I met Alice earlier this year after I made a plea for someone handy to Yeovil and available at short notice to take part in a frosty shoot. Alice stepped forward and offered to be that person.

So a plan was hatched, the weather was watched diligently for a couple of weeks and Alice was on standby to jump into action for an early morning shoot, no mean feat with a grey pony at this time of year! The difficulty with deliberately looking to only do a shoot with certain weather situation is that you are wholly dealing with Mother Nature and some clever people in the Met Office, all too often as we all know these two have differing opinions regarding reality! Everyone involved in a shoot like this needs to be fully committed to ditch/postpone other plans (or squeeze this one in) in order to strike whilst the iron is hot – or in this case, flipping freezing!

Thankfully Alice was just that person, but more than that she was completely relaxed about the whole thing and was prepared to go totally with the flow, which was great as some of our predicted plans had to be shelved due to safety factors.

Let me introduce Paddy…

Isn’t he a total cutie! I can honestly say his personality matches his fab little face too. A purebred Connemara of proper Irish stock, Paddy is rising 5 years old around 14.3 and came into Alice’s life as a just backed project around a year ago. Alice owns another Connemara, 7 year old Oscar, there’s also a stonking great coloured sport horse called Rodders in the mix along with two family retired horses elsewhere.

Since Paddy arrived Alice has brought him on quietly and steadily and has been having so much fun with him along the way. They are based in an incredibly friendly livery yard in a lovely village just a few miles from Yeovil, a village with lots of typical warm Somerset stonework that really presents a cheerful outlook as you drive through it. Yet another aspect of this chosen path I’ve taken in life is that I just adore getting to see so much that this fabulous country has to offer. Having good support at friendly yards can really make the difference when you’re working with young horses.

Alice and I chatted about her plans for Paddy and her other horses as we attempted to stay warm during the shoot. Never mind needing a pair of hands shaking the bucket, we could have done with someone serving hot choc! At times as I worked with them both I found it difficult to believe he was such a young chap, but he really does have a great outlook on life with a wonderful temperament, he just merrily accepted what we were doing in some random places on a very cold frosty day. The average horse that’s fully clipped and been kept in a stable the night before would probably have blown many a horses mind when presented with requests to walk through dark feed rooms and up concrete steps (yes, really) out into an enclosed pony paddock he’d never seen before. I basically sent Paddy through one door into Narnia and he didn’t bat an eyelid…

After our session we gave him the chance to get the kinks out of his tail as he’d been such a good boy, before getting his big outdoor rugs back on and happily out with his friends.

My own first pony was a proper old fashioned Connemara so there’s a terrible soft spot for this fabulous breed in my heart and Paddy was so typical of this breeds generous nature – I feel I may well be seeing him again!

Have a fabulous week!

Rachel x


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