There are a few new faces at George’s Ranch these days – and not all of them are horse shaped!
Our first new arrival of 2017 was Bob Cat – a handsome and friendly young man who took a shine to our instructor Karen after she found him on a beach. Bob’s tail was badly mangled and, having followed Karen back to her car, she gave him a lift to the vet, treated the injury and brought him to live at the Ranch. He now likes to spend his days overseeing the lessons in the arena and terrorising our resident girls – Mia, Kia, Izzy and Mango One-Eye.
Our next newbie arrived a couple of weeks ago – the oh-so big and beautiful Jackson. Standing at about 17hh, Jackson is a former racehorse and I liked the look of him because he’s very similar to another former racehorse we’ve got here called Elvis, in as much as he’s quite chunky and not very thoroughbred looking at all. I wanted Jackson for lessons as he’s been nicely schooled by his previous owner, who due to unforeseen circumstances can sadly no longer keep him, but I was also looking for a bigger horse that we could use for our male clients. Last year we had quite a few guys coming for lessons and hacks so when the opportunity came to get a strong, good-natured horse like Jackson it was an offer not to be missed. And I’m glad to say, Jackson has settled right in, quickly becoming a firm favourite on the yard thanks to his easy-going nature. In fact, for one of our clients, Ellita, it was love at first sight! Ellita is photographed on Jackson below.
The day we picked up Jackson was also the day we found a new riding pony for the Ranch – a fabulous little guy we’ve called Toffee. I bought him from the same man that we originally bought Mystique from, and Mystique has been a great horse for us at the Ranch. The reason I was looking for a pony like Toffee is because some of our school ponies are getting older and I need to think about getting new stock in while there is plenty of time to train them before our older stars retire. However, I actually found Toffee by chance because I went to look at something else at the yard, but when I saw him in the stable I knew straight away that I liked him. Toffee is a perfect size for us as he can take children and adults. He’s very gentle with a soft mouth, but he is also strong with great conformation. So, a price was agreed and a week later we brought Toffee home.
Toffee wasn’t the only little man we brought back from that yard, however. We also came away with a pygmy goat called Sophocles! I used to have a pet goat called Pepper when I was a girl, so I fell in love with this little man almost immediately. He is great fun and incredibly affectionate and he has a lot of fans already at the yard – including many of the horses. As we had nowhere to put him initially, and as he escaped from one of the stables we tried to house him in, he stayed in one of our horse trailers for a couple of nights until my partner Andreas built him his own little shelter. Now he spends his days sunbathing, eating treats and generally getting fussed over by all the staff, clients and children who visit.
And of course, we can’t not mention another of our non-horse rescues – our gorgeous and increasingly gigantic Maximus.
Max came to us as a tiny puppy that could fit in the palm of your hand almost. Less than two months old, he had to be taken away from his mother for his own safety and he was bottle-fed by us for several weeks until he was strong enough and old enough to eat solids. Now, that tiny ball of fluff is the size of a house and he isn’t even a year old yet. Having settled into life as our resident guard dog, Max is enjoying life to the max, and even though he can be loud and boisterous we wouldn’t be without him – and we couldn’t feel any safer.
And that’s all our new faces at the yard so far, although we are expecting more in the very near future. So, keep watching this space!