Thursday, 16 February 2012

You can call me Prince Monolulu because......

                                                          I Gotta Horse!

I haven't kept horses for years, so when the chap who rents our grazing for his cattle asked if his peon could graze his horse with them I was only too pleased.
A day or so later the barking of the dogs alerted me to an arrival, which proved to be the said peon with his little boy - hardly older than a toddler - perched on the back of a brown and white mare which had clearly seen better days, walking head down with a rope round her neck as leading rein.
He installed her in the shed facing the house, cut her some camaroon grass, and he and the little boy stroked her and talked to her while she got down to business.

They came every day....Danilo cut and trimmed sugar cane for her...we bought horse nuts....she settled in.
The father had bought her cheaply...she was all he could he had grown up with horses and he wanted his son to have the same pleasure.
The little boy gave us pleasure too, stroking and talking to his horse...never noisy, never rough, never making sudden gestures and all was well until the day when father turned up with a cattle lorry.

His wife said he was spending too much money on the horse when they had so little to start with. She said he had to sell it.

What about your little boy?

Well, his first lesson about life...don't love something if you're poor.

Father was nearly in wasn't just his little boy who loved that horse.

We could not see her go off in that lorry, back to a weary round of auctions, underfed, not fed at we bought her and she is giving us a great deal of pleasure, she and the little boy, whose father brings him down at the end of his long working day to stroke her and talk to her.

It's not just philanthropy...the rich gringos.
In the short time since her arrival I had recovered that sense of companionship and complicity that a horse can give...the little nudges, the whickers, the biff amidships when the food isn't coming fast enough.....
The incomparable smell of a horse, bringing back memories of all the years when horses were part of my life.

Surrounded once more by tubes of worming paste and tins of hoof oil, anti parasite shampoo, hoof picks and grooming brushes I've lost years!
Rejuvenation pills...who needs them!

I gotta horse!

But if you are not someone of a certain age, not from the U.K. and not one for the geegees you might ask where does Prince Monolulu come in?

As a schoolgirl I lived not far from Epsom racecourse.
Father, being a man for the geegees, was quite happy to book me in at our Australian dentist - another man for the geegees - on the morning of one of the race days so that I missed a day at school and we would set off for the afternoon armed with the racing paper in the hope of seeing home a winner, even though experience suggested that our sure and certain hope would be better centred on the Resurrection than on father's five horse accumulators.

I don't know what Epsom racecourse is like now at the Derby meeting, but when I went with my father there was still just a hint of the Frith picture.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that all human life was there, but there was a fair section of the odder parts of it spread over the Downs, from Gipsy Rose Lee reading your palm in her caravan (modern - for the period) to swing boats and coconut shies, via the boxing booths, the bearded lady and the sanitary facilities housed in a vast white marquee whose function was made crystal clear by the barker at the entrance

'Piddle and poop a penny.'

Raised in the discipline of 'going before going out' however none of our betting budget was wasted on responding to this particular invitation.

Father had his own ideas on the likely winners so was unlikely to take any heed of the tipsters, usually large gentlemen in tight racing silks crouching and flicking whips to give the impression of riding the winner as they worked the crowd around them.
However, he liked to see if the horse he fancied in newsprint was as good in the flesh and so before each race we would go to the paddock to see the runners being led in. But to get to the paddock we had to pass another tipster....

                                                     Prince Monolulu

Unmissable in bright jacket with plumes waving above his head, this gentleman seemed to be a permanent part of the racing world since giving a tip on Spion Kop for the 1920 Derby which came home at 100 - 6. Since then, his fame was guaranteed...even his his tips weren't.
Just mention Prince Monolulu to a racegoer and he would automatically reply with his catchphrase

I gotta horse.....
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  1. I love horses and wish I had the time and money to take up proper riding lessons... instead all I've done is a couple of days pony trekking through the Black Mountains... one day though, should a lottery win come my way. I shall have a horse too.

