by Clare Barry, Writer and founder of Urban Curiosity
The highlight of my working week is when I hear the clip-clop approach. I abandon my desk and and race to the kitchen window where I enjoy the view on the street below. Will it be a dapple grey or a Chestnut exercising with their Metropolitan Police riders? The surprise is always lovely.
I don’t have pets and I know nothing about horses except placing (clueless) bets on them at Aintree races each year. I rode on donkeys at the English seaside as a kid. I cried at War Horse. I read Black Beauty. Really, I know zilch about these four-legged creatures and yet for just a few seconds once or twice a day, I admire the magnificent pair who mosey on past my flat wearing hi-viz bands around their hind legs. They are strong and glossy. Their metal shoes on tarmac offer me a different rhythm to tune into for a few moments.
When I moved to Lewisham in south-east London, I didn’t realise the borough was home to one of capital’s largest police stables with 20-odd animals. My road is on a route for these horses. They are my four-legged therapists whose regular patrols offer a moment’s pause and reflection, joy and calm every time I see them.
Some days my schedule doesn’t align with the mounted police outing. I will see evidence of their recent presence – either fresh or flattened pats of horse poo – and even that sight makes me smile.