Let me introduce you to Yswain Gabriel – a beautiful name for a beautiful horse.
Known to us all as Gabriel – or Gabs for short – this handsome boy is a Welsh Section D. Most people think he is black, but he’s actually chocolate.
Gabs wasn’t a planned buy. As you will all remember from my earlier blog, I went to see Capulate at my favourite Section D stud.
The owner took me round to see her mares and their recently born foals. I was greeted by a beautiful chocolate foal who wasn’t very old.
He left his mum and came straight over to introduce himself to me. He was a lovely big foal and very bold and confident, following me around and wanting to be friends straight away. I had already made the decision that I was having Caps, so I bought them both together.
Obviously Gabriel had to stay where he was with his mum, but once he was weaned he came to me and I turned the two of them away with the herd. They stuck together and became the best of friends and over the years have climbed the ranks to become quite high up in the field pecking order.
At four Gabriel had turned into a lovely big Section D. The stud had told me that his mother always threw big foals so they had put her to a Welsh Section C stallion to try for a smaller baby. It didn’t work – Gabs just kept growing!
I have always found Welsh Section D’s a little bit quirky to break in, even though Gabriel was easy to get on and ride. They are inclined to be immature and not very laid back. They look at everything and question everything that is asked of them.
Gabriel proved no different and for quite a few years he was limited to staff and our strongest riders. But gradually he grew up and matured and over the last few years he has become a firm favourite with a lot of our experienced riders.
He has gone on to cope with the Sheriff’s Ride, trail rides and the Wales holidays. He has turned into a super horse, but it has taken time.
My advice to anyone thinking of buying a Welsh Section D is to be prepared to be very patient. Even with the amount of work we can put into a horse here, Gabriel needed a lot of time and it has taken years to get him to where he is today.
But it was worth every minute of it. He is so lovely now and a really special boy.


Now we have reached E and there is just one – the elegant Emrys. He is special to me as he is the last of my original trekking centre horses and he is still bursting with life and vitality.
Only today I watched him trotting ahead, leading the whole herd down from the field. He was showing off, high stepping with that lovely elegant stride and I thought: “That’s still my young Emrys.”
He was the very first horse I bought for the trekking centre, back in 1994, before I had even opened. He came from the Yswain Cob Stud and his full name is Yswain Emrys.
He was just nine months old, a Welsh Section D, and I fell in love with him the moment I saw him. I have always loved black horses and he was the first I ever bought.
Emrys was a shining, handsome colt who had won three times in the show ring, including at The Royal Show. His movement and conformation were jaw dropping.
He was going to be the stallion I had always wanted and I was determined to keep him as an entire and show him. He was an expensive indulgence and I couldn’t resist his four white feet and his star.
But Welsh Section D’s can be a handful as entires and by two he was a naughty nuisance, so I ended up having him gelded.
I usually break in at four, but he was so mischievous I started working with him at three. Welsh Section D’s are among the trickiest to break, they can be very willful and opinionated, and Emrys was no different. I had to be very patient and think out of the box.
He used to buck quite a lot – some clients loved it for the excitement, others were terrified! Bugsy was his brother and the two of them were like a pair of gangsters.
But eventually Emrys grew up and I look at him now and can’t believe he carries riders of such varied abilities.
The fact that he is the last of the originals makes him very special to us here. And I have an extra emotional attachment to him.
I lost my Dad in 1995 and Emrys was the only one of all my trekking horses that he saw. I often wonder what my Dad would think of my trekking centre and all the horses I have bought, so I am glad he saw Emrys.
Dad knew his horses and he advised me to get Emrys gelded as he looked as if he could be naughty. He was right!


