This is a Guest Blog Post written by one of our Riding School of the Year Finalists, Team Tutsham. Team Tutsham are a Kent based charitable trust aimed at giving children from a variety of backgrounds the opportunity to step outside their normal lives and develop a host of physical and social skills. Let's find out what life is like from the perspective of one of the four-legged team members, Gary.
I go by the name of Gary and I came to Team Tutsham along with my friends June and Summer. Officially, my "out out" name (in my passport) is Tutsham's Rudy, but my mates all call me Gary for short!
So, life at Tutsham - well, there's grass (plenty of it). I heard rumours that people wearing white and carrying tennis rackets were trying to get in the gate recently as the stripes in our fields are admired far and wide.
There's also plenty of small people. I've heard them called Tutsham-ites, Tutsham-Tinies, and Saddleclubbers. They all look the same to me or they all share the same Tutsham hoodie and t-shirt, but I know that everyone is always smiling when I see them.
Weekdays are pretty chilled for me - I relax, eat, relax, eat some more, have a wander around and a few afternoons a week, people get me in for a pamper session. Last week I had the hair on my legs cut off. I've no idea why the humans took my flares away, but in the lovely summery weather I'm loving the breeze I now get between my legs that wasn't there before. I also had my lush long mane trimmed. I mean, who gets rid of hair like mine I ask you?! But I'm not complaining really - it was so long on the one side that it was getting really hot under the collar as they say! But it's all good, I kept my fringe for when the flies come and try to bother me.
I also come in for a pedicure when my hooves get a bit long, I have a nice trim up and usually finish with the pony equivalent of a french polish because I strut myself back out to the field with nice shiny toes. I'm not going to lie, I look good!
Weekends are when it all changes. I go on adventures around the farm with the kids. I also go over jumps in the school. I do agility and sometimes I even go proper "out out" on adventures, which is when I turn into Tutsham's Rudy. I've been out showjumping, mock hunting, an eventers challenge, and I even tried strutting my stuff at showing and ridden shows.
The other thing I've noticed at the weekends is that everyone has this whole match matchy thing on. I mean, it's like paint by numbers when my chums and I are all dressed up to look like our riders. It's so much fun! There is however one downside to it - my rider is particularly keen on pink and not just pink, glittery pink, which for anyone else would be a pretty mean feat to pull off, but thankfully, when you're as cool and cute as me, you can!
I love my life at Tutsham, it's so different from how I started life. I feel safe and cared for. I love that everyone is always full of warmth, encouragement, love and smiles. Sometimes I see people arrive who aren't always smiling, but I know that by the time they leave, either me, or one of my 4 legged pals will have given them one of our smiles to take away with them.
All us ponies, horses and humans come from different walks of life and have had different experiences. Some of us are young, some old, some retired and some just getting going. But whatever we are, we're a team, and we look out for each other, on the good days, the bad days, the quiet days, the loud days, and for me particularly, the glittery days!
Once a Tutsham Teamie, always a Tutsham Teamie, that's how we roll - and yes my belly currently does have a few rolls too many!
Love Gaz x