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Wonderful Experiences with Hamn!

Wonderful Experiences with Hamn

It was no problem for me to walk a few kilometers when I was at the summer cottage during the holidays in Blekinge. I didn’t get a bike until we had had the summer cottage for a few years, so I had to walk. It didn’t matter; I had the day to myself and was never bored. The forest was my friend, and I was never afraid, not even when it was dark. It was almost never that anyone came on the road, and you could hear cars from a distance, so you could move aside. One day, as I was lost in my thoughts, I got that feeling that someone was watching me. You probably know the feeling when you think someone is behind you, you turn around, and there’s no one there.

I didn’t often get that feeling because, as I said, I felt quite safe. But on this particular day, I turned around a couple of times because I thought there was something, but I saw nothing. The third time I turned and looked, there was a dog walking right behind me, and I got the shock of my life. I screamed, not because I was afraid of the dog, but just because there actually was someone there. The dog was also shocked when I screamed and ran away from me, looking back, reproachful and offended. I tried to call it back, but it had had enough of me and trotted off into the forest again. Probably a hunting dog out with its owner.

I usually went to Bertil in Slätten after I had seen his horses and knew I was welcome. Bertil took me everywhere when he went out with the horse. I learned everything about driving in the forest, harvesting hay, and spreading manure. He also sometimes drove to neighboring farms if he had business there. He drove the horse more often than he drove his car.

After I had been with Bertil for a while and he saw that I could ride, I was also allowed to ride Hamn. Hamn was wonderful to ride, and I enjoyed every minute.

One day, my parents asked if Bertil would like to come over for coffee, and he didn’t say no and naturally came driving with Hamn, so he could allow himself a little drink if offered. He unhitched Hamn when he arrived, and the arrangement was that I would watch Hamn while Bertil had coffee.

Now it happened that the good Lord took no account of Bertil wanting to have coffee, so it started to rain while I was standing there watching Hamn. What do you do then? I’ve never been one to hesitate between thought and action, so I led Hamn into the basement and tied him to a door handle. I also didn’t like the idea of the adults having coffee without me, so I went up to join them in the house.

Bertil jumped up from his chair when he saw me and wondered what I had done with Hamn. I told him that he was standing dry and fine in the basement, so there was no problem 🙂 Bertil couldn’t help but laugh when he saw that Hamn was standing calmly and patiently waiting for us, but he thought we shouldn’t tempt fate, so he took Hamn out again.

By then, the rain had also stopped, so we didn’t get wet as we drove back to Bertil’s place again.

Here we are hitching Hamn again after coffee and a brief stay in the basement. Circa 1970.

Hamn a North Swedish Stallion.

Hamn

My longing for horses was enormous when I was a child, and I explored every nook where there might be a horse when I was at the summer cottage in Blekinge. Our cottage was 3 km from the paved road, and when driving on the public gravel road, you had to turn onto an even smaller gravel road and drive about 300 meters to get to the cottage. So when I went on one of my exploration trips, I could either go left or right when I reached the mailbox by the “larger gravel road.”

If I went left, after a few kilometers, I would reach a sawmill that was completely dilapidated. You wouldn’t believe that anyone used it, but the owner, Henry, actually did. Henry seemed odd to me, even though he always greeted kindly when you walked by. Today, I think he was probably shy. He always looked down at the ground, and he had one tooth in his lower jaw that was the only thing you saw when he talked. Henry also had a horse, but I didn’t dare talk to him, and the horse always stood a long way from the road, so I never got to know it well. However, it looked well cared for and fine. After the sawmill, you would reach Henry’s house where he lived with his sister. It was neglected too, but not as badly as the sawmill. You could see that it had once been a nice place and had even been a general store at one time. People said that the entire store was intact when it was sold many years later after the two had passed away, with all the jars and glasses, the counter, and everything.

After that, you would come to a giant hill down into a valley and then an enormous uphill, called Slätten. I never thought it was “flat” there, a bit strange with the name. After you had climbed the long hill, there was a small house with a very nice garden, well-kept and orderly. Further up on a hill was the stable that belonged to it.

