My Arab Mare


My Arab mare was lame (a stone had worked its way into her foot and caused an infection), so, she was confined to her stable for several days to rest it.  I have, nevertheless, taken her out for short walks around the gardens with the dogs. I always lead her with the rope head collar and long rope to which our wonderful local “horse whispererGary Witheford has converted us.

I have learnt so much from watching Gary work with horses and ponies, from breaking them in to ride, or affirming different behaviour patterns in tricky horses.  I quite often explain negotiations or difficulties in the office through the lessons I have learnt from watching Gary.

Gary sends a young horse around a sand-ring until eventually the horse wants to stop and make friends.  It is about clear leadership and respect. You need that with horses as they are somewhat larger than us and are in fact far stronger. Gary doesn’t use treats (as I do with my dogs) but body language and understanding the horse’s desire to part of the group. He gains their trust and respect.

We have a mixed collection of rescue and young horses here at Highclere Castle, all of whom are learning and the main thing is go more forwards than backwards. When it is going wrong, we stop and go back to Gary’s basic lessons and start again.  The grey Arab mare will without doubt be pleased soon to return to her field as she is bored, missing her friends  and probably tired of listening to the classical music which I prefer to play in the stable.

12 Responses to “My Arab Mare”
  1. Brian McKee says:

    Love the pictures of your Arabian mare. I have owned Arabians most of my life. I hope to visit the U.K., and Highclere Castle, in the next year or two. Thanks for sharing your experience with your Arabian.

  2. Paul McTaggart says:

    I have a feeling I have met her before last summer when she was being brushed such a lovely Animal looked so friendly :o)

  3. Cynthia Mallinak says:

    I had no idea that horses were such social creatures!
    That’s very interesting. I love the stately poses of
    the dogs. Nice photo!

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Thank you, and there in the middle of the photo is Percy too! A nice memory..

  4. Brenda Watson says:

    I so look forward to each post. It keeps us connected to Highclere which in turn allows our thoughts to return to “Downton Abbey”. Being an American doesn’t mean we no longer have a connection to our English roots. In fact since “Downton Abbey” began, it enhanced our longing to return to the land where our ancestors lived, loved and laughed. Like you, we have a house full of doggies and spoil them with treats. It is the right thing to do! 🙂

    Brenda Watson

  5. Jeanne Rife says:

    I love that you include rescued horses. That has only been a daydream of mine. I say “daydream” because I know next to nothing about horses and it’s probably better for them if I don’t. (Also, I live in the suburbs.) Thanks to you and your staff for your open hearts!

  6. Such a lovely story. I love watching horses. I miss Downton Abbey and cannot wait for it’s return. It is nice that you have horses at Highclere Castle. they are good company.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      I have been riding in the sunshine today, it is wonderful way to see the landscape and animals. Looking back horses have always played a part in life here…

  7. Thank-you for sharing the philosophy of your horse trainer. I am interested in the halter/rope combination. We, too,
    have a two year old rescue gelding. I have named him “Silverbridge” after the young Lord in Trollope’s Paliser novels. His everyday name is “Roger” and he may very well have a bit of Arabian in him. He is agile and smart. A palomino with 3 white socks and blaze, I hope to make him a dressage horse. We have used the knotted rope halter of Aussie trainer Clinton Anderson. It has knot pressure points that allow a light touch and response. Would it be similar to your system? If not could you kindly share a link to your halter, please? Thank-you for sharing your brilliant life at Highclere. I am a new follower. Looking forward to more on your home, dogs and horses.

  8. JoEllen W. Pisarcik says:

    Your entries are not only interesting, but they reveal your amazing lifestyle and warm personality. After watching Downton Abbey (and loving it) and having you & Lord Carnarvan graciously allow us a peek inside your beautiful High Clere House, I was thrilled to know that you, your husband and your beautiful children also enjoy the company and joy that pets bring to any household.
    Your Arabian mare is lovely, your dogs are delightful, and to hear that some of the horses and ponies have been rescued is even more remarkable.
    After a career of 35 years as an educator here in America, I was able to rescue two beautiful horses that were scheduled for slaughter the next day. This single action hasbrought much joy to the lives of my husband and me
    ( and to our little dog.)
    So , your presence at High Clere House has brought a truly loving spirit into an already legendary location .
    We wish you and your family good fortune.

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