After a full year away Anya now nine returns to the UK for her annual recuperation holiday as one of the “Friends of Chernobyl’s” young children. It was lovely to see her so happy to be re-united with her host family the Acasters and Ava! Her excitement and passion for riding and her love of horses hadn't dwindelled during her year back home and immediately on arrival she asked the interpreter to ask "do you still have horses?" The response given by the Acasters only added to her excitement when they said "yes, and you even have your own special pony this time"
I knew Anya was coming for her second visit to England and as last year she would want to spend as much time as she could with Ava down at the yard.
Unfortunately this year we only had access to one small child proof pony, which was a shame as it would mean that Clyde who Anya fell in love with on her last visit wouldn't always be available for her to ride. So I started my serach for a pony and asked lots of my horsey friends if they had any spare 12hh ponies hanging about, unfortunately most of them were all fully booked for a summer of fun or had already been loaned out for the warmer months.
I was beginning to doubt if I would find anything for Anya to have as a riding companion for her stay but at least I still had Clyde, a perfect play mate who she would have to share…surely this would be the least of Anya's worries.
A few weeks before Anya's arrival my Equine Touch Therapist, Joanna Fieldhouse came to Newfield, to give my horses a well earned massage, something that they often have, especially through the competition season.
I told Joanna all about Anya and my plea to find her a pony of her own. Joanne had the answer to my prayer as she had a small, scruffy rescue pony who was 12.2hh and easy to handle, and if I wanted I could give him a try.
I thought it was worth a shot and she agreed to drop him off for us to try out before Anya arrived. On Thursday 12th June, Jo dropped of a very dirty but very lovely little pony, called Snowy!
Immediately the girls from the yard helped me to bath and clean him up – we couldn’t believe it, under all the fur and dirt there was a very beautiful and cute pony!
Over the next few weeks we continued with Jo's instructions of fattening him, the ugly duckling really was turning into a beautiful swan before our eyes – He was looking superb.
The next challenge was finding some tack for him. I rang my saddle fitter Sammy from Parklands Equestrian and asked if there was any way I could possibly borrow a saddle for a few months and he agreed, he knew it was for a great cause and was more than happy to let me borrow a very lovely black leather saddle that would fit Snowy perfectly.
Thankfully I still had a small bridle that fitted him ….. So now we were all set to see if Snowy had actually been backed before and understood what all this ‘riding malarkey’ was about.
I started by putting one of my lighter but more experienced riders on him in the school, we leaned over him, he was quiet and placid, so we took the next step and just got on, to our amazement - he was GREAT!
Snowy had definitely been ridden before and was perfect – my problem was solved, I was delighted that we were going to have two lovely 12hh ponies for the kids to play with.
Anya arrived at the yard a few days later and was delighted to meet her new pony Snowy who she was going to ride and enjoy for the next 4 weeks!
The excitement and fun around the yard was growing daily as all the kids managed to hack out, jump and play lots of gymkhana games. Everyone really enjoyed themselves during the long warm days and nights of July.
More importantly it was lovely to see Anya and Snowy growing healthier together, over the next weeks you could clearly see a huge difference in each of them - they were so happy in each others company!
Snowy turned out to be a diamond in the rough and the perfect children’s pony who simply just loved being hacked, brushed, bathed and plaited!
Anya's natural horsemanship skills came through as she built on her riding from the previous year, she was growing daily in abilty and even won lots of ribbons riding Snowy at a local show. – we were so proud of them both.
This whole experience started with the "Friends of Chernobyl Children" charity who gave Anya the opportunity to come to England and stay with the Acasters who provided Anya a home and a second family.
Her UK experience was enhanced even further this year by Joanne who provided a lovely pony, Sammy who provided a saddle and Newfield Livery who provided a safe and fun riding environment where we could all watch Anya and Snowy blossom together and have lots of fun!
Ava's family are getting more involved with the Friends of Chernobyl’s charity this year and will be hosting a lot of new fund raising activities and events, so if you're reading this and want to help make a difference please visit the website www.focc.org.uk or contact me through one of my websites www.newfieldlivery.co.uk OR www.ktequestrian.com and I can pass you onto people who can help you do just this.
With special thanks to:
Joanne Fieldhouse - Equine Touch Therapist
Sammy - Parklands Equestrian
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