I had walked by there several times, but there had never been anyone on the farm when I went by, but one day I got lucky! A little old man who was almost a head shorter than me, even though I wasn’t that old, lively and cheerful with sparkling eyes and a cap. He greeted me, and I told him who I was, and he had already heard about me that I had been with Sven and Signe and loved horses. I pointed to the stable and shyly asked if he had a horse in there, because I had heard a neigh once when I passed by. He did and said, “Come, I’ll show you!”

What awaited me in the stable was something I could never have dreamed of. It was like a fairy tale! In the stall stood a large coal-black North Swedish stallion with a wavy mane almost all the way down to his knees. I had never seen anything so beautiful, it was Hamn. His forelock was so big that you could barely see his head, but you could glimpse bright and curious eyes underneath it.

This stallion turned out to be not only beautiful but also fantastically nice both to drive and ride, and you can probably understand that it wasn’t the last time I visited Bertil. It also became a lifelong friendship with the horses in focus.

In the picture, it’s Bertil Hansson with Hamn in 1970.

Experiences are worth their weight in gold!

Steeplechase

I live by the belief that you only live once, and if you get a chance to experience something fun or exciting, you should do it. This mindset has given me many experiences that I can now entertain you with. 🙂

When I had my wonderful horse Markant and used him for a bit of everything, I was asked if I would consider participating in a steeplechase. I had to think for a while before I said yes, because Markant was not exactly like a thoroughbred—he was 173 cm tall and not the fastest in his movement. I concluded that someone has to come last, and at least I would have participated.

My horse was in excellent condition, as I used to ride hunts and train in various ways, so it wouldn’t be a struggle for him. It was similar to a hunt, just a bit faster. 🙂

There were beautiful jumps, and Markant was a gem when it came to jumping, so the first part wasn’t too difficult and was actually quite fun. The finishing stretch was set on a very long, steep uphill, which was a smart idea since it meant the pace wasn’t too fast. At the top of the hill stood the judges, positioned in the middle of the wide path. Everyone was riding as hard as they could, and I didn’t push too much because I knew I had no chance against the much faster horses. As expected, I wasn’t dead last but close, and I overheard the judge shouting that no one had crossed the finish line because they had all gone the wrong way, following the leaders.

Since I was in the rear, I had time to steer Markant back and over the finish line, and thus I came in second. 🙂 I think there were 16 participants.

When I went to accept the prize, it felt a bit off—it was kind of cheating. But on the other hand, I had completed the entire race, not knocked down any jumps, and stayed in it all the way. I chose to be happy for my prize; no one would benefit from me being ashamed, so it was a fantastic day. The ones who should have won took it really well, and we all had a good laugh. We were all there to have fun, and it was a fantastic stepplechase and a pleasure to ride!

That’s me in the blue shirt heading up the final hill!

Back in the good old days.

Dolan

When I was 8 years old, my parents bought a summer cottage in Blekinge in Brännarebygden. As Danes, we translated this to “Brännvinsbyn” (Brandy Village) and had a bit of fun with it. It was a small cottage about 3 km from the paved road, situated all by itself. There were 3 acres of land, and we were completely bewildered that the previous owners had lived there for many years and had survived on what they grew in the rocky soil. The old man had occasionally had some extra work in the quarry a couple of kilometers away. There was electricity and a telephone, but we had to fetch water from a spring about 100 meters from the house.

I was a bit upset because there was no stable, unlike the place we had looked at before, and I wanted space for the pony my father had once mentioned I might be able to have. My parents were from Copenhagen and barely knew what a horse was; they probably thought it couldn’t be harder than buying a rabbit for the kid!

However, I soon fell in love with the place, where you could go down and fish not far from the house, and I loved the big rocks you could climb on. It was then and there that I decided that as soon as I grew up, I would move to Sweden.

But what could one do after fishing in the morning, when Mom refused to fry the small fish I had caught? Well, you could walk down to the farms you had seen along the gravel road on the way to the house. Surely they must have cats if they lived like that 🙂

At the first farm, no one was home, but I had time on my side and went to the next one. I knocked on the door and asked if I could give their cat some fish if they had a cat. They did! They also had a dog, cows, pigs, and a horse!

