From my childhood and youth!
Do you remember the wonderful little breed shows we used to have? My childhood and youth summers were spent training horses for the show that took place at the end of the summer. I lived in Denmark, but my parents had bought a summer cottage in Blekinge, where I spent all my breaks. I was always with the farmers who had horses, especially with an old man who had a North Swedish workhorse. They had an association that owned stallions, and he was one of those who took care of one of the association’s stallions. I was allowed to care for and ride his horses, and it was a dream come true for a girl like me. It was a mutual service, as it was an advantage for the old man to have a girl who could and wanted to ride all the horses, whether they were ridden or not 🙂 He taught me everything about presenting horses, and later I was even allowed to show the stallions, which was an enormous privilege. I took the job very seriously; there wasn’t a foot that should be out of place when I showed.
In one picture, you see that I appeared in the newspaper after showing the stallion Kerrim so well that Gösta Bengtsson, who was one of the judges, thought I deserved a prize. It was a book he had written, “Handbok i ridning,” and he signed it for me! Talk about being proud!!! The book was handled as if it were gold, and I still have it 🙂 More people then wanted their horses shown, and I volunteered. There was never any talk of it being too much work. I worked hard and trained, and the results were fantastic. I had been given the task of showing a very beautiful black mare, and I polished her for several hours and had learned the little trick that you could use alcohol on a cloth and wipe the horse with it, making it shiny. The owner came and inspected the horse before it was shown and had a satisfied smile behind the beard and muttered that the flies were slipping on the horse.
At the show in Letesmåla, there were a few Shetlands, some Icelandics, a few Fjords, North Swedish and Ardennes. Then there were a few warmbloods, which were considered incredibly stylish! It was the dream to have one someday. The man who had warmbloods was also known to be a bit “fancier.” He had a large estate in Svängsta, and there was a very fine lineage in his horses. When he saw that the flies were slipping on my North Swedish, he came in and asked me if I could braid horses. If I could… I was like the best in the world at it 🙂 Then I was allowed to braid his mare, and when he saw how nice it turned out, he asked if I could take care of the foal too. I had to hurry so I could show the horses I was supposed to, but the foal got braided, and the mare got the top grade. The owner thought it was my merit because they looked so nice. Then you were about to burst with pride. It was a great honor to be appreciated and needed, and you needed no compensation for it 🙂
It was the big day in Letesmåla, and in the evening, there was a party, and everyone could celebrate a successful day. It was fun and a bit strange actually; I was there year after year, and never was the weather bad on the show day, the weather gods were simply with us every time 🙂