In this week’s showing special (on sale 17 March), guest editor Robert Walker asked H&H to visit natives producer Sarah Parker’s yard.
“Sarah and her husband Simon are proper work horses, which is why they get results. They both work all hours to run their business and have transformed their yard since buying it,” said Robert.
Scroll down to see what a Horse of the Year Show supreme pony-producing yard looks like.
1. Percy the pig
Sarah has 40 ponies stabled at Glebe Farm at the moment, and the only native breed she doesn’t have in is an Exmoor. Her pet pig Percy, pictured in the hay barn with Sarah, is free to wander around the yard.
“Percy was supposed to be a micro pig and was so small when we got him that he arrived in a bucket. But we were conned — he’s huge now,” smiles Sarah. “If a pony doesn’t like him he will stand outside their stable until they accept him. He thinks it’s his yard.”
2. The washroom
Full-time staff member Zack Vaughan-Jones grooms Melanie Alford’s Connemara Nire Valley Charlie in the washroom. Every pony is groomed in the afternoon, feathers are pig oiled to prevent the hair falling out and trimming is done as necessary.
The washroom is equipped with heat lamps and a full range of shampoo and conditioning products, as ponies are washed two to three times before a show.
3. Secrets behind the shine
How do Sarah and her team make each pony gleam in the show ring?
“With an endless supply of shampoo [as shown above with Zack],” says Sarah. “I particularly like Purple Blue shampoo and, for greys, Touch Of Silver shampoo.”
4. The solarium
Foxhill Farm Golden Velvet, a Welsh section D owned by Melanie Alford, enjoys her turn under the solarium.
“We try to each pony in there every day. It’s good for them, plus it helps their summer coats come through,” reveals Sarah.
5. The walker
Sarah and her husband Simon added the walker shortly after buying Glebe Farm in Whitchurch, Shropshire, seven years ago.
6. The HOYS champion
The plaque on his stabledoor is evidence of Sarum Rembrandt’s supreme pony title at last year’s Horse of the Year Show.
7. The tack room
Photographs adorn one side of the well-stocked tack room, which has handy rug hangers attached to the ceiling. After Sarah has compiled the daily ride list over breakfast, it is kept in the tack room for everyone to see.
8. Collection of bits
There is a vast collection of bits in the tack room. Sarah has a less is more approach at home — “I don’t like to over-bit my ponies, I want them to be comfortable in their mouth and work in a soft contact,” she says.
Show bridles are kept on the lorry.
“It keeps them in show condition. A lot of ponies, particularly stallions, like to chew reins.”
9. Good sandy ground
Glebe Farm stretches over 35 acres and turnout is possible all year round. Since moving in, Sarah and Simon have re-fenced the land, added an extra 12 stables and given the indoor and outdoor arenas a makeover.
“Simon does most of the building work — he’s in his element when he’s doing DIY,” says Sarah.
10. The outdoor school
Sited next to the indoor arena, Sarah keeps a course of working hunter fences set up in the outdoor school.
“The workers jump once a week, with the novices doing it more frequently,” explains Sarah. “The week of a show I will also take them showjumping or cross-country schooling.”
<em><strong>Like this? You might also enjoy reading these:</strong></em>
11. The breakers
Simon does the majority of the groundwork, long-reining and helping to break them in. The couple married in 2011. They met when Sarah, who rode 13hh show hunters for Simon’s mother, encountered a tricky breaker and he was summoned to help.
Simon is a former groom of ’s background is horse racing and while on an apprenticeship with Ginger McCain he groomed for three-time Grand National winner Red Rum.
“I used to take him to schools and fetes for meet and greets during his retirement,” says Simon.
Don’t miss the full interview with Sarah in this week’s showing special, guest edited by Robert Walker (17 March).