Half Term Pony Fun – Georgie and Lady

This is day two of our half term pony fun and today we are getting to know GEORGIE and LADY.


Georgie, whose real name is Farmer George, is the newest addition to our tiny pony line-up and we came across him when he was a companion in a field for our retired little chap Tommy Tucker.

His family had bought him for their children but they had lost interest in riding and a good home was the priority.


Georgie poses for the camera

I went to a take a look and loved him as soon as I saw him. I went next day with the trailer to fetch him and we soon hit a problem. He really did not like loading and quickly became quite distressed.

I decided not to put him through the ordeal and as he was only on the other side of the Chase, his owners very kindly walked him all the way to me.

Since joining us last year he has become more and more confident, even to the extent of loading on a horse box without any problems!

I call him Georgie Porgie because he loves to kiss the girls – although he never makes anyone cry! He is a really affectionate little lad and he loves kisses and cuddles from his children when they have finished their lessons.


The third member of our little gang is our gorgeous and very cheeky LADY.


Lady, with one of our young riders

She came to me after someone I knew of had bought her for his grandchildren. Unfortunately, it ended up with the common scenario of the children losing interest and the pony ending up as a lawn mower.  My friend was looking for a good home for Lady as she was getting very fat and starting with laminitis due to lack of exercise.

I went to see her and found she had a really cheeky personality.  I had to have her – I loved her quirkiness. And when I got her Welsh Section A papers I found she had the same birthday as me, so it was clearly meant to be.

She arrived at the centre and has never looked back. Lady is super in the school and is brilliant at taking our young riders for their first treks on the Chase.

The only problem I have with her is that she is still a greedy girl! She would eat constantly if we let her. She never knows when to stop, so we have to keep her on a restricted diet.

Half Term Pony Fun – Dolly

Half term pony fun

As it’s half term this week I decided to turn my blog over to some tiny but very important members of my team.

These are My Little Ponies, five boys and girls who provide so much fun for all the children who come to the trekking centre for lessons and pony experiences.

Our young clients might like to know a little bit more about their four-legged friends and we start with Dolly.


This lovely little pony was found for me by my then yard manager Sally, who knew her owner.

Sally recommended Dolly and said she was a cracking pony that I really needed to see. So we went to take a look and I fell in love with her straight away.

dolly, cannock chase trekking centre

She is a beautiful, dainty little Welsh Section A who lives up to her pretty name. With her Palamino colouring and lovely long mane she is every little rider’s dream pony. She has proved to be absolutely invaluable to me.

Dolly will take all the children from walk right up to canter and is happy to be used in the school on her own, without the company of the other ponies, she is brilliant at helping children to canter for the first time. Dolly is great in our pony club sessions and will stand patiently while our younger riders learn to groom, tack up and plait that beautiful mane!

Dolly, cannock chase trekking centre

She has a wonderful personality and is very kind and maternal. She is a sucker for our babies and will always take a newcomer to the herd under her wing and look after them until they settle in. Dolly really is a darling.

Head over to our children’s events page or our Facebook page to see all of our activities this half term week.


Spirit – Chestnut Welsh Section D

SPIRIT – Welsh Section D

Our beautiful Spirit with his chestnut coat and flaxen mane and tail is a very handsome Welsh Section D Cob with a registered name to match his looks – Elvirra Miracle.

When I bought him he was called Travis but he reminded us of the Disney character horse Spirit and so his name was changed. I think it really suits him. He was an unbroken three-year-old but was a lovely straightforward, problem free little horse to train.

As readers of my blog know, I think Welsh Section D’s can often be tricky in the early stages but Spirit was the exception. I had no facilities at the time, so I trained him in the field and we had no difficulties at all.

I backed him quite early and my most vivid memory is my first canter on him. I have always said he is one of the fastest horses I have owned. I had tears in my eyes when I pulled up that first time,he was quick!

I soon had him riding out but he was still too young for clients. Lucy, one of my senior staff members, was heading to university to study equine psychology, and he went off to college with her so she could continue his education .

When he came home I trained him for Western riding and I also taught him to bow! These days he can be ridden both Western and English and I keep saying that I am going to switch him back to full time Western. He is the centre’s cowboy horse!

