The British people have had a love affair with these graceful, glorious creatures for hundreds of years.
There are so many things that are perfect about them. The way they are put together, the way they move, their fluid bodies and shining coats, the way they smell, their velvet noses and ticklish ears.
Anyone who thinks that a Horse is not part of the family has never shared love affairs with horses. We kiss their warm soft noses and trim their quivering whiskers. We brush them and plait them and some people paint their hooves with oil.
We bathe them and rub them and rug them and even purchase matching accessories for them.
We talk about them as if they are husbands or lovers or babies. We call them ‘my boy’ and ‘good lad’ as a term of affection.
Let’s take a look at our love affair with horses as a nation, and remember Hartwells stunning range of equestrian-inspired countrywear is perfect for horse lovers.
Horses in our lives
The first use of horses in the UK starts with horse remains found in Pakefield, Suffolk, dating from 700,000 BC, and in Boxgrove, West Sussex, dating from 500,000 BC. Early humans were active hunters of horses, and finds from the Ice Age have been recovered from many sites.
The Romans encountered British horsemen and chariots on their conquest of Britain and the horse became an intrinsic part of the military until this day,
We would not have the heraldic traditions and the glorious past and stories of Knights in shining armour without the horse to convey them into battle and from castle to dragon’s lair.
There are still horses in the British Military today, although today’s Horses are only for ceremonial duties.
As work animals and beasts of burden they played a major part in Great Britain’s industrial evolution and were the driving “horse power” for a large number of industries for a time.
A rare sight these days but can still be seen in a small number of towns in The British Isles are the magnificent shire horses pulling a brewery dray cart. Shire horses are still an integral part of many country shows and farming fairs, but the sight of these beautifully turned out creatures in the midst of modern times takes you back to a bygone era.
One brewery that still holds onto the tradition is the Hook Norton Brewery. If you are ever in the Banbury area keep an eye and an ear out for the sounds of the heavy footfall of Commander and Lucas pulling the brewery dray or find out their route and have some magnificent photos of these wonderful horses.
Leisure and sport
From the leisurely Sunday trot across the downs to galloping full tilt through hedgerows. The feeling of being on horseback is as close as you can get to flying without sprouting wings.
The equestrian industry is worth billions to the UK and generally in sporting terms Great Britain tends to shine at major competitions and has certainly built some very successful Olympic teams.
And of course there is the grandest of British traditions and the sport of Kings, Horse Racing.
Horse racing is the second largest spectator sport in Great Britain and one of the longest established, with a history dating back many centuries.
The sport has taken place in the British Isles ever since Roman times and the establishment of The Jockey Club in 1750, codified the Rules of Racing and laid the foundations of the handicapping system for horse racing,
Gambling on horse races has been one of the cornerstones of the British betting industry and the relationship between the two has historically been one of mutual dependence. Who does not love a little flutter on Derby day or The Grand National, although some still view the traditional betting shop with trepidation.
Betting shops are either viewed as the equivalent of the magical wardrobe through which you enter a Narnia of wealth and enchantment, or a disturbing vision, full of horrors and troglodytes. The advent of online betting has allowed more people who have a slight fear of the betting shop to enjoy a flutter now and then.
Now you might be lucky enough to attend one of these great racing occasions and it’s definitely a chance to look stylish and fashionable while remaining comfortable. Hartwell clothing has a great choice of garments for attending the races.
What a Horse can give back
As all horse owners can testify, keeping a horse is a lot of work and can be expensive, but the rewards are very much worth it. One of the endearing qualities of horses is that many have an inbred gentleness making them ideal for giving a little back to those who need help
The British Horse Society, emphatically believes that horses have a remarkable role to play in developing character and key life skills in young people, regardless of whether more traditional methods have been successful.
They also support the Riding for the disabled association, who do such fantastic work with people suffering from a wide range of disabilities. Naturally the temperament of the horse plays a large role in these schemes and to see these powerful animals patiently soaking up extra hugs and squeals of excitement is a wonder to behold.
The RDA are always looking for volunteers so why not throw on something like our Hartwell Houndstooth printed leggings, and go and join in the fun.
The feelings you will experience in your heart will be a memory forever.
Long may this magical love affair continue and these beautiful, intelligent animals continue to enrich our lives.
If you want to enjoy a real horse enthusiast spectacle why not take a trip to the London International Horse Show in December.
Dress to impress in the capital.
Live well, Dress well, Hartwell.