Hi everyone! My name is Maddie and I own a 14.2hh, 9 year old, Grey, appaloosa mare named Zaffi. However, before we talk about the sass queen, let’s take a trip down memory lane…
I first started riding when I was 8 and started having weekly lessons at Markfield Equestrian Centre with Milly and Charlotte until I was 11 and I left Markfield and got my first horse!
Realistically, I should have bought a little 13/13.2hh pony club allrounder. Something safe, sane and sensible but that didn't really go to plan…
Meet Mr. T,
He was my first horse, a 5-year-old, 14.3hh chestnut gelding with a big heart but an even bigger attitude. I went to try him out twice and both times he ran off with me into canter and it took me 20 mins of circling to get him to slow down every time. Every. Single. Time. However, he was loving, and I've always been a bit of an adrenaline junky so a couple of weeks later he came home. Mr. T never did anything walk and rarely in a trot. He liked to gallop everywhere and run at jumps at 100 miles an hour, but he was my baby and I loved him for it. I started to gain confidence on him and we started tacking some slightly bigger jumps, but it didn't go too well. I had a bad fall on Mr. T where he ended up landing on me after a fence, it’s fair to say I lost a lot of confidence that day. I got very nervous to jump him after that and he started getting naughtier by the day. It came apparent that Mr. T was too much for me to handle and I needed to learn before I tried to teach him as he was still a baby. So, I shared him out to Lucy, then she loaned him and then Lucy’s parents asked if they could buy him for her for Christmas. This was a very tough decision for me as I still loved him very much and do to this day but in my heart, I knew she was the perfect home and I couldn't ask for anyone better as I still get the pleasure of seeing him every day and going out with him and Lucy. Besides, I had Danni then…
Meet Danni aka my one in a million,
Danni was my wonder horse.
She was a little 14.1hh chestnut roan mare with a beautiful flaxen mane and tail. Danni was 17 but don't let her age fool you!
I’ll never forget walking into a huge event yard with massive competition horses to try out a 14.1hh pony but she didn't disappoint. Danni was bathed and groomed and is the still most beautiful horse I've ever met to this day (sorry Zaffi). She gave me so much confidence when I first rode her, and we instantly clicked. She never had any problem putting other horses in their place and had so much character. Danni was my rock. she cheered me up every single day and I fully trusted her with my life. Danni wasn't always a saint though! Every time someone wasn't looking she would buck, not huge but not small either. No one would ever believe me though as she would only do it when people weren't watching! We had a bond like no other that I cherish to this day. She taught me so much and introduced me to show jumping and arena eventing, but cross country was our firm favourite by far (told you I'm an adrenaline junkie). We went out every weekend going cross country and she took me to my first ever completion which was a hunter trial and we came 2nd in the pairs with our friends Emma and blackjack!!! However shortly after that, we noticed that Danni wasn't quite herself. She was losing weight rapidly and being very sluggish, so we got the vet out
after lots of tests and sleepovers at the vets we found out dan had a very bad case of kidney failure which means there was nothing we could do. We lost my pony of a lifetime in February 2017 and it broke my heart.
A couple of weeks of trying out horses later, I met Zaf.
This horse is the most stroppy, opinionated, sassy, ridiculous mare I've ever ridden in my life and I honestly couldn't imagine her any other way. She likes to keep me on my toes daily. Whether its bucking, rearing, hopping, leading, napping or stopping and if she decides she doesn't want to do something, she's not doing it. No matter how hard you try. She is such a mardy mare that has her ears back 90% of the time. On the other hand, this horse has given me some of the greatest experiences of my life.
She is so talented, and she so knows it. She now schools lovely, is a fantastic show jumper and is amazing around a cross county course which she had never done before me. She's bold, brave, careful and brings home rosettes without fail. She has brought my confidence up so much show jumping, and we came home with a second at our first one day event which I'm very proud of. I have worked so hard to get a great relationship with Zaffi and its definitely paid off. We have had a lot of rough patches but a lot of amazing ones as well and I can't wait to see what we achieve in the future!
Thank you so much for reading!
Maddie and Zaffi xoxo