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.

Youngsters join the team!

This has been such an exciting summer here at the trekking centre – not least because we have welcomed three new additions to our fabulous team of horses.
All three are gorgeous youngsters full of potential and I am sure we are going to have years of fun with them.


I bought PELE in April from an Andalucian stud. He is a five-year-old  full-bred Spanish Andalucian – the best of the best and his sire was Spanish champion.
He was an exciting find. I hit it off straightaway with Helen who owns the stud and she has his full brothers and sisters and lots of young stock. We are looking to form a bit of a partnership so there may be more arrivals in the future.
We were looking for another big horse and I fell in love with him straightaway. I would normally push on immediately with training an unbroken young horse but because of our trekking centre redevelopment it has taken me a long time with Pele.
And in a way that has proved better for him. He is quite sensitive and it has benefitted him to take everything slowly. I have done lots of playing with him in the arena, loose schooling and long reining and just spending hours together.
It took me days to lean over him and then get on his back. But when it came to it he didn’t mind at all. Now we are working on his extensions and he is looking amazing in the arena.
He eats up the terrain on the Chase, he will walk through every puddle and stream, ignores every mountain bike and is going to be a massive asset to the centre.
He has settled in very well with the herd and has a best friend in Summer. They are never far apart.
The only downside is he is prone to sweet itch. But with good management we have controlled it and he is growing a lovely long mane.
I am getting to the point now when everyone else wants to ride him – and I really want to keep him for myself! But I think the time is coming when I’ll have to share him with the rest of the world.


Our next exciting youngster is SAHARA. She is a pink-papered pure bred Oldenburg and came here as a yearling foal with her mother Saminca from the lady who sold me our fantastic stallion Zidane.
Because Sahara looked a little backward and clearly had a lot of growing to do I have left her until five years old to train her.
She has proved very different to the sensitive Pele. I think because she has been brought up here and is comfortable with her place in the herd she is very relaxed and doesn’t have a care in the world.
She hasn’t batted an eye at anything in her training, and now she just needs to go out and learn her job. I think she will turn out to be very much like Autumn – despite being as finely bred as Saminca and Zidane.


The home-bred DAKOTA is probably my most exciting youngster because he has come from my own personal horse Zidane.
I always dreamed of having a trekking centre and a stud so that I could breed from my own lovely mares.
And Dakota, now four, is the start of that, the first foal from my Dutch Warmblood stallion. His mother was Nicoh, a Grade A Appaloosa and he was the most exciting baby, born coloured and spotted. He was spectacular.
From day one he was very much like his dad in nature and very bright and alert. I can’t believe the time to train him has come round so fast.
He has taken everything in his stride so far and is proving very bold and trainable. I think from the way he moves that he will be quite special. He floats and his paces are excellent.
I know a lot of the clients are watching him closely but he is not ready yet. He is not quite finished and he is something for everyone to look forward to next year.
All three are lovely exciting horses, beautifully bred and beautiful looking. They have so much potential. Roll on 2017!


We’re taking a look at all our horses in turn to provide some insight into their characters and this time it’s the turn of Autumn.

This lovely mare is a Welsh Section C x Arab and was a surprise addition to our team.  I bought Summer 16 years ago – and got another one for free! We didn’t know she had Autumn with her.

When I brought Summer home I asked our vet at the time to look her over and was advised she was a little overweight. Within a week we had a shock foal, discovered when we checked the horses at breakfast time.  She was a beautiful little filly with four white socks and a white blaze. We contacted the previous owners and they said they had no stallion, so she could not possibly have been in foal.  But we had the evidence! Then they admitted that they had had an 18-month-old British Arab colt running with their herd. And – surprise, surprise – he was chestnut with four white socks and a white blaze. Case proved!

Autumn was always quite a strong minded filly and was always brave and a little bit feisty.  I started to train her at four and with all my patience and knowledge of natural horsemanship she still proved tricky. She always had her own opinions about everything!  In the end the answer was to just get on her and ride her out. From the start she excelled and eventually became a push-button ride.  We find that with young riders and teenagers ready for their first canters she is the ideal choice. With her Welsh x Arab breeding she has plenty of stamina and she is very hardy.

Autumn has a massive fan club from beginners to advanced riders, from kids to adults. She was a free gift who has turned out to be priceless.


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!

Larosa’s Pregnancy – Welsh section D Mare First Foal

She’s a real beauty, I’m sure you all agree.

Of course I’m talking about our new arrival, little Montana, whose lovely looks and cheeky personality have already earned her a massive fan club.

I kept you all in touch with events on the night of her birth via our Facebook page and it attracted such huge interest that I thought I would share with you all my foal diary.

I always like to keep a diary when one of my mares is in foal so I can keep a record of all the changes as the weeks go by. Then I can be there to make sure that both mum and baby are absolutely safe throughout the labour and birth.

Larosa – Lola to all her friends – is our lovely bay Welsh Section D mare. She was in foal to our coloured stallion Zidane, a first pregnancy for her, and the baby was due on May 20th.

