‘If he was 16.2hh he’d be worth millions’: tethered youngster bought for £150 becomes ‘dream pony’

The owner of a Welsh section A who was found tethered on a roadside and bought for £150 has become a “dream pony”— and a showing champion.

Lisa Soanes from Nottingham was hacking along Eppleworth Road in October 2015 when she saw the youngster tethered alone near a traveller site.

Sonny in 2015

“I saw him and I fell in love,” Lisa told H&H.

“Later that day I thought ‘I need to see him’ and I went back in the car. I called my husband, Jim, and said we had to find out who he belonged to. Jim went to the traveller site but was told he wasn’t theirs; he belonged to a man who lived on a nearby estate so they showed us where he lived.”

Lisa paid £150 and gave a driving harness in return for the now seven-year-old 11.2hh, whom she named Sonny.

“We got the trailer and collected him the same day. We took him to the yard and gave him a deep straw bed,” she said.

“He was a bit on the thin side so we spent weeks feeding him up. He got his teeth and feet done, then he was given time to mature with lots of love and TLC.”

Sonny was started under saddle in 2016.

“He has the most lovely temperament. One day we decided to pop my daughter Grace on him, who was seven at the time, and he was fine. We think he may have been ridden a bit around the estate before,” said Lisa.

“A teenager at the yard started doing a bit of ridden work with him and then Grace took over. We took him to his first show and he was in-hand champion.”

Lisa said Grace and Sonny have formed an incredible bond together.

“She loves him and he loves her. They are such a brilliant pair and have taught each other so much. They do everything together; showing, hunting, driving, and have completed a one-day-event. Sonny has a real flair for jumping so they are now taking jumping lessons,” she said.

“Sonny does everything with ease – if he was 16.2hh he’d be worth millions; he’s just one of those types, you dream of a horse like him.”

Article continued below..



Lisa said Sonny will be with them for life after she decided it was too upsetting to sell him.

“Someone contacted me who was interested in buying him and the thought of it made Grace ill. I told her we would have to sell him as she would outgrow him, but when it came to the vetting he had issues lunging on concrete so the person decided not to buy him – I took it as a green light that we were keeping him. Both Grace and I cried tears of joy. I’ve told Grace we won’t be selling him, I won’t put her through it,” she said.

“When Grace grows out of him she’s going to do driving with him and we’ll find another little jockey to ride him for us. I can’t let go of him.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.