Saturday, 20 February 2016

Billy and Billy and Jack: horses of note

This is the tale of three remarkable horses, Billy and Billy and Jack - two old boys and one young whipper-snapper. The question is this: in which camp do we put Jack?

I will start with an old boy called Billy. This Billy was a cob/shire type horse, black with a white blaze, born in 1760. He spent his working life pulling barges on canals for the Mersey and Irwell Navigation Company. The amazing thing about Billy is that he lived to the age of 62. He died in November 1822. There is said to be a lithograph of Billy in a museum in Warrington with Squire Henry Harrison.

From an old Billy with a single lithograph to a younger and much photographed version. This young Billy is bigger than old Billy but also does a job that needs plenty of muscle power and oats in the tank. Under the jockey-ship of Nick Ireland, this much younger Billy won the Young Event Horse Series in his very first season in 2014.

But which of these amazing equines does Jack take after? Perhaps he has more in common with old Billy than young Billy.

Or does he?

Jack once finished a show-jumping course; ‘finish’ being the word, as the owners of the show-ground said, ‘We won’t have to buy in any firewood for a long time, but we’ll have to shell out for a new set of jumps.’

But Jack only made the effort so as to be obliging and as the mystery man pointed out to Megan, you couldn’t really expect Jack to know how to show-jump; he wouldn't have had much call to do it when he was pulling a cart.

Thinking about it, that mirrors things on the Mersey and Irwell canals back in the 1700s because it would have been a bizarre and traumatic circumstance that required old Billy to leap a fence whilst pulling a barge.

So I think we have to conclude that Jack has more in common with old Billy after all. 

No comments:

Post a Comment