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Celebrating mares - Renske

danielle master copy colour (1)Danielle Henderson-Holding tells us about her journey with her Friesian mare, Renske.

“I know everyone says their horse is the best and most amazing… I’m saying the same.  My mare is called Renske (registered name Els.S).  She is a dutch bred 15 year old Friesian.  I got her on 1st November 2009 after losing my previous mare in a horrendous accident in my horsebox.  I have to admit that Renske was probably a bit more than I could handle in the beginning.  She was very wary, on her toes and generally always on full alert.  Gradually she calmed down and I formed the most amazing bond with her that cannot be topped!!

She doesn’t have a nasty bone in her body

She doesn’t buck, rear, bite or anything, in fact I don’t think she has a nasty bone in her body.  For a 16hh Friesian you would never know she was there.  She doesn’t demand the spotlight she just quietly goes about her work and is always honest about it.  I began to take her out and about in 2011, it took a lot for me to put my own horse in any type of transport but Renske showed her value.  She always travels quietly, safely and has never been difficult to load.  In August 2011 we became the Midland Dressage Champion.  She had never been out to shows never mind do a lap of honour.  She was so calm and flashed her paces in a lovely controlled manor.  I knew then that we had a fantastic future together.  We carried on with unaffiliated dressage and went to the Trailblazer Championships at Stoneleigh in 2012 and came 7th out of 32.  Again, she quelled any nerves I have.  I find I am more nervous tacking up and getting ready.  When I sit on her all my nerves disappear and I fully believe that it’s due to her complete trust in me and vice versa.

2013 – Somerford Park

In 2013 we registered with British Dressage and our first attempt at Music clsses we qualifie2012d for the Winter Regionals at Myerscough.  Going to Myerscough involved travelling on the M6 in the middle of February getting there in the pitch black.  She travelled, unloaded and stood to be plaited perfectly then after our test she calmly walked back onto the lorry to travel home.  4 hours travelling in all!  We then qualified for the BD Summer Regionals at Somerford Park in the July.  This was out first stay away overnight.  We arrived at Somerford, a venue far bigger than anything either of us had seen, and guess what she wasn’t intimidated at all.  Even when we went for a little schooling session to stretch her legs she didn’t flinch at the horses around us doing flying changes etc.  She just put her head down and listened!  I was terrified of leaving her, what if she didn’t settle, what if she thought i’d left her, what if she got colic!!!  When I got back to her in the morning for our arena walk, she had clearly had a very good night.  All food was eaten water was drunk and there was a sizeable impression left in the shavings where she had lay down.  We then began getting ready for our biggest show to date!!  She was foot perfect we warmed up with approx 10-15 other horses without an issue and completed our test alongside 2 other arenas, flags and tannoy announcers.  She was perfect.

British Dressage Summer Regionals

We have qualified for Summer Regionals 3 times 2013, 2014 and 2015.  Twice at Prelim improving on our scores the second time and the third time at Novice level and narrowly missed out on a top 10 placing.  In February 2015 we went to Winter Regionals at Myerscough to do1382876_10151901854945795_1349707960_n the novice class.  We came a respectable 18th with 65.23% to come in the top half of the class.  I am particularly pleased with this result as 4 weeks previous I had had abdominal surgery and hadn’t been riding.  I had questioned whether it would be too much too soon but I knew Renske wouldn’t let me down.  Renske looked after me and made my job easy! In September after only a handful of attempts at Elementary we qualified for Area Festivals and again narrowly missed out on a top 10 placing to come 11th.  She absolutely blew my mind.
The point I am trying to get across is no matter what you can always rely on Renske you always know what your going to get.  She is absolutely trust worthy having had my 9 year old step son ride her.  We have done countless fun rides and even a 20 mile endurance ride, she never gets excited or silly she just digs deep and keeps going!  She is without doubt my horse of  a lifetime.

Enjoying a quieter life

Unfortunately in January 2016 I noticed she was quite right and a scan showed some concerns.  She was taken to Pool House Equine where she was anesthetized and operated on.  She had a 4 inch tare on her DDFT.  The vet said she should have been crippled but on her worst day she was 2/10ths lame (just shows how honest and brave she is).  She was on box rest for 3 weeks, to start in hand walking for 5 mins to increase to 30 mins over 8 weeks.  She has been an absolute angel.  Never once showing signs of being bored and when we started our walking i was prepared for a little explosion but no, she just walked out casually as though she had never been on box rest!  She is now enjoying a quieter life as I am 7 months pregnant!  She whinnies when I arrive to see her when she is in the stable and the field, she loves my 2 little dogs and is perfect to bathe with an attachment to jet wash her.
I often hear people talking about how mares can be difficult, moody and sometimes nasty.  I am truly grateful that I have never encountered that with Renske!”

What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking of owning a mare/bought a new mare?

“My advice for someone who has just bought a mare or owning a mare is embrace the bond!! Work with her!!
If you go into it thinking they need to know who’s boss because of their reputation you’ll never get anywhere. But, if you take the time to get to know her and her ‘quirks’ the love you’ll get in return is unlike anything else! The female of species of most animals are far more loyal, if you can get a mare on your side you can achieve anything!”