Musings of a pig lady: Linda McDonald-Brown

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I thought I had perhaps taken a wrong turn into Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, last Sunday. The surroundings perhaps were a little less plush and there was a distinct odour of horses but it was definitely Elvis’s voice belting out a few numbers. Wishful thinking, maybe, on my part, because I was, in fact, at Calgow Equestrian Centre’s open day to celebrate the opening of the Jai Jolly indoor school and I wasn’t listening to a resurrection of Elvis but aka Ricky O’Boyd, who had been brought in to add a bit of a welcoming twist to an otherwise horsey event.

It was organised to celeb­rate the opening of the new Jai Jolly’s indoor school and, having finished teaching at Calgow just four weeks earlier, this was actually the first time I had seen the finished school – and impressive it was.

During my time at Calgow as a part-time teacher, I have lost count of the number of times I taught in weather that was not ideal, or sat twiddling thumbs due to cancellations. Riding is so weather dependent that for any riding school which doesn’t have access to an indoor arena, the revenue can drop dramatically as winter sets in. Costs, however, go up as horses and ponies are brought in from the fields to be stabled and children, unfor­tunately, lose the continuity of their lessons.

A no-show by the person who was meant to give a demonstration of horse and carriage driving meant that Elaine Murdoch, a horse whisperer and Reiki healer from Castle Douglas, came on early to fill the empty slot and give us a demonstration of her ability to speak with animals. I have used Elaine before on my Kelpie Bruce with great success, so took the opportunity to let her speak with Ruby, my border terrier. I have to admit I’m a great believer in these things: show me a clairvoyant and I will be first in the queue. Ruby was a bit nonplussed about it all, however, and although she did speak to Elaine, informing her a few snippets of information Elaine could not have guessed. But, thankfully, she didn’t let out any secrets from my home life.