CorleyOak Stud
Those we have loved
Those we have bred
Our other horses
Some tough times!!
Those we have loved

This page is dedicated to all the horses and ponies that have passed through our hands over the years - see them below.......  In every case, we have always done our best to ensure that they go to a good and safe home.

Annwood Warrior

We were delighted to find Woody a fantastic home in Sep 2016 where he is to be brought on as a ridden show pony.  Good luck Woody! We are still receiving regular updates and he is doing really well as a ridden pony!

Armani (Marnie)







Armani was rescued from Henley Market in October 2007.  She was in a pitiful condition - lice-ridden, emaciated, fearful and pregnant!  After months of patient tlc, she became the most wonderful, affectionate pony and rewarded us in May 2008 by producing an enormous skewbald filly (Versace - see below).  As she was only 12.2 she was too small for any of us to ride, so we set about finding her a new home.  In June 2009, she was sold to a lovely family who live on the outskirts of Stratford upon Avon and she has already been successful in the ring with a series of grandchildren.

Babybelle (Belle)









Again - rescued from Henley Market in March 2007, Babybelle was only a few months old and, if anything, in a worse state than Armani had been! She was so young and had no idea how to eat properly, having just been weaned from her dam, possibly that same day!  She was terrified and painfully thin.  In the photo above, she is well on the way to recovery, but still in need of putting on weight.  Thankfully, we found a lovely local home for Babybelle where she had access to acres of fresh grass and, better still, a new best friend called Sprite who is her double. 

We later learned that Babybelle (Gina) had been sold on.  To our delight, we recently heard from her present owner who was looking for information on her.  She has turned into a lovely pony and seems to have found the home she deserves at last.

Bellever Mystery (Mike)

Mike was a real character, full of presence.  He was sold in 2014 to become a driving pony.

Barns Gypsy Rose

Gypsy has gone to a super home on the Isle of Wight to begin a new career as a ridden pony.  We are thrilled that she has found a fabulous, permanent home.


We had Gypsy for several years and she gave us our first filly, CorleyOak Black Diamond (see below).  Gypsy has bred two foals, Diamond and one that was not registered (before we owned her).  She is broken to ride and drive and is such a loving pony that we were delighted to find her a home where she could be a child's much loved pony.  She loves to be out doing something and she will make a wonderful lead rein pony.  She just loves people and is the friendliest pony ever.  It seemed a bit of a waste to keep her as a brood mare for her whole life - though we would have kept her had we not been able to find her the home she deserves.  Here she is below with her new owner.....


Birchwood Taffeta (Taffy) 

Taffy is a tiny, three year old filly.  She currently stands at 29 inches and may grow a little more, but not a lot!  She has good conformation and moves really well, as though she's floating on air!  She was a little timid to start with, but has swiftly gained her confidence and is always one of the first to greet us now.  We have just sold her to a super home where she has a home for life.  We're confident she'll have a great home and be well looked after.  The plan is to show her, so we're hoping to see her in the show ring next season.

Blackertor Pollen (Polly)

We sold Polly in February 2016 to the same home as Barbie - a fab home where we knew should would be brought on slowly and steadily for when Barbie's young jockey needs a bigger pony.  We receive regular updates on Polly who has been started and ridden away with no problems whatsoever!  We are very proud of her!  The latest is that Polly now has a career both in the showjumping arena and also racing with the Shetland Pony Grand National Team!

Bowerdon Bluebell (Blue)

Blue dun

Sire: Mardlebrook Bonanza (bay)
Dam: Mardlebrook Honeybun (chestnut dun)


Bluebell is a very stocky young lady, with a lot of presence and terrific movement.  She was sold recently to a lovely home where she is going to be part of a driving pair.  We will look forward to seeing the pictures and hearing news of how she has taken to her new role.   Latest news is that driving plans have been put on hold as Bluebell has produced a stunning colt foal this summer (2013)!  Out of the Blue literally!  She has just been broken to ride, adding to her list of talents!

Bowerdon Dandelion (Dannie)

Dannie is a gorgeous chestnut dun with a flaxen mane and tail.   Dannie has the most incredible temperament and was born to be a child's pony and best friend.  She adores people and is completely bomb proof.  Nothing worries her and she doesn't have a bad bone in her body.  She has taken part in charity "pat a pony" days where small children have hugged her and climbed all over her.  She took it all in her stride.  She has been shown in hand successfully, but her true career would be as a riding pony for a child.  She has a wonderful new family home in Shropshire where she will be very much loved.

Below is Dandelion with her new owners, looking pretty happy with life!

Bowerdon Emily

Emily was born to be a child's pony - she is so loving and sweet and always wants to be with people.  She has gone to a super home in West Yorkshire where she will be groomed within an inch of her life, cuddled and loved and eventually be broken to ride when she's old enough.

Braywood Vanilla (Vanilla)



We bought Vanilla in 2006 and she was with us for 3 years.  During that time she produced two super foals, CorleyOak Champagne (Storm) and CorleyOak Easter Bobbie Dazzler (Bob). Bob is our resident stallion.   Vanilla has the sweetest temperament and is broken to ride.  She was very much a favourite and parting with her was hard.  She was "head hunted" by a would-be purchaser and the quality of the home on offer and the fact that it was permanent persuaded us to part with her.  We are retainrf her colt who is now our resident stallion.  He has inherited his Mum's wonderful temperament.

Vanilla produced a gorgeous cremello colt for her new owner.

Champlers Fairy Sovereign (Sovereign)

Sovereign was our first stallion, purchased from the Collytown Stud.  He has given us 7 super foals (CorleyOak Black Diamond, CorleyOak Champagne, CorleyOak Touch Wood, CorleyOak Apatchy, CorleyOak Bobbie Dazzler, CorleyOak Legacy of Sovereign and CorleyOak Red Rose) over three years.  He has now been sold to a long-term home in Wales where he will continue his stud duties.

Chewvalley Daisy (Daisy)

Daisy came to us supposedly in foal, but wasn't.  We weren't able to get her in foal subsequently.  When Diamond was sold, "Auntie Daisy" went with her on loan to keep her company and the loaners have since bought her.  She lives locally, so we can visit.  She has recently been broken to drive as well as ride.

Collytown Casablanca (Cassie)

Casablanca was sold to the Skelberry Stud near Tewkesbury and produced a strong colt foal who can be seen on the Skelberry website.  Her field is adjacent to the M5 and we see her every time we pass by.  We also visit her properly now and again to see how she is doing!

Collytown Thunderbolt

CorleyOak Amba Sunrise (Amba)  
Chestnut filly

D.o.b. 11.05.15
Sire: Edern Wil Sam
Dam: Kelsey of Brindister

Amba is a home-bred filly.  She is super-friendly, very inquisitive and gorgeous!  She has a lot of bone and fantastic straight movement but the best thing about her is her lovely personality.  Above left is as a foal at the National Foal of the Year Show.  Above right is out on summer grazing, June 2018.  Amba is in a local home with our farrier's daughter and grandchildren.

CorleyOak Angelina (Angel)


Angel is by Pinglewood Dominic out of Pinglewood Olivia - a stunning and very correct filly.   Angel is show quality and moves like a dream (or a rocket - according to her mood!).  Angel has been sold to a super local home and has settled down already.  We look forward to staying in touch to see how she grows up!

CorleyOak Champagne (Storm)

Palomino filly

Sire: Champlers Fairy Sovereign
Dam: Braywood Vanilla

We have recently received an email from Storm's new owners at the Dragonstone Stud (from Austria).  She has given birth to a super cream dun filly.  Great to hear that she is well and settled.  We continue to receive pictures of Storm's offspring.  She has a home for life and is well loved.


CorleyOak Dark Secret (Cocoa) 

Buckskin filly - d.o.b. 08.05.16
Sire: CorleyOak Easter Bobby Dazzler
Dam: Fairy Calypso

We sold Cocoa to a fabulous home where she will have daily fuss and attention, which she loves!
Cocoa is a stunning filly who moves like a dream.  She has a pretty, dished face and a lovely, friendly temperament.  She is an absolute favourite.  She has been handled since birth and is a confident young lady. Below is six year old Cocoa, all grown up!

