Across from our house is a field where horses graze. The people who own the land have quite a few horses, and it’s always nice to take our grandsons out for a walk and up to the gate. The horses will see us and amble over, so it gives the boys an idea of how big the real animals are compared to those in their picture books. Sometimes the horses can also be seen from our front bedroom windows.
Our grandsons were due to visit later in the day, and as I was vacuuming the front bedroom on Saturday morning I idly looked out of the window. There were the usual two horses in the field, but there was also a man striding over towards them. Without further ado he produced a gun and shot one horse dead and then the other one.
I felt quite sick at the sight of it. The people who own the field move in the higher echelons of society, live behind 10ft walls, and do not mix with the villagers. Therefore I cannot really ask them why the horses were shot. I’m assuming the man must have been a vet and that both animals were terminally sick in some way. I’m just glad that my grandsons were not looking out of the window with me, as they often do. Seeing something like that at such a young age could have had a profound effect on them.
This reminds me of something my mother once said to me. Dot would have been about 5 or 6 years of age when her mother took her to a neighbour’s house to say goodbye to her friend. Dot assumed her friend was moving away, but when she walked into the front room the little girl was laid out in a coffin in her best party dress. Dot never forgot the sight of her dead friend, even 85 years’ later.
My dad once saw a horrific accident from the top deck of a London bus where a motorcyclist was decapitated on the road in front of him. He came home and relayed the story as he ate his dinner. If it had been me who had seen it, I don’t think I would have eaten for a week.
I suppose I was lucky and was shielded as a child from any sights that might have upset me. I have nothing but good memories up until the age of 19. However, some children (and some adults too) are not so fortunate.