LAGO FESTIVA (MAITE)
Maîte is my new partner who I had the privilege of trialling for 5 days at Parelli Instructors Russell Higgins', Ruth Carlyle & Terri Martinus' Savvy Camp in June 2014. What a 5 day baptism of fire that was! Maite is a complex little soul, who is supremely intelligent and is just now showing some connection and confidence with having someone on her back. When my long term equine soul mate Tuff went on loan during the course of 2014, I set out to find a new partner. I'm pretty sure my list of prerequisites did not include a 4 year old 15.1hh PRE mare, but I'd seen her advertised and was inexplicably drawn to her. When I rang her then lovely owner Tally, she informed me over the phone that this girl had a distinct presence and energy, and she would in no way be offended if I decided that she was not the one for me. I have to admit my interest increased at this point, so off I set one overcast May day to go and view this youngster....
Yes, indeed her energy was almost tangible, and I did wonder if I had any business taking on such a well bred, intelligent mare, but when I sat on her for the first time I knew she was mine. I am not convinced she was so set on the deal but she humoured me at least. So, with agreement from Tally I took Maite to a 5 day clinic which exposed her lack of foundation as a baby, and exposed me as a learner. It was intense with a group of 19 other horses, this young mare who although at times had sticky feet, she never put me in any harm and stuck with me. I actually look back now and think I must have been brilliant or sublimely mad in taking a young horse I didn't know to such an event, but on the other side of that I believe if we coped with that together, then the world is our oyster. Being under the eye of such a competent, intuitive horseman such as Russell was a complete pleasure and the support from Ruth and Terri was amazing. I don't necessarily suggest you follow my lead, but it made me appreciate having a support network, particularly one of such calibre.
Roll on a few months and my family and I have relocated to Lincolnshire, which means more grazing and horse time for Maite, but for me it means support in bringing my youngster on in the form of Jody Ruysen. We all need support, even as professionals, and two heads are invariably better than one.
Maite is now at the stage of becoming confident and truly accepting of a rider, and I am pleased to say she will be my partner when we attend Buck Brannaman's first UK clinic this year. I am so happy this little mare has started to take me into her heart and I firmly believe she is a horse of a lifetime.
TUFF HARLAN (TUFF)
Tuff came into my life in February 2012 and is and always will be my funny Valentine. He is an big, bold, bay 11 year old 15.3hh American Quarter horse and is a super learner. Natural horsemanship has been the making of him, although he had a very good western foundation thanks to his previous owners (and my dear friends Janelle & John). He is acutely clever but at times very insecure horse, and I have spend the last few years building his confidence and progressing together. We have enjoyed, clinics, hacking, and refinement together. He has been a teacher to me in more ways than one.
I have such a connection with this horse that words cannot describe it or do it justice. I made the hard decision last year to put him out on loan, as at the time we were living in south Essex and the livery and turnout situation did not suit him. It broke my heart but I will always do what I believe is best for my horses. In a fantastic turn of events we have relocated, which means January 2015 Tuff is coming home. To say I'm happy is an understatement. This horse has been my confidant, best friend and mind reader for 3 years and I have missed him an unmeasurable amount.
Watch out Maite, uncle Tuff is going to teach you a thing or two....
Both my horses now enjoy 24 hour turnout at a lovely yard in my village, where they can be horses and live as naturally as possible.