Summer is our little strawberry roan superstar and is the last of our S’s on our journey around the stable yard – but she is certainly not the least.
She is the grandma of our herd – the oldest of my horses – but Summer still has energy to spare and loves her work.
She was about six when I bought her from a rather exclusive riding school that was closing down. I was looking for a really nice pony and she was recommended to me by someone who said if she became available I absolutely must buy her.
I didn’t actually go and see her! But when she arrived I thought she was a little bit fat and put her straight on a diet and into work.
It was winter and at that time all my horses were stabled. One Monday morning I had a call from staff member Lucy to say I needed to get down to the yard as quickly as possible – and bring the video camera!
At first Lucy had thought Summer was suffering from colic. Then she realised the mare was in labour!
Soon we had a beautiful chestnut filly foal that I decided to call Autumn. I later rang the people I had bought Summer from and told them about our little bonus. They said Summer could not possibly have had a foal as they had no stallions.
Then they realised that they had turned out with Summer and another mare an 18-month-old British Arab colt. Surprise, surprise – he was chestnut with four white socks and a flaxen mane and tail, identical to our baby Autumn! And they called me later to say the other mare had also produced an unexpected foal.
As everybody knows, we still have both mother and daughter and they have always been fantastic members of my team.
Summer has always taken life here at the trekking centre in her stride and has taught thousands of children to ride. Since we built the new indoor arena she has become a favourite with our instructors because of her kind and gentle nature and willingness in the lessons.
She is fantastic at teaching children to canter. We have someone who has been waiting for ages to offer Summer a retirement home but so far she shows no signs at all of slowing down.
She is one of those genuinely safe and sensible ponies that are worth their weight in gold. It has been an absolute pleasure to own her for all these years.