The man, named Sven, immediately noticed my great interest and showed me around the farm. He was so incredibly kind to me, and it turned out that his children were grown and had moved to the city and were not interested in inheriting the farm, but here was someone who soaked up everything. We became very good friends, and their cats got plenty of fish, and I started taking walks with the dog, who otherwise didn’t get much exercise between hunts. I mucked out the cows’ stalls and helped as much as I could. To my great delight, he thought I should get to ride the horse, but Dolan, as the horse was called, thought otherwise.

I think she had some hormonal issues; she was what they called back then a “pissemärr” who whinnied and jumped when you did something she didn’t like. Sven had never ridden her, but she had been driven a lot. Imagine my surprise when Sven just grabbed her mane, swung his leg over her (she wasn’t small), and rode off with her. He rode her back and forth a bit and concluded that now she was broken in! Then I was lifted up, and yes, it went well.

Now he couldn’t get rid of me. Imagine having a horse you could ride. I was there every day during the entire summer vacation, helping as much as I could in exchange for a little ride.

He told me that Dolan had always been “special” with her temperament, but her mother had been the best horse he ever had. She was a real trooper; he loved that horse. He made the mistake of lending her to a neighbor once, he told me, and the neighbor had driven her so hard that she became sweaty. This was in winter, and he just let her stand in the cold, so she got laminitis and was never the same again. Poor Sven had tears in his eyes when he talked about her.

Since I was there all day, I was also invited for coffee and sometimes dinner. I couldn’t go there and starve, thought Signe. Never had I had such food. It was homemade stone oven bread with freshly churned butter, fresh strawberries from the garden, and milk straight from the cow. Even though I was a child, I felt an enormous difference when the food came straight from the source, and I enjoyed it immensely.

I hope and believe I gave something to Sven and Signe back then; they certainly gave something wonderful to me. It was an enormous sorrow when Sven died a few years later of lung cancer, probably from the hard work and the dust in the quarry. I will never forget him; he taught me a lot about the forest and the animals, and he also taught me how to milk!

In the picture, Dolan and I, with a borrowed military saddle, are riding home to visit my parents, who were standing on the steps, terrified.

A little funny chestnut!

A little funny chestnut!

Now I have told you about some of my great experiences and there are so many more, but today I thought I would write a little everyday story that perhaps several have experienced or something similar. It is the everyday life that should be fun, and it is what we have horses for, to experience things.

I had recently moved away from home and this was my first place that I rented and worked as a saddlemaker. It wasn’t exactly a place one would choose as a self-employed person. It was out in the woods 9 km from the nearest town, which was only a small village. I couldn’t afford much, so the place only had an outhouse and I had to fetch water from the well. There was no sewage either, so it was a big job when, for example, washing hair in the winter.

I had a small stable where we built 3 boxes. I had a couple of paddocks but not much pasture as they were rocky paddocks with trees. The only positive thing was that I had miles of forest trails to ride on without having to encounter traffic when I rode 🙂

Since it was far to people, I didn’t have many customers, but I drove a round to the riding school a few miles away once a week and picked up what needed to be repaired, both from the riding school and private individuals, so in that way, I got some work.

My good friend who was on sick leave wanted to help me make some extra money, so he had a friend who was a breeder and had some difficulty selling his horses. He had 2 chestnut stallions aged 4 and 5 that they hadn’t done anything with. They had good pedigrees and were handsome, so it probably wouldn’t be difficult to get rid of them with a little training.

We agreed on a price that I would pay when I sold them for him, so they came home with me. I also had my stallion Mackay then, but he was barely 3, so it was eagerly awaited to have someone to ride on. Training and riding them in was a chapter in itself, as I didn’t have a riding arena and could barely ride in the paddock because of all the rocks and trees, but somehow it worked. Of course, they were gelded, so it was easier to sell them. The 4-year-old was a “no brainer”, he was easy to ride, but the 5-year-old was good at bucking. I guess he had mild discomfort, but such things weren’t counted then, it was just to sit tight until he stopped 🙂 I was pretty good at staying on, so he never managed to get me off and calmed down afterwards. I was always prepared and as I said, it got better over time. The young one was sold quite quickly but I had the 5-year-old for a little longer.

