‘If it stands still, paint it; if it moves, salute it!’

After a week or two’s solid autumn hunting, the young horse is learning fast.  We have taken advantage of a spate of sunny weather to give our hunters a couple of days in the paddock while they wait to be shod.  Rising at a more conventional hour, Ben and I have busied ourselves out of the saddle and around the yard instead. We follow the Brigadier’s advice: ‘if it stands still, paint it; if it moves, salute it’!

Several gallons of creosote, fly-repellent blue gloss paint and Yorkshire tea later, we have become quite ‘yard proud’, with much standing-back-and-admiring-with-hands-on-hips.

One of the more time consuming jobs was sorting a lifetime’s accumulation of tack in the workshop.  Amoungst the 27 pairs of rubber reins, 15 leather girths from Thelwell to Thoroughbred and an army headcollar so enormous that it could have only have been made to fit a T-Rex, I discovered a few mystery articles.  Ben’s grandfather explained that one 19th Century device was for drenching horses in the days before modern wormers. A metal tube was placed in the horse’s mouth, like a bit, and secured with a strap behind its ears.  The metal D-shaped hoop attached to the bit was then rotated until it was over the animal’s muzzle, and the drench solution poured down the tube from the outside and out over the tongue through a small opening in the bit.  It all seems pretty barbaric to me…

The dreaded drench

A few other articles still remain a mystery – a bottle of sloe gin to the person with the best explanation for these contraptions (30cm ruler beside them for scale):

Ear defenders for a very small head? Pony poll-guard, or some kind of early leg protection?

Very early stud guard girth? Viewed from the side.


Viewed from above


Two generations of pretty serious sorting in the evening sunshine.


A work in progress  – be careful what you lean on.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Let us know if you have any questions or leave your details and either Ben or Megan will be in touch.
Please note, throughout our website we use the term fox hunting to mean all of the activities carried out by our participating hunts operating within the constraints of the Hunting Act 2004.