CorleyOak Gold Mine (Sparkle) 

Palomino filly - d.o.b. 08.06.18
Sire: CorleyOak Easter Bobby Dazzler
Dam: Kelsey of Brindister

Sparke is in a lovely local home, only a few miles from where she was born

CorleyOak Mille Fleurs (Millie)

Chestnut roan tobiano filly

Sire: Darwin Geronimo
Dam: Hillash Evie

Millie has just been sold to a super new home where she is acting as a companion to a yearling quarter horse.  She has proved herself very adaptable and has been completely unfazed by the change of scene.  She is an adorable pony with an incredible temperament.......

CorleyOak Pearlescent (Pearl)

Palomino filly

Sire: CorleyOak Easter Bobby Dazzler

Dam: Pinglewood Olivia

Pearl was "head hunted" by Judy and Mick Freear of the Merrylees Stud and went to join their herd in the summer of 2016

CorleyOak Red Rose (Rose)

Chestnut filly

Sire: Champlers Fairy Sovereign

Dam: Halstock Pacific Blue

Rose is pictured above as a foal.  She has now grown into a show-quality filly and has been sold to a showing home in the north.  We hope to hear of successes in the show ring in due course.

CorleyOak Touch Wood (Hope)

Strawberry roan/chestnut roan filly 

Sire: Champlers Fairy Sovereign
Dam: Quaker's Comfrey












Hope will always be special to us as we had a two-week battle to save her life.  (See "Fight for Hope" on the left hand side of the page).  She is strong and sturdy now and totally gorgeous!

Hope was sold in July 2010 to a super (local) home.  She is working as a therapy pony for disadvantaged children and children with learning disabilities.  We are thrilled as we are able to see her now and again and keep in touch with her.

CorleyOak Apatchy (Patch










Apatchy is a stunning stallion.  He was sold in September 2008 to a local home in Warwickshire.  He was joined the following year by his full brother, CorleyOak Legacy of Sovereign (Samson), so has a playmate! 

Above is Apatchy (Patch) just having won a class at Evesham Show - September 2010, aged 2.

On 20.05.11 Patch became a father for the first time - to a coloured filly who looks exactly like him.  Her name is "Banbury Patchwork".  In 2012, he fathered a gorgeous skewbald colt and in 2013 a "clone" of himself!

CorleyOak Black Diamond (Diamond)


Diamond, pictured here with her Dam, Gypsy (see above), was our first filly and the tiniest foal we've had to date, standing at just 17" at birth.  She has remained small, in spite of her dam being a good 35", so was sold to a local home as we have a policy of not breeding from tiny mares.  Diamond has been very successful in the show ring.  We visited her recently and had a cuddle.....

CorleyOak Cavalier (Charlie)

Charlie has the most wonderful temperament and movement to die for, which he has inherited from his sire, Tawna Trooper.  We were fortunate in finding him a super home where he is acting as a companion for a Highland pony and has become part of the family!

Charlie has tremendous character, with a "look at me" attitude.  He was our first born shetland (!) and thoroughly spoiled.  Charlie thinks he is human and often used to open the gates to our patio, trot through the porch and into the kitchen!   Latest reports were that he is still very much "a character" and "part of the family"!!

CorleyOak Cinsation (Cindy) R.I.P.

Stunning bay tobiano filly by Pinglewood Dominic out of Pinglewood Barbie Doll.  Born at 3.00 a.m. on Friday 28th May.  Sadly lost to us on Tuesday 3rd August 2010. 


28.05.10 – 03.08.10

Gorgeous little filly - you were with us for such a very short time, but you will be locked in my memory forever. I will never forget the drama of your birth and the relief when all was well with you and your Mum. Etched in my mind for all time is your sweet face, your bright eyes, curly tail, lovely markings and the “paintbrush butterfly” on your back. How I loved receiving gentle kisses from your velvet muzzle, the feel of your fluffy foal coat and of your dainty hooves when you put them in my hand. I loved to watch you gallop like the wind or trot as though you were floating on air and remember the joy of watching you taste your first ever polo mint.   I can still hear your welcoming whinny ringing in my ears. You had such a sweet and loving nature and your whole life in front of you. I would never have parted with you willingly. I once said it would take a ton of dynamite to make me part with you. Little did I know what was to come……
You were taken from us so suddenly and so cruelly. The world seems a miserable place today and it’s raining, as so it should – the skies weeping with me at the jaw-dropping shock of your loss. I had such plans for you, litGtle Cindy. We were going to do so much together and have such fun in the show ring, but sadly it was not to be.
Bless you sweetheart
Copywright - Ann Caine 04.08.10

CorleyOak Done & Dusted (George)

George had a great home where he was dearly loved.  Sadly, he died of colic when only very young.  Broke everyone's hearts.

CorleyOak Flash Alan (Alan)

Alan didn't have a great time in his first home, so we bought him back, had him gelded, gave him time to recover and then thankfully found him a loving home with CorleyOak Red Rose where they are much loved and well cared for.

CorleyOak Jack Magic (Jack)


Our lovely little guy now lives in Widnes where he has joined his half brother, CorleyOak Charismatic (Matt).  Sadly, for reasons known to no-one, Jack went blind as a yearling.  Although completely blind he charges around the paddock without bumping into anything and copes amazingly well.  Latest news is that he has been re-homed with his best girlfriend to a home on the Isle of Man.

Cricklodge Coffee Cream (Floss)

We bought Floss and Izzy (see below) together, with every intention of keeping them both for some time.  However, we had the chance to re-home them with a super family looking for a pair of ponies to love and to show.  Izzy and Floss seemed to fit the bill.  They have a 5 star home together and we are still in touch with them and see them often.  They are doing really well.

CorleyOak Legacy of Sovereign (Samson)

Samson got his "posh" name from his sire and his pet name due to the fact that he was up, running and suckling within minutes of his birth - big and strong from the outset.  He was sold almost before he was born as the owner of his full brother (Apatchy - see above) wanted him.  He was weaned in October and has now joined his brother or partner in crime.  They took to each other straight away (wonder if they knew they were brothers....?) and are getting up to mischief together!

Above is Samson as a yearling - changed rather a lot!  We regularly hear from his owner.  He is much loved, pampered and in a home for life.

Cranford Frizzle (Frank)

Frank has been sold to a fantastic local home... we have regular updates on his progress.

Black gelding: d.o.b. 01.05.13

Sire: Cranford Hector
Dam: Isle of Mona Fringe

Above is Frank at the Shetland Pony Breed Show 2018 at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern........

Poor Frank had a tough start to the showing season of 2016.  He was gelded in March but suffered complications and was quite poorly for a few weeks.  This set him back quite a bit, but he blossomed slowly over the season and we were thrilled when he stood Youngstock Champion at Canwell Show on 6th August (see above).  He's a handsome boy now!  He has matured still further over this winter and is near to full up now.

Crealy Quiver (Q)

Mouse dun tobiano filly

Sire: Halstock Velvet Wolf

Dam: Crealy Royal Fun

We nicknamed this little filly "Q" as in Q for Qute! She is very forward and friendly - into everything, has been very well handled and is very intelligent. She is boss of the other youngsters (Lily and Wren). We couldn't make out what colour she was at first but have settled on mouse dun tobiano until proved otherwise! She may grey out at some point as her dam was grey. The above picture is Q in her winter woolies, complete with mud! She is the most affectionate pony imaginable .
On Christmas Eve, Q was a co-star, with Cranford Juggernaut, in a toddlers nativity play in our local church. She took the mayhem in the church completely in her stride, standing like a rock, wearing antlers and covered in glitter spray. She had very young children all over her and loved every minute of it.

Q has now moved to her new home with a super family to become a child's best friend - a job she is made for.

Cwmgwaun Trickster (Trixie)

Bay tobiano filly - d.o.b. 22.05.19
Sire: Cardibach Bonheddwr

Trixie was been sold in August 2022 to the Hawsker Stud where we hope she will have a career in the show ring.

Edern Misty Morn (Misty)

Misty gave us a lovely filly foal in 2016 who is retained.  We sold Misty in February 2017 to a lovely family home where she is being started as a driving pony.  We see regular updates on her.  She is a lovely, friendly pony who settled down straight away in her new home.

Eiger Kizzy (Kizzy)

DOMINO (picture to follow)

She was literally "one in a million".  She would jump a clear round, then compete in the heats of a gymkhana event, go back into the jump off, win the class and come back into the gymkhana ring and win the flag race!  She was invincible in handy pony and loved cross country!  There was nothing she wouldn't turn her hoof to!

