A rider who lost touch with her first pony has bought him back for her daughter to ride, 14 years later.
Jennifer Barnett went to find the pony allocated to her young daughter Isla for her first lesson at Cheshire Riding School last winter – and recognised Welsh section B Josh straight away.
“I walked round to the stable and thought ‘no, it can’t be’,” she told H&H. “I burst into tears because I couldn’t believe it, and was an emotional wreck the whole lesson.”
Jen, who spent her childhood “borrowing ponies and riding where I could”, was bought Josh by her grandparents, from an advert in H&H, when she was 17.
“He was five months old; the idea was that I’d grow with him,” she said. “We went to Wales to pick him up, and kept him at home for a long time; my granddad converted a brick shed in the garden.
“It was amazing to have him, the best thing in the world. I used to spend hours brushing him and walking him round the roads; endless hours with him.”
Jen backed Josh but was too big for him so he went to the owner of the livery yard she kept him at. Jen went on to university and although she kept in touch with his next owners, she eventually lost touch with him.
Last winter, 14 years later, she booked some lessons for pony-mad Isla, and there he was.
Josh was a working livery, whose owners gave Jen a call.
“We had a lovely chat but their daughter adored him and they said they wouldn’t sell,” Jen said. “Then about six months later, in June, they rang and said ‘If you’re interested in having him back, we can see you love him as much as we do…’ and that was that.”
‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ has never rung so true when it comes to some top riders’ early
Josh now lives on livery with Jen’s horses, and “whizzes about with Isla”.
“He’s still got all the same traits; he’s got so much character, I’ve always said he’s more like a big dog than a pony,” Jen said.
“I’m ecstatic. Every time I walk in the barn, it makes me want to burst into tears because I can’t believe he’s come back to me. He’s with me for ever now.”
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.