THE Colonel and I stood watching as my wife, Joan and Robert, well-equipped with lumps of sugar, approached a noble horse who was watching them from above his half-door.

Their faces were a study in thrills as he accepted their gifts and licked his lips. When the offering was over, my host chuckled and said: “Now I had better introduce them to Foxhunter.”

Foxhunter lived next door, and the visitors had been regaling Monty. The glint in Monty’s eye showed that he appreciated the situation. Gobion, the home of Colonel Harry Llewellyn and Foxhunter, takes its name from the blacksmiths who worked a forge there.

There was a window in Llanfihangel Gobion Church which displayed the hammer and tongs of a smith; if the window is still to be found, it should be replaced in the church.

Older still, pieces of pottery dug up in the garden of the manor house may have been Roman. The arms of the taunters and the date 1600 surmount the doorway of the beautiful porch, but there was a house on this site long before that date. Bradney tells us that the Cliffords a Norman family—held the manor of Gobion, and in the grounds, adjoining the house, were discovered the foundations of a massive round tower, probably surrounded by a moat.

This tower would have been the keep of the Cliffords’ castle home. In 1774 the Lord of the Manor of Gobion had “sole royalty of hunting, fowling, and taking all manner of game within the manor.”

It was to this delightful house that we had been invited on a bright August morning. None of us will forget the first view of the stable-yard.

On the left a graceful weeping willow bent over the saddle-room above which the weather vane showed Foxhunter and his owner about to jump. I remarked to Colonel Llewellyn, “The view of a horse as it is about to jump is not the most graceful picture.” His reply was characteristic: “A horse has many aspects, some more attractive than others. His approach, for instance, is like a lady, but his departure is like a charwoman.”

In front of the saddle-room is the home of the stable-yard bantams—a bijou residence complete with roof, gothic portal, and forecourt. Beyond, backed by a magnificent tree, were the stables, bearing plaques which recorded many triumphs, and labels printed with the magical names, Monty, Foxhunter, Fir-cone (a white horse, which I fancy is a great favourite of Mrs. Llewellyn) and Saint Teilo.

Now I have always held that our Creator, being an artist, never repeated His work, and that therefore each of us is a separate and unique personality.

In my talks with Colonel and Mrs Llewellyn I noted that to them each horse was a separate and unique personality. Foxhunter, the wonder horse who for five years has jumped his way to world-wide fame, is fond of children, and of fruit or flowers on ladies’ hats.

He will enjoy your company if you scratch his lower lip or tickle his ears. Majestic in appearance, stately in movement as “le grand Seigneur” should be, he is at the same time lovable, gentle, playful, and if I judge aright his master and mistress, they feel indebted to him for his contribution to their home-life.

“Monty,” said Mrs. Llewellyn, “has many gifts, among which I should place high his talent for manipulating bolts with his teeth. He has been known, after being ‘tucked in’ for the night, to undo the bolt on his door, clear that five-barred gate, and have a late supper in the field.”

So with the other horses until I felt convinced that with a little training the horses at Gobion could become a competent string orchestra, a football team, or the staff of a nursery school.

Everyone, young and old, in Gwent will, I am sure, wish me to express to Colonel Llewellyn and Foxhunter, their pride and delight in past achievements, and their confident hope for future glory.

Note: Foxhunter was a champion show jumping horse ridden by Harry Llewellyn, best known for securing Great Britain’s only gold medal at the 1952 Olympics. They also were part of the British Show Jumping team at the 1948 Summer Olympics, winning the bronze medal and were the only horse and rider to win the King George V Gold Cup three times in 1948, 1950, and 1953.