We have an exciting arrival here at the centre and he’s everything I look for when I’m seeking out a new horse.
Our new boy is Jake, who has joined our herd from Derbyshire, where he was living with his breeder. He is rising five, an Irish Draught cross and is 16.1hh. He is still growing right now and I think we’ll get a couple more inches out of him when he’s had a summer on our good grass.
All my horses come from private homes. Some we find from recommendations and we also keep an eye on horses for sale adverts and the internet.
I’m from a showjumping background and I still go for a certain type of horse. I like to see a straight action, a deep girth, short back and a pretty head – preferably with some sort of distinguishing mark like a star or a blaze.
If they are too heavily built they tend to suffer from ailments like sidebones and ringbone and you don’t get the longevity with them; too fine and you end up with soundness problems. I also like a horse that is forward going rather than quiet.
I want to see a kind eye. A lot depends on the feel I get from them. I know instantly if this horse is something I can work with – I have to fall in love with them.
And I did fall in love with Jake. I could see he was going to pick things up quickly. He had been lightly backed over a few months but had done nothing since October. When that has happened with a horse I like to go back to basics.
So when I brought him home to Cannock Chase I began the process as if he had not been backed at all. That way I will give him the head carriage I like and teach him my way of going.
Within an hour of arriving he had done his first photo-shoot for my yard manager Lucy’s LVR Equine horse and rider clothing company. He took to posing like a professional model – just like his new owner!
After 24 hours I had done the groundwork with him, loose schooled him and got on him. Since then I’ve been taking him out on the Chase and so far he has taken everything in his stride.
Ultimately I want a safe and forward going horse that is going to be happy in the job. I think Jake will be exactly that.
I predict he will be a popular favourite with our clients. Not only is he flashy looking and a very handsome boy, but he is also a very comfortable ride. He will have many happy years here with us.