40 Years of Kentish Town City Farm

Jean MacRae’s school pony ride memory

Jean riding Fury, Hawley Infants School

When I was working at Hawley Infants School in the early 1980s, we used to get the Farm to bring a pony down and do pony rides for the children at our Summer Fair. One year when I rang John to arrange this, he said he was very sorry but he didn’t have anyone free to do it this year. I must have sounded very disappointed because he then asked me if I had any experience of horses. When I said I had ridden a lot though not very recently, he said that if I would come in at the weekend and help with leading the horses for the pony rides at the Farm so he could see if I knew what I was doing, he would then lend me Fury to take down to the school and do the rides myself! This seemed a very good offer to me, so I duly turned up to help – and I must have been OK because John said, yes that would be fine! On the Sunday of the fair, off I went to collect Fury with my younger daughter, who was about 10 and having riding lessons. “Fury” may have lived up to his name in his youth, but was by this time a very calm stout little black Shetland; he was saddled and bridled and waiting for us and with my daughter riding and me leading, off we went through the streets of Kentish Town down to Hawley in Camden Town! The pony rides were as always hugely popular; my daughter managed the queue and I led Fury around and around amongst the crowd with one child after another on his back. When the Fair was over, my daughter mounted up again and I led Fury off back up the road. All the way home we pretended that Fury was our pony and agreed that both of us had had a wonderful time.