My biggest problem when I was going to sell him was that everyone wanted to buy my own stallion, as he was incredibly beautiful, but he wasn’t for sale. However, it went very well to ride him eventually, and I had many nice forest rides on him. I started to relax and could ride with loose reins and enjoy. But… one beautiful day when I trusted him too much, I walked with too loose reins, then he started his “bucking series” out of nowhere and finally managed to get me off. I will never forget the look in his eyes when he turned and looked at me, where I sat in the grass, as if to say: there, I got you! I couldn’t help but laugh, and he kindly let me get up again, and he never bucked with me again. He was eventually sold, and I never received any complaints, so he probably behaved himself 🙂 It wasn’t so easy to live there in the woods all alone, but you got to know the horses in a completely different way when you only have them and nature. I lived there for 1.5 years, and I learned to appreciate running water and a toilet that I got when I moved. Everyone should live like that for a while so they can appreciate things.

SONY DSC

Hunting on horse!

Fox hunting.

Well, I was born and raised in Denmark, even though I spent all my hollidays in Sweden. I had a couple of horses and tried out a few things with them. Among other things, I had been to Dyrehaven in Klampenborg and watched the annual big Hubertus hunt on TV every year, with the royals out watching. I was there as a spectator first on foot, and then we were also there on horseback, admiring those riding the hunt and pretending it was us. It looked incredibly fun and immensely exciting, and being naturally curious, I promised myself that I would participate in it someday.

When I bought Markant, whom I renamed (he was named Fleur, which I thought sounded like a little pony mare), he was 173 cm and definitely not a small pony. I bought him cheaply because the girl who had him was afraid of him, so to test if there was any truth to him being dangerous, I rode him bareback in the forest 🙂 He protested a little, but we quickly became friends, and he was a wonderful horse. He didn’t mind jumping, and I brought up the idea of participating in the Hubertus hunt.

To be able to participate in the actual Hubertus hunt, you had to complete at least 6 hunts and a fox-tail hunt, which meant you had to have jumped all the jumps. It started with a winter hunt and a spring hunt, and then the jumps became bigger and more challenging. I rode hunts every Sunday, and during the week, I trained him in dressage, rode out, and drove (of course, I also trained him to drive) so he had varied and enjoyable training.

I managed to complete the 6 hunts and then was to join the fox-tail hunt. In these hunts before, there is no winner, but it’s a pleasant hunt together, and sometimes you have lunch with the others, etc. In the fox-tail hunt, there were 2 riders carrying a fox tail on their shoulders, and the goal was to catch them when the hunt was over. I just missed grabbing the fox tail when the rider threw himself to the side. I was very disappointed that I didn’t get it, but oh well, it was super fun.

In the evening, there was dinner with everyone who had been on the hunt at a nice restaurant, and it turned out that those who had taken the fox tails were to give a schnapps to everyone at the dinner, and there were at least 70 people. At that moment, I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked my lucky stars that I hadn’t taken the tail 🙂

The big day had come, and I was to participate in the Hubertus hunt. It would be an understatement to say that I was nervous. Thousands of people in Dyrehaven, TV was there, royals were there. My biggest goal was to survive Magasindammen, where the TV always stood ready to film those who fell off into the water. Markant wasn’t afraid of the water, but you never know, he could slip or jump wrong, because there were obstacles in front of him.

Before Magasindammen, you come out onto a large plain “Erimitagen” where you can see the plain, Magasindammen, and Erimitage Castle. I’ll never forget the sight when I came out onto the plain, seeing all these riders in red jackets in a line towards the castle, and the first ones had started jumping into Magasindammen. Then you heard a murmur in the crowd, and you knew that the first one had gotten properly wet, and it turned out that one of the “foxes” riding first had fallen off his horse into the pond! TV got its good footage 🙂 I made it, and I remember galloping past all those people watching, the joy I felt.

Since then, I have ridden many Hubertus hunts in Sweden, but since they only have this one hunt a year there, it’s not the same. When you’ve ridden hunts with the same people many times, you get to know them and their horses, and you have a fantastic time.

It’s something I miss from Denmark.

On the picture, it’s me and Markant.”

Min Soulmate!


Min Soulmate!

