The beautiful Melody is another of my lovely Welsh horses and her purchase was quite an adventure.
I had gone on a personal visit to stay on my friends’ farm in Wales, taking just two horses for a couple of days on a seaside break.
My friend Vernon asked if I was looking for another new horse as he had a couple of nice coloured cobs for sale. I went to have a look and decided to buy them both – but more of that when their turn arrives on our tour of the stables!
Vernon then said he had two promising mares up in the mountains and suggested taking a look at them as well – despite the fact that they were unbroken, unhandled and completely wild.
Off we went up the mountain, through gates and over desolate open moors. Every now and again Vernon would stop, get out of the Land Rover and give his trademark call. Nothing appeared and all we saw were sheep.
I had with me Charlotte and Jackie, the two girls who worked for me, and the three of us were really enjoying our intrepid adventure!
Eventually we reached the highest point of the mountain and had to get out and walk. Vernon called again and over the hill appeared two beautiful bay Welsh Section D mares. They were inquisitive but were wary and wouldn’t come near and I wandered around them, as close as I could get. They were sisters, May and Melody.
Their conformation and type was beautiful and I said I would have them both. Charlotte and Jackie looked at me as if I had gone crazy!
I returned a few days later and collected all four horses. Poor Melody, on arrival here she was hit with everything – vetting, injections, farrier, dentist, worming – and took the lot in her stride, as did the others.
I started training her straight away and within two weeks we were riding her. Because they had led a very natural life with Vernon, none of them had any worries about anything. Although they hadn’t been handled they hadn’t been mishandled either. I wasn’t having to undo other people’s mistakes and all four proved easy to train to ride.
Melody is such a sweet mare and is a lovely forward-going ride . She is kind and very genuine and has willingly done everything we have ever asked of her.
In the field she sticks with her Wales companions. She and Paddy are inseparable friends, although she does have a secret crush on herd leader Buttons. We often smile to see her following Buttons, with the devoted Paddy two steps behind.Two Hearts on Apple iOS 10.2


It’s often said that some people and animals are just meant to be together. That is something I firmly believe in because it has happened to me too many times to be just coincidence.
Look at Lightning, my beautiful coloured cob. Fate certainly had a hand in his arrival at the trekking centre. I will tell you the story.
I was looking for a happy hacking retirement home for one of my horses, PJ, and advertised him on my Facebook page.
I had quite a lot of response, but one reply came from a lady who asked if I would consider a swop. She had a newly broken young horse but was finding him a little bit too much for her and wanted a nice sensible all-rounder for herself and her children.
In a strange turn of fate it turned out that the horse she was offering me had been sired by our very own Pirate, bred in Wales by my dear friend Vernon and I had known him since he was a foal!
I had seen him many times on our regular visits to Wales for our riding holidays, when we were based on Vernon’s farm. Vernon had quite a few youngsters by Pirate, but Lightning had always been one of my favourites because of the large amount of black on him.
Vernon had asked if I wanted him but at the time I hadn’t got room for another horse. Next time I went the youngsters had been sold and I felt a pang of disappointment. Little did I know then that Lightning would travel across the country and find me again!
When I realised that the horse I was being offered was my little black cob from Wales I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t even go to see him. The lady came to try PJ, loved him, and the deal was done.
The way I would describe Lightning is a real-life My Little Pony in big size. With a long flowing mane that sweeps his shoulders and a gorgeous full tail, he just needs a butterfly or rainbow on his booty!
He was a little bit green when he arrived, so I went back to long reining and loose schooling before we ventured out on the Chase and he took everything in his stride.He was willing and keen and has gone from strength to strength.
Lightning excels at everything he does, from the bareback lessons to the riding holidays. I was so proud of him on the Sheriff’s Ride when he won the best turned out prize with our Mel. He looked stunning with his beautiful mane and feathers plaited.
He made friends in the herd very quickly. It was interesting that he had never before met his father Pirate but they became best friends immediately and are now inseperable. I love to watch them interacting.
People sometimes say that stallions don’t know their babies, but I believe that’s wrong. Capulate and Atlantis, Lightning and Pirate, Zidane and his little herd of youngsters – they all have a special relationship and definitely know their babies!
One of my most emotional moments was when we took Lightning on his first riding holiday to Wales. He was returning for the first time to the farm where he was born.
When we turned our horses out to graze he led our gang of 15 at a canter to the fence bordering the next-door field. Waiting to greet him there was his mum – they hadn’t met since he was sold but they clearly remembered each other and were reunited for a week.
It did cross my mind that he wouldn’t get on the horse box to come home! But there were no problems and we decided Lightning preferred to live with his dad.