As the years have passed he has found his place in the middle of the ability range. He excels at giving experienced clients a fast paced ride, but he is also safe and sensible enough for the less capable. Confident novices do really well with him.

My yard manager Sonia recently took him on the Sheriff of Lichfield Ride and was seriously impressed by him. He went like a dream for her all day.

Spirit, cannock chase trekking centr

We had a brilliant surprise a couple of years ago when his very first owner managed to track him down and contacted us to find out how he was. She was so thrilled to find that he was here, happy, healthy and loving his life.

The Bond of Friendship


Despite spending all my life working with horses there are still moments that give me
goose bumps and catch at my heart strings.

Often those are moments that leave me reflecting on the bond of friendship that exists between ourselves and these beautiful and sensitive animals that share our lives.

I experienced one of those moments recently here at Cannock Chase Trekking Centre. It might seem trivial to some but it was something that really left me amazed. I will tell you the little story and you can judge for yourselves.

As followers of our Facebook page know, I am currently training our new arrival, a beautiful Andalusian mare called Nymeria. She is quite sensitive and a little bit challenging so I often work her in the arena in the evening when it is quiet with fewer distractions.

I had worked her and then turned her out. The rest of the herd were long gone so, with Nymeria loose, I walked up the field to open the gate and let her through.

Unfortunately she spotted them through a gap in the trees and became fixated that she should go the wrong way. With no lead rope or head collar I was stuck and could not persuade her to follow me through the open gate.


She was getting a little agitated when I had an idea and approached my good friend Capulate, who was grazing in the next field. As my blog readers know from when I wrote about him, he was one of the most challenging horses I have ever trained. We spent many, many hours together and as a result we have a special friendship. I love him, he loves me, simple as that.

We had a little chat and a cuddle that evening and I explained my predicament. Then I did some of my natural horsemanship join up technique and he left his grazing to follow me into the other field where Nymeria was still fretting. I really had no clue what would happen next.

I watched in delight as Capulate went straight to her and stood with her for a few seconds. Then he turned, and with Nymeria following closely behind, he led her through the gate and escorted her to her friends before resuming his grazing.

I closed the gate behind them and stood in quiet amazement. I am left with more questions than answers. How did he know what I wanted him to do? How did he understand? How did he communicate with the mare?

All I do know is that he is my beloved friend. I had a problem and he fixed it. The rest must just be magic!

Skye – Grey Irish Cob

SKYE – Grey Irish cob.

Skye is an absolute star here at the trekking centre and is priceless to me for his ability to put nervous riders at their ease.

He came to me from the same owners as Red, who had been his next-door neighbour on their previous stable yard.

The stable yard proprietor had bought Skye for her husband, who was used to riding Thoroughbreds. But he found this big lad too laid back and not agile enough in the school.

I went to try him, and although he was very young I soon managed to get him cantering around the school and I knew he had potential for me.

He was so laid back that when he arrived I pretty much turned him straight out with the herd and he had no trouble at all. He was very comfortable in the middle of the group.

Skye joining the herd

One of the highlights in his life here was when I bought Red and he was reunited with his old friend. The pair recognised each other straight away and bonded immediately. They will happily share a stable and Skye would even share his dinner with him!

In fact, Skye was my training partner in sorting out Red. His friendship with this gentle giant reduced Red’s stress levels and relaxed him so that he could absorb my training.

Sky is safe, gentle and kind and hasn’t got an unpredictable bone in his body. You could ride him out alone in complete safety.

Skye and Lady on a trek

Skye welcoming Nymeria to the herd.

He is very popular with our novice male riders who are often dragged here by a partner and don’t really want to ride at all! But an hour with Skye ends their fears and gives them the confidence to come again.

Sometimes he can be frustrating when I know he isn’t giving his all in his work. But I wish people who say they can’t get him going could see him galloping full blast with Michelle, one of my regular experienced riders who loves him to bits. She has taken him on the beach rides and the Sheriff’s Ride and the pair of them fly!

Skye-Cannock Chase Trekking Centre

Skye at Fairbourne Beach

Skye- Cannock chase trekking centre

Skye feeling the ‘Christmas’ Love

I do like experienced clients to ride him because the worst thing you can do with a laid back horse like him is to keep putting beginners on him.