She very rarely touched a pole when jumping, never refused and could turn on a sixpence.  She was a kind, genuine and loving pony and won so many rosettes that these would be returned to the various clubs for "recycling" as we couldn't keep them all!

When she suddenly started to refuse to jump, we knew something had to be wrong.  We promptly retired her (at 16) and it wasn't long before we discovered that she was suffering from Cushing's Disease.  Unfortunately, the Cushings affected her feet, giving her severe laminitis, to the point where she couldn't walk and couldn't leave her stable.  Sadly, we took the decision to have her put to sleep as this was no sort of a life for a pony as active as Domino had been.  She is buried in our field and a double row of daffodils were planted in the shape of a "D" for Domino.  Every spring, the daffodils appear to spell out her initial - not that we need reminding of where she lies.  R.I.P. Domino x x x

Edern Maria (Minnie)

Minnie went on loan to the family who had bought CorleyOak Done & Dusted (George) and Helenbrie Lily from us.  When George tragically died from complications of colic surgery, Minnie was loaned to keep Lily company.  Inevitably, she won the hearts of her new family and soon joined them on a permanent basis.  She and Lily are firm friends and very well loved.

Fairy Calypso (Calypso)

Calypso gave us a stunning buckskin filly in 2016 (Cocoa) who has been retained.  Calypso has now joined the Kalipso stud to continue her career as a brood mare.

 Floyd BSB (Floyd)

Floyd has a wonderful "for life" home in Stoke on Trent.  We visited him in January 2010 and were delighted to see how well his new owner is looking after him.  He looked amazingly well and happy, which was great to see.  He has the type of home we wanted for him where he will be spoiled rotten in his later years. We've had further updates on him since and although he's an old man now, he is still doing well.

Halstock Pacific Blue (Rabbit)

Rabbit has gone to the same home as Emily above - a super farm home in West Yorkshire where she will start a new career as a ridden pony.  See her below with her new owner:-

Halstock Nightfall (Nipper)

Black filly - d.o.b. 04.06.13
Sire : Kerswell Socks

Dam: Halstock Warrior's Nightingale

Nipper got her nickname for three reasons :-

  1. She is very small (little nipper)
  2. She is very quick (nippy)
  3. She bites (nips) - well she did at first, be we have since taught her some manners and she is a good girl now!

Helenbrie Lily (Lily)

Blue dun tobiano filly

Sire: Birchwood Dundee
Dam: Halstock Cognac's Peppermint

Lily is a stunning and very kind-natured filly.  This picture was taken of her at Fillongley Agricultural Show.  She has just been sold to the family who bought CorleyOak Done & Dusted (now called George) so she is in very safe hands and local.  She has settled really well and George is delighted to have a new friend the same size as himself!  Update:- sadly George died from complications following colic surgery at the age of 2.  Lily has now been joined by Edern Maria as she wasn't happy on her own.

Halstock Octavia (Ava) 

d.o.b. 23.05.15
Black tobiano filly
Sire: Halstock X-Factor
Dam: Halstock Cognac's Orcadia

Octavia (now known as "Ava") was purchased on a complete whim at the 2015 Reading Autumn sale.  We went there for an entirely different pony!   She was, quite frankly, a "little madam" - very feisty and with a lot of "attitude".  Hopefully this will assist her in the show ring as she has a lot of presence.  According to her breeder, she gets this attitude from her grandmother!  We have worked with her to make her a little more amenable and she has certainly improved!!  She is very friendly now, thank goodness.  She is a stunning filly and we have high hopes for her.......  

Hillash Evie (Evie)

Bay roan

Sire: New Park McDuff
Dam: Millbrook Generous (silver dun)



Evie was only four years old when we bought her and had lived on a farm all her life.  Five days after arriving at our stud, we took her to her first show where, to our delight, she came 3rd in a very competitive class under SPSBS rules.  Evie gave birth to a gorgeous chestnut roan tobiano filly, CorleyOak Mille Fleurs (Millie) on Friday 6th May 2012 and was a very attentive Mum.  The sire of the filly is Darwin Geronemo.

Evie gained another 3rd place in the brood mares class at Fillongley Agricultural Show, August 2011 and her foal won "best foal".

Evie was a fantastic mother, but it seemed to take a lot out of her, so we made the decision not to use her as a brood mare and we sold her recently to a local family where she can start a ridden career.  Evie is very people friendly and has a loving nature, so will enjoy being part of a family.

Isle of Mona Heidi (Heidi)

Black filly d.o.b. 24.05.13
Sire: Millhouse Director

Dam: Isle of Mona Fflur


Heidi is a lovely, stocky filly with a sweet, super-friendly personality.  We had been hoping to get her out into the show ring later in the summer of 2017 but a new-born baby (of the human kind)  slowed us down a bit.   At the top is Heidi pictured at Fillongley Show on 13th August 2018, having just stood as Overall Supreme Shetland Champion on only her third outing with us.  Immediately above is Heidi at her first show of the 2018 season (still with quite a bit of winter coat) where she won two classes and was showing champion.  Only a local show, but a promising start to her showing career. 

To the right is Heidi at her first outing at county level and second outing with us.  Heidi was placed 3rd which was very pleasing to us as she had a bit of a "grass belly" on her at the time.

Isle of Mona Heidi (Heidi)

Black filly d.o.b. 24.05.13
Sire: Millhouse Director

Dam: Isle of Mona Fflur


Heidi is a lovely, stocky filly with a sweet, super-friendly personality.  We had been hoping to get her out into the show ring later in the summer of 2017 but a new-born baby (of the human kind)  slowed us down a bit.   At the top is Heidi pictured at Fillongley Show on 13th August 2018, having just stood as Overall Supreme Shetland Champion on only her third outing with us.  Immediately above is Heidi at her first show of the 2018 season (still with quite a bit of winter coat) where she won two classes and was showing champion.  Only a local show, but a promising start to her showing career. 

To the right is Heidi at her first outing at county level and second outing with us.  Heidi was placed 3rd which was very pleasing to us as she had a bit of a "grass belly" on her at the time.

Gathanparc Apirka (Ice)

Ice is totally gorgeous and did really well in the show ring, taking a Reserve Championship first time out.  She was small, so we decided not to use her for breeding.  She is now in a long-term home in Widnes where she is loved to bits.  We have regular updates on her progress.  For example, below is a recent picture of Ice in the January snow - looking very cute in her rug.  Ice produced a gorgeous chestnut filly in June 2015!

Helawi Golden Escapade (Izzy)

We bought Izzy and Floss (see above) together, with every intention of keeping them both for some time.  However, we had the chance to re-home them with a super family looking for a pair of ponies to love and to show and Izzy and Floss seemed to fit the bill.  They have a 5 star home together and we are still in touch with them.

Kerswell Legacy (Ted)

Buckskin roan

Sire: Kerswell Russet
Dam: Kerswell Lovage

Ted is a super buckskin roan stallion, purchased from the Kerswell Stud as a companion for Bob.  Ted and Bob were firm friends, going everywhere together.  If you look carefully at the picture above, you can see the cream highlights which indicate that he is carrying the cream gene.
We had Ted tested to determine whether or not he is carrying the creme gene (nCR).  The results came back to say that he has one copy of the gene, so, even though Ted may look like a blue roan,  genetically he is a buckskin.  See below for the change in his coat!


Kelsey of Brindister (Kelsey)

Kelsey has been sold to a fantastic home where she is getting the daily attention she needed.  She has grown in confidence and is much loved.

  Liver chestnut

  Sire: Swarthoull Virna
  Dam: Ramnaberg Blossom

Above is the beautiful Kelsey.  We purchased her in foal at Reading Sales in 2014.  She produced a super filly, Amba, is retained and was expecting a foal by our stallion, Bob in 2017.  Sadly, the palomino filly foal was stillborn and premature which was a huge disappointment.   She ran with Bob again and produced a lovely palomino filly on Friday 8th June at 4.30 a.m. Kelsey was semi-feral when we first got her, but has grown in confidence now and trusts us.  She become a favourite.  We were fortunate to find her a home where she could have daily attention and we still get updates on her progress.

