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We have some sad news. Our beloved Archie has gone.
Physical Fitness With Old Friends.
10 hours ago
We have some sad news. Our beloved Archie has gone.
It was very quick and very sudden. Emma put him out in the field on Wednesday afternoon and watched him merrily gallop away to join his herd. The next morning, she found him lying peacefully on the grass. We think his brave heart gave out, as the bravest of hearts sometimes will.
He was twenty-four.
Archie was Emma’s own horse. He was a founder member of the HorseBack herd, but years before HorseBack was even dreamt of he trotted rather unexpectedly into Emma’s life.
He was bred from a thoroughbred stallion by a friend of Emma’s. When Archie was three, running around on the family farm, Emma’s friend decided he needed a proper job. Would Emma like to have him?
Here, Emma takes up the story:
‘Randomly, I said yes. Archie was in Peterborough and I was in Aberdeenshire. So I borrowed a trailer and my sister-in-law and I travelled down. I had a weekend to work with this almost untouched horse and prepare him for the long trip ahead.
The trip was not the best, with a tyre blowout on the A1, but the young Archie took it all in his stride. This really cemented the relationship, as he put his complete trust in me. We called him Archie because we listened to boxsets of The Archers for the whole of the journey.
He was the first horse, along with Nimits, to be used when we started the charity, and he seemed to thrive on it. He was always affectionate, but he was highly spirited, and I’d never have envisaged that we’d be able to put complete beginners on him, both adults and children. Yet he did everything we asked of him. He was started in traditional English riding, but he adapted to the more relaxed Western way that we use for the courses, and he loved it.’
All of us who knew and loved and worked with Archie adored him. He was an absolute lynchpin on the courses, whether doing groundwork with the children or riding out with the veterans. (He did have to be in front on the big rides out. Although he was very steady and gentle with his humans on the courses, his competitive streak never left him, and he could not stand to see another horse up ahead on the trail. He was the king, and he was the one who should lead the string, and that was an end of it.)
He was, in a way, the wise old owl of the herd. Often, during the courses, the other horses would grab the limelight. Apollo would be farting and making everyone laugh, Deano would suddenly decide that he was going to show off his extra big trot like a charger going into battle, Red would spot a butterfly, Blue would have a little argument with any of the horses daring to encroach on his turf. But always there, quietly in the background, still and steady and true, would be Archie, watching the shenanigans, almost shaking his horsey old head at the nonsense.
He was one of the reliables, the ones that you could always count on. A member of the extended HorseBack family sent us a message this morning. She wrote, ‘Oh, no, not big old Archie. He was a rock. He gave everything.’
The funny thing is that he was quite small in stature, not much taller than a pony. Yet big Archie is a perfect description, because he was huge in character and in spirit. He had a matter-of-factness about him, as he got on with his work without operatics. He did not create a fuss about anything, yet you noticed when he was not there. He wore his qualities lightly – his kindness, his willingness, his trustworthiness. He was a very handsome horse, but he even carried his lovely looks in an unassuming manner – there was nothing remotely flashy about him. He did not say, ‘Look at me’. He said, ‘Yes, I’m here.’
Twenty-four is quite old for a horse. Archie had a long and fine life. He found meaning in his work, and when his day was done he found peace up on his hill, with his herd, in the quiet of our sweeping Scottish valley with its view over the blue mountains to the south.
He had a human in Emma who knew his every quirk, his every spark of brilliance, his every comical thought.
‘He was my special boy,’ she writes, ‘and I can’t quite believe he is gone.’
He was special to so many people. The whole HorseBack team is broken-hearted. Even though Archie was in his twenties, he was so young in spirt and so well in himself and so dug into our daily existence that we secretly believed he would go on forever.
And he didn’t just touch us. Because of his work, because he’d been at HorseBack for so many years, he reached a vast array of human beings. He put smiles on faces that had not smiled in a long time. He helped veterans and schoolchildren and serving men and women. He literally changed lives.
The great horses, the heart horses, leave an indelible imprint on the people who love them. They leave memories of happy days and funny days and unexpectedly glorious days. They leave a sense of gratitude behind them, for all the joy they gave. And they leave that mysterious sense of connection too, the gift of all those precious moments when it feels as if human and horse have become one.
Archie was one of the great ones. We salute him and we thank him, for everything. We will miss him. We hope that he is flying free. … See MoreSee Less
2 days ago
Well, the herd and I are all fine and the grass is now growing, huzzah. This means that my pals and I will be heading up to the big field within the next week. We will send you some video clips of our annual reunion which marks the start of our summer. Exciting times to be all together. I tend to put all the hooligans back in their place about this time of year too. Unfortunately our pattern of life this year may be a little different and we might not see our veterans and course attendees for a while. But as soon as we can we will be back to helping our communities. For the mean time, the sun is shining, the weather is warming up and as you can see I’m with my buddies.
This week I have an interesting fact,
did you know the average mammal takes 21 seconds to empty its bladder?
No one will blame you if you’ve never bothered to time yourself on the toilet. But you may be interested to know that researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that most mammals weighing more than six pounds take 21 seconds to urinate. This is oddly consistent time is due to the fact that the urethra is "appropriately scaled" to be a "flow-enhancing device." And apparently, the perfectly enhanced flow takes 21 seconds to complete. It’s one of the perfect did you know facts to try at home! Obviously they have never seen Peopleton Brooke, our resident race horse legend, doing his thing. 21 seconds or not, it is reminiscent of the shallow stream he is named after and through him I now have an understanding of the phrase “p**sing like a race horse”.
What interesting fact did you learn this week? Let us know in the comments below…
Until next week, stay safe and stay well folks.
Pat the Pony … See MoreSee Less
3 days ago
Physical Fitness With Old Friends.
Good Afternoon Folks,
Carrying on with our planned weekly program on here, every Thursday Jock Hutchison (Charity Co-founder and Former Royal Marines Commando Officer) will be introducing different guests to discuss topics on mental health strategies, mind occupying activities, cathartic pursuits, fitness ideas and wellbeing advice.
Here is Jock to introduce today’s guest who is an old friend of the charity, Andrew Hieghton-Jackson. Andrew worked for a short time at the charity as the Military Liaison Officer and is himself a former British Army Officer having served with the Black Watch in Afghanistan. Andrew is revered within the former military community as well as with his client base as a coach and personal trainer, heading up his own company Rewild Mobility rewildmobility.com. Through Andrew, Rewind Mobility concentrates on functional mobility coaching. The goal being to increase your knowledge of how your body should move, why it is important to move functionally without pain and most importantly to share some great movements and exercises that will help with mobility, balance and strength. Today Andrew is sharing a little video to get you started and over the next few weeks we hope to check in with him so we can all progress with our own mobility, fitness, wellbeing and mental health.
Below is the link to two videos. Choose either that best suits your computer or device.
Please let us know if you found this beneficial to your daily routine. Did it inspire you? Please tell us about it and even what you are doing in the comments box below this post.
How are you coping, what strategies have you devised? Maybe you might like to be a guest on our Thursdays Well-being Posts? Get in touch.
Have a great week to all our HBUK family, friends and supporters.
Stay safe, stay strong, stay tuned,
The HorseBack Team. X
Link to videos:
drive.google.com/open?id=1D4GUz2Ztygv7YoOU7CQXJ98bw5Ifhih1 … See MoreSee Less
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