I thought in this first blog post I ought to tell you a little bit about my horses and me, and give you an insight into what you might see from us going forwards. 

Firstly, my name is Emma. I’m 29 years old and I’ve been riding for as long as I can even remember. I was fortunate enough to be born into the horsey world and have had my own ponies since I was very little. Over the years I’ve done a little bit of everything, but my passion now lies with producing my Connemara ponies, Arlo and Arnie, and also spending time exploring new places with my golden retriever, Bonnie. 

Here is a little about my boys.

Two horses

Arlo (on the right above) – my nine-year-old Connemara gelding, by Black Shadow. 

Arlo was the first Connemara I purchased back in 2018, and the reason my passion for the breed grew so strong. I bought him unseen from Ireland (something I’d never done before) and when he arrived I wondered what I’d bought. He was the scruffiest thing, with no mane or tail, and was almost completely unhandled. But I fell in love. He was actually bought as a project to be sold on, but here we are, five years later, with absolutely no intention of him ever going anywhere. 

I backed him myself and have enjoyed producing him ever since. He’s sharp as a knife but has never done anything but look after me, and I can do anything with him. He really is very special. We love to drag hunt, event and showjump. He’s popped around a few UA/BE100 courses with plenty of talent to keep progressing. He has also very recently been affiliated with the British Showjumping Association for the first time, my plan being to get him out and about showjumping over the winter (along with drag hunting, of course). 

I bought and sold a few Connemaras in between purchasing Arlo and then Arnie just over two years later, so I am capable of selling them on, but here we are, with another one… that will never be sold on. 

Arnie (on the left above) – six-year-old Connemara gelding, by Clegganbay Tower. 

Horse and owner

What a journey I’ve been on with Arnie since the day he arrived. I’m definitely a better horsewoman because of him – we have taught each other a lot. 

I bought Arnie in November 2020, and in hindsight made the mistake of turning him straight out into a rather large field for the winter on his arrival. It soon became apparent he was terrified of humans, and anything humans might be doing around or near him. I could not get anywhere near him; I tried to build trust with him for almost six months. However, eventually, I had to get the RSPCA out to dart him in the spring of 2021 to try and catch him. Six hundred pounds and four darts in the bum later he was still uncatchable – he could barely stand, but his flight instinct was just so strong that we couldn’t get near him. Eventually, after closing a rather large livery yard down, we ended up herding him into a stable, where he stayed for the next six weeks – and that was just the beginning. 

So, here we are, almost three years later and I have a completely different horse. There have been blood, sweat and tears (quite literally), but I wouldn’t change our journey for the world. It’s just been so rewarding to see the change in him and to know I’ve done it all by myself makes it that much better. 

It’s been a long and slow process with him, he’s still wary of new people and new situations and we certainly go at his pace. But he’s schooling sweetly and has been out to fun rides and a couple of showjumping competitions. I’m hoping to take him to his first Hunter trial before the season ends. He’ll never be sold; firstly, I’d be too worried where he could end up if people didn’t have the time and patience for him and, secondly, we have just built such a strong bond I could never let him go anywhere. 

So there’s a little about me and my boys. I hope you follow along on our journey together, through the ups and the downs (there are always plenty of those).

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