pony over to Ms. Dickens property to compete in gymkhana events that Dickens hosted. A small world moment!
I had read various quotes from the book but never the book in its entirety. As an avid reader, it is an exciting opportunity to be set up with a great read. Even more so to have the opportunity to turn that read into another blog post. 🙂
Talking of Horses was published in 1973. Due to its age, many readers may not be familiar with the book (or may not have even been born when it first launched).
All the same, if you enjoy reading older literature about horses, you may find this book quite interesting. Advice and opinions given in the book very much reflect the common equestrian thinking of the time, allowing the text to be a time capsule of sorts.
Some aspects of that thinking would be judged as inappropriate by today’s standards, but on the whole, I found the book relatable as a modern day horse-person.
For example, take the case of someone having trouble trailer-loading a horse. Suddenly, an entire crowd of people appear to “help” the stranded equestrian. This has happened to me and to some of my horse-friends. I smiled and nodded knowingly when Dickens described this experience happening to her more than fifty years ago!
My biggest reflection about the book is the level of joy and enthusiasm that the author communicates about horses. Feelings that resonate with most equestrians.
It is a timeless joy, this horse life. Lived by so many who came before us and hopefully lived by others when we ourselves are long gone. Definitely an experience not to be taken for granted or squandered by those who truly understand the wonder of horses.
Based on the many horse adventures described in the book, it is clear to me that Dickens lived her horse-life for all it was worth.