Well, this is another minority interest in the Powers family. I used to ride in my twenties when I took lessons from a rather dubious instructor near Lymm in Cheshire who had a field and a few horses at the back of a pub there. One day whilst being taught by him, I fell off his palomino and was dragged and so became nervous of horses until coming back to them in later life. My son, Mark rides when he can but that is not too often.
Domino took over here at the beginning of December 1995. She is a black, Welsh-looking (though large) cob mare aged 12 (in January 2003), about 16.3hh with large hooves presumably from a cross with something large! I can usually only get to ride her once a week so she is on part livery and is used in the school quite a lot. I have her schooled about once a week as well.
Rather embarrassingly, I was thrown off her on my first ride after purchase. The farmer had laid two thin electric wires across the path we were galloping down and, in the fog, we ran into them - no injuries to either party, thank goodness... Domino did a marvellous turn on the haunches at the gallop and rushed to the centre of the field. I, of course, came off.... She eats her feed so slowly - lifting and twirling one front hoof whilst savouring the feed - as to be sure she'll not get colic. She seems to enjoy trying to do what is asked of her - though will buck if pressed too hard! She is fairly forward going, shows promise when jumping and is addicted to Extra Strong Mints. She will eagerly assist in the unwrapping of the next one, and the next and....!! Why is it horses like such strong flavours when all they eat all day is bland grass...?
In the time she's owned us she has become a firm favourite with those riders using her for lessons and for hacks out. I hack her out on her own on some nearby farmland at weekends and she is now more confident and more responsive - though 'we' don't like tractors, combine harvesters and pigs. We're easily frightened by butterflies - especially when cantering for some reason - and have been known to take a short excursion into the crops after one is spotted flying away as we pass. Oddly though pheasants can fly under her from the side and out through her front legs without a problem (well, once without a problem!)....
We had real restrictions hacking out during the 2001 Foot and Mouth epidemic. Hertfordshire did not have any cases but we were still not able to ride over farm land, bridleways or even along roads that border farm or open land. On top of that even if we had wanted to ride on the main roads (which I don't!) we would have had to disinfect horse and tack both when leaving the yard and again on our return. Not what riding's all about!! As a result I haven't ridden for some time. The restrictions were only finally lifted at the end of June 2001. I had a foot injury last year which prevented me riding for most of the year so Domino is really underused and only gets used by learner (though not novice) riders. I now worry that she will have forgotten all my riding idiosyncrasies and I may have to have lessons to learn how she does things!