Spirit can only be used for ground work

Spirit is the Peter Pan of the herd. He will be 9 this August but is still at the development stage of a 4 year old, bless him. Spirit was born prematurely and was tiny, but perfectly healthy and Alfie was an adoring mum until the birth of Spirit’s little sister Fern, also prematurely a year later, when Spirit was firmly replaced and poor Spirit ended up having a very abrupt weaning.

With his Mum and little sister Fern now in the adjoining paddock, Spirit was beside himself and it wasn’t long before he had worked out that with a bit of strategic wiggling he could get himself through the post and rail fencing to join them. Of course his Mum now had a new baby and no longer had any interest in Spirit. It was a heartbreaking sight. But Spirit wouldn’t give up and kept trying. Spirit was so determined, he was trying everything to get back near his mum. He stayed a safe distance to begin with , but each time his little sister laid down, he would lay down, just a few feet away, and if she went off for a little run around, so would he, it was as if he was mimicking her behaviour, as if to say, look , i’m still cute too. Unbelievably, it wasn’t long before Alfie accepted Spirit back, though the milk bar was firmly closed to him. Spirit and Fern developed a very strong bond, and after a few weeks, once they were all back in the main paddock with the other horses, if Fern called for her Mum , Spirit would come running , it was so sweet to watch.

Being born prematurely, Spirit took a long time to grow and we left him longer than usual to mature before starting to do any work with him. He is such a sweet natured and cheeky little thing, he will let you do anything with him on the ground and loves to be fussed and cuddled. He is a scruffy little urchin, with his dun colouring and ancient markings, his tatty mane and long forelock always in his eyes, he really is a cutey. He is very happy playing in the field with his best friend Picasso, they are like a pair of naughty school boys , always play fighting and running around, rearing up like a pair of stallions. By the time he was seven we got him to the stage of hacking out for a short time but he then started to rear up if anything scared him. We decided to take him back to basics again and just take our time with him. We are not in any hurry; he is such a sweet horse that if it came to it we would rather not ride him at all – we plan to try again this spring and see what happens, but if he ends up just being a horse for guests to groom and cuddle, that won’t be such a terrible thing .