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The stable block was a simple layout with around 12 stables. All with horses happily munching on their hay. I stopped to check my phone and when I looked up there was a gorgeous face peering over—clearly interested in what was happening. I started idly patting and stroking his face and neck, and his owner mentioned he was for sale. I asked a few questions with no intention of buying—I was simply curious about this cute little horse. I found out that his old owner had fallen in love with him in Ireland and bought him over to England, she then had a couple of falls off him which led to him being sent for retraining then for whatever reason he ended up where he was now. The conversation ended with him discussing what price he was going to put ‘the cob’ up for—which even if I had been looking would have been way out of my budget.
The next day my mum had received a message saying that ‘the cob’ was going up for sale however if I wanted him I could have him for a reduced price. My initial reaction was that I could absolutely not afford a horse, however when my mum was about to reply saying we weren’t interested I felt my stomach drop and I knew that I wanted this horse. A horse I hadn’t seen out of the stable; a horse I hadn’t even sat on; a horse I didn’t even know the name of!
A few days later I’m on my way to ride ‘the cob’ wondering what the hell I was going to do if I liked him but more importantly what I was going to do if I didn’t like him! When we walked into the yard ‘the cob’ had been bathed and looked over at us with mild interest as to what we were doing, I went straight over and gave him a quick cuddle—I just couldn’t resist! My mum asked what ‘the cob’ was actually called to which the owner replied ‘Tom.’
Tom you absolute heartbreaker, I was in love already.
We were all tacked up and mounted, and we set off. Tom was as good as gold from the moment we set off, he had plenty of opportunity to do something and he didn’t. We rode through a beautiful woodland, it was late in the evening and was incredibly peaceful. We walked, trotted and cantered along the bridle paths. When nearing the end of our ride the owner asked if we wanted to pop over a log to finish up—I decided to put my brave pants on and go for it! Before I knew it we had jumped a little log and just as I had relaxed I saw a significantly larger log approaching us, I closed my eyes and trusted Tom and he jumped beautifully. I knew he was a star in that moment. My smile didn’t leave my face for the rest of the ride back to the yard or in the car back home!
The owner of Tom had a chat with me and said I could come back the following week to try him again, however there was no rush and no pressure. My mum on the other hand wanted me to try him again ASAP as it was too good an opportunity to miss out on. We decided to take Tom on a weeks trial.
Tom arrived and he settled into his stable instantly and kept himself entertained with a salt lick that was hanging outside. I stood and watched him for ages and he was just making my heart melt! I rode him in the school for the first time that evening, he was a little cold backed to start with which worried me slightly and it took him around 20 minutes to settle however I still enjoyed riding him. The next day the yard owner jumped him for me and he was super. She loved him and everyone else who saw him loved him too, so not only did I have my mum and me wanting him but the whole yard.
One of the liveries on the yard lent us a saddle which fitted much better and the cold backed and tense behaviour was pretty much gone when using this saddle. The next few days I schooled, jumped and hacked him then on the weekend I took him cross country schooling where he was super well behaved, bold, easy to ride and most of all fun! Again I couldn’t stop grinning.
Before we got him vetted we decided to scan him using thermography—my mum is a technician for SyncEquine so she was able to scan him for us. The results came back with some possible minor issues but which were unlikely to cause any problems in the future. We will be scanning him in the future to monitor him. The vet we used to vet Tom has worked with my mum on some other thermography cases so we discussed the report with him and during the vetting he was incredibly positive about the horse and passed him with flying colours!
The past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind and I still can’t believe I’ve got a horse!
I plan on doing a little bit of everything with Tom, our first show being the Ridden Hunter class at Henley Show.