Well, that was an interesting week… our beloved Tennessee came back to work after five months’ stable rest, the latest round of the national CYEF competition was a great success with some phenomenal jumping from Team George’s Ranch and…
…. I got engaged!
But first, to Tennessee: After injuring herself doing Lord only knows what, the Ranch’s greatest asset finally returned to work in time for last weekend’s Toddlers Group – and what a joy it was to see this fabulous little mare back to her old self.
Tennessee has been with us for about 15 years and, to be honest, she’s lucky to be here at all. This wonderful little pony was originally part of a consignment of horses from Germany, brought over to be used in a riding school in Polis. Sadly, they were not looked after and all the ponies were designated ‘welfare cases’ in the end. However, we had been trying to get Tennessee and four other ponies from this place for a while and when it was clear they were going to be taken away, the owner contacted us and we agreed to buy them. We then had to feed them.
When Tennessee first arrived at George’s Ranch, she was skin and bone. It was devastating to see and for the next six months we simply allowed this little girl to eat and get healthy. Once that was done, she became very naughty!
Tennessee has never been bad mannered, but because she was feeling so good – after feeling so bad for so long – she was pretty lively for a while and a bit of a tinker in her lessons for a few years. Of course, she then settled down to become an absolute angel to work with.
Over the years, Tennessee has taught more people to ride than I can possibly remember, and she has brought such joy to the children who have come into contact with her. Completely adorable and super sweet, Tennessee is also extremely reliable these days and she does everything from Toddler Group, to pony parties, dressage shows, beginners’ show jumping and cross country courses. So, it was quite a shock when she suddenly became lame in the spring.
It was the first time in all the years we’ve had Tennessee that she has been injured. What made this concerning, however, was that there was no visible sign of injury – no marks or swellings, nothing to indicate there was an injury at all, other than the fact she was lame. Unfortunately, as the veterinary service here lacks the proper equipment to diagnose the problem, I could only give Tennessee a really, really good rest, and hope that this would give time for the injury to heal, if it was in fact possible to heal. So, for five months, poor Tennessee was confined to a stable, emerging only for a little light hand-walking, bathing and grooming. I’m sure she wasn’t happy about it, but thankfully the rest appears to have done the trick and our little girl is back in work again.
After returning to charm the little ones at last weekend’s Toddler Group, we have slowly increased Tennessee’s exercise and I’m extremely pleased to say she’s ready to go back to lessons and return to her paddock now she’s back to her old self.
Another of our horses that also made a welcome return to the work he loves this weekend was William. Once my own pride and joy, this fabulous jumper has now returned to the competition circuit with his new rider Lana, and the boy and girl did good. No, better than good. In fact, the CYEF’s technical director Antonis Petris called me after the weekend to say “William was the star of the show!” And we had a few stars that weekend.
As well as Lana and William placing first and second, with five clear rounds and two clear jump offs, nine-year-old Melina also made her CYEF debut and though she came third, I have to say she missed out on first position in the 75cms class by the skin of her teeth because she only dropped the last fence in the development round. And it really was an excellent round by this young rider. I don’t think Melina could have done any better. In fact, she was so composed throughout the competition you’d have thought she had been competing for ages!
And then there was Jay and Shy Boy who are really shaping up to be an extraordinary team in the making. Jay was placed second and third before he took on the biggest class of the day. It was only his second time at this height, and I think it was the most challenging course he’d done so far. So, due to lack of experience on Jay’s part at this level, he did have fences down, but as his trainer it was very clear to me that he simply needs some mileage. So, all in all, it was a very, very good weekend. And to top it all off, I came home to this on Saturday night…
It was a super sweet moment that made a fantastic week even more memorable and, of course, I said “Yes!”
So, that’s all the news from George’s Ranch, but keep your eyes peeled for details of a very special Christmas extravaganza coming up soon. Until then, happy riding!