Når man taler med folk, der har haft heste i mange år og mange heste, har de altid en, de husker, en der føltes som ens sjæleven. For mig var det Mackay. Jeg har ofte tænkt på at skrive en bog om ham, men det skete aldrig. Nu er tiden måske kommet, med AI og det hele 🙂 Fordi han virkelig er en hest, der er værd at huske, ikke kun for mig selv, men også for alle dem, der har haft afkom efter ham. Han blev født i 1979, og jeg købte ham i 1980. Jeg havde drømt om sådan en hest, siden jeg var lille, og jeg havde haft nogle heste, før jeg fandt ham. Han var efter Pegasus-Elektron og havde den vidunderlige gyldne farve, som jeg har avlet i hele mit liv 🙂 I dag vil jeg ikke skrive så meget om ham personligt, men at have en sjæleven i en hest er en oplevelse, jeg håber, alle kan få lov til at opleve. Det har intet at gøre med, hvor meget I opnår sammen, men at I forstår hinanden og har det sjovt sammen. Det forstod jeg ikke engang selv på det tidspunkt, hvilket resulterede i, at jeg solgte ham, da han var 11, men heldigvis fik jeg lov at købe ham tilbage 1,5 år senere, og det er lidt af det, jeg vil tale om i dag.

Heste købes og sælges, og jeg har selv været i branchen. Det er en stor ting at eje en hest, og nogle har ikke tålmodigheden til at træne og tage sig tid til at få en god hest. For det vi kalder en god hest, er en hest, der forstår dig, som du kan føle dig tryg ved, og som I kan udvikle jer sammen med.

Jeg havde det sjovt med min Mackay. Han var med mig på High Chaparral og lærte ikke at være bange for noget. Jeg trænede ham, jeg red ham på jagter, i dressur, i springning og meget mere, fordi han også var vant til trafik.

Så indså jeg, at jeg måtte være god til noget; jeg kunne ikke bare blive ved med at lege…. Jeg måtte præstere, for det var det, så mange havde fortalt mig. Jeg nød at ride dressur, og Mackay nød det også, indtil han skulle ind på banen alene. Han var en hingst og meget hingstig, så han kunne ikke tåle at efterlade alle de dejlige hopper, når det var konkurrencetid. Så længe jeg var i opvarmningsområdet, gik det fint 🙂 Jeg ville heller ikke kastrere ham, fordi han havde så flotte afkom, og jeg vidste ikke, hvordan han ville være som vallak. Alle sagde til mig, at jeg skulle kastrere ham eller købe en anden hest, fordi han aldrig ville blive god som dressurhest.

Når man er ung, har man ambitioner, især når man hele tiden bliver mindet om det, så jeg købte en dressurhest. Jeg overbeviste mig selv om, at Mackay følte sig forsømt, fordi jeg ikke havde så meget tid til ham længere, så jeg solgte ham.

Jeg fokuserede på dressur og lærte meget, men der var lidt konflikt inden i mig, da jeg snart skulle ind i de klasser, hvor man skulle bruge kandar. Jeg syntes, det var forfærdeligt at putte så meget i hestens mund, og det sjove forsvandt. Jeg syntes også, at alt begyndte at blive kedeligt, når man bare skulle sidde og finpudse alle øvelserne, træne og kun tænke på at komme til konkurrencen.

Min nye hest var talentfuld og flot, men det var ikke en hest, jeg kendte helt ind og ud, og han havde sine egne meninger. Det var mit eget valg, men påvirket af mange, og jeg indså, at det, jeg havde gjort, ikke stemte overens med mit hjerte.

Som sagt fik jeg lov til at købe Mackay tilbage, og han blev hos mig indtil sin død som 28-årig.

I dag hjælper jeg andre med at genfinde deres hjerte og forstå deres hest og have det sjovt med den. Jeg tror, det er der, det kan gå galt. Du stiller for mange krav til dig selv, du vil gerne vise, hvor god du er, når du har redet i nogle år, og du glemmer at have det sjovt. Alt skal være så alvorligt, så du bliver stiv, sur og stresset. Lyt til din hest, hav det sjovt med den, og lær den at kende ind og ud, så kan I stole på hinanden, og så kan den måske blive din sjæleven 🙂

A horse as a soulmate!

My Soul Mate!

