One task I was given fairly regularly was to take horses to the blacksmith for shoeing. His forge was through Dolphinholme, and I used to ride one, bare back, and lead the other. This was a very pleasant and an enjoyable ride along the lanes . High up on the horses back I could see over the hedgerows and into the fields and up to the fells. I also got friendly waves from those I knew as I passed. Once at the smithy I used to help him by steadying the horse. While helping, I admired his work over the hot forge and put up with the acrid smell as a red hot shoe was tried for size, quenched and then hammered home. His wife always made me welcome and I think she looked forward to my coming, for I was rather different to those around her.
When done it was another pleasant ride back with the large horses at a steady pace. But one ride back it was very different, for just as we were half way through a narrow and dark railway bridge an express train came thundering overhead. It not only took me by surprise but the horses as well and both bolted. I hung like a limpet to the one I was riding and after a few hundred yards managed to get them under control. It was very exciting while it lasted and I regard myself as fortunate that I wasn’t thrown or the horses injured. Such experiences were rare but they are part and parcel of working with horses.