As long as I remember, my parents had a picture on the sideboard of a little girl on a big mottled horse. In the background was picture of a train on a floating rail. The horse does not seem to impressed as yet another child is lifted on its back. while it is not allowed to move so a photo could be taken.
With the reins loosely in her hand, the little girl sits relaxed on the broad horseback. When the brave horse quietly moves a little, the girl giggles. It seems horse and girl agreed together to tease the photographer a little. In turn he grumbles and walks towards the horse to move it back in its place.
After the photo shoot, the girl was lifted of the horse, much to her disagreement. The family wants to spend some time in the funpark and thank the photographer for taking the picture. After a few meters, the little girl turns around to the horse and waves “Bye horse”
On this day, my fascination with this mighty animal had started. It has taken a few more years before I started to take riding lessons, and spend uncountable hours with horses before I stopped when I was around 18. Years later, during work experience, I came into contact with horses again. As a photographer, I was behind the camera now, filming and interviewing riders during big competitions. By seeing these beautiful horses in the excitement of the game, the smell of leather at the roadside stalls full of things to do with horses, a feeling of regret came over me. I promised myself that I would ever ride again.
On a beautiful spring day I started on Saturday morning, as a stablehand at Manege de Hoefslag. I had not played sports for 10 years and was sick of being breathless after walking up the stairs. This job was an excellent opportunity to be physically active and being among horses. Before long I was on horseback again, the first time was not easy! Had I forgotten what I learned years ago? However, after the 2nd lesson, I got the feeling that I was one with the horse again, instead of just being on horseback!
The picture of the little girl on the mottled horseback is now hanging on the wall at home. Everyday when I wake up and walk downstairs, I see the picture. It reminds me of the pleasure I had with the horse and it motivated me to start riding again. Relaxed with the reins loosely in my hands!
Published in the newsletter of Manege de Hoefslag, April 2015