Last year I visited Catley Cross to photograph the famous Gizmo and his adopted mummies, one of which is the lovely Carolyn. And this year, Carolyn was gifted a photoshoot voucher by her friends, for a shoot with her veteran pony, Cachou. (Pronounced like cashew.)
Cachou is a twenty-seven year-ol, Welsh cross and has been with Carolyn for eighteen years. “He has known me as a little girl, a teenager, an adult and now as a mum,” Carolyn says. And it was so lovely to be able to have Carolyn’s daughter, Annabelle, at the shoot with us. As you can see, she loved it!
Carolyn grew up and learned to ride in France, as a child, being brought up, like so many of us, on the age-old ‘work for rides’ way of life. In this time, she accumulated an array of brushes, boots, a bridle, even a saddle, but she had no horse. “I even had a piggy bank with a label I had taped to it saying ‘To buy Caro’s horse or pony one day’.”
When Carolyn was fifteen, an unbacked, very naughty, but very handsome seven year-old pony showed up at the stables. His name was Cachou, named after a small, French liquorice sweet. Carolyn started riding the new pony, getting bucked off many times in the process, but she soon fell in love with him.
And then, for her sixteenth birthday, Cachou became hers! Carolyn says, “Cachou was the best birthday present I could have ever have asked for. I think mum and dad thought it would keep me away from boys!” Carolyn tells me that she and Cachou used to try their hand at show jumping and dressage, but mostly just got eliminated or bucked off. Lol! So mostly, they just explored the French countryside together with their friends.
At the age of eighteen, Carolyn was accpeted on to the equine science course, at Bristol University and had to leave Cachou behind. When she gradutated and got accepted into vet school in Edinburgh, after three long years apart, Cachou made the trip from Paris to Scotland.
Cachou kept Carolyn sane, through five years of studying for vet school, where she would do her revision in his field. However, Carolyn then moved to California, to be an intern at an equine hospital and they were seperated for another year.
Eventually, Carolyn found her job at Catley Cross and settled, so moved Cachou to be down here with her. He has now been retired for seven years and spends his days eating grass and escaping, with his best friend, Sprite.
“He is the best friend every little girl dreams of and I am indebted to my parents for buying him for me 18 years ago. So there we go, Cachou in a nutshell. My beautiful, feisty pony. I can’t believe how lucky I am that Annabelle has met him and got to sit on him. I never thought he would meet my daughter. My poor husband Simon is now doomed and will likely have a horsey daughter- I hope so!”
Thank you so much to Carolyn, Simon, Annabelle and Cachou, for a lovely evening. And to Louise, my unpaid helper whenever I venture over to Catley Cross! Lol. It was lovely to see you all.