She was scanned in foal in July 2014 and continued to work up to December when she started her maternity leave. On March 10th she moved into her foaling box and we began camera monitoring on April 27th.

Here’s how the last few weeks progressed:

April 28th: For a maiden mare Lola has a huge baby bump and has already changed shape behind.

April 29th: Lola is quiet in the field during the day but has started to become restless in the stable at night.

May 3rd: Lola has started kicking out at her belly and rubbing her tail, but has not really developed an udder yet.

May 4th: Standing quietly but scratching her back legs together and flashing her tail frequently – I think the baby’s kicking!

May 5th: Shaking her head and biting her stomach tonight.

May 6th: She’s doing what I call mooching in her bed – making a nest.

May 9th: Rubbing her tail and pushing against the stable – I find mares do this when their foals are active. Lola’s udder is developing and she has a tiny bit of wax on her teats. She is becoming very restless and walking her stable and stamping a lot, signs that she is becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

May 10th: This morning Lola didn’t want to go out in the field – unlike her! But we turned her out as I find it relaxes the mare. She’s in the field next to Zidane which seems to settle both of them. We’ve seen her rolling more than normal in the paddock.

May 11th: I’ve spent the last couple of nights watching her closely as maiden mares can be sneaky and she’s showing me all the signs of labour! I’ve now plaited and bandaged her tail and left the stable light on.

May 12th: This morning Lola is still reluctant to go out to the field and her udder is very full.

May 12th – 5pm: She has now completely waxed up on her teats and is dripping milk. Foaling should happen tonight!

7.30pm: The baby is either kicking or very big – contractions are happening!

8.45pm: She’s digging her bed (nesting)! Her back end spasms underneath her four times.

8.52pm: Eating some hay.

8.53pm: Mooching her bed and digging again.

9.41pm: I can see on the monitor that the white bag is visible. This is now when I can go in to her, never before as you can interfere with the birth. I’ve learned that in the past! Once the bag is visible it’s the point of no return for the mare, the baby is coming.

10.03pm: I can see two legs and a little nose but she seems like a big foal so I give Lola a little help and our new baby is safely delivered.

10.30pm: She’s standing for the first time, a very strong little girl.

As we always expected, Lola is proving to be the ideal mother. Zidane has had a good look at his new daughter and is very proud.

Mare and foal are now out in the field in the daytime, enjoying the sunshine, and Montana is loving testing out her long legs.

Larosa’s Pregnancy – Welsh section D Mare First Foal

We had lots of suggestions for names, following our Chase Stud theme of American states. I eventually had a shortlist of five and finally went for Montana.

It seems to suit her perfectly and fits very well with her brothers and sisters, Dakota, Oregon, Indiana and Arizona.

I’m sure you all wish her a warm and loving welcome to the trekking centre.

23.20: She’s feeding from mom.

Horse Of The Month – Zidane, April 2015

As we started our new horse of the month feature last month with our gorgeous mum-to-be Larosa, it makes perfect sense to follow with Zidane, the father of her baby.

Zidane is my 16.2hh KWPN Tobiano stallion, and is the sire of four youngsters so far here at the Trekking Centre – Dakota, Oregon, Arizona and Indiana. Our fifth will be Larosa’s little one, due on May 20th.

I bought Zidane in 2011 as a special birthday present to myself – he was the first horse I have ever bought just for myself rather than for the Centre. Some people mark a certain birthday with a fast sportscar – well Zidane is my Ferrari.

In my eyes he is the most stunning horse I have ever seen, not just conformation-wise. He has the most fantastic temperament of any stallion I have ever come across.

I found him when I had a mare that I wanted to put in foal. He was advertised at stud after coming over from Holland.

But when I rang up to inquire about him I discovered that his owners were about to put him up for sale. I got talking to them and said that one of the dreams I had always had was to breed my own horses.

They told me he was like no other stallion they had ever known. They felt he could have a very natural life here at the Centre where he could enjoy daily turn-out and being ridden regularly. I talked to them for ages about him.

And then I broke all my own rules about buying horses – I bought him unseen over the phone!

I just went with my gut and my heart – I felt it was something that was meant to be.

But then I went into panic mode – I was thinking “What on earth have I done?”

That panic disappeared the moment he arrived. As he came down the ramp I just wanted to cry – he was so beautiful. I was, quite simply, gob-smacked!

Buying him without seeing him could have been a gamble that backfired completely. But it has proved to be exactly the opposite.

From the day he arrived there has never been a single problem. He fits in fantastically well with the herd and with the treks. When ridden he is always under control and in the stable is a complete gentleman. He has the most perfect manners.

He has swum in the sea on the Wales holidays, led treks on the Chase, and set the pace on the Sheriff of Lichfield’s ride, where he is surrounded by up to 80 other horses. There is never a problem.

And he is very definitely my horse. We have a very special relationship and he is very affectionate.

We have found, too, that his foals inherit his nature. While they all have the colour of their mothers, it is his lovely temperament that Zidane passes on.

Everybody adores him – especially me. He is my horse of a lifetime.