Kilcoe Nick-of-Time (Cola)

Cola has gone to Widnes with Jack Magic to our good friend of ours, joining Ice, Matt & Sherry so that five of our former ponies are now together in an excellent home.  She was subsequently sold locally and is doing really well as a child's pony and now looks a lot better than this1

Kirkstall Jenny Wren (Wren)

Blue dun tobiano filly

Sire: South Sands Velvet
Dam: Kirkstall Adelle

Wren is a lovely filly with first class bloodlines and fantastic movement.  She is now with a stud in Wales where she is going to do a lot more showing than she would with us.  She recently won her class at Oswestry Show.

Kirkstall Queen of the May (May)  R.I.P.

May was sold to the Layston Stud and has produced super foals for them.  She was such a sweet-natured mare.

Sadly, we understand that the Layston Stud recently lost May during a difficult foaling.  Her foal survived and is being bottle fed.

La Sorciere (Gin) R.I.P.

(means "the witch" - known as Gin)

 Gin, pictured below, on one of the rare occasions when her ears were forward!



Friday 18th January 2008 : Sadly, when I went to feed the horses this morning, I realised straight away that all was not well with Gin.  Moments later, she collapsed.  We struggled to help her to her feet and brought her in to a stable, but it was obvious she was in serious trouble.  The vet felt that she had suffered liver failure which was affecting her brain and coordination.  This was an awful shock as the previous afternoon she had been cantering around the field, bucking and kicking with her two field mates. There was nothing we could do other than comfort her and ensure that her end was peaceful and quick.  She had been fine when fed the evening before, so her suffering was very brief and at least she had our whole family with her at the end.

Our "pink pony" was, to us at least,  a legend.   At least we have the satisfaction of knowing we gave her a good 10 years of life that she wouldn't have had if we hadn't rescued her all those years ago.


PLEASE READ HER STORY at the bottom of this page .........  Thanks. 

R.I.P. Gin  Thanks for the memories x x x

Lathom Jesmay (Jesmay)

Sire: Celtic Rufus

Dam: Lathom Jessie

We owned Jesmay for over two years.  She is a super, county standard show pony and gave us a lot of successes and fun. She was sold in spring 2017 to start a new career as a brood mare.

Longfield Queen (Shadow)










Midget Gem (Midget) R.I.P.


Lotuspoint Haribo (Steve)


Sire: Huntsmuir Kentucky


Dam: Lotuspoint Humbug

Here is the lovely "Steve" (Lotuspoint Haribo).  He came with that nickname and it suits him, so he's keeping it!  Steve is a bit of a project.  He is VERY nervous/anxious and will need a lot of time and patience to turn around.  He does have a lovely nature and follows us everywhere but he tends to panic when we go to catch him, so we leave him to come to us instead and that seems to work.  We're hoping to gain his trust and then perhaps start driving him.  The emphasis will be on slowly but surely.  We're giving him plenty of time to work out that he's totally safe with us!  He has a very kind eye, so we're hopeful of a good outcome.


Currently Steve has been "sold" to a family member who will have a little more time to spend with him than we do.  However, if she is unable to turn him around, he will come back home.  He is still quite fearful and we need to ensure that he's in safe hands.  He went with his friend, Buttercup, and has settled really well.  We have regular updates and are hopeful for his future.  We all just love him!  (He has since found a safe, forever home).

Mardlebrook Joyful

We sold Joy locally in 2016 to what we thought would be a long-term home, but were surprised to learn a few months later that she had been sold on. Fortunately, it seems she has landed on her hooves and has a fab new home where she is much loved.  We have just managed to assist her new owner in getting Joy registered in her name with the SPSBS. She has since had a lovely faol and is loved and cared for by fabulous owners.

Melanie's Midnight Masquerade (Hamish)

Hamish is a lovely black standard gelding with a laid back personality.  We sold him but it didn't work out, so we bought him back and then found him a local home on a farm where we get to see him most days!  Result!  Hamish is now a driving pony and we occasionally see him out on the lanes doing a great job.


Midget Gem's Knight Skye (Skye)

 Skye was a completely feral mare, dam of Gem below.  We re-homed her to a super home in Devon and she is still there, still semi-feral, but much loved and well cared for.


Midget Gem's Legacy (Gem)

Nola of Burland (Nola)

Nola was sold  to a retirement home near Aberystwyth.  She went to keep a rescued, elderly stallion company as he would not live with another colt or gelding and his owners wanted a barren mare.  We have never managed to get Nola in foal, so hopefully she will fit the bill.  She has a super, lifetime home, overlooking the sea, so we're very happy for her.

Oldaport Gladys (Gladys)

Black tobiano mare

Sire: Stranduff Diamen
Dam: Oldaport Zara

Gladys produced a stunning and very large bay tobiano colt foal on Sunday 27th April at 7.00 p.m. (CorleyOak Gladiator).  Max, as he is known, won the miniature Shetland colt class at the British National Foal of the Year Show in November 2014.  Max is now well known all over the country.  Gladys remains with the Courellis Stud and is an excellent brood mare.

Gladys is a real character.  She can be quite stand-offish, unless there's a bucket of food on offer, in which case she suddenly shows a lot of interest!!  She is a fantastic mother - very protective and attentive.  Gladys seems to be one of those mares born to be a brood mare as she obviously loves having a foal to fuss over and protect and it seems to take very little out of her.  She foaled within a few minutes and hardly lost any condition at all.  If ever there was a mare born to be a mother, that's Gladys!!

Gladys was sold to a family friend and moved up North after visiting our stallion in April.  She gave her new owner a fantastic smokey black tobiano filly in 2016.

Pinglewood Isla (Isla)



Isla is a gorgeous bay tobiano filly foal with lots of bone and substance.   She has a look-at-me attitude and is very friendly and curious to the point of plain nosey!  This is Isla playing in our garden with her best friends Ted and Bob.  She is trying to decide if she's brave enough to cross the bridge over the pond onto our patio.......

Isla has been sold to the same home as Hope, where she is getting lots of love and attention and is also "working" as a therapy pony  She is turning out to be a super pony and we hope to see her in the show ring soon!

Pinglewood Barbie Doll (Barbie)

Dun skewbald/bay dun tobiano

Sire: Darwin Geronemo (Dun tobiano/dun skewbald)
Dam: Shoemaker Laurel (Bay)


Barbie is a lovely mare with plenty of bone and substance.  More importantly she has a lovely, friendly and kind nature.   Barbie produced an absolutely gorgeous filly foal, by Pinglewood Dominic, in May 2010, but sadly we lost the foal suddenly and tragically at 11 weeks of age.  Barbie was a very protective and caring mother who did not deserve to lose her treasured foal.  We love her to bits.  We gave her a year off to recover and she visited Pinglewood Dominic again in 2011 & 2012, but did not get in foal.  

Barbie was subsequently sold to a super home where she has become a fab riding pony.....  She takes her jockey to school and back every day and particpates in all Pony Club activities.  She was joined by Blackertor Pollen (Polly).  Although Barbie 's jockey has outgrown her and she has been leased out, she continues to be a superstar for tiny jockeys and will always remain in the same ownership.

Pinglewood Olivia (Olivia)  

Chestnut dun mare 

Sire: Darwin Geronemo (Dun tobiano/dun skewbald)
Dam: Valleyview Eve (Bay)




In 2010 Olivia gave us a super black tobiano filly by Pinglewood Dominic.  She did not run with a stallion in 2011 but she ran with Kerswell Legacy over the summer of 2012 and on the last day of May 2013 she produced a super colt, "CorleyOak Done & Dusted" (see foal page)

Olivia then ran with our own stallion, CorleyOak Bobby Dazzler and has recently given us a gorgeous palomino filly, who is the image of her sire. 

Olivia went to her new home on Saturday 21st February 2015 where we're sure she will have a great life and plenty of attention.  It's what she deserves after producing three lovely foals.


Pinglewood Pandora (Socks)

Pinglewood Sherry Baby (Sherry)


Sherry is a beautifully bred, stunning bright bay pony with a sweet temperament.  We felt she was too good to be standing in the field and as we were cutting down on the number of potential brood mares we have, we agreed to sell her to a good home in the North where she has joined, Rose, Matt and Ice.  Sherry is now being shown (see above) and we wish her and her owner all the luck in the world.   She looks an absolute picture.   She has also been broken to ride and took it all in her stride.  She recently won her class at Warrington Show (2014).  She produced a lovely buckskin colt foal in 2016.

