How I got into horses, my first pony & what she is doing now
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t into horses! My family weren’t horsey, my Mum had ridden a little and even loaned a pony for a while but even she would describe herself only as a ‘competent novice’. However, I just always knew that I had a future with horses even though I didn’t know exactly how this would turn out I just knew
I started riding lessons at a local stables, which I loved but I could never get enough and a 1 hour lesson a week just wasn’t cutting it. I think I was 11 yrs and had been badgering my parents relentlessly to have my own pony with no success. Then a miracle happened, I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I had a childhood blanket (that’s all the details I am giving!) and my Dad nagged and nagged me to get rid of it, then he made a life changing statement…”get rid of that blanket and I will buy you a pony”. My mum looked on in horror as without hesitation I replied ‘OK!’ and put the blanket in a drawer.
Welcome to the family Gwen, a 13.1 Welsh section C pony. Gwen was AMAZING, I learnt so much riding and caring for her, made so many friends at the DIY yard she was kept at, joined The Pony Club and did all the rallies and camps, I spent a lot of time falling off and getting back on and made so many happy memories. I will always be so grateful for Gwen and all the opportunities she opened up for me that I would have missed out on if I had chosen a different hobby.
I had Gwen full time for 3 years and then the time came that sadly comes with all first ponies, I outgrew Gwen and needed a bigger pony so I could further my riding. I couldn’t bear the thought of selling her so we needed to find her a loan home. My Mum had been volunteering at a local school, Chailey Heritage Foundation, in their therapeutic riding department and they were on the look out for a pony. Gwen went along for an ‘interview’ and passed with flying colours, so she moved to Chailey’s yard to live with another therapeutic pony and help the children and young people there.
What a rewarding few years she had at Chailey, she learnt how to stand at the special mounting block so the children could be hoisted onto her back and she never put a foot wrong, she loved all the attention when the children groomed her and would stand for hours to be petted.
Gwen is now 21 years old and is currently on loan to another very lovely girl who lives locally and is helping her learn to ride. I hope she can stay there for as long as possible as she is very happy!
What a truly special pony Gwen turned out to be. I have been so lucky to spend so much time with her and the end result is of course MOCHARA! Chailey Heritage are MOCHARA’s chosen charity and I am so proud that we were able to sponsor a box for them at the London International Horse Show at Olympia last year.
Keep an eye out for my next blog “Hippotherapy, what is it?” where I will try to explain a bit more about Gwen’s time working at Chailey Heritage.