12 October 2011
Marion Wood recalls childhood summers with her grandfather on his farm at Templehall, Ormiston, where he cared for show horses. ...
What memories your recent article on ‘gentle giants’ (in Scottish Memories) brought flooding back. It took me back to my childhood where, from a very early age to adulthood, I lived with my parents on my grandfather’s farm at Templehall, Ormiston in East Lothian. He was called John Baxter and was a breeder of these beautiful horses.
I loved to go to the stables and watch the men clean and polish the harnesses. There were always seven horses- three pairs and one called the odd horse. Names I remember are Lilly, Missie, Mona and Jimmy. In the fields around the steading it was a joy to see several young horses grazing together on a summer day, especially the mares and their young foals. The highlight of the year was being taken to see the new arrivals shortly after they were born.
When show time came around each year, the show harness was brought from a room in the big house, dusted and polished. The horses were brushed, feet washed and tails combed and dressed for the big day, hoping to be awarded a few tickets, especially red ones, and maybe a trophy to join others on display in grandfather’s cabinet.
I could go on about these beautiful animals, so majestic, gentle and loyal. The photo is of my grandfather’s pride any joy, his beloved stallion ‘the nut’, who walked the roads visiting farms around the Lothians. Born, I believe, the same year as myself – 1927. It was a sad day when he left the farm for the last time. I went with my father to see him at West Barns Farm shortly before his death, old, yet as majestic as ever. I understand the show harness was taken to be kept and displayed at the Royal Highland Show Museum.
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