Sharptor Delphi (Psycho) ***  


 Bay filly: d.o.b. 11.05.16

Sire: Clivocast Napoleon
Dam: Danethorpe Delia

We have just found a wonderful new home for Psycho with a lovely and very experienced horsey family.  We are hoping that with daily one-to-one attention she can go on to be a fantastic show pony.  It has taken us four years, but we got there with her in the end!


Previous comments:-

Psycho may be losing her nickname soon.  Progress is being made!  On Sunday 20th January we were able to walk straight up to her in a stable and take hold of her by the headcollar.  That's the first time we've been able to do that in the 15 months we've owned her.  The first time we tried it took 45 minutes to catch her, even in the stable with the headcollar on.  Gradually that reduced to 5 minutes and yesterday to seconds!  YAY!  Then we brushed her all over, de-knotted her mane and changed her headcollar so that it wouldn't rub.  We brushed down her legs and picked her feet up - all with no drama!  Farrier came to trim her feet on 2nd February (so far he has just picked her feet up).  We were expecting that to be "challenging" but she is starting to trust us, so we were thrilled when she stood like a rock to have them trimmed.  Psycho is a really classy filly - exceptionally pretty and definitely show quality.  She will be for sale once we are confident that she can be handled properly, but only to a very knowledgeable home where she'll be treated with patience and kindness in order to continue her progress.


We always seem to do it.  Off we go to Reading sales with a list of ponies we might like....  What do we do?  We bid on a pony that's not on the list, on the spur of the moment, that's what!  Here is our spur-of-the-moment purchase, the gorgeous Delphi.  She was quite fearful and had to travel all the way home on her own, but was as good as gold in the trailer.  

*** Unfortunately poor Delphi turned out to be absolutely terrified of being caught and was virtually impossible to handle -  to the extent that our vet recommended euthanasia!  We are not going to go down that road if we can possibly help it, so have started on a slow journey with her.  In the wrong hands she would be positively dangerous, hence her current nickname (which will hopefully be changed in due course!).  It's very sad to see a pony so scared and desperate to escape that she will actually injure herself and us in order to get away.  We are trying to build trust, slowly but surely, but it is going to take a long time!  She does now whicker a greeting when she sees us, so that's something.  We live in hope!     If you look at the pictures below, there is at least one thing that stands out.  The look of absolute fear that is in Psycho's eyes in the photos above is missing from the ones below.  Her ears are pricked too and she looks relatively relaxed (but don't be fooled!!).  She is by no means manageable yet, but she does seem to have lost some of her fear of humans - progress of a sort, with a long road to follow we rather think!                                                                            

Psycho has an absolutely fantastic home now and we have regular updates on her progress.


Shelcroft Buttercup (Buttercup)

Sire: Shelcroft Gypsy Magic
Dam: Evening Mist of Wern

This picture doesn't do Buttercup justice.  She is a lovely big standard mare with a fantastic, friendly temperament.  Always the first to greet us.  Seen in these pics a bit wet and in winter woollies... Since sold to a new home "up north"!

Stepley Tiara

 Black filly

Sire: Stepley Troy
Dam: Stepley Tiarella

This is "Tia" in her scruffy state (she had just been rolling in the mud!). Tia is exceptionally friendly and loves to be with people. She looks set to be a full-up standard at around 42 inches. She has good conformation, a superb temperament and has settled really well in her new home, becoming a fantastic child's riding pony. Now nicknamed "Toto", Tiara is one of the nicest ponies you'd ever meet and is doing all pony club activities with her two young jockeys.

Talog Honey Bee (Bee)


Black tobiano filly - d.o.b. 29.05.18
Sire: Merrylees Paddywack
Dam: Eifama Honey Mous

Bee, as we call her, has been sold to the Kalipso Stud and will start a brood mare career in 2023

Talwrynisaf Clover Girl (Clover) R.I.P.

Piebald/black tobiano

Sire: Talwrn Toyboy (Bay tobiano/skewbald)
Dam: Talwrn Belinda (Black)

Clover was a lovely stamp of mare with a gorgeous, traditional shetland head and lots of presence. 






Clover presented us with a stunning skewbald colt (Apatchy - see above) in 2008 and a strapping bay colt (Samson - see above) in 2009.   She ran with Darwin Geronemo in 2010, and was scanned in foal to him.  Sadly, one week before she was due to foal, we lost both Clover and her unborn foal............

The first indication that all was not well was that Clover was standing away from the herd on her own when we checked the ponies at 10.00 a.m. on a Saturday.  All had been well the previous afternoon with Clover behaving completely normally.  On the Saturday morning she just looked "withdrawn" so we fetched the trailer and brought her home as a precaution as she was within a week or two of foaling.  I rang our vet who advised observation, but I felt that something was just not right so I took her temperature and when I found it was raised called the vet out anyway.

On examination, the foal was alive and in the correct position, with foaling about 1 - 2 weeks away.  Clover had had a drink but would not eat and just looked "down" and uncomfortable, but in no obvious distress.  Our vet administered antibiotics and something to bring down the temperature and also gave her a painkiller.  She took blood for testing.

Later that evening, the vet rang to say that Clover's blood was full of fat and that she had the dreaded hyperlipidaemia. Her chances of survival were slim and we had the choice of driving to a vet clinic in the Cotswolds some hour or so away or the vet coming to put her down there and then.  We decided to give Clover and her foal a chance, so at midnight we embarked on the journey to the clinic, our vet having agreed that Clover was comfortable enough to travel.

At 1.00 a.m. we were pulled over by the police!  They were being vigilant about a trailer on the road at that time of night - fair enough, but when they wanted me to do some paperwork I suggested that they should follow us to the clinic, let the pony have attention and then by all means I would do their paperwork!  Fortunately, common sense prevailed and we were sent on our way.

The clinic was amazing - like an intensive care ward for horses and everything possible was done to save Clover by excellent and very caring staff.  We got home at 3.30 a.m.  At 9.00 a.m. I received a call to say Clover was holding her own and that the treatment would be repeated that morning.  At 2.00 p.m. I was called with the news that she had deteriorated in the past hour and needed to be put to sleep, to which of course I agreed straight away as I did not want her to suffer.

Clover was in excellent condition - neither too fat or two thin.  She had been perfectly fine the day before and this seemed to come out of the blue..  We will never know what caused the loss of a treasured mare and the foal we were so looking forward to seeing.

It seems that sometimes no matter how well we care for our ponies, it sadly just isn't enough.   R.I.P. dear Clover and your little one xx

Tinka (Tinks)

Tinka came over from Ireland just before the winter in a pitiful state - thin, wormy, bedraggled and very, very anxious.  His kind eye attracted us though and we spent a lot of time with him, reassuring him and feeding him up slowly but surely over the following months.  He was sold to a local home where he has settled down and is part of the family.  He now has the home and life he deserves and is a happy pony with a happy owner!

Quakers Comfrey (Comfrey)

Comfrey is a lovely bay roan mare who gave us a strawberry roan filly (CorleyOak Touch Wood - Hope) in 2007.  She is an absolutely fantastic mother.  As well as being a first class Mum, she delighted us by winning the Miniature Shetland Championship at Fillongley Agricultural Show in 2008 - the first time shown, to our knowledge. 

She ran with Allensmore Starmist in 2009 for a foal, hopefully, in 2010 and was sold in August 2009 to the Shillingstone Stud in Dorset.  On her first showing outing, 5 days later, she won her class at Cadnam Show.  Her new owner was delighted and we wish her every success with this super pony.

SevenUp (Sprite)


Shallowater Dido (Dido) 
Dido has been sold to a lovely home

Black (minimal tobiano) filly - d.o.b. 14.05.13
Sire: Helza Bilbo
Dam: Westleah Truffle

Not the most flattering picture of Dido who is the chunky, leg in each corner type of shetland we like. She is much prettier than this picture suggests!   She is a future "wife" for Bob, our home-bred stallion.  She has a lovely, friendly temperament, moves really well and is all we would want in a brood mare.  In time, she would also make a lovely riding pony for a small child as her temperament is first class.  

