Getting to know Trelawny, our Shire Horse

Getting to know Trelawny

Before starting at Running Deer I had never really felt any closeness or connection to horses. My daughter had riding lessons with a friend who had horses and probably about 5 years ago, I developed an interest in learning to ride though I never did anything about it. I have had dogs and cats for many years and am fully aware of the emotional benefits to be derived from interacting with animals but have had scant experience with horses.

However, when I met Trelawney in my second or third week, I was completely blown away and felt an almost instant connection with him. Jo had always said he was a very special horse but I wasn’t prepared for the feelings he evoked in me at all. It’s not just his stature and magnificent roman nose, or the sense of solidity and calmness that he radiates – it’s something much more, that I struggle to put into words.

I don’t mean to put the ponies down in any way but they don’t touch me in the same way, lovely as they both are. I always want to see ‘Big T’ when I go to (or even past) the horse field and grooming him or just leaning against him is something I really enjoy (just leaning is best but feels a bit self indulgent?).

I fully understand why some of our students find him a bit daunting and are more drawn to the ponies and I now really appreciate how therapeutic equine interactions can be. This was further consolidated over the summer when I was lucky enough to attend a 2 day course in equine assisted learning (along with other RD staff). We learnt about how horses (& other animals) respond to different people and their feelings and that a large part of the relationship is down to what you bring in terms of authenticity and emotion.

Most recently it was really exciting at half term when with some of our holiday club attendees Jo got us to put Trelawney into his full harness set up, with padded collar, hames, saddle pad and breech strap. This was attached to a trace then a swingletree and finally the chain harrow! He looked fantastic and did two passes with the harrow.

What a horse!! I hope I can always be authentic.


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