Here you can see two thoroughbreds, both bred and trained to be elite athletes in high-octane sports, working at liberty with two ex-servicemen, trained to lead at the highest level with the Royal Marines. One of the things we love at HorseBack is exploding stereotypes. We particularly enjoy working with these thoroughbreds because they mirror so closely the experiences of many of the veterans who come through our gates. It is often believed that racehorses and eventers cannot go on to do meaningful jobs in other spheres, just as it is sometimes held that once men and women leave the services they cannot fulfil their promise in civilian life. This is patently not correct. We are not just clicking our teeth here; every week, every day, we see living proof.
Brook, the horse on the right, was a sprinter, running at speeds of up to forty miles an hour over short distances. He is now a long way into his retraining, and has worked with our veterans for a considerable time. Manny, the horse on the left, is only in his third day of re-schooling. He is amazingly kind, willing and clever, and Jay Hare, who is working him, has astonishing leadership skills and a natural feel for horses, but even so, we are quite astounded at the progress they are making.
You can see from the picture that both horses are entirely relaxed, heads low, ears at the happy quarter-to-three position. Their attention is on their humans, despite there being a lot of activity going on outside the arena. A bond of trust and communication has been set up, and each pair is literally and metaphorically in step.
You can also see that it was a gloomy old day in Scotland this morning. But this sight was like a dancing ray of sunshine.