CorleyOak Versace (Sarchie)

Versace is the daughter of Armani (see top of page) and was born at home.  She was handled from birth and has grown into the friendliest pony ever, with an incredible, laid back temperament.  She is now a member of our extended family, lives in Lincolnshire and is enjoying life as a ridden pony now that she's old enough.


(picture to follow)

Domino was our treasured family pony.  We bought her as an emaciated three year old, riddled with worms and near death.  The worming treatment was going to kill or cure her.  Thankfully it was the later and she re-paid us over and over again for saving her life.  At the age of 16 she developed Cushings Disease which caused severe laminitis.  She had no quality of life, so very reluctantly we agreed to have her put to sleep.  We stood with her as this was done and she is buried on our land.



Collytown Charisma (Charisma)

Buckskin skewbald/buckskin tobiano

Sire: Tawna Trooper (Bay tobiano/bay skewbald)
Dam: Kirskstall Queen of the May (Palomino tobiano)

Charisma has just been sold to a super home (to join one of our other former ponies, Q).   It's a fab home and she will have a new career as a ride and drive pony.  We're confident that she'll enjoy having something new to do......

Twyford Rosebud (Rosebud)


Wight's Tiger Lily (Tiger)




Gin was a 14.2 strawberry roan mare, rescued many years ago from a market.  It took us months to restore her to good health and much longer to gain her trust, but she was worth it.  Here's her story "in her own words"................

from the horse's mouth......

I was standing in a cattle pen at the horse market when I first saw Ann.  She was standing on the bars of the pen looking at me.  I laid my ears flat back against my head and raised a hind leg in threat.  You really have to know what I’d been through to understand why I did that. 

I had been a show-jumper, although no-one at the market knew that – a pretty good one as well, if I may say so!!  I’d been doing quite well for myself until, over a few months I began to feel really under the weather, cross and bad tempered and had an awful stomach-ache which kept plaguing me.  It really hurt and, although I could still do my show-jumping job, I began to kick out at my stomach and buck to try to rid myself of the weight of the rider on my back, which was making my pain worse.  My owners thought I was just being awkward and I was subjected to a series of beatings.  With every beating I became angrier and angrier and so full of resentment that my behaviour became worse.  Why couldn’t they understand that I was doing my best, but the pain was so bad that I had to lash out?  Eventually they gave up on me and abandoned me in a bare paddock with hardly any grass.  They left me there alone until I became so thin and weak I could barely walk.  Pieces of flesh were missing from my rump from where they had beat me.  I was skin and bone.  Then they took me to the horse market, which is how I came to be standing in a cattle pen, feeling very sorry for myself and very bitter about life.


Anyway, back to Ann.  My threat gesture didn’t put her off and she climbed into the pen to take a closer look at me.  I hated the whole world by this time, so I aimed a kick at her.  She side-stepped it (quite neatly I thought) patted me on the neck and offered her hand, in which was a mint.  I snatched the mint, pinned my ears back even further and swished my tail. 

“Whatever has happened to you?”, she asked.  (Why do people always talk to horses when they know we can’t answer back?!).  I heard some people say to Ann, “Don’t even think about it, she’s a knacker” (that’s a very uncomplimentary word for a worn out, useless old horse) and “Leave well alone, she’s obviously vicious”.  (Well that was true anyway!)   Ann wandered off and I didn’t see her at the market again.  To be honest, even though I thought I hated everyone, I felt a bit sorry that I’d been so nasty to her.  She hadn’t done me any harm and the mint had tasted good.  After an hour or two a rough-looking man came up, untied me and led me towards a lorry.  I had been sold to him apparently.  I overheard him say that he had bought me for his wife to ride.  “We’ll see about that”, I resolved.  “I’ll soon buck her off if she thinks she’s going to sit on MY back!”.

When they got me back to their stables, they put on a saddle and bridle and the wife tried to ride me.  I sensed straight away that she was the nervous type, so, even though I was weak with hunger, I bucked so high I scared the living daylights out of her! They promptly turned me out into a field and left me to my own devices.  I hated people so much that I trotted away as fast as possible and joined some other ponies at the far end of the field.  At least they were friendly enough and seemed to accept me.  To my relief, there was a little bit of grass on this over-grazed field, so I set about eating what I could find.  Next day, I spotted the man walking towards me with a headcollar in his hand.  “Not likely”,  I thought to myself and galloped off as fast as my legs could carry me.  If they couldn’t catch me, they couldn’t hurt me, could they?   Every time he got near me, I galloped off again, until he threw the headcollar down on the ground, said something extremely rude and stomped off.

Later that same day, I saw two people climbing over the gate of my field.  I raised my head, showed the whites of my eyes (always puts people off does that!), laid my ears back and prepared to run.  Then I caught a whiff of mint and a familiar scent.  I realised it was Ann from the market.  I almost felt pleased to see her until I reminded myself how much I hated humans.  Ann had a young girl with her.  I guessed the girl was Ann’s foal.  They walked up to me slowly and offered a mint in an outstretched hand.  I snatched the mint and was about to run off, when curiosity got the better of me.  These two had something about them that I liked, in spite of my hatred of all humans, so I stood still to see what they did.  Good job they didn’t try to get on my back, or I’d have shown them a thing or two! They just stroked my neck, opened my mouth and looked at my teeth, took a general look at me and went off.  “Strange people” I thought.  I wonder what they wanted….

The following Saturday, I heard my new owner, a rough and ready sort of chap who was a dealer, shout, “Well if you can catch it, you can have it for £200.  I can’t get near the thing!”

“I’m about to be sold again”, I thought in a panic.  “and for only £200. I must be in a state.  Whatever next?!” and then I spotted Ann and her foal, walking towards me, opening a packet of mints as they advanced.  Don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t like them.  I hated the world, remember?  I just thought that they were slightly less evil than all the other humans I had met so far.  Besides, their field next door had fresh grass two foot high, so I thought, “Why not – it’s worth a gamble” and I lowered my head into the headcollar and followed them both to the field next door to be introduced to Ann’s other ponies, Domino and Star.  Domino and Star whickered a welcome to me.  They seemed a sociable pair, although Star, who was the field boss, made it plain that I was last in the pecking order.   I didn’t care.  I was so hungry, all I wanted to do was eat as much of the beautifully lush grass as I could and try to forget my worries for a while……


Every day, Ann & Ali would appear, mints in hand.  There was no way I was about to be caught when I had all this grass to eat.  Domino and Star galloped up to them, but I kept my distance and laid my ears back just in case they even considered trying to get near me.  To my amazement, Ali lay down on the ground.  Well, humans don’t usually do this.  I was curious.  What was she up to?  I inched over to her cautiously, ears still flat back.  From a yard or so away, I could smell mints.  Ali was lying on her back, holding out a mint to me.  I couldn’t resist.  I leaned over as far as I could, snatched the mint and jumped back out of the way.  Day after day Ali did this (strange people humans) until I realised that if I took the mint nothing bad was going to happen.  Ali was obviously far too lazy to get up off the ground and try to do anything to me.  In time I began to look forward to Ali & Ann’s visits.  I took to joining Domino and Star when they galloped to greet them.  It was all right for them, they had been well treated all their lives.  I was still suspicious, but I started to look forward to the daily visits.


Then came the fateful day when Ali decided she was going to ride me.  I was feeling a lot better by then.  I’d had several months good grazing and plenty of rest. In fact, I was feeling rather too well –“a bit full of myself” as people say about ponies who have had too much spring grass.  Ann and Ali had obviously decided to give me plenty of time to get well.  The thought of someone hurting me again was too much though.  As Ali walked towards me with the saddle and bridle I started to tremble with fear.  By the time she had put the tack on, I was sweating from head to toe.  I swished my tail and tried to kick her.  Ali was as good at dodging kicks as her mother.  Ann & Ali realised that something was wrong, but of course they didn’t know what I’d been through.  They patted and reassured me, but I wasn’t keen on the idea of having a rider on my back again, so every time Ali tried to get on I reared up in the air as high as I could, my ears flat back, looking as fierce and terrifying as I could.  I was sure that I would be punished for this behaviour and waited for the beating I knew would come.  All I got was more mints and more soft words of reassurance and, suddenly, before I could launch myself into the air again, Ali was on my back.  “Right then Madam!” I swore to myself – “not for long will you be on my back.  Prepare to fly through the air!” and I took off up the field, bucking vertically with all my might.  I couldn’t believe it when Ali took no notice whatsoever.  She just said “Don’t be such a silly pony!”.  She didn’t budge an inch out of the saddle and then expected me to walk off down the lane!!  I couldn’t believe it.  “How did she stay in the saddle when I pulled off my best bronco antics?”   Believe me, when it comes to bucking, I’m an all-time expert!   I was so amazed that, after about 10 minutes of bucking, I got fed up and decided it would be quite interesting to get out of the field and take a look around, even if I did have to carry Ali on my back.  At least she was light.  We horses can see behind ourselves and I kept an eye out for the stick I was sure Ali would be carrying.  There wasn’t one.  This was odd behaviour from my new owner.  I didn’t trust her.  Sooner or later, the stick would appear.