This handsome bay pony may only be a little chap but he’s going to make a big impact here at the trekking centre.
Leo came to us thanks to one of my friends, who told me one of her work colleagues was looking for a good home for her daughter’s pony. He was a Pony Club type, but was sadly outgrown and they needed a bigger one for her.
She sent me some photographs of him doing all sorts of Pony Club activities and being ridden through water without a care in the world. But they did say he was a little bit cheeky and needed a knowledgeable home.
He was kept at livery at a riding school and my friend and I went over to Tamworth to have a look at him there. He had a lovely home and was clearly much loved by everyone.
I had in mind our upcoming equestrian centre redevelopment and the construction of the new indoor arena and was planning lessons, jumping and pony club activities, so I decided he would be ideal.
I said I would buy him and went back a few days later with my horse box to collect him. It’s always the same when I buy a new horse – I get so excited I have to fetch them straight away. I literally cannot sleep the night before!
Leo settled straight into our herd when he arrived but I found he wasn’t ready for clients yet, so my girls rode him for a while.
At one time I did think he might not be quite what we needed at the trekking centre. Then somebody asked me about having him and I got on him myself to demonstrate him.
I changed my mind immediately! There was no way we were going to part with him!
Sometimes we don’t have strong enough riders among our little girls to hack him out, but since we opened the new arena he has really started to shine.
Leo has a lot of ability and energy and he is thriving in our lessons and pony activity sessions. He jumps like a stag and I am really excited for the summer to see him over the cross-country fences we are building. He is going to give his riders a lot of pleasure.
Watch this space ……. this pony is going to be quite special.


The lovely Larosa – stable name Lola – is a bay Welsh Section D mare whose registered name is actually Budore Lea-Rose.
I always call her Larosa, even though nearly everyone else calls her Lola.
She is another find by Lucy, my former yard manager. Lucy wasn’t working with me at the time but I still asked her if she would keep her eyes open for a nice new horse for the trekking centre. I wanted something forward going for our experienced riders.
Lucy spotted Larosa on a yard in Tamworth. She had been bred in Ireland by a lady who did a lot of showjumping but also produced horses to sell. The mare had been lightly backed and had done a little bit of ground work, but I wanted to put my own stamp on her as for me she wasn’t ready to be mounted.
She reminded me a lot of one of the best mares I have ever had, one of my original trekking horses called Melody, so decided to buy her and  went back a couple of days later to bring her home.
The jumpiness I had noticed when I first went to see her soon quietened down when I began working with her and she soon relaxed on our yard.
I started riding her out quite quickly and she took to it straight away. She is very genuine and straightforward lady, who absolutely loves being out on the Chase.
My stud vet had a look at her and said she would produce a fantastic foal.  Once out in the field she turned into our Nanny McPhee. When all of our foals have  been weaned Larosa has become their surrogate mother. I soon realised I would have to breed from her because she absolutely loves babies!  I decided she deserved to have one of her own with our handsome stallion Zidane. She gave birth to the most beautiful coloured foal that we called Montana and, as I had expected, she turned out to be a fantastic mother.
The only downside was that when we brought her back into work she was super excited to be out on the Chase again, so I started to ride her myself, she was very lively and it took her a while to settle back down.
Her daughter Montana is such a high quality filly that I am thinking that Larosa may be the next one that we put back in foal. We really should seize the chance to breed another classy foal from her and have beautiful ‘mini Larosa’s’ for future Trekking Centre horses.
Larosa is a lovely mare to own, she is perfect in every way.


Jacob’s Creek – better known to everyone as Jake – is one of our newest arrivals here at the trekking centre.
After the retirement of Thomas and Meg I decided we needed another big horse, so I set my former yard manager Lucy the task of tracking down a likely recruit.
I wanted something flashy and coloured, preferably Irish crossed with something a little bit finer and Lucy discovered Jake in Derby. He sounded ideal, with an Irish dad and a Dutch Warmblood mum, which had produced a lovely big baby.
I went off to see him and check him over. He had been started and lightly worked but seemed a little moody, so I asked his owner to find me some long reins and I took him off to have a little play with him. I wanted to find out how far his schooling had gone.
Everything went wrong! He was acting up, shouting for his mum, big tractors were going past and he generally misbehaved and was cheeky. His owner was quite surprised when I said I wanted him! But I quite liked his cheekiness.
His owner had bred Jake and was quite upset to let him go, but he just hadn’t got the time to bring him on.
I have said before that I always feel some horses are meant to be mine and Jake is another one of those. His birthday is the same as the guy that bred him – which just happens to be my birthday too. So it was clearly fate that he ended up with me.
When I got him home I started straight away with loose schooling and long reining him. I did a lot of ground work and then started riding him out. I rode himself for all his initial schooling and hacking.
We have only had him for two years and in that time he has not only grown more, but he has also muscled up. To us he still seems to be growing.
Jake has turned out to be an absolute star. Last year he did his first Sheriff’s Ride, which he took completely in his stride.
He has become a really great horse for our experienced riders,on the treks and in the school. He has a good jump and we are excited to see what he will do when we start our cross-country clinics this summer.
I could do with another couple just like him – and I will be on the lookout this summer.