I was apparently first put on a pony when I was four. It was my dad’s fault – he grew up with horses in the Midlands and he took me to his sisters small holding where she had new forest ponies.
From then on I visited her and her ponies every chance I got. I spent most of my school holidays at ‘the farm’. It was my heaven with dogs, cats, horses and sheep to play with. Soon after graduating from the lead rein I was sent to the local riding school where my equestrian education continued. I learnt a lot there and gained a lot of confidence.
My aunt bought a semi-retired 23 yo welsh section A for me to play with in the holidays. Toffee knew every trick in the book – he bolted, napped and bucked. His favourite game was to bolt then slide to halt next to the stinging nettles or the water trough and drop his shoulder – he taught me so much!
I continued to ride my aunt’s new forest ponies and accompanied her to county and national shows as a groom. Occasionally I got to ride at a local show.
In my teens I also worked for a friend of hers and later as a polo groom.
My parents put me off working with horses (there’s no money in it) and couldn’t afford to buy one of my own but I tried to keep my hand-in riding friends’ and going up to my aunts.
It wasn’t until I was 26 that I could to buy and keep a horse – it wasn’t something I undertook lightly, knowing the time and money that is involved. I researched my purchase carefully, did everything by the book (went to see over 20, took an experienced friend and had a five stage vetting) but unfortunately I bought a horse with lots of problems.
After four hard years including many vets bill, trips to Newmarket, help and training with his behavioural issues I came to the decision that we couldn’t continue. Sadly, on veterinary advice Harley was PTS in March 2014.
6 months later my aunt asked me to sit on Abbey so they could film her in walk, trot and canter with an eye to selling her/putting her on working livery at an equestrian college and I fell in love. I was initially concerned that I didn’t have the knowledge and skills to bring on a youngster but I’ve a great support network and in December 2014 my aunt dropped Abbey off for a 3 month trial/bringing on for sale.
Needless to say she’s not going anywhere!