The weeks went by.  I continued to behave badly at every opportunity.  I’d got used to behaving like this and I couldn’t seem to break the habit somehow.  Besides, my stomach still hurt and I felt cross and bad-tempered, even though I had no reason to be.  I even got us banned from Pony Club for being “unsuitable” after I allowed my foul temper to get the better of me.  All I received from Ali in return was kindness and understanding.  That made me feel really guilty and I was sorry.  I felt I’d let Ali down.  I tried to tell her but of course she didn’t understand me.  Gradually I learned to trust my new owners.  I came to realise that they were never going to hurt me.  Even when I couldn’t help myself because of the ache in my belly, they seemed to understand and never punished me – although I admit they did sometimes tell me off in no uncertain terms when I went a bit too far.

Our field was on the top of a moor.  Although it was summer, when it rained, it was bitterly cold.  One day it was raining hard and a fierce wind was whipping the rain into horizontal stair-rods.  My coat was soaked and the rain was getting through to my skin, making me shiver.  Star and Domino were shivering too.  We were all utterly miserable.  Through the rain, I was horrified to see what appeared to be canvas tents on legs, marching slowly towards us.  I snorted a warning to Star and Domino, but instead of being afraid, they called a welcome to the advancing tents and walked towards them.  “Idiots!”, I thought.  “These two really are stupid!”.  All of a sudden, one of the tents flew through the air and landed on Star’s back.  Ali appeared from underneath it and started to do up all sorts of buckles and straps until the tent-thing fitted all round Star.  Ann did the same to Domino, who stood like a rock the whole time, looking smug – like only Domino can.  Then Ann walked towards me with another of these tent-things.  She held it out for me to sniff.  It smelled of Domino and Star.  “Easy girl”, said Ann reassuringly.  “It’s only a rug.  It will keep out the wind and rain”.  By this time, the wind was blowing so hard, Ann nearly got blown over.  She threw the rug over my back and did up a strap across my chest.  Instantly, I felt warmer.  Now, you have to bear in mind that until this point, I had never allowed even Ann to touch my back legs.  If she tried, I would squeal and lift my hind leg to threaten her.  I had been beaten before and my back legs had been tied with leather straps.  No way was I going to let anyone do that again!.  The "New Zealand” water-proof rug that Ann was trying to put on me in a force 10 gale had straps which had to be crossed between my back legs.  I heard Ann say to Ali, “I’m going to have to do the straps up.  This pony is just going to have to trust me.  I hope she realises that I’m only trying to help her”.  Well, I’m not stupid.  We ponies are pretty smart in actual fact and of course I did realise, as I felt the warmth of the rug, that Ann was trying to help, so – against all my best instincts – I stood completely still.  Even when she passed her hands between my back legs to connect the straps, I didn’t try to kick her.  How could I, when she had never done me any harm?  I can’t say I didn’t feel anxious because I did, but I trusted her.  I could tell she was pleased when the rug was securely on.  She stood in front of me, drenched to the bone, water dripping off her chin, with a delighted smile from one ear to the other.  “Good girl!” she praised, slipping me a mint.  “Well done!”.  I think it was at that point that a sort of bond formed between us.


One day, a car pulled up.  “Who’s this?” I panicked.  “Someone come to hurt me, or worse, someone come to buy me?”  “Fat chance, I’ll kick them into next week”, I resolved bitterly.  “Don’t worry stupid”, said Ann (talking to horses again and obviously picking up on my unease) “It’s only the vet”.  “ONLY the vet!!”  Now, in my experience, vets were people ponies didn’t want to see.  They had a habit of doing unpleasant things to you.  “I’m pretty sure she’s got Polycystic Ovary Syndrome”  confided Ann to her daughter.  (WHAT?!!)   “That’s what’s making her so uncomfortable and bad-tempered.  The vet has just come to take a blood test.”  Now, I didn’t like the sound of this at all.  I didn’t want to have polywhateveritwas and I certainly didn’t want a blood test.


“I could try to kill the vet”, I pondered for a nano-second, “but I don’t suppose Ann would be too pleased and I’ve already got Ali into trouble at the Pony Club”.  Owners always seemed to like vets for some reason.  As it turned out, there was no need to try to kill him.  Something about this man told me he wouldn’t hurt me.  Against all my bitter experience, I trusted him on sight.  I’ve no idea why.  I know it’s strange, but that’s how it was.   I was right too.  He didn’t hurt me.  He made a huge fuss of me, took some blood which I hardly felt, gave me some more fuss and drove off in his car.  Ann offered me a handful of mints, told me how good I had been and went off home.  I stood in a daze, watching as her car disappeared down the lane.  I was fond of her by now, you understand, but she did some odd things sometimes.

The following week, I heard Ann and Ali arguing.  “I want to take Gin to the show on Sunday!” said Ali. (Gin – that’s me, right?)  “You can’t”, Ann protested, “she’ll kick anyone and everyone at the showground and we’ll be in more hot water”.  (I didn’t understand that bit – what hot water?  Water was cold as far as I knew.)  “No she won’t”, protested Ali, “she’ll be good!”   Good?  I doubted that somehow.  Anyway, Ali must have got her way because the following Sunday I was loaded into a trailer with Domino (Fats Domino I call her because she eats too much) and packed off to the local show.  I was groomed and smartened up.  I pretended to be annoyed, but actually I felt a bit excited.  It was good to get out of the field and meet some other horses – even if I did feel like kicking one or two of them.  I guessed it was quite an important show because the best tack was put on.  I heard Ali say “I’m going to enter her in the jumping”.  

“But you don’t even know if she can jump!!”,  Ann protested.  “If you’re going to do that, you’d better enter her in one of the lower classes to be on the safe side”.  So there I was, all dressed up in the collecting ring, scattering onlookers in all directions as I aimed kicks to the left and right.  Funny though, as soon as I got into the ring, it all came flooding back to me.  This is what I do.  This is what I’m good at.  In fact, this is what I positively enjoy, stomach-ache or not.  I raised my head to check out the course, pushed my ears forward in concentration, pulled the reins from Ali’s grasp (I didn’t need her to tell me what to do!) and set off around the course.  The jumps were tiny, so I gave each one an extra 2 foot just to show off!  When I landed over the last one, I bucked with joy.  Ali and Ann looked at each other.  “She’s done this before!” they cried in unison.  “Enter her in the bigger class, Ali.  There’s no doubt she can jump” suggested Ann.  I didn’t let on, but I was pretty pleased with myself.  Bigger, eh?  No problem!

I went into the bigger class, jumped a clear round and qualified for the jump off.  I was third against the clock.  “Huh, losing my touch a bit”, I thought to myself.  “I’m a bit ring-rusty.  I should have cut inside No.9 and jumped No.10 on the turn”.  I felt good, but as I left the ring, all the bad memories came back as well as well as the good ones.  How, when I was ill and behaved badly in the collecting ring, I would be beaten and how, if I made a mistake and knocked a pole down, I would be greeted by harsh words and fists.  Stupidly, just for a moment, I felt sure it was going to happen again and I got really worked up.  I pranced about like a wild thing, snorting like a fire-breathing dragon and lashing out in all directions with my hind legs.  Ali jumped off and passed me to Ann who gave me one of her bored looks and led me away from everyone.   She just kept talking to me, telling me I was a stupid horse and had nothing to worry about. Slowly it dawned on me that here was someone who understood – someone who wasn’t going to torture me.  I calmed down after that and accepted the mints that were offered as a reward.  I realised that I had actually had a really enjoyable day.  For the first time in ages, I felt happy and fulfilled.  We horses like to know that we’ve done our job well and I knew that I had.  I had been doing something I was good at, with someone I trusted on my back, and someone else I trusted looking after me.  I grazed very contentedly back in my field that evening.  Domino couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about, but then she’d been loved all her life, so what did she know?


