Feature Articles - The Life of Evelina Haverfield - Horses and Hunting
Evelina grew up with a passion for horses and riding. As a young adult she rode well enough to ride with some of the best hunting organizations in southern England, with the best male riders, and like them she rode astride.
And because the hunting season included much cold and wet weather, and a few painful falls, after more than twenty years of this demanding activity she learned to endure the fatigue and discomfort which it created.
Her hunting diaries record more than 500 hunts from the early 1890s until 1914. During her younger years she rode in sixty to eighty hunts in one season, or about two to three in a week.
She not only delighted in riding, but in excelling at it. She could manoeuvre a horse with great skill while following the hounds for miles, over ditches, hedges, or whatever difficult terrain the fox chose for cover.
Her ability to ride with the best hunters, both men and women, was matched by her affection for the animals themselves. Her photo albums include pictures of several horses whose names appear in her hunting diary.
Obviously they were a source of pride and joy to her. Occasionally she was injured because of riding accidents. On one occasion when her horse suddenly slid in mud while crossing a ditch, Evelina wrenched her back so painfully that she couldn't ride for several months. And shortly before she left by troop-ship for South Africa, her horse fell and rolled on her, bruising her so severely that she had to be carried on to the ship on a stretcher.
It was typical of her that she didn't cancel the trip and stay at home, but spent the voyage in considerable pain confined to her cabin, on a ship which provided few amenities.
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A 'whizzbang' was a high-velocity, low-trajectory shell that made a shrill approach noise and then a sharp explosive report.
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