In July 2018 I got the amazing opportunity to ride Honey, a 19 year old, 14.3hh welsh x warmblood.
Before I started riding her, she was semi-retired so just got walked in hand for 10 minutes every day and then turned out in the field. Mum (Helen the vet) said that I would only be able to walk on her and maybe trot but I never thought that I could canter on her because she has neck arthritis, collapsed heels and over the years has had other lameness issues.
I started by riding her for 10 minutes in the school mainly in walk and then a bit in trot. Even then she would have her ears forward every time I walked her to the school. She wasn’t a Grand Prix dressage horse but she was safe so I loved riding her. After about 6 months of riding her I started cantering, this is when Honey’s true enjoyment of being ridden started to show. There would be little props and squeaks of excitement as she cantered down the long side.
In the summer of 2019 I started to compete her, I just started by doing 1 Intro class and then moved on to a Prelim class too. I am still riding and competing her now but am yet to tackle the task of popping her over a jump. One day last month, I rode Honey in the school and someone had left a small jump in the arena; Honey squealed and got very excited. Mum had to remove the jump because Honey could not concentrate on her work!
Today she carries herself in walk and canter and can do successful dressage tests. She is the happiest pony I’ve met!
Emma Ford, age 13.