  2. Steve I was lucky enough to grow up in a horsey environment....roll on the lottery win!

  3. Wonderful post Fly. Such a wonderful post! Horses are just the sounds as though you and the wee boy have your own little slice of heaven.

  4. la mujer libre, he's such a nice little boy and the horse is very kind and patient with him....and I'm rejoicing at having a horse around the place again!

  5. Oh, makes me remember my youth, when I had a horse, probably much similar to yours... a little worse for age, in need of some loving, and completely impractical.

    How lucky for you. Enjoy!

  6. ADoC, doesn't it just roll back the years!
    I'm enjoying!

  7. What a wonderful story about your betting days, Fly. Prince Monolulu sounded quite a character. The Wikipedia page is fascinating about him.

    I'm glad you're indulging your love of horses and being a fine friend to a nice little boy.

    PS the wv is becoming really difficult to decipher!

  8. Your delight shines through this post. Lovely

  9. Aww, how lovely! I never knew you were a horse-lover. Fly. What a perfect solution for you, the horse and the little boy and his father.

    Talking of complicity, I chortled at the thought of you and your father on a school-day. I think things at Epsom are very much more sedate nowadays. :-)

  10. Sarah, I grew up with horses so it's great to be able to do something which pleases me, a sweet little boy and his hard working father.
    Mr. Fly and his best friend were inveterate schoolboy gamblers - each with a 'system' - and reckons that they were barred from every betting shop within walking radius of their school once they began to win too often for the bookie's we're well suited!

    Rosie, yes I am delighted!

    Perpetua, yes, I can imagine that Health and Safety, not to speak of political correctness, would have taken its toll of the old character of the Derby meeting!

  11. Sarah, yes, I'll take it off...this new system is a real pain. I have to change my glasses!

  12. Lucky you! I want a horse too, I keep pointing out we have a half hectare of valley which would look wonderful with a horse in it. And there'd be manure for the roses too. Horses smell so nice, look so nice, are so nice (can you tell I grew up with them too?). Sadly, so far the other half remains unconvinced.

  13. victoriacorby, I feel lucky! I can't see that we would have gone to the auctions and bought one, but having one drop in the lap with great!

    I don't know what it is with other halves....whatever reasonable thing it is one wants to do it's like persuading Judge Jeffries to take off his black cap...

    It is clear that your half a hectare needs a horse's loving care, as do the roses...

  14. My dad was also a lover of horses and betting on them. He used to do a pretty good impression of Prince Monolulu. I used to go to Ascot races with him (the nearest racecourse to our home) but my dad also went to Epsom, and many others. I have very fond memories of picnics on the Heath during Royal Ascot week.
    I'm so glad you bought the horse..I bet the little boy is too...bless you xxxxx

  15. Ayak, I'm glad someone else knows of Monolulu...quite a character!

    Little boy luckily does not seem to have been aware that he might lose his friend, so all i s on an even keel.
    Anyway, I'm getting as much pleasure as he is!

  16. I went out to Epsom once (not Derby Day, alas!)with a chap from work. He had friends among the gypsies and bookies.
    I backed a winner, had a great day out.
    Your story of the lad and his horse makes my eyes a bit leaky. I wish I could ride again.

  17. Ooooh how absolutely SUPERB! I love horses; was taught to ride at a very young age [4] firstly on a donkey called Jezabel, then on a horse called Red--one doesn't forget these things!
    We never had a horse--too dear and too much moving but I did ride where ever I could.
    Other half is not horsy but I am working on it....we have about a hectare and neighbours have a stable...

    Enjoy :-)

  18. dinahmow, when you get the geegees in your blood....I won't ride this one, but I've started to think about riding again...even if it means getting used to a Western saddle...
    The little boy is a sweet little chap, he likes to sit in the manger and feed the horse tidbits!

    Niall and Antoinette, you don't shake horses off that easily, do you!
    I might need to go into hiding shortly to avoid the wrath of other halves who are going to be bombarded with fifty good reasons for keeping a horse...

  19. I've never been to a race meeting and my riding days were short and ignominious. However I've always loved horses. Although your act was not entirely altruistic I'm glad that your act of kindness has rewarded you well.

