Tales from Stoneleigh: Meet the Fell failed riding school pony who ‘used to run off into other people’s lessons’

  • The 14.1hh Fell pony Cliffhollis Mystry, or Mischief as she is known at home, has come an awfully long way since her early days, to now be competing at the LeMieux National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh (20-23 September).

    Now ridden by 17-year-old Suzannah Offley, Mischief has found her calling in life within the white boards.

    “We found Mischief via an advert online four years ago and we thought she was cute, if very fat,” explains Suzannah, a level three horse management student at Reaseheath College. “We bought her to go into our riding school but within the first year she showed us that she didn’t particularly enjoy it. She was a nutter — very stubborn and strong and would either nap terribly or just run off. She also jumped out over stable doors.”

    Suzannah then started to ride Mischief, who is now 18-years-old.

    “She couldn’t do circles and we often found ourselves running into other people’s lessons in the arena!”

    But Suzannah kept plugging away with Mischief, who soon became her first pony.

    “I had only loaned horses before, so she is the first one I’ve actually owned,” explained Suzannah. “We then moved her to my trainer Helen Dutton’s yard on the Wirral. Mischief has since done a bit of everything, but she’s really taken to dressage. We started at intro level and we’re planning to move her up from prelim to novice and elementary this year.”

    Suzannah admits that she didn’t know much about Mischief’s history until quite recently.

    “We bought her from a lady in Cheshire who’d had her for a couple of months as a hack — she hadn’t done any schooling at all. But we’ve since found out via Facebook that she has spent the majority of her life as a broodmare — we had no idea.”

    Suzannah and Mischief completed their Backinaction silver championship prelim test to rapturous applause from an appreciative crowd, scoring 67.759%.

    Keep up-to-date with all of the news from the National Dressage Championships by keeping an eye on the Horse & Hound website, and don’t miss the full magazine report, out on Thursday 21 September.

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