When talking to people who have had horses for many years and many horses, they always have one they remember, one that felt like their soul mate. For me, it was Mackay. I’ve often thought about writing a book about him, but it never happened. Now maybe the time has come, with AI and all 🙂 Because he truly is a horse worth remembering, not just for myself but also for all those who have had offspring after him. He was born in 1979, and I bought him in 1980. I had dreamed of such a horse since I was little and I had owned a few horses before I found him. He was by Pegasus-Elektron and had that wonderful golden color that I’ve bred for a whole lifetime 🙂 Today, I don’t want to write much about him personally, but having a soul mate in a horse is an experience I hope everyone can have the opportunity to experience. It has nothing to do with how much you achieve together, but that you understand each other and have fun together. I didn’t even understand that myself at the time, which resulted in me selling him when he was 11, but luckily, I got to buy him back 1.5 years later, and that’s a bit of what I want to talk about today. Horses are bought and sold, and I’ve been in the industry myself. It’s a big deal to own a horse, and some don’t have the patience needed to train and take the time to get a good horse. Because what we call a good horse is a horse that understands you, that you can feel safe with, and that you can develop together. I had fun with my Mackay. He was with me at High Chaparral and learned not to be afraid of anything. I trained him, I rode him in hunts, dressage, jumping, and much more because he was also used to traffic. Then I realized that I had to be good at something; I couldn’t just keep fooling around. I had to perform because that’s what so many had told me. I enjoyed riding dressage, and Mackay enjoyed it too, until he had to go into the arena alone. He was a stallion, and very stallion-like, so he couldn’t stand leaving all the lovely mares when it was competition time. As long as I was in the warm-up area, everything was fine 🙂 I didn’t want to castrate him either because he had such nice offspring, and I didn’t know how he would be as a gelding. Everyone told me to castrate him or buy another horse because he would never be good as a dressage horse. When you’re young, you have ambitions, especially when reminded all the time, so I bought a dressage horse. I convinced myself that Mackay felt neglected because I didn’t have as much time for him anymore, so I sold him. I focused on dressage and learned a lot, but there was a bit of conflict within me when I was soon to enter the classes where you had to use a double bridle. I thought it was awful to put so much in the horse’s mouth, and the fun disappeared. I also thought everything was getting boring when you had to sit and refine all the exercises, train, and just think about getting to the competition. My new horse was talented and nice, but it wasn’t a horse that I knew inside out, and he had his own opinions. It was my own choice but influenced by many, and I realized that what I had done didn’t align with my heart. As I said, I was allowed to buy back Mackay, and he stayed with me until his death at 28 years old. Today, I help others reconnect with their hearts and understand their horse and have fun with it. I think that’s where it can go wrong. You put too many demands on yourself, you want to show how good you are when you’ve been riding for a few years, and you forget to have fun. Everything has to be so serious, so you become stiff, sour, and stressed. Listen to your horse, have fun with it, and get to know it inside and out, then you can trust each other, and then maybe it can become your soul mate 🙂

The Horses´s GPS.

The Horse’s GPS.

The horse always finds its way home! Well, that’s partially true 🙂 I have personally observed that when you’re out in the woods far from home, you just need to give the horse loose reins, and it will find its way back. There have been numerous attempts and research into this over the years, so there must be some truth to it. However, I wonder how this GPS works? Because it’s certain that if a horse has broken through a fence and you try to get it back the same way, it never finds it! I’ve experienced several times that my horses (mostly young ones) have escaped from the pasture and gone for a run. One can understand that to some extent, as there’s always greener grass on the other side. However, it never takes long before they want to come back, as it’s actually quite dangerous on the other side, and sometimes there are a couple of horses that have refused to leave the safety of the pasture and have chosen to stay. If you’re really “lucky,” they’ll run back into the pasture, but through a different spot than where they got out, and rush straight through the fence again. I’ve never experienced them going back to the spot where there was a hole and going back in there. It’s never worked for me, even though I’ve tried enticing them with various things to get them back the same way; they are completely oblivious. Horses also have a fantastic sense for freshly sown areas and beautiful flower beds! There’s nothing better than exploring such delicate places, and the owner gets lovely hoof prints to remember the best horse, who just thought it was helping 🙂 Even more fun when it’s the neighbor’s flower beds. The strange thing about this GPS is that it works very well in one direction. If there’s a gap in the fence or a moose has gone through and cleared the path, the horses always find it. I’ll never forget one time many years ago; we had spent the whole day fixing fences, everything was in tip-top shape, and we let our mares out into a wonderful pasture. There was deer fencing around most of it, so we were completely confident they’d stay in there. However, we had forgotten a small gate deep in the woods where the horses never usually went, but it didn’t take long for them to discover our mistake. We had our anniversary the next day and had planned to have a picnic in the woods and enjoy a cozy day. At 6 in the morning, the neighbor called to say the horses were passing by their yard. So, it was time to go look for them. Our cozy day had suddenly disappeared. I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences; one could probably write a whole book 🙂 I’ve never found joy in putting up or repairing fences, and we’ve always had huge pastures, so it was almost a full-time job, and if you ask the horses, they’d probably say it was unnecessary to have fences 🙂

