Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Aliénor's equine story so far......

I was watching Aliénor ride today and thinking how good she looked, she certainly rides better than I did at eleven, indeed some would say better than I do now. So I decided to do the proud mother thing and look out some photos that chart her equine progress.......I really wish there were some photos of me riding as a child, but my father used to abandon me at the stables gate without ever hanging around to watch.

As we bought our first digital camera just before Ali was born (which was about 4 times the size and weight of my current one, and could store a fraction of the number of photos, I still have it somewhere), she will have no such regrets. So here we go......

This is the first ever time she sat on a pony, aged 1:

We didn't have equines in those days, still lived in the UK. This was on holiday in October 2001.

A year later, she was very taken with this Shire at Northcote Heavy Horse Centre in Lincolnshire, she was happily leading him around!

By this time we had moved to France, and had a little bit of land, so the mother in law very helpfully bought Aliénor a pony......a two year old Shetland filly called Milka, who was trouble from day one.
Looks cute, doesn't she?

Well she wasn't. She thought she should be in charge. She was jealous of anyone that took my attention away from her (including poor Ali). She would rear and charge at anyone who went into her paddock apart from me. When I got Gandalf, she bullied him unmercifully. But she taught me a LOT!
And she was Ali's first pony......
Ali & Milka Nov 2004
However, even after I'd backed her it became obvious she could never be trusted off the lead rein so eventually we swapped her with a bloke from the circus for a 12 year old entire called Flecha. Who was ace. He was calm, friendly, once he'd got to know us he would let Ali do pretty much anything with him and we had a lot of fun.....

Ali & Flecha, May 2006
By this time, at the ripe old age of six, the girl was convinced she could ride the big boy.......and she could!!
She came off him once at that age and remains the only person to have fallen off date.

She grows like a weed and was soon too big for Flecha so I found him a nice home with some people in the Charente who needed a companion for their Shetland (once he'd been gelded). By this time, I had bought another horse, a Percheron x Anglo Arab called Freya and Ali and I started riding out together. The first hack we did is something I'll never forget (not least because Freya tried to buck me off)
September 2008
Sadly I had to sell Freya, because she needed a lot of work and I didn't have the time, due to the arrival of the SNO the year before. So we went back to sharing Big G and I decided to get a baby horse so I wouldn't be inheriting someone else's mistakes again. When Skyfaxa arrived as a 6 month old foal, Ali helped me with her right from the start.
November 2009
And then a few months later I saw Kinna, and she looked so sad I had to bring her home, so Ali's future horse arrived.
February 2010
At this point I thought we had the full contingent of equines, but as it happened, I was wrong, in April last year the Naughty Nordic Princess arrived, and the rest, as they say, is history......


Emma said...

I can't believe Gandalf's dapples!! He's gone totally white now, hasn't he?
This is a great idea, Helen, as it will be something for Aliénor to read and hopefully contribute to as she gets older!

Sarah said...

I was going to comment on Gandalf's dapples too! My fave photo was the 6-yo Ali cantering him (was she cantering? looked like it!). She really had grown up in the saddle, lucky girl. Is it wrong to say I really liked Freya too? I know she was a bit of a headcase, but she's a lovely sort.

trudi said...

Fantastic idea Helen, Might have to go through some of our old pics. Ali looks so happy around equines.

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