The last of our ‘C’ horses is the lovely Connor – a chestnut Welsh Section D.
This little horse is the perfect all-rounder in the trekking centre – reliable, calm and sensible for beginners and still a fun ride for the more experienced.
I bought Connor when he was just a foal. A friend’s daughter did a little bit of horse dealing and she had two beautiful youngsters for sale. They had been weaned together and I bought them both. One was Connor and the other was a little coloured cob called McLeod.
It was my sister’s 30th birthday and I bought Connor for her. It was a complete surprise – I tied a red bow round his neck to give him to her.
I broke both of them in at four and Connor was perfect. He took the whole process in his stride but McLeod turned out to be a little bit too unpredictable for the trekking centre and I sold him.
Connor worked really well the whole time I was training him. We started him off with my sister riding him as a lead horse on the treks and he has gone on to be an ideal trekking horse.
He can do anything. He can carry children and adults, beginners and experienced riders. He does the Sheriff’s Ride, he can jump and he is proving invaluable in our new pony clubs and pony activity days.
He is totally safe and trustworthy, brave and confident. Connor is the perfect gentleman, the sort of horse everyone would like to own.
My sister doesn’t ride much any more but she would never let me sell him. She loves him too much.


Everyone knows Chase – he is my trademark, the handsome face of my trekking centre, my lead horse and my dream boy!
In fact, he is so important to me that his measurements have been taken for a carved sculpture that will eventually stand outside our lodge.
Little did I know all those years ago when I first saw him that Chase would go on to be the horse of a lifetime.
I was pregnant with Georgia when I bought  a little coloured cob called Cheyenne from a friend. Because I was pregnant I didn’t try him and took somebody else with me to ride him. As time went on I was concerned that he might have a little niggle and after I was finally able to ride him myself I confirmed there was minor lameness and I knew he would not be suitable for the centre.
My friends were happy to have him back and they had two others as potential replacements. I went to look and found a three-year-old Irish Sport x Connemara – called Winston! As soon as I saw him I liked him, but he was destined for the trekking centre, not for me.
He was only lightly backed and the lady who had broken him in found him to be very bouncy and lively, I had a sit on him in their arena and then asked if I could hack him out.
I expected a nice route in some open countryside – but they took me along a main road with lorries flying past! He never batted an eye though, so I ended up bringing him home.
He needed some schooling and final touches because he was a little sharp, so I started riding him, because my lead horse Echo was off work at the time.  We bonded really quickly and the more I rode him the better he became and I started teaching him tricks.  Echo never really returned to full work, so Winston became mine – and had his name changed to Chase, which, I think you will all agree, suits him so much better.
We have never looked back and we have a fabulous relationship. I have always loved black horses and Chase is my own Black Beauty. He is by nature independent, he never bullies other horses or people, nor is he bullied. He knows exactly who he is – his own man.  He is laid back but ready to fly at any discipline at a moments notice, whether it be traditional riding, western or no tack.
I do not think I will ever have another like him. He is completely attuned to me. He loves me and I love him, he isn’t an openly affectionate horse so I have to steal kisses, but he loves me if I have food!
Chase is the ultimate guide horse, he knows his job 100 per cent. He leads the Sheriff’s Ride; he swims in the sea on the Wales holidays; he is trained for mounted archery. He can do anything and the latest string to his bow is to be my ‘horse ambulance’ since I qualified as a first responder.
He is the image of the trekking centre – the one and only Chase.


On we go with our insight into our lovely horses and we’ve reached C, so I will start with a boy who has a special place in my heart.

