From here to there to….nowhere?

When I was 10,someone bought me Ginny Leng’s autobiography. It lit a fire in my head. This was what I was going to do. At the time I had a particularly recalcitrant 12hh pony called Blue,who had a nasty habit of dumping his riders over the boundary fence onto the footpath on the other side. He was a brilliant pony if you either had no idea what you were doing or if you knew exactly what you were at. I thought I knew it all,but I knew bugger all so he had tremendous fun with me…. I was then given a 14 hh tb x Connemara who had done a lot of drag hunting. She was called Crumpet. Crumpet spent two years bolting at any opportunity and terrifying the crap out of me but gave me some sensational days hunting with the Quorn and Pytchley hunts.At the time,I had (for reasons still unknown) taken up polo in the pony club. Anyone who knows me well is aware that catching,throwing and general hand-eye coordination is totally beyond me. The phrase ‘like a retard trying to fuck a doorknob’ springs to mind. I had a machine of a Chilean mare who was vastly more intelligent than I,played the game all by herself and made me look far better than I was. I was picked for the team. That’s when the fun started.
The Chilean mare went lame. The rules for pony club are a bit odd and to stay on the team,I needed a replacement pony that had not played above low goal or in tournaments. At the time,I didn’t realise that this translated as ‘the crappy ones that no one else wants to ride’. Interestingly,this became the way it was for many years. So I arrived at a polo club and they produced two horrific specimens. The first one was built like a bus and had NO brakes and NO steering.None. De nada. Off it went,and it didn’t stop until it felt like it. Hitting a ball was out of the question. Fuck up number two was an emaciated argentine thoroughbred covered in scars with half his tongue missing. He was also in the most terrible rage and mostly unrideable.Naturally,we bought him.
LG’s story is long and complex but to summarise,eventually he came around and he was a hero. Our team won the championship at Cowdray that year because of a clever strategy. The three boys on the team were amazing players. I was not. My pony was tall and he bit like a motherfucker in a rideoff. I took out their best player,the three lads played a blinder and we won. In an entirely accidental and unforeseen move,I then started doing dressage with my angry chestnut. He was a star,competing at two junior national championships and a young rider championship. He also gave me a few good days hunting too.
After him came Katie. She was a machine out hunting but a liability in cold blood. She gave me plenty of great spins before selling to the Fingals.
You may notice that eventing features nowhere in any of this…..
Along came Ronnie. Ronnie was a two mile chaser that I had loved forever. He was mad. He had huge ears,a huge jump and he was a babe. I thought ‘at last! This is it!’ I applied for and got a job in an event yard in England,loaded up Ronnie and off we went.
To be continued…


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I am a Sports horse producer based in Ireland. That sounds very grand....the reality is that life here is crazy-trying to fit four horses,200 cattle,a baby and a husband into a day results in tales of the insane and a feeling of lurching through life with no clue what's going on. I have a keen interest in everything from planets to bones to quantum mechanics,and am a perpetual asker of the question 'why?'.

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