Episode 6 – Annabel Other – Friendship, Yearning and Horses (Can you do the Pony like Boney Maroney)

Annabel Other as Scorching Horse

Annabel Other explores how it feels to miss the closeness and comfort of friendship during periods of isolation, through conversations about horses with her friends. Produced by Rowan Bishop, co-produced by Jack Gibbon and Jessica Akerman of Bricks. Original music by @rowanbishop

Verbatim podcast transcription.

The Reverend Canon Doctor Ellen Loudon on her horse.

I want to make a podcast please. 

I want my family and friends to talk about horses and about lockdown. 

I want the story of Minchinhampton Common to tell the story of missing our friends and galloping with them.

I want to play music, Patti Smith, the theme from Black Beauty; White Horse by Laid Back, Joe Dorsey and more…

In a nutshell this is what I set out to do in my podcast.

Vicky Andrews
Mahali O’Hare with her brother who wanted a hippopotamus for Christmas
Nadine Constant with horse Chipmonk and friends.
Reverend Canon Doctor Ellen Loudon
Allison Johnston
Joan Bennett, mum, outside the cottage in Wales in the 1980s.
Woman in glasses at turntables with headphones on.
Me as DJ Brown Owl.
Woman with pink and blue hobby horse on her head
Jo Leahy
Chipmonk grazing with friend on Minchinhampton Common.
Mahali O Hare – The stables on Kibbutz Ma’ale Hahamisha.
Ceramic yellow model horse with black spots
Ceramic pantomime horse from Andrew Mania’s collection.

All of  the people recorded for Friendship, Yearning and Horses (Can you do the Pony like Boney Marony) were friends and family who just drifted into my life over  a short period of time. Some of them I don’t see very often, some I talk to most days. It was a serendipitous selection.

Not searching but  letting the stories come to me. I had no idea if they liked horses or not, apart from my Mum; I did however think that everyone has a horse story – and I was right.

For rights reasons, you can’t play a lot of recorded music in a podcast and so the obvious answer was to ask the participants to sing the soundtrack… and it is, of course all the better for it.

A big thank you to Producer and musical genius Rowan Bishop for waving his magical wand over it. But in case you want to hear the originals and gallop your way through your day I have made a little Spotify playlist (see below).

After attempting to acquire the software to rough-edit the recorded interviews for Rowan, I lost everything off my laptop and it appears to be living somewhere else…. on a cloud.

I shut the lid and went happily to my own methods. A large sheet of paper and my favourite pen… Here is the result. Known as the scroll, it was then delivered to Rowan, where he deciphered it into the first draft. 

 My unwitting relationship with horses has been from sidelines. When I was a child there was a national annual competition and was essential for every girl to enter; the prize was a horse.

‘Win a pony’ was run by W .H. Smiths, the high street stationers. A few simple questions and you were in the running. At the age of 9 I entered for the first time. Endless sleepless nights followed. Looking at the ceiling, terrified that I might actually win a pony.

I didn’t even like horses. I had ridden one once on holiday and I hated it and here I was, potentially going to spend my teenage years not down the San Fran Disco, but burdened with equine responsibility. I was staring into the barrel of a gun.

The story of Minchinhampton Common

A month into lockdown with my friend Jo, we went for a distanced birthday picnic on Minchinhampton Common.

Owing to its medieval common land status, we had to nudge some cows along to park the car on the grass verge.

Then sat around chattering about cancelled holidays and bicycle accidents.

and then in the distance a huge horse with thundering hooves and a sharp whinny started galloping across the Common.

A thick set solid horse white with Dapplegrey and a black tail it charged  across the edge of the picnic field making a tremendous noise when it stopped, throwing its head back then after a few seconds it would run in a different direction and do the same. A fellow picnicker got up and was scared, really scared and moved away thinking that the horse might run right the way through our party the crowd defiantly felt unsettled. It  seemed to  be frantic.

Back and forth it went its thundering hooves. Wild. Troubled.

And there it was the horse was looking for his friends. It eventually ran down into the streets off the common we could hear the noise the whinny coming from behind the roofs.

5 minutes later a great gang of horses all shapes and sizes thundered back on to the Common…

a magical reunion, relief, together again.

Equine rhythms

Here is a link to the splendid Horse Outside by The Rubberbandits.

Here is a link to a beautiful short film Trigga by Meloni Poole. 16 mins, PG. On the way to school Mae is repeatedly bullied by her classmate Heather and her gang.

Reggie Watts: I Once Knew A Horse