It is all very Highclere
Gales and rough weather have battered Highclere this week, cedar trees have lost limbs but it is nothing like the desperate situation in Lebanon with refugees facing freezing conditions, sheltering in cedar forests without the solid walls that Highclere’s stone face affords us. The instability and unhappiness in this crowded area have probably helped spark the tragedy in France.
To distract ourselves from leaky tiles, cascading guttering and wobbly walls we went to watch a young horse, a two year old filly, being broken in. We always ask Gary Witheford, an English horse whisperer, who is near Highclere, to help. His way of asking the horse to listen and work with you, accepting you as their leader is fascinating to watch and seems such a kind way to begin the working life of any horse.
I have taken lessons from him to understand how to help correct something before it goes completely wrong and take a horse back to the beginning again. Gary began to build his profile here at Highclere 15 years ago, with his Spanish Andalucían stallion, Brujo, and a rather unique Arab mare of mine. Now he works with many extraordinary racehorses, such as Sea the Stars, a Derby winner, and is renowned for his experience.
At 2:00pm the filly Ambuscade had never been bridled or ridden, by 2.30pm she was cantering in a circle, listening and then the rider actually stood up on her back. She did not move.
It was a great interlude in the week before we turned back to other challenges. John Gundill our General Manager reported that luckily someone had notice some shutters had blown open on the top floor. The rain was coming in and had soaked the carpet but hopefully nothing else. I do not know why they had opened and suggested as joke it was probably a ghost lifting the shutter bar to have a look out. John replied that he wished they would close the shutters when they have finished looking out.
It is all very Highclere.
It’s really lovely to read your blog and hear little snippets about life at Highclere. It must be a tremendous task, and privilege, to care for the castle and estate.
This made me smile. I always think of things at Highclere as perfect. I guess that no matter what size of house one lives in, there’s always something! Your story about the filly was very interesting. I have a friend who rides in competitions. I would wish every horse to be “broken” this way. I think they would have to change that word. This way, a humane way, needs a new description.
I, too, always think of Highclere as perfect. I’m curious as to how open shutters caused water to come inside. Why doesn’t the window itself keep the rain out?
I think the words Gary would use are joining up – you are right much kinder words!
Hello Marilyn and Jean – Jean your reply is below by Marilyn’s comment – I am so sorry yet more imperfection! –
And Marilyn the shutters have a big heavy bar to close the windows inside that are on latches which in a gale are insufficient. So every morning the shutters are opened and every evening closed. The ones on the top floor are left shut in bad weather for safety! Theoretically.
First time writing you, Lady Carnarvon. I very much appreciate your opening of you home to all of us to enjoy the grandure you enjoy daily. I wish you plenty of cash to assist you in keeping your home for many generations These homes just are history. I have so enjoyed the series and the architecture of your home. All the best to you, Judy
Thanks again for another great article about life “at home” in Highclere. Like my very modest home there is always something to mend.
In America, we hear about recent tragedies from all over the world. One can’t imagine how life can be tranquil one minute then something tragic happens that changes our lives forever . Maybe we need a “Peace whisperer “to bring calm and peace to the world.
How exciting and a challenge to break in a new horse I’m sure its going to fun sorry about the rain getting in and leaving a bit of a mess sometimes its an issue around here as well may I ask how old is Highclere Castle? I would love to read the history of Highclere Bless u all
I love history! So the oldest records of a building here date to the 8th century. The latest version was clad on top of an earlier Georgian building and the transformation begun in 1842. There are the remains of many earlier houses and palaces within the walls. we have just found some medieval timbers….
Thanks for sharing this, and for the story about the shutters. I guess several of us were intrigued about those! When I was there, I was so eager to see the interior, I didn’t spend much time looking at the exterior. Next time!
so enjoy reading about your home and lifestyle. Love the horse story and related to the ghost opening the window. That is the only explanation for the leak in my extra bedroom.
Do you know the same shutter was opened today – presumably the same ghost
I’m a new visitor, or reader, and I loved that ghost story…. Whoooo!
thank you you have a lovely way of conversing showing a concern for the nonhuman and more than human a consideration of dynamic context being in the world for me is often my everyday life as a medium shot
a few pans and tracks here mise en scène my hand on the zoom lens of my thoughts and feelings focussing in on details moving outward for various contexts montaging but it is not just about things being ‘in’ focus it is also about what we can learn from our peripheral vision peripheral thinking and feeling all is not clear despite the constant din of teachers saying you must write speak think clearly uphome in st’at’imc territory the muddy waters are not great for fishing with a line but bottom feeders can be caught walking barefoot or using a net (reminding me of the current reynolds film no-one wants to take impressionism and clarify the clouds that are emotive)
our stories intersect not just of humans but of creation all is spirit yes as you aptly note the paris business was is not just about one person hating others nor was it just about the positivist notion of terrorism nor just about ideology it was is much more complex we are all in the relational web of being the past present future flow into one another my language didn’t have a past tense or future tense before the white man came the linguists
maintenance is key like your home we all need it not just physically but emotionally spiritually we are all shadows of other dimensionalities not just mathematical ones
oops not reynolds but turner
Dear Lady Carnarvan
Nice to see a young horse being brought on properly. It’s much nicer to ask a horse to do something than to force them. After many years of riding I have had the experience of both. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being one with your mount. If this mare is going to be yours I hope you have many hours of pleasant riding.
As always thanks for the blog
Love hearing about all the exciting things around your beautiful home. Makes my husband and I wish we were in your beautiful country. Look forward to hearing more interesting events. Tennessee was a warm 59 degrees today, getting out in the sunshine made for a wonderful day. Sending sunshine your way.
