I have had a few horses and in a ‘who was your favourite ever horse’ conversation my first pony, Rupert, has always been the hands down winner. He was a 4 year old Heinz 57 variety irish pony cob. I met him on a riding holiday. I was not looking to buy and he was not for sale but I fell hopelessly in pony-love with him and pestered the owner for weeks till she sold him to me at a stupid price which I was more than happy to pay. A holiday romance that ended in marriage. I was clueless beyond belief. So clueless that I didn’t even know that clueless new owners really shouldn’t buy 4 year olds. I never gave a 2nd thought to his age or inexperience. I took him out hacking down main roads, I clipped him, I jumped him over hedges and ditches without any consideration of the fact that he may never have done any of that before. I didn’t know how to tie up a haynet, muck out a stable or teach a horse anything at all. I was so clueless that I thought horse wee’ed on command because I had lessons on ex race horses as a kid and they wee’ed when you whistled. There I was on my new yard with my new pony whistling away wondering why nothing was happening! It could have been a disaster. I could have ruined the pony or killed myself or both. But fortune favours the brave. Or maybe just blithely assuming your horse will do everything you ask of him is a good approach and these days of overthinking every little thing is a step backwards. Because – bless his furry socks – that pony never put a hoof wrong in the whole time I had him. Not one buck. Not one spook. Not one tanking off episode. I can’t even remember any refusals or run outs. Not a single ‘no’ from him, ever. I only competed him twice. Just wasn’t my thing and I had no box anyway. We did an ODE and a Hunter Trial. The ODE was a disaster (we were eliminated in the dressage phase LOL). So I decided to forgo the fancy-footwork and just go hunter trialling. I had never done a XC course before. Had no clue how big fences were. So when entering I though 90cm? 3 foot? That’s not very big, let’s do that. When walking the course, I nearly died. I genuinely had absolutely no clue how on earth I was supposed to ride fences that looked like mountains. In the event I closed my eyes, pointed and left him to it. He flew round clear and we came 3rd.
He was affectionate too. Loved nothing more than resting his great big head on you if you were ever bent over in the field – poo picking or weeding or whatever. He was a pocket rocket and a gentleman and I loved the bones of him.
Horses have come and gone since then and I had pretty much assumed that nothing would ever live up to Rupert. How could any horse come close?
And then Amber came along. Originally just viewed as a sale project and one I was none too impressed with either. An incredible mare, hidden in plain sight. And now she has got to me. Melted my defences, broken down my barriers, cemented her place in my heart. Rupert was my scruffy farm pony, my pal, my partner in crime. Amber is my elegant life partner who I am slightly in awe of. Frankly she is out way of my league and yet seems to have accepted me. She is better than me in every way – more athletic, more beautiful, more generous, more talented, more powerful, more intelligent, more honest, more courageous, more willing. And yet she appears to likes and accepts me. She nickers to me, her expression softens when I approach her, she lowers her head and flickers her ears to listen to me. She is respectful attentive, obedient and trusting. This incredible horse is now and forever MINE and I cannot believe my luck. Terrified….. but truly happy and grateful!! Rupert has competition. Not something I thought could EVER happen!