June has been a bit of a mixed month as we said goodbye to Elton who was sold at the beginning of the month, but has also come with an exciting start of a new chapter as a new member has joined my team.
I was very lucky to be contacted by the Stud who bred my old mare who I competed up to international 3* level both at home and abroad with much success on the national competition circuit in the seven years we owned her. They contacted me asking if I knew of a para rider looking for a 14.2hh with very good paces with an especially big over tracking walk – very important for a Grade 1b para rider as quite a lot of my dressage tests are in walk. She was a half sister to my old international mare by the same sire Fulton, a breeding line that I am quite fond of knowing quite a few of him progeny. She sounded perfect for me as I had planned to down size to 14.2-15.1hh and was described as being very laid back with a calm outlook on life which is also important to me – she sounded just like my old mare who suited me perfectly, she almost sounded to good to be true but I knew her owners were very honest and lovely people. She hadn’t done a great deal in the way of going out and about as she had only ever been to two shows their daughter wasn’t interested in competing but that was unimportant if she ticked the rest of the boxes on my checklist. I just had one slight problem that I couldn’t afford to buy her until Elton had found a new home which I knew was going to take time as I received the email from the Stud in March – it was by complete coincidence that the Stud emailed me not long after I had advertised Elton for sale. So I wrote back to them expressing my interest and explained my position but wasn’t expecting what was to happen next as although I couldn’t afford to buy her at that time the owners offered for me to go and try her, with an offer that I couldn’t refuse of keeping her for me until Elton was sold – they are lovely people and so generous as I know she would have been snapped up should they have advertised her as she was a dream pony – a horse in a pony package with the kindest of hearts and lovely paces, something which is so difficult to find. So I arranged a day and went along to try her – I will be honest and say I was quite nervous as the mare hadn’t been in much work and there wasn’t a rider to show me her so I just had to jump straight on and not to help matters it was blowing a gale and raining outside - we were lucky they had an indoor school for me to try her although you could still hear the wind howling. My first impression was that she had a fantastic unflappable temperament with a para rider with completely different aids getting straight on her as well as not being ridden with a whip before so it was all new to her – she was foot perfect consider she hadn’t been ridden or worked for quite a while. On first attempt I had walk and trot directly off my aids which where completely new to her, she just tried so hard to understand, and wanted to help and please. She ticked so many of the boxes on my checklist of what I would like as my dream horse with temperament and paces being on top of the list. After trying her the owners of the stud very kindly offered that they would keep her for me as her home was so important to them as they owned her from a foal and she was their daughters pony. It was so generous of them and I will never forget their kindness.
So this month we welcomed Caecolley Fulltide to the team. She is an 11 year old, 14.2hh, liver chestnut, Welsh x Warmblood mare. She has had time this month to adjust to her new home and routine as she was at the stud for so long – she soon made herself at home and is very settled already. I have spent a lot of time with her bonding on the floor and getting to know her as for the first couple of weeks we hadn’t got a saddle to fit her, she has the most honest, gentle and genuine temperament – I am able to lead her from the field and she just follows me, groom her myself and put her boots and bandage on so I can be more independent although still require assistance with some of the more difficult tasks due to my disability but I am enjoying doing as much as possible.
Towards the end of the month a lovely friend who is also based at the livery yard where I keep Fulltide borrowed me her saddle that she wasn’t using which was a good fit until I could get another saddle sorted out. So we cracked on with some ridden work as well as lungeing her to help develop her fitness. We took to each other straight away and she was foot perfect even though she was a little unsure of the mirrors. Before putting our head down to some training next month I have spent time getting to know Fulltide and developing our partnership and trust. She is a fantastic mare I feel like I have been riding her so much longer; she really looks after me and tries her hardest – she has already made a big impression.