One night in March 2008, I was going through the death-row photos on Equinsection, a heart-wrenching website, when suddenly two little black button eyes looked back at me. Well, that was it, I had to save Charlot.
Charlot, 4 year old chestnut gelding
Height approximately 1.5m (43 inches)
Is friendly, but nervous
He arrived at Lerwick pier on 1st April 2008 and stayed with us until October 2010, when my back first went.
In the two years we had him, we tamed him down and worked with him, within his very narrow limits. He was a traumatised lad and you can read of his journey with us here – http://thordale.co.uk/
When he left us he was just beginning to pull a cart.
A friend offered to take him and I am forever in her debt.
This is him, and his friends, Likely and Malachy, the day they arrived all those years ago.
This is them last week, three years on….
It brings tears to my eyes. This is his latest update for any Charlot followers.
I can’t quite believe it’s 3 years today that Auntie H drove me down to the port to collect my 2 wee companions for my big eejit horse… and how Charlot ended up coming to mine too… “for the winter”.
What an utterly brilliant 3 years it has been – ups and downs and all sorts of learning.
We are finally approaching the end of a massive house remodelling project that has consumed all my sanity and trashed my sense of humour for the last 18 months… if it wasn’t for the boys I’m not sure how I would have coped.
I have a lovely new neighbour down the hill who is light enough to ride Charlot and she has been helping me out 2 -3 times a week since last Autumn. She now has Charlot cantering under saddle (straight too!) and since this summer actually seeking a contact. When we hack out together with me on my Viking it is invariably Charlot who will lead the way up to strange happenings. The two of them on free reins picking their way over virgin bog territory is worthy of a tv advert – utterly the original 4 x 4’s. Love them to bits.
Charlot remains my right hand man and main helper when the chips are down – if I need a steady anchor he is right there waiting for the next cue. He really would make the most amazing film actor.
My neighbour does ride and lead occasionally with the grey shetland who will at some point try to go his own way – without thinking or any aids – Charlot will just chest him back to where he was meant to be going – I WISH I was 8 stone and could work him as a cutting horse – he’s just GOT it! (I’ve asked the farmer if we can round up the sheep on the hill this winter – haven’t asked neighbour yet tho…).
I’ve a new helper this summer for business and horses and she too is light enough to ride Charlot – after a few weeks of in hand handling and helping with all the chores, she popped on and I promise my intention was to make the first ride nice and straightforward on the forest road. It was one of those stunning days when the moss is dry, the sun was out and the loggers off the hill. We walked out the first mile (my intention was to come back the same way)… I looked up the moss to the top and said lets go this way. Up thru the moss we went – the moss and grasses and Charlots coat all merging in the sun. Then I remembered the tree was still down blocking the grass track to home… so up the steep grassy trail, over the old log, down the even steeper low branches trail ending with a 15 foot steep drop to the original trail. Charlot hesitated at the top as he’d only ever gone up it before and helper went to kick. Don’t kick I said, just sit there and tell him it’s ok… I was down in front, she said it was ok, he thought for a second, she gave him a loose rein and down he tootled. First time she’d ever ridden him. Love him to bits. Wish I was 4 stone lighter!
And Charlot… well my favourite phrase still comes from Husband when he backed him that winter… I was in the upper steading filling haynets and all I heard was this muffled voice saying, “this is the coolest pony I have ever met”.
This IS the coolest pony I have ever met.
Three years. Happy Anniversary boys!
So proud, sniff. Something in my eye. Tissue.