All too often I think Arabian horses get a bad name as flighty, wild sometimes, dangerous. However I have always found that to be further from the truth. My grandad stood a purebred stallion at stud and mum bred Arabs, so naturally they have always been part of my life growing up.
I have shown purebreds, Anglos and part-breds in ridden and in hand classes. Mine have also always jumped, done dressage, and hacked – proper all-rounders, definitely not just show horses! They are always part of the family and are handled by everyone, even my non-horsey husband.
My nephew Dan, 11, and niece Jess, 9, have always shown a keen interest and always enjoyed coming to shows and helping me with all aspects of the horses, even the mucking out. Our move to Cornwall didn’t change that and they visited pretty much every school holiday.
Jess had always wanted to show herself and unbeknown to her, I borrowed a show outfit from my friend Clare Garcia. When Jess came down I said would she like to show Tamishaa (Psadisho ibn Esstashan x Tamira by Taman II), a mare we have on loan from Vicki Marsh, being bred by Paul and Frances Atkinson. “YES!,” was the reply, so we had a few days to practice. However, as both Jess and Dan had obviously been watching me at shows, they both had a fair idea of what to do. The day before the show, Vicki arrived and gave Jess some finishing tips.
Show day arrived, with both Jess and Dan helping get “Misha” ready. The lorry was loaded and off we set to the BSPS 13 A Winter Show. I took her in a ridden class where we won and went Champion. Next it was Jess’s turn, and she really looked the part. She went into the ring with a smile on her face and a pocket full of polos [mints].
Jess was making her show-ring debut, aged nine and with a purebred Arab in a young handler class. Jess shown the mare to perfection, and it was a large ring as well for her little legs to run around – Misha was an absolute star and kept at Jess’s pace the whole way around. Jess stood up her well, remembering all the things we had said – legs straight, ears forward etc. They were placed second and so into the championship they went, with all the other in-hand classes as well. Apart from Jess and the boy who won her class, the rest were all adults and I was worried how Misha may react to all the clapping. I need not as she was just fine with Jess, showing that amazing intelligence that Arabian horses are renowned for among those in the know. They didn’t get placed but again, Jess showed her to perfection and the judge commented on how well she had shown her and couldn’t believe that it was her first time in the ring.
After the class, there was a few comments made about how well-behaved Misha was, and that she had surprised them.
So that was it – the showing bug had well and truly bitten. What had we started!
Jess had a dream to show at the British Nationals in the young handler classes, so plans were made. Nanny Sue bought her a complete outfit, and dates were organised with shows to practice at – no mean feat when we live several hundred miles apart.
The next show was planned at Poldice Arena and Dan and Jess arrived in Cornwall. Just as we started to practice, Lockdown was announced, and we know that there will be no shows for a while…
With Dan and Jess were in Cornwall, and it being decided as a family that it would be better for them to be here rather than in Manchester, it has been a busy few weeks’ developing their equine education. We have gone from in-hand to riding, both trotting on the lunge. Sam – El G Sanan (Sandhiran x First Blush by Sanadik el Shaklan), my retired purebred has been busy, especially having not done much work in years! Jess has even hacked Misha out, albeit on a lead. Both are riding off the lead in the arena and the fields and Jess has a new dream – young rider classes!
For now, both Jess and Dan are working hard practicing and doing the horses with me – feeding, rugging, mucking out and so on. Jess plans to go to her local riding school near her home for further lessons once all this is over and who knows, maybe her dream will come true?
Dan (top) and Jess learning to ride
Arabian horses are definitely proving to be suitable as first ponies. They listen and look after their young jockeys. Lockdown has been busy but these two have certainly improved their confidence with the riding. Dan and Jess took part in the BSPS 13a Toilet Roll Challenge and naturally, Misha featured.
Let us see what 2021 brings. We look forward to catching up with everyone – stay safe.