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‘Free-range’ riding school pony goes above and beyond by taking himself on hack

A riding school pony who has been “free-range” since the last lockdown has taken dedication to his job to a new level by joining hacks on his own.

Lavant House Stables snapped Todd taking himself out for walks in a string of other ponies over Christmas, before the current lockdown put a stop to lessons.

Amelia Ayling told H&H the Chichester riding school and livery yard has 80 acres of land and 54 horses.

“Last lockdown, it was spring and there was grass growing everywhere,” she said.

“We were down to a skeleton team, so we thought we’d let some of the ponies out to eat it down.

“It’s all enclosed here so it was safe to let them roam around and eat it down. We used to let different ones out at different times but three of the ponies didn’t want to go back in the fields.

“They loved it so much, we let them be free-range.”

Todd, 25, his best friend Squeak, 21, and 32-year-old Munchkin who has been at Lavant for over 20 years, spend a lot of time near the yard, Amelia said, but sometimes staff have had to “go hunting” for them when they are needed for lessons.

All three are still thriving in their work, as Todd proved by joining a hack on which he was not needed.

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“He and Squeak spend all their time together; they absolutely adore each other, and maybe Todd wanted to join Squeak on a ride,” Amelia said.“He just slotted in to the ride and off they went. It’s all enclosed so it was safe, and the kids thought it was hilarious.

“Todd just stayed in his place and that was it; the kids thought it was the best thing ever. It takes loving your job to a whole new level!”

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