Dear Lady Carnarvan
I’m delighted to see you are using the horse whisper approach, with your horses.
I’m fascinated by your mount the newly broken in filly, you have brought her up well with the horse whisperer “method” of horsemanship. Such a joy to see her unafraid and enjoying her training…and letting you stand on her back so early on.
Just recently I have begun my journey with natural horsemanship and a Parelli Professional, and oh what joy it is!
You mentioned earlier that you are their leader and communication and confidence grows through trust, it is so beautiful and inspiring each day is a joy. Horses are truly amazing the more you get to know them and they know more about you.
I wish you all the joys that come with your horses.
We have a group that gathers each Sunday evening here in south Alabama to savor every moment of Downton Abbey. Your blog is a wonderful adjunct to Downton Abbey! Your blog is gorgeous, and you are a gifted writer. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your book, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey. Keep the updates on Highclere coming!
I would love to hear more about the horse trainer, and your horses. I recently helped to capture two yearling Arab fillies who had gotten out of their barn… and were loose very near a busy street. They had NEVER been halter-broken, even, and the man spoke of shooting them before they could cause a wreck. We were at last able to corner them but I wondered why on earth he hadn’t taken time to work with them. They were both lovely girls. I have wanted to stop by his barn to see what has happened with them since! I’m glad your trainer is so sensible!
Gary and his son Craig are delightful and I am lucky to be bale to send my horses to them!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
A quick note before we settle down to dine before an episode of Downton Abbey. So it is serendipitous that I should read your post just now.
How gracious of you to comment on the storms brewing in Europe (and America), and to share your compassion with your readers. I wish unrest could be tamed as easily as your horse. May we all be attentive to whispers of peace and hope midst devasation. Your blog brings beauty and joy. Please keep writing!
PS I have your first and second book now. Can’t wait!
What a delight to read your blog! Thank-you
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Greetings from New Zealand agian
I hope this missive finds you well….given the weather you have been having lately. It all sounds quite wild and elemental up there at Highclere Castle.
Its sounds like the weather has been very rough.
Mind you at Highclear, the “fortress”walls of the castle would offer some peace from the high winds and other such things as cascading guttering…
I wonder what its like to be in those solid walls? Perhaps you feel safe and rather excited by the weathers dramatic forces?
It is so beautiful inside the castle-it must offer many distractions…and make it even more exciting.
The maintenance of the castle must feel rather overwhelming at times – there is just so much work to do on a regular basis? I don’t know how you cope with it all, Lady Carnarvon?
Lucky the shutters were noticed on the top floor – or there could have been quite a bit of damage, it must be hard to keep an eye on everything?
With best wishes
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
This ghost seems somewhat persistant. Do you think he/she wants you to write a book about them? I am brand new to you Blog, and look forward to reading it.
As Highclere is need of money to do lots & lots of repairs, why don’t you open it to the public all the year like Chatsworth. I think one has to put oneself out to get a regular income.
How lovely to hear about your trainer Gary and the care he shows with your beautiful filly. So enjoy your posts, Lady Carnarvon, about life at Highclere ….Love the imperfections! And the history, as I am a historian. How exciting to find medieval timbers in your home. Thank you for taking time to share with us.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Greetings from Ohio, USA. In the early 1950’s when just a child I was became interested in Egyptology (an unusual child I was) and Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon and his role in the discovery of Pharaoh Tutankhamen. Now I am watching the series Downton Abbey. Amazing!! I have two questions: Is there a book about the Egyptian artifacts at Highclere? And in the Downton series how many rooms of the castle are used by the cast and crew?
Many thanks for the continue preservation of Highclere. I hope to see it soon.
From Tina in San Luis Obispo, CA
I understand that the bedrooms and “downstairs” kitchen area are now being filmed at studios in London to give the crew greater leeway in terms of both elbow-room as well as decorating license to change wall colors and furnishings, but that the Great Hall, Library, Dining Room, and Sitting Room are still shot at the Castle.
Hello from America!
What a gorgeous estate!! I was wondering if there were any horseback riding available on your grounds, and if not, has anyone considered it? I grew up riding here in the states and I can only imagine how beautiful it would be to be able to ride through just a fraction of those 6,000 acres. It seems to me that one could plan a spectacular outing with a picnic for interested riders!
I hope to visit England and your lovely estate in the future and have immensely enjoyed the series, Downton Abbey.
I love natural horsemanship methods and use them myself on my own horses. I raise Arabians in the US and I look forward to visiting Highclere in September. As my husband well knows, my first stop will be the stables! Glad to have found your blog!
Dearest Lady Carnarvon ~
Greetings from Montgomery, Texas! I love you, your home and Downton Abbey. I am brand new to your blog and can tell it will be my newest best friend. Thank you for making history come alive for the world and sharing your beloved Highclere.
Good Morning Lady Carnarvon. My husband and myself are visiting your country August this year. After much research, what a wonderful, historical place is England. My father forght in WW1 on the Somme, France, my Uncle unfortunately was killed there and is buried in Rouen-We are staying on London for 1 week, but a must to do on our wish list to visit is your lovely home “Highclere”. Downton Abbey is a very popular TV series in Australia. We are very much looking forward to visiting England and driving out to visit your lovely home (estate). Yours Sincerely, Cheryl & Rodney Anderson, Brisbane, Australia.
Hi, Nice blog. I can’t wait to read a lot more of your site. Fish on.
I really loved your post. I am a full on angler so this stuff are really interesting to me and my mates. Thanks.