HRH Patrick - Aka Mr P - Aka Pee Pee - 16.3hh Irish Sport Horse
Where do I even begin with this wonderful soul?? I met Patrick through a very dear friend of mine telling me he was for sale, and I should look... Followed by my response of there is absolutely no way I could have another horse as I think Paul may divorce me! Low and behold, we go and have just a little look (what harm can it do)? Well, it seems quite a lot!! I watched him go round, he was stunning, a little tight through his frame (which he still sometimes is (and showing some tension)) but what a wonderful boy with such a character. Now, not all of that character was good. We were made aware that he needed to be tied up in the stable to do anything with, lead out in a bridle or a chifney, sedated to be clipped and to make sure he was tied up to put rugs on. As, you can imagine, with this info, I HAVE to have him.
So, myself and dear friend head home to have a conversation with Paul. We do a deal that we will part with my then event mare 'Maggie', Strider and Cherry. We agreed to have Patrick aka Mr P and he very swiftly joined our family. He is a ex 3-star eventer, and I was literally bursting at the seams to get him out and about. He was already fit and ready to go as he had been hunted and show jumped in his previous home. I have him for a few weeks, get to learn to ride him and away we go to Firle. He behaved impeccably on arrival and tack up, warm up and I'm feeling super nervous but calm. We head off, a very calm approach and hold in the starting box and we're off. First fences a breeze, get to a pretty insignificant log and I can feel him backing off, so a quick convo and a push on and he takes it nicely. We are literally on fire, heading down the hill to a drop fence, then the water. We approach the drop with gusto and NO WAY! The pour soul is absolutely petrified, he slammed on the breaks and his whole body shook, I've never felt such a petrified horse underneath me, he was literally shaking. So, I gave him a huge rub and we headed off the course for him to never be asked to do it again. We have been to hunter trials and other eventing venues, where I've had to suss out the fences first and his passion is now dressage & show jumping and he's loving it! We've had him for a fair few years now and he is an absolute gent and my best friend. He has absolutely no issues as mentioned above, adores a cuddle (still on his own terms) and will happily stand to be clipped (by his Mummy only) His is lead out like any other horse and lives a very happy and relaxed life! We I have since lost him to Matilda! Yes... all 16.3hh of him has been stolen for her to compete and my goodness are they doing well!! As much as I miss it, they are a wonderful partnership, destined for wonderful things!!!
PS. Ooops, we also managed to fail to keep up our end of the deal and still own the above ponies that were supposed to fund Mr P.
HRH CHUKI - 17hh Dutch Warmblood - Gelding
Words cannot describe this horse... He is my world, my rock, my confidant! I worked for a lady producing youngsters and Chuki came in as a swap for a brood mare who had damaged her eye. He was a completely upside down, gangly (one could even say, ugly) crazy colt. WOW, he was hard work… He pushed everyone to their limits and was nearly a lost cause. I then took a very natural and even more patient approach with him. This is where my love and understanding of horses truly took hold. A few years later this now 16.3hh 3 yr old was the most wonderful person you would have the pleasure of meeting. As was always the plan, Chuki was then offered for sale. Well, this broke me… there is no way on earth that we could afford him and his talent was just amazing. Months went by and Chuki hadn’t sold. It became apparent that he wasn’t too keen on other people and we had found a small sarcoid. Within this time, I had sadly had to say goodbye to Jakson (my then horse) as his arthritis was too much for him to deal with at the age of 27. I had announced to my husband that I couldn’t put myself through this again and I didn’t want any more horses. Unbeknown to me he had already purchased Chuki (the most amazing man) and this is where our story began.
It took me a while to learn to ride him and hold him together as he was now standing at 17hh and quite long (I’m 5’4”). After years of starting him and understanding each other, we started off with low level jumping, hunter trials and workers. We went from strength to strength, eventually putting ourselves forward for HOYS Working Hunter Qualifiers. He was superb, clear most times out, but sadly his length and his dipped back set us down the line in the conformation… so sadly we never made it…. but WOW! We had the best journey (and unlimited amounts of champagne for me) trying… Chuki has now been diagnosed with Ataxia and is therefore pretty much retired. He enjoys a walk out to keep him ticking over and to keep us both together.
Chuki sadly earned his angel wings last year and so sadly left my world to grace another with his dignity and beauty intact!! I still miss him more than I can express and it still makes me cry to write this. He was my best teacher and my very best friend!!!
HRH RENKUM DERRICK - 17.2hh (and still growing) Oldenburg x - Gelding
Oh wow!!! I find Derrick. Big, black, four white socks, stunning Renkum Oldenburg wait for it……) by Clydesdale… But no other than Wiston Bridget. Just backed and starting his education… Off I go to look… Oh man, He is stunning! Underweight and a listless but nevertheless stunning. My first sit on Derrick and WOW! WOW! WOW! He’s out of this world. A little lethargic but the few big, elevated steps I got were enough to know what was to come. Yes, you guessed it…. Hubby had the dreaded phone call and the very fortunate me has put a deposit on him to stop any more viewings (as there were a few after me).
