I met Kittiana (known by all as Portly) thanks to the power of social media and went along to meet her recently. I knew Portly and her family were big native pony lovers and I’d seen on her Instagram feed she’d had a few, but I wasn’t prepared for just how many they have…
Walking into their incredible new home (they recently moved to a farm on the Somerset Levels) I soon began to realise as Portly started to name the ponies that it wasn’t just one or two M&M’s they had but a wonderful diverse herd including Exmoors, Shetlands, Dales, New Forests and more! In total there are just over 20 ponies on the farm.
Now I’ve become a bit of an expert at moving house thanks to my military husband, but I can’t imagine how complex it must have been to move such a large number of horses on top of your worldly possessions from a house – can you?
Today’s shoot was with 16-year-old Dales Stallion, Kilmannan Jubilee. Jubilee actually belongs to her sister Kestra, but she’s currently laid up with an injury, so it fell to Portly to produce him for our planned ‘woolly pony shoot’.
This gorgeous boy is fully aware just how lovely he is, but he’s got a fantastic nature. Standing in his stable he just oozed with that typical pony stallion charm that just draws you over to him to give him fuss. So, of course, I obliged. A lot!
Mind you, with some lovely Exmoor boys on either side of him in the yard it was difficult not share the love around a bit.
There are also some highly entertaining sheep on the farm too – all named and all seem to be fully aware of their own name and come to call. I heard about the latest antic’s of one of them, Lisa, who recently got her head stuck in a gate and had to be rescued by Portly & her Dad. None the worse for wear she was contentedly grazing near the stables when I was there and lifting her head when her name was called.
As we moved around the farm on our shoot Portly explained how they grew the number of ponies they have, some by purchase, some through loaning, some via Exmoor Pony Rescue where her sister worked, and others were inherited. Jubilee came to the family many years ago initially as a loan pony for her sister (who once successfully won a showing scholarship through a showing society). He came down from Scotland and the two got on so well together he was later given to the family as a gift a few years later.
Now it’s fair to say that Jubilee has had a great deal of success in the show ring over the years, competing at HOYS and other major championships in M&M classes. He’s certainly eligible for the ‘Been there – done that’ T-shirt, that’s for sure.
What a gift horse!!
The yard is still in the process of being sorted post move, as they’ve really only been in their new home since Christmas. They have a wish list of things they’d ideally love to do to the place and obviously, these things take time, money and energy.
In the meantime, they’ve got the most incredible Abbey, pretty much in their garden, as a neighbouring building and old rambling walls that have clearly seen plenty of village life over the years.
Jubilee was wonderful to work with, at times it was easy to forget he’s a stallion. Only occasionally did he get a little bit edgy as you might expect, but considering we put him in areas of the farm he’d not yet discovered, I think he was an absolute angel. Such a handsome boy with a happy outlook on life…
… although he’s got a very cheeky side too. He’s well known for taking off his head collars or bridles. A skill he started to display not long after I arrived, within seconds of Portly turning her back to retrieve her showing cane, she heard the telltale signs of his antics. True enough he raised his head and one ear was free!
Portly, who runs Bincome Equine Services Team is also a Brand Ambassador for Smart Grooming and she enthusiastically explained some of the products to me she had used as I’d not come across them before. Jubilee’s gorgeous mane looked incredible and with so much of it to tame and keep luscious, I’m guessing products like that are worth their weight in gold in show yards.
I’ll be eagerly following the progress of Portly and her own ponies this summer and hopefully, I’ll get to catch up with them at some stage too. I have a feeling that Team Bincombe EST could be fully on my radar now!
Have a fabulous week!
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