The Horse Index

Today and yesterday were simple, solo road rides around Berkshire. There’s a lot of money around the county and the rides reminded me of an idea I had last year – the ‘Horse Index’ as a measure of a recession.

My theory is simple:

  • horses are kept by the better-off, and a lot are kept on farms that have gone over to offering a livery yard;
  • if times are hard then a horse is going to be an expense some might find themselves needing to do without;
  • thus you might be able to measure the impact of a recession upon the better-off in a given part of the country by the number of horses to be seen in farmers’ fields in that region.

And, sure enough, if you ride around the Reading area – say, a 30 mile radius – there are a lot of empty fallow fields adjacent to visibly under-utilised livery facilities; there are noticably fewer horses.

Empty Stabling

The Horse Index

Just as relevant if you’re looking to gauge something about the society we’ve developed, there are a few properties around that are obviously keeping their own horses on their own land – polo fields and associated stables; large walled estates with paddocks and so on. These seem to be doing as well as always. That’s how it is for the very rich; it’s the classes climbing up the greasy pole beneath them that seem to be feeling the pinch.

It rained at last, overnight 6th-7th. Whenever there’s been a long dry spell you can pretty well guarantee punctures as soon as it rains heavily; the run-off brings down those evil small but sharp flints that will go through anything. Yes, it happened to me today near Remenham. You just have to live with it – take a couple of spare inner tubes and don’t get annoyed.