HRH Derrick arrives home, a nice bath, good food and plenty of TLC, it’s time… up I get. WOW! It’s just as good and some. Now this stunning animal has energy, the want to move forward and a very pleasing nature. Weeks of training went by, and I take Derrick to his first unaffiliated dressage. I mount, I warm up (In a very small area on a huge baby). It’s my turn… In we go, balance isn’t the best but I’m holding him together the best I can. We get round and I cry as I leave the arena. Yes… cry! Shear relief, I think. Results are up. You’re not going to believe it…. 1st on 76%!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe it’s a fluke? I am dumbfounded. I enter more…. every time scores in the 70’s. So, we step it up a level and brave the canter…. Will he didn’t disappoint, 1st time out 4th, then another 3-x 1st’s until the worse happens…. Derrick injures himself. He has a puncture wound just below the kneecap. This was a complete nightmare, it was drained and stitched asap, but he still managed to get an infection. A month or so later, the healing process is going well. We are resting away and the girls go onto the yard to what looks to have been chainsaw massacre. You guessed it… Again… Big D has nearly ripped his tongue off. Six stitches later and having to bathe his tongue in salt water for 5 days and no hard feed. It’s all becoming quite challenging.
As you can imagine, not much was happening with Derrick for the foreseeable future. I was devastated!!!
I am pleased to say, we are now a very long way down the road to recovery and hopefully coming out the other end. We will be on the fitness wagon and aiming our sites high!!!
Derrick healed well and came back into work with a wonderful attitude.... Many weeks later of walk work and regaining his fitness, we head back out to dressage, and he is awesome coming home in the 70's and a lovely first rosette. As amazing as he was, I felt that he didn't feel the strongest or still the most balanced. After lots of deliberation, I made the decision to turn him away and let him grow into himself........ OH, MY WORD.... Didn't he just!!!!! Derrick became stronger and stronger and bigger & bigger (believe it or not)? So, now was the time to start yet again to bring him back into work.
Derrick went through the usual routine of walk work and fitness training and as he became fitter he became slightly harder to keep together. He rode beautifully and was still like the equivalent of driving a Ferrari or Aston Martin. He is just a GIANT... He must be 18hh+, I was just never keen to measure him as I didn't really want to know.
As the work level increased and became more intense he found it within himself to realise how massive he was and tiny I am and when he said 'No' my little sticks and whatever strength I had in me wasn't enough to give him the confidence to continue concentrating and continue with his work... as you can imagine, this wasn't the best and didn't end too well....
My beautiful beast of a boy is now having to find a new vocation in life, and I will update you all once he has decided what this may be. I have my thoughts, hopes and dreams for him... We are just enquiring and waiting............ Watch this space................
WOW!! What an outcome for both Derrick & myself. After many conversations and putting my mind at rest. I gifted The Big D to the Mounted Police Force where he went to Imber Court to undertake training. They would test his abilities and put him through his paces. Even with all of his groundwork, I was still a little apprehensive. He had been there only one day and had been spotted my many who fancied him for their forever partner. One lady in particular took a massive fancy to him and was adamant that he would be hers. (I was hoping as he would much rather a Mummy than a Daddy) ... After many threats of all kinds, this lady then got her way. She took on Derrick. This lady is Mel.
After a week we went along to visit him and give him love and cuddles and see how he was settling. WOW! He was so happy! We were treated like royalty and shown all around, even in the most amazing museum! We were then surprised again as Russell (the main man) told us a story about an officer that had passed away and they were waiting for a horse to come in to commend him with his name. They asked if I would like it to be Derrick! YES!!! I shed a tear (Ok... sobbed). His stable name is still Derrick, but he is professionally known as PH Valiant!!
He has completed all of his training, excelling at everything. He then went out on patrol and made two arrests within 2 weeks and even had his own write up.
He has gone from strength to strength and now works out of an inner London stable and attends many events, Winter Wonderland, Wimbledon Tennis, patrolled London New Year's Eve and football the following day! He is absolutely thriving and has definitely found his calling in life! I will try and do a blog for Team Valiant to keep you updated!
The best part of it all... when he retires, he gets to come home and live out his years with us!
HRH MAGGIE MAE - 15.2hh ISH - Mare
Here we have the wonderful Maggie Mae aka Magdelaina.. Maggie coming into the HRH family was very much an accident. Don't get me wrong, a very good accident. Maggie came to us with the lovely TIlly who came to us from Kent for 1 week work experience. This was a story in itself... Not only did they stay the week, Tilly returned to school with Maggie staying and Tilly then returning every weekend thereafter until the summer holidays were upon us. Tilly then came back for the duration of the holidays and we had lots of fun and entertainment. Maggie was always very uneasy to mount and more than not had to be lunged with tack on before she was ridden as she was very 'cold backed' and uncomfortable when first ridden. Tilly was then offered a scholarship at a private boarding school which meant she had to make the decision to re-home Maggie (which HRH was asked to do). This was fine, although Maggie had had a little holiday up until this point and we had noticed slight swelling on her back, just behind the wither. Therefore, I wouldn't advertise her until such point that I new she was ok... After a diagnosis from the vet of Maggie being more uncomfortable than we first thought, I enlisted the help of our physio to come and work with Maggie. Wow!! This was a shock! Poor Maggie was so sore. She needed intensive physio and lots of stretching (no riding for now) to make her comfortable. 6 months down the line, Maggie started work (she sometimes still has the pain memory when mounted) but Oh My... what a difference. She is like a new horse and loving and thriving with work.
