If the shoe fits

WHETHER you bet or not, you have to admire the sheer beauty of the top class horses running at Cheltenham this week. We've had a few horsey stories over the years in The Diary including the Glasgow chap who announced in the pub that he had been for a job interview to work at a blacksmith. He told his pals: "They asked if I'd ever shoed a horse. I told them, 'No, but I once gave a donkey a hard shove'."

Well plaid

A READER once told us he was in a Paisley dress-hire shop behind a family where the father, with a tattoo of King William on a horse on his arm, declared: "Wur here fur a fittin' o' oor kilts." The assistant asked which tartan they required, and he replied: "Rangers tartan." Our reader admired the nerve of the assistant who then asked if it was for a wedding or a First Holy Communion.

What a pudding

Sadly many Glaswegians have only been up close to a horse when mounted police are controlling crowds at football games. The classic tale was of a match at Hampden when a drunken fan munching a black pudding supper got fed up being dunted by a police horse while he queued up and threw the rest of his supper at the back of the head of the mounted officer. A reader who witnessed this told us: "He cantered over, stretched down and grabbed the guy by the collar, who screamed, 'It wisnae me'. 'Show's yer teeth' demanded the cop. The ned offered up a hideous smile and the mountie roared 'Yer teeth are a' puddin.' He got the pokey.”

Live streaming

AND a reader told us of his brother in the mounted branch who was once astride his horse at Ibrox, chivvying the turnstile queue into a semblance of order when he sensed his mare beneath him settle down for a pee. Said our reader: "Immediately as said emission hit the tarmac, a Rangers fan opined, 'Aw, typical – nae cups in the machine’."

Neigh chance

POLICE Scotland once took to social media to ask the public to vote on the name for a new police horse, with the choice being from four Scottish place names – Melrose, Clarkston, Glencoe or Tiree. We liked the thinking process of one member of the public who replied to Police Scotland: "Not Melrose, because they always beat us at Sevens. Not Glencoe because of the Campbells. And not Clarkston because I canna stand the bloke and all that Top Gear rubbish. So it's got to be Tiree.”

Horsing about

WE once recalled actress Judy Dench's big screen breakthrough playing Queen Victoria in the Scottish-based film Mrs Brown. John Miller's biography of Judi said one shot in Scotland took over 20 takes. Explained director John Madden: "The process of getting Judi off the horse with the voluminous skirts took care of about 10 takes, horse-farts took care of another five, one horse bit another, then it pushed Judi out of shot. We thought we had it perfect until Judi walked away and her costume caught on Billy Connolly's radio mike.”


WE always liked author Allan Morrison discussing his book Last Tram Tae Auchenshuggle who explained that Glasgow's original trams were pulled by horses. There was no timetable, he said, so Glaswegians instead knew that if the manure was hot then they had just missed a tram, and if the manure was cold then a tram was due.

Bet on it

RETIRED lawyer Ross Harper once told the tale of his former boss Jimmy Martin being a car park attendant at a racecourse in his youth. Recounted Ross: "When people parked, he would give them a tip. He would pick a race in which there were six or more runners, and he would sidle up and whisper the name of the horse and say, 'Back it. It's going to win'. He gave the next car owner another horse until he had tipped them all to win, making sure he remembered which car he had tipped so he could identify the winner when he came to his car.”

Bottoms up

A READER once claimed that he was in a pub on Skye where the barmaid had a horse's head tattooed on her chest, which was just visible above her top. One toper who had drank too much thought it would be funny to ask the barmaid if he could see "the horse's arse." She rooted in her handbag and handed him a mirror.