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Celebrating Mares - Zara Warrior Princess

image3 image4 Kerry Smith tells us about her gorgeous mare, Picnic.

“Picnic, or Zara Warrior Princess as she was better known while showjumping, is a Shire x TB with the most enormous dinner plate feet who is now 21.

A friend persuaded me to try Picnic as thought we’d suit each other.  She was bought as a project horse to have some fun on in 2007 and for the first few months I couldn’t get on with her, she was bolshy, horrible to ride on the flat and generally stubborn but despite her flaws there was something about her and we developed a bond and tried our hand at just about everything.  Dressage was never her strong point due to her nosiness and general short attention span, this also ruled out eventing as even though she’d jump double clear the dressage score added with time faults (shires weren’t bred to gallop) meant we were never really in with a chance.  However showjumping seemed to suit her as she had scope, agility and power with an attitude in the ring – However Picnics are quite temperamental and have been known to clear a warm up arena!!!  We show jumped successfully up to newcomers level qualifying for the summer and winter festivals, it was only the fact she got arthritis that stopped us going further as she had the scope to compete in the bigger classes and was happily popping the larger courses in training.”

Things I love most about my mare:image2

“Her loyalty, anything I asked her to do she would try her heart out, although also had a sense of humour and would enjoy jumping by Braille and having her own take on some jumping rounds just to prove she was still in charge and I was allowed to join in!

Showjumping her during the winter months I never got tired of the surprised looks when the indoor arenas echoed with the sound of the shire horse footfalls then show off the agility of a thoroughbred in the jump offs!!!”

image1What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking of owning a mare/bought a new mare?

“I would say be prepared to compromise!  You have to work with their quirks to establish a bond, it might take longer than you expect and you might have to think outside the box to get them onside but once you earn a mares trust they will go beyond your expectations.   Key points for mare ownership are Patience, perseverance and knowing when to pursue the matter and when to think there’s always another day.  Mares are not everyone’s cup of tea but personally I love them!”