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.


We’re flying along with our tour of the trekking centre horses and today we’ve reached the appropriately named Jetwings – better known to you all as Galaxy.
This gorgeous Irish x Arab boy is actually registered under the name Jetwings with the Arab Horse Society and he surely must be one of the most loved and popular horses at the centre. He has such a fan club!
I truly believe that in life your animals find you and that most of the horses here were meant to be mine. And that is certainly the case with Galaxy.
I had a phone call from a friend of mine who had a trekking centre in Wales. Rupert had bought a flashy coloured horse for his wife, but he was proving a real handful and was getting to be a little too much for her.
Rupert just wanted to know how much a horse of that quality was going for at that time with a view to selling him on.
My ears pricked up straight away. I knew that my friends in Wales had a real eye for a good horse. If they rated him, he was the real deal. So I asked for some photographs of him.
The pictures came and I loved him straight away and I had even negotiated a price before I went to try him.
Off I went to Wales, where I found everyone on the yard calling him “The Posh Horse”. I rode him, bought him and had travelled there in a horse box so I could bring him straight home.
Galaxy proved to be quite lively, so I started riding him myself and schooling him. I was tempted to keep him for myself, but to be fair I think that about most of them!

I found him to be a super horse to ride, forward going, keen and bold with lovely paces and he soon became sensible and reliable. He is such a good looking horse, so handsome, and he has become very popular.
I have a bit of trouble trying to get the clients to share Galaxy nicely! Everyone wants to ride him.
My biggest problem is trying to work out whose turn it is! We are standing in the paddock before a trek while I allocate horses and then I spot that all the Galaxy fans are looking at me hopefully! Someone gets lucky while the rest just have to hope they will get the chance next time


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.