Always Curios!

One of my experiences… yes, now I’m writing about myself again, but it seems like my memories also evoke memories in others, so here it goes:

Yes, curiosity has been my greatest asset, so I’ve done a lot in my life. I’m extremely grateful for having been able to experience all the things I have, but sometimes it has also required me to go quite far out of my comfort zone. My husband often says that I have ADHD, and he might be close to the truth 🙂

In 1978, I was 20 years old and hadn’t yet obtained my driver’s license. I wasn’t much into cars and thought I managed perfectly fine without one, so it was somewhat of a principle thing. It was probably mostly because my boyfriend insisted on teaching me to drive (everyone was supposed to have a driver’s license), and I managed to make his Lada jump in place after releasing the clutch a bit too early. It took a while before we managed to stop it because we were laughing so much that we couldn’t concentrate on turning off the car. I have this thing that when I’ve said I’ll accomplish something, I will, and so it was easier to say that I didn’t need a driver’s license.

However, I had to change my decision when I received an offer… If I could get my driver’s license and drive a guy to Hungary to watch the World Championships in four-in-hand driving, I would get the trip. He even offered to practice driving with me so it would be quick. With a purpose and such a fantastic offer, it wasn’t that difficult for me. I passed both the theory and driving test on the first attempt. Then I could actually pat myself on the back as I took my driving test right in the middle of Copenhagen 🙂

We drove in a Volvo 142, which was very “in” at that time. The Amazon was old-fashioned, so it was a real luxury ride 🙂 I drove almost 140 km on the German autobahn with my six-week-old driver’s license. This was before the fall of the Berlin Wall, so we saw the high fences at the borders and drove past Austria to avoid going through East Germany. It wasn’t much better at the Hungarian border, where they carried machine guns and checked all cars. You also needed a visa to enter the country. I often think about how different it is today and that the EU has actually done something good in its time.

It was worse when we arrived in Budapest with three lanes in each lane and a multitude of one-way streets. We saw one of the bridges three times from each direction before finding the way to the hotel. Believe it or not, there was no GPS. You had a map that you unfolded in the car so you couldn’t look out sometimes, and that’s how we made it to the hotel.

The event with the four-in-hand driving took place outside a town called Kecskemét. It was about 50 km from the hotel in Budapest, so we drove there every day and didn’t miss a second 🙂 It was an absolutely fantastic show and well worth all the effort. Watching the Hungarian folk dancers, the demonstration of Hungarian post, driving with all the different teams. Hungarians are incredibly skilled drivers, and they often use Lipizzaner horses, which are fast and easy to train.

Of course, we also watched the arrival and could talk to some people, which we did. You have to seize the opportunity, and you know, curious me 🙂 This led Christer Pålsson, who represented Sweden, to hear that we had driven all the way from Sweden to experience this, so we were allowed to sit in his carriage. In the picture, I’m wearing a white shirt, and we even got to go for a ride! It was the first time I sat in a carriage with four horses in front. I also petted Prince Charles’ horses and said hello to him. They were huge, not under 180, it was incredibly impressive.

I really liked Hungary back then, even though those who lived here probably didn’t have it so good, but as I said, it’s completely different today. We made it back home again, as you can see I’m still alive, and I’ve made the trip many times since then. Nowadays, I live in Hungary, and perhaps it was my first visit here that made an impression on me. Who knows?