Hi, I'm Row, mother of grown-up daughter Lucy,
and married to nearly-grown-up husband, Frank. I work as an
insurance intermediary in Bedford, in order to help finance my
ownership of Maisie, and the upkeep of small brown hairy pony called
Herbie. He does not belong to me, but is fostered from Ada Cole as a
companion pony, and is extremely loveable.
I came to horse-owning
late (aged 37) tho' have ridden since 4ys old - which is a long
time. My first horse, Harvey Brown, was the best horse in the world
and I was lucky to have had him for nine years, before he was killed
in a road accident.
My world ended at 7:30pm on 1st March 1996, but
I soon knew I had to have another horse, and after a short search
found Maisie (Maytime Supreme - 14yo CBxTB), and my journey of
discovery began: we spoke different languages, but managed to make
it clear that we were unhappy with each other. I made every effort
(I thought then) to make her comfortable - with saddle/back-related
issues - but we just couldn't form a partnership. I'd read about
Parelli in Your Horse magazine, when Ross Simpson did a series of
illustrated articles, and I thought 'that's something I'm
definitely not getting mixed up with'.
I bought my Partnership pack
at a Parelli demo, in 2002, and with the assistance of Hev Seems
(well, it was all her fault) started along the long and often
frustrating road of Natural Horsemanship. Luckily, by then, I had
found a fantastic sharer, in the form of Tanya (now with
both wanted the best for Maisie and felt that this was the answer,
so we went down that road together. Before long, I had found out more
about my mare than I had in the previous 5 years - helped by
insights from Richard Maxwell - and we were at last speaking the
same language and I had stopped blaming her for not being Harvey.
The day before her 20th birthday, we went to our first ever NH
clinic, with Sue Gardner, and at the end of that day, I remember
feeling so proud of her, and glad that she was who she was. This
was compounded by the fact that, at the start of the journey, she
had put her foot through the rotten floor of my trailer (I know..)
and travelled for some miles standing to the side of the hole.
arrival, as I let down the ramp, I was horrified, guilty and distraught.
She was calm, dignified, and disgusted with me. However, she allowed me to go through the whole day with her trying
every inch of the way, then loaded like a dream into a strange
trailer, for the trip home.
Not many people in our group would
recognise the Maisie I used to own, and the me I used to be. We
have a lot to learn, and I know not too long to achieve it, as
arthritis is beginning to seriously affect her mobility, but for as
long as we can we will learn together. We can still throw the odd
temper tantrum (women, huh!) but neither takes it personally or
holds a grudge, and in general we have a good understanding of, and
respect for, each other.
Flo with Maisie
In 2004, Maisie and I passed both our ANH
and Parelli L1 (combined ages 76 - you work it out!), and if we do
nothing more I shall be so proud of that. This year I have also had
Maisie's portrait painted - will try and get a copy up - which I
'won' in a charity auction. In addition to NH, I am an active
campaigner on Horsewatch issues, and also manage to get involved in
various non-horse-related projects, including our local organic
community garden. When time and finances allow, I like to get out
to the theatre and concerts, and this year have managed to do a
lot of travelling. We started off the year in Washington DC, then
Peru in June, a quick dash to Scotland in July for a weekend, then I
landed up in Romania for a totally unexpected, mainly riding,
holiday. In November we have a long weekend in Spain for Frank to
play golf , and I have luckily found some horsey enthusiasts within the group, so we'll be off riding.
I hope Maisie and I will
have good few years to post updates on, but we take each day at a
time. We are fortunate enough to be a part of this group of the most
wonderful, supportive, and sensitive people, some of whom have
become special and valued friends.
Maisie's Birthday Party,
The morning was grey and cooler than hoped for, but
everyone arrived in good spirits. Once ready and mounted, we lined up
for a team photo:-
L-R: Little(?) 11mth old Fal, next to mum Voodoo, with
Alison; Mary on Corrie, Estelle on Ely, Sally on Dandy (Fiona is out of
shot here!) Tanya with Herbie, Jacky on Magnus, Row on Maisie, and Vicki
on Charlie - who was trying for a flying start!
We set off from the field
soon after 11am, and headed off for a short circular ride around the golf
course. As we trotted uphill along the road, we noticed how quiet 28
hooves could be, without shoes.
The traffic was quite heavy but patient,
with Fiona on foot, doing sterling work at the road crossings and watching our backs.
With relief we turned off the road for the peace and tranquility of the bridleway through the bluebell woods alongside the golf
Ah, bliss..... until from nowhere, two dogs leapt at the fence of a
garden right next to us. The horses were startled, and it was all too much
for Dandy, who was convinced he was in mortal danger and shot past
everyone, swerving and bucking most impressively. Sally did well to stay
on as long as she did, but was finally unseated, fell and was buffeted by
After a brief pause to collect ourselves, for Fiona to
comfort Dandy, and Vicki help Sally (brave bruised but not seriously
hurt, thank goodness - another advantage of unshod hooves I'd say!), we
were all back on track, and carried on, resisting temptation to stray onto
the long sloping fairways.....
Then, just as we rode back onto the road, a
kick from an over exuberant foal caught Estelle hard on the knee. She was
unable to continue and we left her waiting to be picked up by her
father. At last Fiona got to ride, as she took over on Ely, back to the
First we had fun sploshing in the ford, where Frank and Tanya led Herbie, Cherokee
and Jade to join us.
We arrived at the pub for a
welcome drink, and chat, and where our friends came to meet us.
The final leg of the ride was completed without incident and we got
back to the field, where Frank and Tanya had worked hard to ensure
that there was a turnout area for each horse, and a picnic place for
We watched the horses interacting with each other: Charlie is
obviously attracted by the more mature woman (good lad!) and was
trying to woo Maisie over the fence. She was in a teasing mood
however and every so often would wander away leaving him beside
himself with frustration. Ely grazed peacefully on the whole
and let Dandy and Magnus get on with their play-fighting, with much
squealing and neck arching.
We were joined by Estelle after treatment on her knee,
accompanied by her father and their Rottie, 'Porky'. Andy arrived
with 'Cole', to see Vicki, and meet our two dogs; then the three
dogs played together.
We sat down for our picnic, aided
by Herbie, who just wanted to join in the conversation, and the Birthday
Girl who wanted to eat ALL of her lovely treats and not bother with table
manners at all.
Sam gave Maisie a lovely Equine Touch treatment to help her unwind
and loosen up.
Eventually it was time for people to go, so trailers
were loaded, and everyone set off on their journeys home. Charlie decided
that he'd rather not leave after all, and managed to straddle his breast
bar in the trailer. Vicki 'helped' him back over - and he was thankfully
Maisie and Herbie surveyed the now empty field in surprise,
and Maisie went to the gate and called out for her friends, before
eventually herding Herbie back out into the field and putting her head
down and resuming her interrupted grazing.
I hope she enjoyed her day: I
think she did, and I would like to thank everyone for joining us, for their
gifts, and for helping us celebrate Maisie's 25th birthday in
We couldn't have done it without you.