pony tails – the beginning

063I thought writing a blog would be easy, just like three and half years ago I thought that learning to showjump just shy of forty years old would be easy.  As it turns out, I appear to be wrong on both accounts. So I hope you’ll stay with me for the ride as I blunder my way through modern technology, overcome the fear of putting fingers to the key board to keep you updated on battling the terror of entering a showjumping ring, surrounded by pony club belles, impossibly turned out on delightfully well behaved ponies. There’s no denying that the focus of this blog is undoubtedly ‘horse’, but  I hope that it resonates with anyone whose passion for their passion outstrips any natural ability. It is fair to say that riding has taken over my life and my bank balance. Occasionally, I find myself leafing longingly through the pages of the Boden catalogue, remembering a time when my money was spent on pretty tea dresses, linen trousers and funky footwear. The bulk of my money is still spent on shoes, but for Jay, my 16.3, three quarter Trakhener (German warmblood), copper coloured bundle of joy.  In fact approximately 800 of my hard earned pounds are spent each year on Jay’s footwear, which means that after three years of ownership I could be the proud owner of at least 6 new pairs of Jimmy Choo’s.  I probably would not have had such a large amount of ‘fun’ though.  As apparently, I ride for ‘fun’ and if the definition of fun is a perpetual roller coaster of ecstasy and depression, then yes, I guess it’s fun. So to the beginning of this madness.  I admit it, I made all the mistakes of a born again rider.  Following a stint riding a selection of wholly unsuitable nags, I had an insatiable desire to own another horse (it had been five years since I’d had to give up my other two).  The money was burning a hole in my pocket.  I scanned the horse and hound website daily, with no real idea what I was looking for, vaguely aware that I was choosing a horse, like I used to choose a man, looks first, temperament second, big bump back down to earth third. I wanted a warmblood about 16.1 hands high, that looked good, and I thought I’d found him up near Worcester.  In my mind I had purchased this horse, which was the first I’d viewed before I’d even got on his back.  He spooked his way round a small hack, seemed a little odd on the left rein, but more importantly was a shiny as a conker, had a pedigree as long as the M1 and looked great.  The deal was done, until the vets report who marked him down as 5/10 lame following a flexion test. Sense finally kicked in, and that was the end of my short relationship with Ben the Danish Warmblood. Back to the website, back to the chestnut described as ¾ Trakhener, ¼ thouroughbred, amusingly, it was the thoroughbred bit that put me off (I’d not heard of ‘tricky’ Trakheners at that time). Still, he was striking and close, so worth a visit.  Once again, he came out of the stable and I was sold, I was told that he bucked on hacks, told that he’d turned himself inside out leaving the warm up ring whilst eventing, but also told that he would show jump all day. I watched him clear 1.30m with ease, rode him in the longest canter you’ve ever seen in your life, tripped over cross pole and said ‘yes’. Got £500 knocked off the asking price and a very good deal on the saddle, which struck me as slightly odd as I’m far to British to be any good at bartering. Jay passed the vetting and arrived the next week.

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