  20. GB, no, you're right. The father's predicament gave me the opportunity to do myself a favour and have a horse around the place again.
    Mark you, the little boy is quite a bonus too! He's delightful.

  21. lovely tale. i didn't grow up with horses - only recently taking riding lessons. have discovered the joy of riding - but also of grooming. incredibly therapeutic.... equine therapy. there is nothing like it...

  22. daisyfae, it's much more than just riding, isn't it!
    A private junior school in the nearby town offers equine therapy as part of its curriculum. They reckon that grooming and handling horses makes the children calm and receptive.

  23. Wonderful, Fly! I am so happy for you, for the little boy, for his father and for the horse, whose name is .....?

    What a lovely, lovely post. I felt a little tear slithering down my cheeks.

    I remember Prince Monolulu, he was often featured in the newspapers when I was living in London. What a colourful character. :)

    BTW, I have added your blog to my Pinterest board, hope that's OK with you? If not, please say and I will reluctantly remove it.

  24. nodamnblog, the mare rejoices in the name of Dobbin...thanks to Mr. Fly who is totally besotted by her. His first horse!
    As GB above points out it was not entirely altruistic....but we just could not see her loaded onto that lorry and carted away.
    She is picking up nicely...but we now have to sheet her stable with netting as she was bitten by a vampire bat last night and we don't want a recurrence.

    Pinterest board is fine...(you will not be in the least surprised to learn that I'd never heard of it.)
    I followed the link and did my clicks for ACTU and will do them daily.

  25. Okay, I'm crying here...back soon
    you are a beauty...more pics of the horse, please!
    hugs again

  26. Sandi McBride...and you couldn't have let the horse depart either, I suspect...

  27. Congratulations on the new horse! And on making a little boy happier in the process.

    'Piddle and poop a penny.' LOL

  28. Mary Anne Gruen, thank you...the horse is giving plasure to a lot of people, but not the steer who was expelled from her shelter with two hind feet neatly planted on his head!
    I cannot get to your blog site...a notice keeps coming up saying there is malware on a site connected to yours.
    No idea what this might be about.

    Aas for p and p a penny...not PC but perfectly clear!

  29. Bats! I hope there's no Hendra Virus over there. Terrible, terrible thing and, as yet, no cure for man or beast.

    And I'm pretty sure I saw Monolulu in some of those old newsreels.

  30. dinahmow, I've checked and thankfully no! But the vet is coming out for a general checkover and I'll see if there's anything else in addition to screens at night that we can use.

    We know where the bat cave is...local farmers have no end of trouble with cattle grazing out overnight - but ecologists won't allow the b things to be touched.

    Suggest walling up an ecologist or two in the bat cave to see if they change their minds.

    Yes, there are some newsreels.. Pathe I think.

  31. How lovely, a rescue horse. I love their smell, their little nibbles along your back when you're grooming them...I loved everything about my own mare except riding her...

    This is a really cheering post, Fly. Happy horse, happy boy, happy father, happy you. Thanks.

  32. Never was a 'horsey girl', but knew many who were. You reminded me of our home in Reigate, on Epsom race days the local pub used to remove all knick-knacks from the bars and toilets as it was said anything that wasn't nailed down got removed. I wonder if 50 years later they still do that?

  33. Sorry not to be around and commenting for a while. I've been embroiled in in a mixture of personal, work and writing stuff for a couple of weeks - gets lik ethat sometimes.

    You know, Try as I might I never like horses or horse racing. Went to Epsom once and didn't even watch the race - odd, but I just haven't got the bug

  34. Pueblo girl, yes, it's not about riding, is it. She's beginning to fill out, her head is up and she is bossing the cattle.

    Lesley, I had friends in -Reigate and in Redhill....but never became acquainted with the pubs thereof!
    I suspect that these days they knick knacks would have to be permanently nailed down!

    Mark, so you're not a betting man either, I imagine.
    Nice to hear from you and hope all is going well.