Wonderful news: Rose Spearing of Ebony Horse Club in Brixton clocked up an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. I wrote about Rose’s work in If Wishes Were Horses and was back at the yard this March to see their progress. The stables were built, the ponies installed. The kids who’d taken part in the championships I described in the book were now all at equestrian college getting qualifications. There was a full rosta of lessons packed with children and a lengthy waiting list. Here’s a couple of shots of the ponies in Wyck Gardens, SW9:
When we returned to Brixton in the minibus that evening it was dark as we drove from street to street, dropping off the children. The parks outside the pools thrown by streetlights were dark and sinister, the walkways overhead between the stacked maisonettes shadowy and deserted. I thought of what Rose had said, about how riding took the Brixton children out of their comfort zone and challenged them. How would that change when the ponies came to Wyck Gardens? They would be able to ride every week and to have a favourite pony like the girls at Frossarbo. They could be in the yard every day after school, taking round buckets of feed and water and mucking out, perhaps taking their Pony Club tests and going to gymkhanas. Maybe the Lambeth Show would even revive its old riding classes.
I thought of the reassurance of horses, the earthy smell of pony nuts and leather over traffic fumes, of stables by the railway arches with thick straw beds, carrots from Brixton market, Polos from the corner shop and of ponies grazing in a city park.