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Celebrating Mares - Woodclose Mountain Mist

MistyLaura King shares her story with Misty..

“I have owned Misty since she was 15 months old, having met her at 10 days old, I knew she was for me! She was a strong, independent little filly with that ‘WOW’ factor, I knew I was going to have her, not sure when or how but we were going to make a great team. On my 22nd Birthday to my utter surprise, I was greeted by my birthday present, Misty! My Mum had bought her months previous, but kept it all a secret.

Misty was shown as a foal at the National Irish Draught Breed Show where she came 3rd and her mother took overall supreme broodmare champion (big shoes to fill).

I did all the ground work myself, from daily handling to lunging and long reining. In June 2014, as a 4 year old we sent her for breaking and after 2 months we brought her home where we hacked and schooled to further her education, I took her to a couple of Dressage competitions where she behaved impeccably gaining between 65% and 67% always in the top 3 and receiving lovely comments from the judges. We also took her to one show where she took 2nd in the Ridden Hunter& Reserve Champion.

I felt she would benefit (due to her size and age) from having a number of months off to mature and develop into her frame, being an Irish Draught they take such a long time to ‘furnish’.

In August 2015 I brought her back into work myself, building her up through hacking and schooling.  We also took her to her first show in September 2015 to further her education, she was placed in each class (6th in 4/5/6 year old, 3rd ridden horse) culmination in winning her Ridden Hunter class and taking reserve champion.

Over the winter we competed in a few Dressage competitions gaining between 64%-70% always in the top 5.

In February I attended a clinic with Sarah Chapman which was organised by The Showing Register, to my surprise at the end of the clinic I was told by Sarah we’d been Talent Spotted for the TSR Training Pathway, which means we had to apply for the final & if we are one of the chosen 10 we then compete for the chance to participate in a Masterclass with Carl Hester at HOYS.

Achieving this so early on, I decided this season she would be ready to take her place in the show ring, her first show was in April where she won her Ridden Hunter class qualifying for EquiFest and TSR Championship Finals, taking her place in the Evening Performance where she was a total superstar, the lights nor music affected her, in fact I believe she rose to the occasion.

Our next outing was a couple of weeks later where I saw a further improvement & proved she very much enjoys the limelight, coming 2nd in the 4/5/6 year old class & 4th in the Ridden Hunter, by this time I thought she was ready for her the county circuit hence entering White Rose County & Otley Show.

At White Rose County she took first place in the Ridden Hunter and Otley taking 2nd place in the Novice Hunter, qualifying for the Blue Chip Finals at the Irish Draught Breed Show in September.

She enjoys her work, has a lovely positive attitude & very willing to work with her rider.

I am very much looking forward to the rest of the season with Misty.”

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

“I believe all horses owners should take a firm but fair approach, but I consider this should be even more apparent with mares.

Misty is very different to my geldings in every aspect, even as a youngster she was mature and independent and wanted her own space.

I did find once she began her work she did mellow, although don’t get me wrong she still has that feistiness within her but you are able to channel it and use it to your advantage. I think most mares require a job and a routine, they’re not the “field ornament” type.

I believe the saying “You ask a Mare” is very true, again another learning curve with Misty, the easiest way I’d explain this is; you’ve got to let them think they thought of it, remain calm & quiet as you’ll get much more from your mare. Once you’ve got that bond with your mare, it is even more rewarding as there is a level of respect between you both and you know each other inside out.

I’m very lucky we have our horses at home, but many aren’t this fortunate so before taking this leap, determine which livery yard you will be keeping her at as many only take geldings – it is essential you do your research!”