Mind you, we’ve recently found that he gets very excited in our new indoor arena and he has been having a little buck in the bareback lessons! I love to see him having fun.

Splash – Coloured Irish Cob

This lovely lad, Splash, is another of my cob club and is one of the most dependable horses here at the trekking centre.

His breeder described him as a traditional skewbald, but I call him red and white because I think his colour is brighter than chestnut.

He was called Murphy when I bought him from a friend who I have had several horses from, including my own guide horse Chase. I soon decided Splash was a better name.

Splash and Lisa

He was said to be four and had been lightly backed when I went to see him and I could tell he had quite a bit of growing and filling out to do, but I decided to have him.

It was only when he was checked over by a vet at home that it appeared he was in fact only three and therefore too young to be ridden by clients. So I spent the time until the following January schooling him, riding him myself and training him as a guide horse.

I think that extra time I spent with Splash has helped to make him the horse he is today. My yard manager at the time was Sally and she rode him a lot as her guide horse. She formed a very close bond with him and still comes back to ride him.

Splash is the sort of horse who will plod happily with a beginner, but will really step up for an experienced client. He adapts to his rider and his surroundings – totally dependable.

Splash cowboy style!

splash trekking

Splash out trekking

Over the last few years his big claim to fame has been his starring role on the annual Sheriff of Lichfield’s Ride. This is a traditional “beating the bounds” ride of more than 20 miles involving up to 80 horses – and every year Splash carries the Sheriff!

He has carried many Sheriffs who had never sat on a horse until they started training for the ride and he has never put a foot wrong. Splash looks stunning on the day and is the star of the whole show. He loves to be the centre of attention.

Splash at Lichfield Sheriffs Ride

He is still a vital lead horse for us here and is a great character. Out in the field he often hangs out with Skye and Red and he is very gentle in his relationships with the herd. He never squabbles or fights.

He is just as kind in his relationships with people. He is a happy horse and I don’t think I have ever seen him with his ears back. He is great with everyone.

Splash enjoying a day off!

Sahara – Coloured Oldenburg Mare


Our beautiful Sahara really is a very special girl. She is a pink papered pure bred Oldenburg from Germany.

Her daddy is Sanyo, a top continental stallion from an elite family that includes the famous sires Samber and Sandro. Sanyo fetched 110,000 Euros at auction just after his stallion grading!

Sahara arrived at Cannock Chase Trekking Centre after I had bought my wonderful Oldenburg stallion Zidane. His former owner had a mare called Saminca with a yearling foal at foot and asked me if I would like to buy them.

I was so happy with Zidane I decided I would like the mare as well. It was a little bit tricky at first because Sahara had not been weaned at six months, which is what I always do with my foals.

Because Sahara was much older the bond with her mother became very intense and it was difficult to wean her. I felt, with my previous experience of young horses, that leaving them together so long had been detrimental to both of them.

The bond between them never broke and they were always very needy of each other. When they were apart it was very difficult. Sahara would even go through a fence to get back to her mother.

Sahara with her mother, Saminca

Sahara with her mother, Saminca

But eventually they settled into the herd and I was able to break in Saminca. When it was time to train Sahara I decided that it would be best to keep only one of them.

Saminca was the sort of horse who really needed a one on one relationship with an owner. She was never really a suitable trekking horse so we found her a good home.

That was the making of Sahara. Once her mum was gone she really relaxed, grew up and matured.

Sahara out trekking

Sahara out trekking

She was a late developer so I gave her lots of time to grow. People always ask me at what age do I start with a horse. I always say it depends on the individual horse. Some I can start early, Sahara needed a little extra time.

She was very easy to train, accepting everything and she is a lovely genuine mare. She needs to kept interested. As soon as I backed her she was bored with the arena so I took her straight out on the Chase and she loved it.

Over the last year Sahara has become a real favourite with the experienced clients. Everybody who rides her says she floats.

Sahara on the Lichfield Sheriff's Ride

Sahara on the Lichfield Sheriff’s Ride

This winter our plan is to develop her work in the arena. She is bred for dressage and jumping so we hope our experienced riders will enjoy some special lessons with her.