I agreed to go X-country training with a friend of mine (this was after an evening of bubbles consumption). So off we go... There is a story to all of this but to cut a long story short, Maggie shone, she was an absolute sweetheart and from that day on I have never looked back. Needless to say, I didn't sell Maggie, she has stayed well and truly within the HRH family and is now my cracking little event horse. We competed a little towards the end of last season with super results and have got all of our dates booked for this season. I have great expectations of wonderful times and results ahead with the beautiful Maggie Mae!!!!!! What makes all of this better is that we have made life long friends of Tilly and her family and that Maggie was gifted to HRH. Tilly does still come to visit and is able to enjoy spending time with and riding Maggie when she is here........ Perfect result all round!!!!
HRH BRONHEULOG CHERRY - Welsh A Mare -
Where do we begin with this little lady?...... She is 5 years young and one of the loves of my little lady's life. We purchased her initially for our little boy for her safety factor which she has proven herself with (apart from one little blip at dressage). We had this little pony out doing Heritage M&M LR with both of my children when we first purchased her and for the years to follow, and what a super star she was. Taking care of my little people and winning many championships and qualifiers. Don't get me wrong, this didn't happen overnight, it took us all a while to get to know each other and create a bond where we knew each other inside and out. Once we had turned this corner we had lots of success in the show ring, The only difference in our routine now, is that Matilda wanted to explore other disciplines: dressage, jumping, hunting and games. which we did and this little pony turned her hoof to all of them without the batter of her lovely eye. Not only did she do this, but she did it well.... Again, popping a few more wins under her belt. This season we will be trying for Heritage M&M FR and possible Working Hunter cradle stakes.... Whichever we put our passion and hard work into, I am positive that both Matilda & Cherry will gain, confidence, experience and want to excel in whichever field.
This is a little girl that I feel we are blessed to own and will continue to enjoy her work and look after my children for years to come....
So, many years have passed and Cherry certainly taught Matilda how to ride. Word of her now trainer at a BD camp .... "Matilda, if you learn to ride this pony, you'll be able to ride and handle anything." Low and behold, I think she was pretty spot on. Matilda had a very strict start to riding which held her back from going out and jumping and doing the things she wanted to do at the time. As awful as this sounds. I truly believe that holding her back and concentrating on the foundations and technicalities of riding, she has become a very soft, sympathetic and accomplished rider, being able to ride all of our horses professionally, elegantly and competently.
HRH KENNETH - 17.2hh Akhele-Theke - Gelding
Another very spoiled moment for me. I had seen his sorry, emaciated little butt being advertised from the same person as Derrick. So I tag my husband in said advert with “ I would like” nothing else was said for a week or so until my phone alerted me of another comment on the post and he was ‘SOLD’. I was a gutted as he was a stunner. I sat at the dinner table surrounded by friends and let out a sigh…. I was asked what was wrong, I just pointed out that the lovely yellow horse had sold. Nothing else said apart from, ‘there’ll be another’…. Later that evening my hubby text me (a little odd, I thought). The message read.. ‘Is this the one that sold? The one that now belongs to you’…. Well for the first time EVER… I had no words.
My initial reaction was excitement, until a wave of terror hit me. My husband has just bought a 17hh stallion that we hadn’t even met. I am really putting my faith in the seller now…. We go to see him the following day … WOW! He is a stunner, but OH MY, is he thin. There was just nothing there, his expression was blank and not an ounce of meat on him! Not the best purchase in the way of getting out competing asap, but what he is, is a phenomenal project and a challenge to create a lovely, happy horse with a happy life. So far, his journey has been a good one, a little slow as a few obstacles to manoeuvre around. He was (still is a little) very weak behind, he couldn’t stand the contact AT ALL!! And his back was a little sore. So, plan of action…. Physio, Lucy Gover comes to visit him on a regular basis, he also had a full MOT everywhere else; teeth, feet, wormer, tack and diet - onto the same feed as my others; Pure Feed. We work him gently from the ground and what a difference a few weeks makes. He had put 200kg on!! We have continued to work him and started ridden exercise and he is starting to settle into a continuous way of going and I have very high hopes… Ridden foreign breeds and dressage here we come… Who knows what other abilities he will have? He loves a jump so may event mid-season once his fitness improves. Happy days and lots to look forward to.
I gifted the very handsome and wonderful Kenneth to our lovely friend and now apprentice Madi for Christmas 2021. She has spent the past few months taking the time to bond with him and getting to know each other. They took part in their first dressage test this weekend coming home with a very respecatble score. I'm very excited for both of their futures. A combination to watch.