A one-year-old girl showed ability way beyond her years to complete a sponsored ride and raise more than £1,000 for the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).
Tiny Verity Seignot completed the two-mile challenge two days after her first birthday, riding 16-year-old Shetland Super Noodles, led by her mother Caroline.
They were forced to tackle challenging conditions as heavy rain fell on the Quest RDA event at Chobham Common in Surrey on October 14.
“I can’t believe quite how bad the weather was — it was one of those occasions where you doubt yourself as a parent for a second and think ‘what am I doing?’” Caroline joked.
“Verity wears an all-in-one rain suit and we had to stop and change her halfway through as she was soaked.
“By the end of it she stayed dry but we even had water in our boots. There were floods at some points that came up to the pony’s knees.”
Verity first sat on a horse when she was two days old and now has a well-established partnership with the 8hh Shetland gelding, who Caroline has owned since he was five.
Verity started out riding in a basket saddle but has already progressed to riding astride and has begun to establish her seat in trot.
“Super Noodles has done a bit of everything over the years including carriage driving. Verity knows that when she wants him to trot, she can blow him a kiss, so she does it all the time — all she wants to do is trot,” Caroline said.
“She’s turning into a bit of a speed demon already. It’s a pity he’s not registered or we’d be preparing for the Shetland Grand National soon!”
Caroline added that people are often surprised to see her daughter riding the pony at such a young age.
“When we go out, people see the child and see the pony but don’t expect them to go together,” she said. “Even my husband’s dad doesn’t believe it till he sees it. Some kids aren’t even walking at this point.”
As well as being a great first pony for Verity, Caroline describes Super Noodles as “her right-hand man.” Bought 10 years ago to be used at children’s pony parties, he has gone on to turn his hoof to many disciplines as well as working regularly as one of Caroline’s “Pony Pals” therapy ponies.
With Dublin Horse Show, which was meant to take place this week (15-19 July) cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic,
The young rider wowed the judge at her first show, on Shetland Super Splash
“Competing he’s done everything from horse agility and Le Trec to indoor driving trials and showing,” she said.
“Most of the time he works with me, visiting hospices, care homes and prisons and he went down the aisle at my wedding. He also held a photo in his mouth for the announcement of Verity and was dressed in pink for the gender reveal. He’s very much our family man.”
Verity and Super Noodles raised £1,028 for the RDA through sponsorship and hope to complete some more rides next year.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.