My story starts one day with a visit to Traprain Law, a very high historical hill on the outskirts of Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland where I live.
As I arrived, I saw a wonderful photograph of Exmoor ponies displayed on the Notice Board – and a request for volunteers to help with the overseeing of the ponies living there.
My sister, who died in 1999, used to be an excellent horsewoman and taught riding but, although I had ridden as a child, I used to be a little nervous of horses generally – they were so big!!! I also used to have a slight fear of heights. Yet here I was, that day, determined to apply to become a volunteer and knowing that to succeed as a volunteer I would need to let go of those fears.
MIDNIGHT, LIZ AND BOB (Photo by Dave Hamilton-Smith)
Thinking back, I remember feeling really concerned about the welfare of the ponies on Traprain. “Ponies living on such a dangerous place as Traprain Law with all its high ridges!” I thought to myself; and I felt a great need to become a volunteer in order to help with the overseeing of these wonderful ponies. But I was to learn over the next few months that, far from the ponies needing human help in mastering the terrain of Traprain, these wonderful ponies are masters in their own right of adapting to the hardiest of terrains - and they love every minute of it.