After two or three very successful seasons, I was what the humans call "retired".   Ali grew too big to ride me and Ann said that I’d won so many trophies and done such a good job, I deserved an easier life now.  I went on “permanent loan” at a friend of Ann’s, acting as a companion for her horse “Tibby”  (Tubby, I called her, as she was always stuffing her face!).  I heard Ann say that she’d never sell me on, as she couldn’t be sure anyone would understand me well enough to be able to cope with me and she was afraid I might kick someone and get into trouble.  Tubby’s owner (Oops – I mean Tibby) knew all about my past.  Ann told her.   She was kind and understanding and knew to let me come around in my own time.  She gave me mints as well.  I expect Ann tipped her off about that!  I knew I was safe there.  I had seven acres of good grass, a field mate and a caring human to look after me.  Ann & Ali visited me often.    I heard someone say that I’d landed on my hooves…  I don’t get it.  What else would I land on?

All was well for a couple of years or more.  I don't always notice the time now that I'm retired....    One day a large lorry pulled up outside my loaner's house, some men got out, went into the house and came out again carrying all sorts of things.  They went backwards and forwards like this for some time until the lorry was completely full.  Then a horse lorry arrived as well and to my horror a man came into the field, put a headcollar on Tubby and led her away and into the lorry, leaving me all by myself.  The lorries drove off together and everything fell silent - except me!  I let out a squeal of horror and ran up and down the fence, calling after my friend.  (Ok, Ok, so she was a pain in the neck a lot of the time, but as soon as she was gone, I missed her terribly and wanted her back!).  Now - don't get me wrong....  of course I could have jumped the fence or hedge and raced after the lorry.  Remember, I was a brilliant show-jumper,  but I was afraid of going near those men and wasn't sure where I'd end up if I jumped out onto the road, so I decided to stay put.  To say I was frantic is putting it mildly!  We horses don't like to be on our own.  We're herd animals.... get it?!  The whole thing did my blood pressure no good at all, I can tell you!

I spent a very lonely couple of days, worried sick.  True - the neighbours came to see that I had fresh water and that I was "OK".  Well, I was very much "NOT OK", but they weren't "horsey", so they didn't understand.  They should have realised from the path I had worn all along the fence that I wasn't in the least impressed about being alone, but they didn't notice. 

All of a sudden another horse lorry pulled into the drive.  Out stepped a fairly young human colt.  He came over to me, headcollar in hand.  I was about to give him what for, but he held out a mint in a way that so much reminded me of Ann and Ali, so I hesitated and in that split second the headcollar was on and he was leading me towards the lorry.  Something about him looked familar and he seemed pleasant enough, but he was a MAN, right?  Worse - he was a man I hadn't met before, so there was no way I was going into that lorry!  I walked up the ramp all right, just to lull him into a false sense of security, but when he tried to move me sideways at the top of the ramp I lifted my near-hind leg in threat and laid my ears back flat against my head.  I added in some swishing of my tail and rolling of the whites of my eyes (always does the trick, does that!), just in case he failed to get the message!

Well, he must have got the message loud and clear, because the next thing he did was pull out one of the mobile phone things from his pocket.  I heard him say.."You'll have to come and help me... there's no way I can get her into this box!"  "Huh!", I thought to myself, "You're not wrong there young man!"

A few minutes later a blue car pulled into the drive.  To my huge relief, out of the car stepped Ali and Ann, both grinning from one ear to the other.  "What's the problem?" enquired Ann of the young man.  "I tell you Mum - she's going to kick hell out of me!!  There's no way I can turn her sideways to get her in!"  "Mum!"  So that's why he was so familiar!  He was Ann's colt!  I felt a bit guilty about threatening him when I knew that, but we horses take a long time to forget ill treatment and you never know.....  Ann walked up the ramp to me, offered me a mint, scratched my neck gently and said, "Come on stupid horse..  in you go...!"  She put her hand on my flank and of course I turned myself sideways and stood quietly while Ann made sure I was safely installed in the horse box.  That's when her colt said a word I'm sure he isn't supposed to say, but all three of them were laughing, so he can't have minded my antics too much!

Listening to their chatter, I learned that my loaner had moved to another part of the country and was putting Tubby at "livery" which meant I wasn't needed as a companion.  She must have telephoned Ann who had sent her son to fetch me.  Apparently her son's pony needed a companion for the winter and I was it!  A short drive brought me to a new field and a new "friend", Tilly.  "From Tubby, to Tilly", I thought to myself!  Tilly was a bossy madam and made it plain who the field boss was.... her!!  I didn't mind as I'm not very bossy myself.  I keep myself to myself as long as no-one troubles me.  I was fitted out with a nice new rug for the winter and turned out with Tilly.  Ann's colt, Jay, came to feed me (and Tilly of course) every day.  Fair enough, but there was still no way I was letting him get anywhere near me!!  If the strap of my rug came undone and he tried to get near to do it up, I would swish my tail, raise my hind leg and threaten him.  This usually resulted in Ann turning up in her work clothes, a resigned look on her smiley face, and she would come over to me, give me a mint, call me "stupid horse", do up the rug and disappear again, laughing.  I didn't really hate Jay you understand, but seeing him off like that meant that I would get a visit from Ann - or sometimes Ali and that would mean mints.  I'm no fool, you know!

I spent a very relaxed and pleasant winter with Jay, but the following spring Ann & Ali turned up with their trailer.  Now, I had no hesitation in going with THEM.  I knew I would be in safe hands so I loaded myself up even before they asked me.  A short journey in the trailer took me to a new field they had rented for the summer and my new companions, Floyd (a rather handsome looking dark bay thoroughbred if I may say so), Taz (a typical chestnut mare and very jealous of anyone looking at her man, Floyd!) and Sprite (a very young and, quite honestly, fairly stupid grey gelding!).  The field hadn't been grazed for several years and was high in lush grass, so it was well worth putting up with stupid Sprite and jealous Taz.  When I got the chance, I chatted Floyd up, but I didn't get the chance very often as Taz was always watching me!   I had a great summer there, chilling out and feeding my face.

One summer evening, Ali decided to take me the short distance to Ann's house to see if the farrier could trim my feet.  Now, I haven't mentioned this before, but I never forgot having my hind legs tied up, so although I let the farrier trim my front feet, I wouldn't let ANYONE, even Ann and Ali, lift up my hind legs.  Ali decided to ride me there as it was only about half a mile.  Good thing she did, because as usual I wouldn't let the farrier touch my hind feet, but the trotting on the road wore them down a bit.   What fun we had!  I might have been clocking on by then, but I still knew how to buck - and Ali still knew how to stick on like glue!!  I pranced down the road, swishing my tail and pretending to be annoyed, but of course I was enjoying myself really......

At the end of the summer, Ann and Ali brought all three of us -  me, Floyd and Taz (stupid Sprite having been sold on) to their "home field".  The field is at the back of Ann's house and has a huge field shelter, so we have plenty of protection from the winter weather - as well as the rugs we have on!  Being at home means being fed twice a day instead of once.  Can't be bad, eh?!  I look forward to seeing Ann first thing every morning.  She looks funny with a woolly hat pulled down over her ears, but I don't care what she looks like.  I know I'm safe, loved and cared for and that's what matters.........  I'm still landing on my hooves.......

P.S. One January morning Gin  suddenly collapsed in her muddy field, her rug became tangled round her back legs as she struggled to her feet and I struggled to help her.  For the first, last and only time she allowed me to pick up her deadly near-hind leg to extract her from the straps.  My husband helped to support Gin and we managed to get her into a stable.  One minute she appeared to recover and then suddenly she would collapse again.  The vet diagnosed end-stage liver failure which was causing probems in her brain and there was notohing further we could do for our beloved pink pony, so swiftly agreed that her suffering should be ended.

When she lay dead, having been put to sleep,  my son said, "she would never let me touch her hind legs when she was alive, so I'm not going to do it now she's dead.  I'm going to let her win that one!"


Copywright : A Caine 20.07.09


 Last updated 01.03.17