Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Agreeing to be Paid with Food and Horses

May 5th, 2010 · No Comments

For the experiential portion of my final project I worked at a stable on the outskirts of Bungay, Suffolk. This is a bit removed from what I am writing about in my final paper, the Norwich Strangers, but is personally the best way for me to experience East Anglia outside of our program. I am sure I’ve mentioned this to most everybody on the trip at one point or another, but I am an enthusiastic equestrienne. I have been riding for nearly 13 years and can really not imagine a life for myself without some part of it being dedicated to horses and riding. Luckily, I had a connection with a horse trainer here in Norwich. Mr. Tibbles has been to Carlisle before to give riding camps and workshops and I was taken to these by an old riding instructor for multiple years in high school. And last June, he was once again back in Carlisle giving lessons for a few weeks and I managed to attend a few and talk to him about riding in Norwich. He told me just to send him an email once I was settled at UEA and then we could arrange something.
So, I had made contact for riding in Norwich, but didn’t know what I had signed up for until September. Once I was here at UEA, I got in contact with Mr. Tibbles and set up a schedule for what days I would be able to ride. In the first semester, we agreed that I could ride on Mondays and Thursdays. Now though, the question was how would I get to the yard(that’s what the Brits call a stable)? See Bungay is a good 35 minute drive from Norwich with no real direct public transportation between them. So, if I would go out I would have to go out with Mr. Tibbles. This meant that every day I wanted to ride, I would be at the yard from 8 until anywhere from 5 to 8. So we quickly came to the conclusion that I would work as a stable-hand for Mr. Tibbles in exchange for lessons and lunch. Yes, I got paid with pretty ponies and good lunches.
When I realized I had agreed to work one to two days a week with up to 12 hour days, I thought I was little bit crazy, but I do love horses and riding and I would be experiencing the country life and people of East Anglia firsthand. So obviously I thought it would be a good experience of the country without the influence and safety net of my fellow Dickinsonians. And being out at this stable in an area with more country lanes than actual paved roads and where the only thing I could see for miles was fields with crops or animals broken up by only few farms and old farmhouses and the odd wood here and there, really placed me perfectly for getting to know the people who live off of the land and its animals in East Anglia. In my other blogs, I will detail the tasks and schedules of my days and some of the experiences that helped me to understand East Anglia and its people a bit better.

Tags: Kimberly