12 March 1999

Triangular tips on how to mix wife and horse

WOMEN who fall in love with horses can prove physically and financially trying for husbands who fail to share their enthusiasm.

Those from a non-farming background with no ingrained feel for animals, let alone horses, are at greatest risk.

The perils are portrayed in humorous detail by Richard Westwood-Brookes, who describes* Jimmy Squibs complex relationship with his wife and Dodo, the nag who she gets to ride occasionally, between bouts of laminitis and other expensive ailments.

One speculates just how close to life, or fiction, this story is for couples in a similar triangular relationship. Quite hilarious and probably near the knuckle in parts, but the author would benefit from a better illustrator.

This is a cautionary tale for husbands who should recognise an unequal equine threat to an otherwise loving relationship, coupled with the ongoing financial obligations to vets, farriers and purveyors of tack.

Guaranteed to give deep offence to the horse fraternity but raise wry smiles at least from the majority of readers. HPH

*Jimmy Squibs Guide to How to Live With Horses and Not Go Barmy, by Richard Westwood-Brookes, from Richard Westwood-Brookes, The Old Post Office, Ashford, Carbonell, Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 4DB (£6.99).