Following on from my first Equines blog we are now in 1982, Im 13 years old and the very proud owner of my first horse. Balgray Minstrel is my seven year old 15hh WHP.
I was quite tall for a 13 year old so there wasn’t much point in buying a pony, Peanuts, as he was known was the perfect first horse. I kept him at a farm just outside my village which was on the school bus route and everyday before and after school this is where you’d find me. Id get the early bus to the farm so I could feed muckout and turnout before I went to school and the same on the way home, the farm was always the first stop before I went home. I can still hear ‘You Cant Hurry Love’ by Phil Collins playing on the radio I had in my stable as I mucked out 🙂
Peanuts was a real gentleman, even my mother who is terrified of horses sat on him once! We would spend our days on long hacks through the village or down on the beach it was truely idyllic. As time passed and my confidence grew I knew competition was the next step and our very first time out was at Dundonald Show, an agricultural show not far from where I lived and I was taking part in the Chase-me-Charlie. For those who dont know what this is, its a one fence competition a bit like a puissance.
We came second and that was the start of my love of competing. Peanuts and I went on to win many rosettes over the next couple of years. First we focused on x-country, tearing round fields at top speed was great fun although I think my father went grey overnight! Or was that when I got my drivers licence?? Thats another story. Peanuts and I made for a winning team bringing home the top place at most events, he truely was a star! Our x-country finale came in the summer of 1983 when competing at a local event, we won individual and team (with friend Ann) x-country and I won the show jumping so was crowned overall champion. Think nobody like us after that!
My attention then turned to show jumping I registered with the BSJA (BS) Peanuts was a super jumper and we had great success but being only 15hh he found it hard making the distances so we didnt go any higher than Foxhunter. He really taught me so much and I loved him dearly even when we were last to leave the show ground everytime because he wouldnt load!!
We had many adventures me and him, hacking to see my first boyfriend who live on a farm, playing hide and seek trying to catch him in the field, when Id turn up at his stable to find that he’d got his door off the hinges jumped out then jumped the five bar gate into the field. Being chased by poisioned delerious rats in his stable.. I’ll never forget when one ran over my foot urgh!
When Peanuts was sold he went to eventer Ian Starks yard, my little super star! But before he left he had been joined by Tec a 5year old 16.2hh IDxTB show jumper. I had just turned 15 and everything was about to change…