This handsome chestnut Welsh Section D came from my favourite stud – Yswain Cobs – and his registered name is Yswain Capulate.
I had bought two of my original trekking horses from there, Emrys – who is still going strong – and Bugsy.
I went to have a look and found the most showy, stunning chestnut colt. I decided to try to keep him as an entire as I had always wanted to breed my own horses.
He had the most fantastic paces and movement but he was a very sensitive horse and I quickly discovered he was quite quirky. As time went on Capulate became more of a handful as a stallion. He spent a lot of time standing on his back legs!
I mated him with my mare Sophie and that match produced the fabulous Atlantis.
But as I started to break Capulate in I found I was facing quite a challenge, and in fact he is one of the hardest horses I have ever had to train. Not only was he very sensitive, but the fact he was still a stallion complicated matters and I really had to use all my knowledge and think out of the box to get through to him.
I spent six months without even hacking him out. And then I finally decided to have him gelded because it got to the point when I wasn’t happy to have my staff handling him. I would have loved to have kept him as a stallion because he is so well bred, but other people found him too difficult to manage.
My business head said sell him because it was going to be such a long road, but my heart said keep him because if he fell into the wrong hands he could be dangerous.
And now I am so glad I kept him, persevered and kept on working with him. I like to think that Capulate is my greatest achievement.
He has turned out to be the most fabulous, fun and beautiful little horse. He is so impressive to watch and is a fantastic ride. He is enthusiastic in his work, leaps into his canters, and is always happy and contented.
I never thought I would see Capulate develop to where he is today. He is one of the horses that has helped me the most in developing my training skills.
He made me think about things in a different way. I love all my horses, but Capulate will always be very special to me


Buttons is a very handsome standard bred x Irish tri-coloured lad who is a huge favourite here at the Trekking Centre.
His formal name is Billy Buttons, but we’ve never used the first part as when I bought him I already had a Billy, so he has always been just Buttons.
He arrived as the result of a phone call. Someone rang me and asked if I was looking for a new horse. He was only four, still a stallion and had been used for driving in a trap.
But I was told he was flashy looking and just my type so I headed over to Hednesford to have a look. He was a little bit feisty natured and I could see he had a few behavioural issues, but I agreed to buy him.
I didn’t bring him straight home though. First stop was at my vet’s, where I dropped him off to have him gelded. I had it done at the clinic because it can be a more serious operation for an older horse.
When I brought Buttons home I had to break him to ride, so began long reining and loose schooling. I think because he had done a lot of driving he didn’t much take to schooling so I just got on him and rode him out.
He has never looked back and has gone on to become a great lead horse for us.
His first 12 months in the field were a bit of a battle for him. Because of his character and the fact that he was gelded late he wanted to be in charge of the herd and it took him a while to achieve that. But now he is the boss and he watches over them all.
Buttons is a fantastic all-rounder. He is a firm favourite and very popular with our experienced riders.


B stands for Big, Bold, Brave and Beautiful – and Brodie!
Our gentle giant is draught x Ardennes, and it is from the Ardennes side of his breeding that he gets his distinctive strawberry roan colouring.
I first spotted Brodie as a three-year-old. Before I bought the land here we used to ride past the field where he lived and I absolutely loved him.
Then I used to see the lady that owned Brodie riding him out on the Chase and I thought what a confident and enthusiastic young horse he was. One of my regular riders used to take him out once a week and I was always amazed by how forward going and strong he was.
So I asked his owner for the first option to buy if she ever had to part with him. And I was delighted when I received a phone call from her. She felt he had grown too big for her.
I didn’t hesitate.I went straight over, and even I was shocked at how big he had become. But I took him straight home and he immediately went into the Trekking Centre.
Brodie was completely unfazed by the whole experience and only a couple of months later he went on his first Sheriff’s Ride. He was fantastic and really enjoyed himself.
For such a big horse he has always been agile and light on his feet – you can even get him to piaffe!
Brodie is a real gentleman and he loves his cuddles. He has been at the Trekking Centre for many years now and he has never changed.
If you drop your reins and relax he will go along quietly. If you pick them up and ride him he is still as powerful as he always was.
Hopefully we will have many more years of enjoying him.


Benson is a handsome bay Welsh Section D who came to me in a ‘swap’ deal.  I had bought a little coloured cob called Basil who was an absolutely safe and perfect ride for the clients.  But he was a real pain who turned our peaceful and happy herd upside down!  He was very naughty with the other ponies in the field.  He acted like a rig (a horse that is gelded but behaves like a stallion), making it difficult for the staff to get the other horses in, and then he injured both Buttons and Galaxy.

