Buying Buddy. It was fate. We went to a Richard Maxwell demo at a local riding school, at half time, walking around the stables there was Buddy. I said hello to him. Thought he was such a lovely boy. Two months later he came up for sale, I was the first person to go see, and ride him (not been on a horse for 8 years....) and met him before his owners showed up. Stood in stable with him, told him to be a good boy and not do anything daft, as otherwise he was definitely coming home with me. And he did. Luckiest day in my life getting him.
I don't think that I can pick one moment. I just love being with Ben, whatever we are doing. Although I suppose one of the moments when I fell in love with him just that little bit more took place when I was at a fairly large showing show. We were in the 'best cob' class at the end of the day and had just come in for the first line up when a flying fortress and 8 red arrows flew by right over our heads. They had come from a local airshow and they just came out of no-where at what seemed to be an inch from my head. Most horses went mad and Ben did a very gentle spin but he really looked after me. I have never been back to that show as it is always on the weekend of the airshow and I don't want to risk it happening again, but I did fall in love with him just that little bit more.
I think 2 of my best moments with Jess were on a very stressful ride a few years ago, it was 1 challenge after another.
There were concrete steps with human width handrails down to the bridle path by the river so no one ever used it (I went to make a point to the council) Jess shook like a bloody leaf top to toe but, bless her cottons, she went down those steps for me
Then we get 3/4 way along the bridle path and there is a downed tree. The path was maybe 4ft wide, the downed tree was in the river 1 side and almost shoulder height at the other, not wanting to go all the way back and deal with those steps again I got off and ducked under the tree, with reins at full stretch I asked Jess if she would try it, no tugging, no debate, she just launched over it from a standstill and stood waiting for me to gather myself up and get back on. What a bloody super star
One thing I can really say for her, when the chips are down she really comes through for me There's been lots of shows and wins and proud moments, but those were the best.
First time I asked him to trust me. I can't even remember what it was, but I remember he was frightened, I took him to one side calmed him down and asked him to try again. He did purely out of trust to me, I was a mess and even now it's making me teary. He wasn't an affectionate horse at all, quite aloof and it took a while for him to see me as 'his' but once he did. He was amazing.
Two for sure - buying Ramsey 26 years ago, and buying Hogan 7 months ago. Ramsey was my first, and a lifelong dream come true. First one I looked at, and even though he would only walk backwards when I tried him, I just loved him. He's given me so much joy - first dressage comp, first clear round, first endurance ride, - so many firsts! Hogan I bought because I know my time with Ramsey is dwindling, and I knew I'd find it tough to go and get another horse when the dreaded time comes. Again, first one I looked at - total opposite to my white and silver, sweet elegant pony! Love the fact that he's black, broad, hairy, stubborn and very, very funny. He's brought the fun back into my life.
I think doing the Kiplingcotes Derby a couple of years ago. I have several other horsey high points, which mainly involve me and Raf being alone on the top of a moor or suchlike, but the Derby was special because it was an amazing event (and probably a one-off for us) - so historic and a fantastic atmosphere - and also because Raf tried so hard. There was a section in the middle of the race where we'd lost the leaders in front and the and the stragglers behind, and we were on our own again, picking our way through the mud and the rough ground. Then we caught up with one of the leading group and Raf battled his heart out to get past that horse and pip him to the post. It was an exciting finish for us and the spectators - shame we were battling for 5th place instead of 1st but I couldn't have been any prouder of my brave little steed. It's the 500th anniversary race next week and I don't know whether to go and watch, or if it will make me too sad that we're not taking part again.
I have two special moments that stick in my head, the first was on Oscar, my beautiful leggy ex racer, we were out for a lovely long hack with my friend and coming back we found a huge open field with a bridle path through the middle of it, my friend shouts 'fancy a canter' oh yes, so there we were flying along in a beautiful canter across a sunny field, a couple of walkers were coming the other way who stepped to one side and I waved to them as we passed and said thank you, 'beautiful horse' was the reply and he was, but I just remember the sheer joy I felt, cantering along a massive open space without any worries that he might take off, I actually felt like a proper rider
My second and probably my very favorite was several years ago, it was early morning in the middle of winter and was minus 8 and freezing fog, I didn't want to go out on the lanes in those conditions so I decided to take Belle up to the top of the hill (all fields on the yard land) so tacked up and off we went, when we got to the top of the hill, it was so magical, like a fairyland, hoar frost covered every tree, shrub, blade of grass, even the fencing and the fog just kept drifting over it all and then clearing, there was me and my girly in a magical winter wonderland and I can't think of anyone else I would have rather shared it with, even Belle seemed a little bit fascinated by it and even she had a coating of hoar frost on her long coat, it made me feel like a child again and made me so happy just to be sat on my beautiful girl and enjoy the peace of such an amazing early morning with her. I'll take both of those memories to my grave and you know what, it may sound silly and a bit 'fluffy' but I feel completely blessed to experience both of them.