Alice & Sunny

//Alice & Sunny

One of the first really horsey people I met when I first moved to Somerset was Alice, she answered a plea for help with something and since then we’ve become good friends.  Having already photographed her Connemara gelding Paddy last year I was utterly delighted to be able photograph the old pony she’s pretty much had on loan for many years, Sunny.  A 27 year old Anglo Arab with a very interesting past…

Sunnys home for most of his life has been North Down Farm, a working apple orchard that has been supplying apples to major cider producers in the region since the mid 1970’s.  It’s always been Alice’s aim to have pictures of him in the spring apple blossom.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to achieve that last year and with Sunny moving away from the orchard this past winter we actually thought we might have lost the chance due to his advancing age.  However Alice remains good friends with the farm owners, the Mangles, she was still able to take him back for the shot.  Perfect!  So recently Alice has been able to monitor the apple trees and pinpoint the best moment when the blossom was in full swing.  Then it was just a case of whisking Sunny back to his blossom playground of old…

… followed by a LOT of bathing first though.  Naturally this retired pony is a grey chap, one who’s been wintering out in his bestest shagginess wallowing in mud….!!!  I laughed so much when Alice sent me the picture of Sunny pre bath…

Located on the outskirts of Crewkerne, North Down Farm is the most glorious little slice of rural serenity.  There’s proper old tractors lurking in the trees, incredibly old hand tools in the yard and wherever you are there is just the most wonderful smell of blossom right now.  It took me ages to get down the track to the farmhouse to where Alice and Sunny were patiently waiting because I couldn’t stop staring at acre upon acre of beautiful tree’s…

So very jaw dropping pretty.

Sunny has been part of the Mangles family since 2002.  Originally bought to plug an equine height gap between the horses they already had for the family’s 3 children, he came to them from the racing yard he was bred on.  And he arrived with a few challenges, to say the least.  Undeterred, Alice and the family set forth on what turned out to be an incredibly a long road with him.  They were eager to meet those challenges but with Alice only 18 at the time and the others younger, they had quite a journey ahead.

The first issue they faced was that you simply couldn’t get a saddle on him.

So that was a fairly major issue then!

Over a very long time, with much love, food and patience along the way, saddling up was achievable, but that turned out to just be the start… he then couldn’t cope with being mounted.  So it was back to the drawing board and another slow process started.  It took lot of patience before he could finally be ridden, and although by that time most of the children had outgrown him, he became a really great ridden pony.  Alice is only small and so she pretty much took him on as her own during this time and went on to do whatever she was able with limited transport back then.  He’s done Dressage and hunted and he’s even been a very willing unicorn in fancy dress competitions. I’m told he has a wicked sense of humour, but he’s still only able to cope with Alice actually saddling him up and this is one of the reasons he stayed under her care really.

Today it’s incredibly hard to relate to the pony that Alice described to me from his early days with them all.  Yes, he’s still a spooky chap at times but he follows Alice like a little sheep and certainly doesn’t need a head collar to be led anywhere.  It just shows what love, a solid stable environment and plenty of patience can achieve.   The bond between these two is incredible.

He’s one very adorable elderly gentlemen who relished the opportunity to return to his old home orchards one sunny evening this spring.  He just munched and followed us all round the orchards to his heart’s content.  What a privilege it was to finally meet him and be given the role to provide Alice with some lasting pictures of him.

Have a fabulous day!!

Rachel x



By |2019-05-17T15:50:12+00:00May 16th, 2018|Categories: Client Stories|Tags: , , , |