My parents are not horsey AT ALL, but after me rocking my rocking horse all around the living room at the age of 5, my mother relented and took me for pony rides at the local pony centre.
By the age of 8 I was still bonkers about horses so my poor mum took me to a ‘proper’ registered riding school for proper lessons – she had to wait for me in the freezing cold!.
Our annual visit to my grandparents.
Each summer my brother, sisters and I used to spend a few days on our own with my grandparents over on the Wirral. Whilst I was there one summer, my grandmother took me on a visit to a distant relatives house, which happened to be next to a horse stud.
We got chatting to the owner who was telling us about a poor little foal who’s mother had died of a bee sting when he was only 3 weeks old, and how she’d reared him on bottled milk. He was black with a white stripe along his back. Would you just know it she was looking to sell him…..
‘Hunky’ came home
Well, I’m not sure how I persuaded my parents to take him on – he was still only 5 months when we got him – but foolishly they did!! A field and shelter had been arranged for him but at the last minute the farmer refused to take him as he was still so young (normally foals are only taken away from their mothers from around 6 months).
As he’d been hand reared ‘Hunky’ was a little ‘weedy’ bless him so he was really only like a big dog! In the end my parents created a stable in the garage and put a paddock on the garden (that’s what you did in those days!!!!!). He stayed at home until he outgrew our facilities- at the age of 1
What fun we and our friends had – we took him on walks like a dog, dressed him up in all sorts and gave him lots of love and care.
Then my first riding pony- Caprice
It was obvious that Hunky was never going to be big enough for me to ride (he was a Welsh Mountain pony and would grow to around 44″ to his shoulder) – so not long after we got Hunky my parents bought me a pony big enough for me to ride – Caprice – there’s a WHOLE book could be written about Caprice!!!!!
Hunky was broken to riding and my sister rode him briefly. I broke him to driving when I was 17 and we had lots of fun driving around the countryside. Hunky remained with us until his late teens when he contracted a type of skin cancer and we had to take our very first dreadful decision to release him from his pain.
Demi, one of my current ponies is very much like Hunky!
Horses are in my genes
I maintain that horses are in my genes- they must be as all my cousins on my father’s side are potty about horses and are horse owners, as is one of my sisters! Apparently there’s a distant relative that used to work on the racing yards – it’s all his fault!!!!!