A bit about Barney….

Barney the gorgeous 4 year old irish sports horse

The delightful Barney came into our lives a year ago. We had discussed the idea of getting a young horse but nothing seemed to fit. One message from Simon Charlesworth and something felt different. He was only 3 so I couldn’t see him ‘do’ much but I put a pole out in the school and he instantly was intrigued and jumped it enthusiastically then returned to knock it over with his nose. I tried to video a bit of him trotting round but he came and sniffed the camera instead. I remember laughing and that was the moment I knew he should come and join the family.

I rang the Mothership and she knew instantly from my voice and simply said “When are we collecting him?”

A New Pony

As seems to always be the case, it wasn’t the perfect timing to take on a new horse! The stables we had been based at was being knocked down, Jack was in a friend’s field and so we had some regrouping to do. He spent a few months with Paul Gaff being started slowly with regular phone updates.

Young horse Barney starts his education

At the beginning of April, an amazing opportunity arose and I was ready to set up a small stable with Jack, Barney and helping with two others. I had lost my beautiful friend Liz in February and, truthfully, thought some quality pony time could only help me find some smiles again. Within a month, it sadly turned out to be exactly the opposite to the oasis of happiness and peace I hoped for so I frantically searched for another new stable to move to!

We moved the next day but I felt totally lost. I felt totally out of my depth with a young horse at a new yard and with Jack on and off lame and the constant stress of what the right thing to do for him was. I also felt like a bit of a fraud as a confidence coach and feeling so low! The Mothership started throwing my own coaching words at me and something shifted a little! (Mother or I must be super wise!) One of the issues raised was having the right facilities and set up to work with a young horse.


Henrietta Knight is based locally and has an arena set up to loose school young horses which you can hire. We took Barney along and none other than Henrietta came out to show us the way. I am not sure how it happened but suddenly we are standing back as Henrietta herself is loose schooling Barney!! She liked him (which is the coolest stamp of approval to get!) and asked how we were getting on. I was honest and said I was a bit lost and she suggested he stay for a few weeks and it sounded perfect. Who better to help with a young horse’s education than Henrietta Knight!? “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

After a few weeks of him being there and me riding once a week something definitely shifted for the better and I was excited to have him back. That felt good. We went out to a couple of small adventures and then we were discussing whether a winter holiday might be right for him. He is only 4 and has a lot of growing/maturing to do.

Then we lost Jack.

Jack and Barney in the field

Mother and I literally didn’t want to go to the stables and poor Barney was a little abandoned. The Aunt suggested he go down to her field for a few months holiday and again, that felt like exactly the right move for right now.

The year may not have gone exactly “to plan” but I can say that I have learnt and grown. I can also say that The Mothership and Aunt have been awe-inspringly supportive and helpful and “little” Barney has been a bit of a family magnet for us. I also love the fact that Barney has had the opportunity to hang out with Jack and Pie – the two best ponies to bond with!

Then the story of how The Aunt stole my pony begins but that is for another blog……

Barney and Pie having a morning scratch

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