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Red Flag becomes Horse of a Lifetime by Claire Jones

I was looking for my next horse to purchase. Ideally a 16hh – 17hh bay gelding between 4 and 8, to be an all rounder.

One day on the way back from work, mom popped back into the yard we’d been to before a few times to see if they had any newbies they thought might be suitable. The man gave her 2 photos to show me – 1 – a dark bay gelding, 16.2hh, 4y/o.  2- a chestnut mare, 15.2hh, 5 y/o.

Instantly as soon as I saw the photos of them both I said, ‘that’s the one’ ……. To the chestnut mare.

Even mom who isn’t that horsey said ‘she’s a chestnut mare’.

We booked a viewing to see her….well… I couldn’t catch her, I had to get all the other beautiful horses out the field (who were also for sale) and let her come charging down onto the yard in her own time. Once she was down on the yard she was happy to have a head collar on and to be tied up for a brush and tack but the person showing her to me walked behind her and she gave them a good ol kick!

The ‘red flags’ didn’t stop there, she was a monkey to get on. Definitely not one to mount from the ground as I found out the hard way with hind leg kick to my knee. She also wouldn’t stand at the mounting block, it was a run up the mounting block whilst leading her and jump kind of job. It was like this for many months until one day I ran up and hopped on but she had stood – I went straight over and landed on my bum the other side (yes I had an audience too). 

She was a very grumpy mare in the stable with ears back and teeth out,

very opinionated and strong but, my life, could she jump! Which is what I loved and ideally wanted a horse that would love their jumping. 

After trying her, only the once and no vetting (they were very rare back then) I said this is the one and she’s still with me today nearly 15 years on.

Many people would have written her off from the start but I just knew and know she’s my horse of a lifetime. I still have ‘the’ photo where I knew she was the one.

Many people have said she wouldn’t be here it I didn’t have her as unless you meet her and get to know her. I can’t describe how she really is one in a million and no, not always in the good way. Ask my farrier, saddler, back person, vet, friends, she’s really one they will never forget as there will never be another Tia.

If I told you what she’s like in season, you wouldn’t believe me.

We have so many incredible memories from seasons out hunting, showjumping, hacking for hours and developing our love for dressage through combined training.

The moral of the story – don’t always write them off for their red flags as they may be the one.

Follow Claire and Tia at www.instagram.com/Diary_of_a_Chestnut 

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