Eek, I’m so excited to share these with you. When I go on these long road trips, it’s always nice to end up in a stunning location with horses that really make the trip worthwhile. And that’s totally what happened with this shoot. Not only were the people lovely and the locations stunning, I was like a kid in a sweet shop with these ponies.
We all know by now that I’m a big, nerdy fangirl when it comes to coloureds, so just take a second to imagine how uncool I was at Jo and Hilary’s!
Their first pony in front of my lens was little Kit, who is ironically named Big Mac, even though there isn’t anything big about him. Kit is a three year-old colt who came to Jo and Hilary from a friend who had no space for him. And for a colt, he’s super laid back! What a poppet.
Kit has done a bit of in-hand showing, with much success. The hope is that he will be graded later this year and then go out under saddle next year.
Following Kit, I met Haarlie, or ‘Haarlequin Chief’, who only joined the family in March, as a birthday present for Hilary. Haarlie has pretty low mileage and Jo hopes to get her out a little before the end of this season, with the aim to enter HOYS and RI qualifiers with her next year.
Next I met Dougie and Beau. Jo descibes six year-old Dougie as ‘the biggest character on the yard’ and ‘an absolute monkey’. Lol! He has been in the family for two years and has done very well in his first year under saddle, qualifying for RI 2017 and 2018 on his first attempts. He will also be contending the HOYS qualifiers next year.
Beau is the newest arrival, having only been with Jo and Hilary for a couple of weeks. She is a seven year old and hasn’t done anything just yet. Jo says that when she is arrived her name was ‘Coloured Mare’, but she is now much more appropriately named ‘Lady Boadicea’.
Next up we had Mr Bumble, the pony with the world’s biggest forelock! Lol! Bumble is five and has been with Jo since he was three. Jo says, “He used to be scared of his own shadow when he came, but now he’s the kind of horse you could put your grandma on!” Bumble is the yard favourite and charms everybody he meets. (Me included!)
And then… Then there was Thomas! I loved this pony before I met him… But how many stallions do you know that you could ride bareback, in a dress, in the field they run with mares in, that wouldn’t bat an eyelid?! I am totally, irrevocably in love!! Lol!
Thomas, or Too Smart, as he is more famously known, is ten years old and Jo has owned him for four years. “But it feels like a lifetime,” she says. “I’ve done everything with him. He’s taken me right to the top and has achieved more than I could ever of asked of him.” Thomas and Jo have been to HOYS and done incredibly well for themselves.
This year, Thomas is living a quieter life, wining, dining and covering his lady friends. But he did have one little outing, earlier in the year, where he stood TGCA Ridden Reserve Supreme. Jo says that her plan is to enjoy him and keep him ticking over for now, and one day take him to Olympia as a veteran.
“He’s my favourite boy (don’t tell the others) and certainly has a home for life with me.”
There are many times, with this job, that I have to pinch myself and remind myself that I get to do this for a living. And this shoot was one of them. It was an absolute pleasure being surrounded by so many special ponies, in such a beautiful part of the country. So a huge thank you to Jo and Hilary for having me and for such a perfect shoot. I hope I’ve done your gorgeous gang justice.