We gave him a few months, but it wasn’t working out, so I advertised him as suitable for a yard where only geldings were kept. Luckily, I was contacted by a lady who ran a riding school and used only geldings. She told me she had a nice young horse who wasn’t enjoying working in the school and offered to bring Benson with her when she came to see Basil.
It was the perfect deal. She liked Basil – and he has done a great job for her – and I loved Benson, so he stayed here at the Trekking Centre and really thrived.
Benson is still a young horse and is still learning and we find that he will now work nicely in the school. He looks fabulous in Western tack and is great for people who have done a little bit of riding and need a confidence giver.

He is not as touch button as some of the other horses and you have to ride him. But when you get him going he has beautiful paces and really flies. He has been used as a lead hor
se, went like a dream on the beach on the Welsh holiday and was a star on the Sheriff’s Ride.
We have now found he loves jumping so he will be an exciting one to look forward to when we start our new cross country lessons.

Beautiful Beau

Beautiful Beau really is our golden boy – a fully papered Austrian Haflinger with a gorgeous palamino coat.  He is a well bred lad with a very posh registered name – Stagsden Abbott – but I think Beau suits him perfectly.
He was originally bought by some friends of mine, but they were finding him a little bit of a handful. Beau was a bit too sharp for them to deal with happily, so they approached me and said he probably needed more exercise than they were able to give him.
I hadn’t handled a Haflinger before but when I went to look at him I could see he was hardy and a strong weight-carrying little horse so I thought I would give him a go.
He was already living on the Chase and at the time did not box very well, although he is perfect now, so I rode over and had somebody bring my horse back. I rode Beau home and took an instant liking to him.

I found him to be very lovable and confident, but from day one I had to be quite strong with the ground rules. He could be quite opinionated!
Beau can still be cheeky, but we love him for that – it is just part of his personality. He really catches the eye with his colour and his wild blonde mane.
He has gone on to be a great all-rounder. He is ridden by both children and adults and takes in his stride everything from the beach holidays in Wales to the Sheriff’s Ride.
I think he is going to be very popular in our new bareback lessons in the arena because he is so comfortable to ride.


We have been talking so much lately about our equestrian centre redevelopment that I decided it was time to get back to what we all love best – our fantastic team of horses.  So I thought you might like to know a little more about each one of them and have a little insight into their backgrounds and characters. I think we’ll go about it alphabetically, so I will start with Atlantis;

This handsome jet black boy is a Welsh Section D x Irish. He was home bred from Sophie, an Irish Cob mare who was one of my original trekking centre horses, bought when she was a five-year-old.

Having had a couple of fantastic Welsh Section D’s from a local breeder I went back to look again and found Capulate as a youngster. I decided to keep him as an entire at first, so I mated him with Sophie.

Sophie had a very calm nature and was one of the most comfortable horses I have  ever ridden, while Capulate’s nature is very forward going and invigorating. So I ended up with something calm and sensible but with a little bit of the X Factor about him.  From day one Atlantis was a bold and very affectionate youngster, aspects of his character which have stayed with him and he is now a great all-rounder.

We use him as a lead horse and he is trained for horseback archery, yet he is so sensible and lovely to ride that he is very popular and a great favourite with our experienced riders. He is always enthusiastic and eager to please his rider.

The only downside to this gorgeous and eye-catching boy relates to his conformation – he has a dipped back. Because of that I gave him plenty of time to mature and he wasn’t broken in until he was four and a half.

My vet and I keep a close eye on him and after the two of us talked it over I decided to impose a weight limit on him. Only riders who are under 10 stone are now allowed to ride Atlantis, as I want to keep him sound and make sure of his longevity. Still, it’s a great incentive to keep the chocolate consumption under control over Christmas!