"Next to a beautiful looking woman that makeup cannot enhance, an old person with a character face that is lived in, an innocent child happily at play or a dog running freely on the moors, there is nothing I love looking at more than wonderful horses prancing in gay abandon.
Being born in the Chinese year of the Horse gives me a natural affinity to this magnificent creature. It is difficult to explain the love of a horse; it must be felt. All I can say is that being in heaven cannot feel much different to being on the back of a horse. It might sound strange, but when I was in Canada in my early twenties, I would frequently talk to a horse friend of mine that I passed daily. I never rode this particular horse, but like a child with its favourite doll, I knew that whatever I told the horse, it would never break my confidence by telling another. Believe this old man when I say that talking is very therapeutic, even to a horse!
In my teens and until my 50s, I would ride horses whenever the opportunity arose. Having one leg shorter than the other meant that I needed to fasten each stirrup at different depths so as not to lose my balance and fall off; which I often did. Perhaps the one thing in life I probably wanted to own, but never did was my own horse. I have never felt so free as from the saddle of a trusty steed, feeling the wind brush by my face as I loosened the reins and galloped across green fields. Then after incurring two knee and one hip replacement, it was no longer considered safe for me to ride, so I hung up my saddle so to speak and haven't ridden for almost twenty years.
Today, I enter hospital for my three-weekly blood transfusion and whilst there, I shall listen to a story about a horse that I once wrote for children and which was recorded, accompanied by music, for radio transmission many years ago. It is called, 'Midnight Fighter' and it can be freely downloaded from my website. Like myself in early childhood, the real 'Midnight Fighter' who was born on a farm in Mirfield, faced being unable to walk after its birth, along with the prospects of dying as a foal. I often listen to this recording, especially when I am likely to think upon my own mortality.
I recall as a child that the first time I fell off my bike and grazed my knees badly, I cried. The first time I fell from the saddle of a horse however, I got back on it! Horse riding provided me with the experience of getting back up and back in the saddle if ever I fell down. I love my wife, I love my children, my family, my dog and my life. All are of themselves most precious to me and beautiful to behold, but I must confess that I sometimes think that if God ever created anything more beautiful than a horse, he kept it for himself!" William Forde: August 5th, 2015. http://www.fordefables.co.uk/midnight-fighter.html