Last weekend I got to ride Pop, my new section C (pictured right), for the first time. He has been with Ollie Burchell to be backed, although the snow and ice has got in the way a bit!

I was really excited to see what he was going to be like, if a little nervous — having ridden Jacob for three seasons, I’m very use to how Jacob moved and felt underneath me. I was keeping my fingers crossed that Pop was going to give me the same lovely feeling, while hoping he might be a little more forward going!

Pop was quite nervous when he first arrived, so the team has been putting a lot of work into getting him confident around people. When I walked into his stable, it was clear that their work had paid off. He was far more confident having me around and kept coming over to see what I might have for him. It’s funny as he is so different to Jacob, who is definitely not the nervous and shy sort — I have to remember Pop does not appreciate me throwing my arms around him yet!

Pop had only been ridden by Ollie’s partner Jo since he had been backed so it was really nice to be the next person to sit on him. I think the first ride is always important so I was hoping we would get off on the right foot and he wouldn’t be freaked out by having someone different on top!

He looked a real picture tacked up and was very good when I was legged on board. We set off a little bright, but he soon settled down to a lovely rhythm. He is like a different pony once you get on. I expected to have to be really quiet on him and not be able to use my legs, or even talk much, but he was really confident and very happy going on his hack. He had a lovely mouth and was quite happy with me banging about on board and chatting away to Ollie.

It was funny riding something with a very ‘cobby’ walk after riding Francis (my young Dartmoor) and Sandy (my Welsh Sec B), who are both very smooth in their paces. When we set off it felt very fast and uphill, but I soon got use to it and it was nice to have something forward going! We went for a nice hack through the woods and had a couple of really pleasing trots. Pop is lovely and active behind with real power and I think he will definitely have a few gears! I can’t wait until he learns to really step out — he might even give Jacob a run for his money with his movement!

Ollie, Jo and the team have done a fab job with him and, after getting that first ride out the way, I can’t wait to really crack on with him and start schooling. I had forgotten how exciting it is bringing out a brand new youngster, but I’m looking forward to our first show already!

Til next time…

Chloe