With 2016’s competitions now in the ‘memories file’ and my personal statement sent off at school, I now have a bit of time to write a blog in appreciation of the huge team effort that goes into everything we do with regards to our pony life. This effort all starts with our ‘board meetings’, which I have mentioned before, in the engine room of the house; the kitchen.
These meetings usually take about an hour longer than they need to, and consist mainly of my mother absent-mindedly looking at ponies she’s been offered on Facebook and making lists about things that don’t really need to be discussed. Occasionally she asks those of us present for our input. Although she responds with an interested expression, we are almost always overruled for her own, identical point. What infuriates me the most, however, is the way my sister Susie, who is the most impatient person I know, adopts a whole new persona and suddenly is perfectly happy to abide to such a waste of time, asking every so often in a soothing tone if anyone would like a cup of tea.
As well as mummy, Susie and I being present, there is also Britt our groom, who is still fairly new to us. My HOYS-winning pony Cash is really quite fussy when it comes to who looks after him and as we all know, one misery can ruin the whole relaxed and easy feel of the yard, so it’s a great relief to us that Britt has had the ‘thumbs up’ from him (Cash pictured top with Dawn and Britt).
Dawn, who is a real friend to our family, is usually at the meetings too, and has been with us in one role or another for years. She is a sports therapist for both horses and humans and comes almost every week to give at least one of the ponies a massage. This usually involves mummy riding them first so Dawn can see how best to treat them, something she finds even more agonising than the pre-HOYS hacking. She knows the ponies inside out and is extremely knowledgeable, so she is always the first one mummy discusses anything with.
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The final member of the core home team is Glenn, or as mummy likes to refer to him, her ‘day husband’, with my father obviously just being her ‘main husband’. Despite being completely non-horsey when he arrived with us, Glenn has made a remarkable turn around in the way of pony management and can now add ‘emergency groom’ to his extensive list of attributes. He spends his day either retrieving an earring out of the kitchen plug, making a new bit of fencing, catching a mouse in the kitchen, lightening the ramp on Angela (the horsebox), or constructing for Percy, who looks out of his stable when it rains, an architecturally pleasing porch, to keep his head dry. As my mother proudly informs us at least twice a day, she is now doing 1200 miles a week to go and watch my brother’s sport matches at school, and so Glenn and Britt are absolutely vital in keeping everything going like clockwork while she’s not there (which, as she also tells us, is often).
There are so many other people involved on various levels, not least our trainer, Rachel Turner, who we don’t see nearly often enough. We just need her to move to Essex…