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Limebrook Horses and Ponies

(please note the Riding School has closed)
All the horses at Limebrook have their own unique characters. Most of the horses and ponies on this page were working in the riding school when it closed. 

Many of the horses acquired new owners who took them on loan - but they had to be kept at Limebrook.  Unfortunately horses and ponies do not live as long as humans, so it is inevitable that our old friend pass on as time goes by. 

These pictures and summaries of the horses and ponies should bring back a few memories to those who learned to ride in the 25 years that Limebrook Farm was a Riding School.

Horses and Ponies

Standing just 11.1hh Albert was the smallest riding pony at Limebrook Farm Riding School.  He was 12 when he first came to Limebrook in 2005 from a riding school in Epping along with his friends, Dolly and Jess.  The ponies were only used to being ridden in a very small school, and had never had to do proper schooling exercises before.  They had to be taught the point of doing circles!  Albert has now gone to a new home. 
We sadly lost Andy a couple of years ago.  Just before he died his breeder contacted us to say she'd seen a picture of Andy on the website, recognised him, and wanted to tell us that he was 39 years old!  That meant Andy has been our oldest working pony up until the riding school closed.  Until his retirement he was generally fit and healthy, and was a good steady pony although he no longer jumped or went out hacking.  We did find our ponies and horses, whilst remaining fit enough, preferred to keep working.  Andy was originally a livery pony at Limebrook, but came into the school when his owner out grew him.  He was a riding school pony for about 14 years. 

April is a very bay pretty mare standing 16.1 hh.  She is 19 years old, and like her half sister, Chance (a horse still kept at livery at Limebrook), was born at Limebrook Riding Stables.  The dam, Mahogony, was subsequently sold to a local person who thought the world of her and kept her until she died.  April is definitely not a novice ride!  She has a great temperment and perfect stable manners.  From the earliest days she has been able to jump well.
Born in 1992, 15.2 hh Boomer has been at Limebrook since 1996.  He was used in the riding school for 11 years.  When the riding school closed Caroline, an ex-instructor at the school, took him on loan, and in her words, acquired her 'dream horse'.  When originally purchased he was bought with a companion.  There was much haggling between seller and buyer over the price of these two steeds, and the horses were taken up and down the ramp whilst the price was lowered and raised again.  With tongue in cheek the two horses were named Boomer (short for Boomerang) and Bungee!  Bungee didn't prove suitable for the school and was sold on, but after a year of additional training Boomer was brought into the riding school where he has became a firm favourite!

Standing 13.3 hh Bubbles is a cheeky Connemara gelding.  Bubbles came to Limebrook at the age of four from Ireland.    The story of the early days of Bubbles at Limebrook is a very sad one.  The first time he was let out in a field some of the other horses took a dislike to him and chased him.  He ran into some barbed wire (now replaced by wooden fencing!) and cut himself very badly indeed.  A whole flap of skin was torn off, and he was cut deep down to the bone.  Ian Paton, of Paton and Lee Veterinary Surgeons did a marvellous sewing job on him, although initially he was not too hopeful of a full recovery!  But Bubbles did pull through, and healed so well that if you didn't know where to look you would never even find the scar!   Bubbles has now gone to a new home.
14 year old Clover was originally purchased from Jack Head - later to supply Houdini to Limebrook.  She is 16.3 hh and is an Irish Sports Horse.  She is superb looking with a lovely comfortable ride.  She is a very good jumper, and enjoys sponsored rides and hacks.  In the riding school she was a good ride for an advanced rider.

Dolly is an absolute dream of a pony.  Standing at 13.3 hh she is a suitable ride for lightweight adults as well as children, and can do anything from lead rein to jumping and hacking - she has not been known to spook!  Dolly is sweet mare.  She has a great jump on her, and can be an exciting ride for advanced riders as well as a great first ride for the complete novice!  Dolly remains at Limebrook on livery, and continues to help children become confident riders.

Duchess, by Royal Persian was bought by Clare in Ireland from the same place  as she bought Mia (another livery horse who was kept at Limebrook for six years).  Duchess is 15.3 hh, and was born in 2000.  She was very easy to break in - Clare broke her herself, and Alex schooled her on.

She worked in the riding school for 3 years until the school closed in 2007, and was very popular with the customers (although famous for her cow kicks going into canter!). 
16.3 hh Houdini was purchased from Ireland.  Previous owner, Jack Head, purchased him as a foal and broke and hunted him.  When visiting Ireland Alan and Clare visited their good friend, Jack, saw Houdini and persuaded Jack to let them buy him.  Houdini is named because of his apitude in managing to let himself out of his stable!  Limebrook  found it to be an apt name (although the new indoor stables and their good design luckily proved to be a match for him).  Houdini has now gone to a new home.

Jack came to Limebrook when he was only a few months old - he had to be weaned early as his mother died from laminitus. Jack himself suffered from laminitus when he was only 3, and as a result has always been a slender horse who requires careful feeding. Initially kept entire for breeding purposes, Jack was castrated after he had covered three mares as he only produced colt foals.   Jack was broken at Limebrook, but turned out to be so strong and unreliable that he was turned away for six months in the livery field. He was brought back to the school to be sold, but had matured during his time out, and was kept on to be a riding school horse.

That decision turned out to be a very good one - Jack has been at Limebrook since around 1987 and for nearly 20 years proved to be a perfect riding school horse. As anyone who has ever ridden Jack knows, this gentle 15.2 piebald gelding has a unique personality all of his own.
14.3 hh Jasper was bought from Rawreth Equestrian Centre.  Initially Jasper was put on loan as he didn't take well to be ridden by different customers.  When his 'loaner' gave him up he was tried again in the school.  Having matured he took to it well this time, and was a great success.  Jasper is probably the cheekiest horse with one of the best characters on the yard.  He has a habit of curling his lips up as if he is laughing at a good joke.   He is now loved and ridden by Victoria.
13.2 hh Jess, along with his friends Dolly and Albert were purchased for Limebrook from a riding school in Epping. When Alan and Clare went to see the horses it was Jess that they thought would be particularly good in the school, and were not been proved wrong.  Jess was a favourite in the riding school.  She has now gone to a new home.
Josh was retired finally in 2003.  He was retired a couple of times earlier, but he wasn't ready to give up work, and kicked up so much fuss we had to put him back into the school!  However, eventually even Josh had to admit that work was taking its toll, and he accepted that he had to take things a bit easier.  Josh had a peaceful end.  He was found lying in the field with his old friend Nobby.  The vet advised that at 39, Josh didn't have a very good prognosis, even if  treatment worked  He was given an injection, and went to sleep peacefully where he lay, in his field, surrounded by the people who had cared for him for so many years. 
Moi is 16.1 hh and is an original Irish Draught horse.  As such she is a very good weight bearer.  Although she appears to be of large build she can surprise her rider by a sudden turn of speed. There is a sad story associated with Moi.  Some years ago she had a foal.  The foal was a filly called Lady Star (she was just like her mum but had a white star and four white socks).  When the filly was just a few months old she was injured in the field.  The wound became septic and she died.  Moi was not bred from again.  Moi is now in a new home.
Nell (full name Apollo Estelle)    She was born at Limebrook Riding School in 1995 to Mum, Vargi, who gave birth in the livery field.  Nell was expected to grow a lot taller, as both her parents were large, but as is often the case with horses she did not do what was expected, and remained a slender 15.3hh.  Originally earmarked to be Victoria's horse, she did not grow tall enough so went into the riding school instead.  Nell was not best known for her temparament on the ground, and could be very grumpy in the stable.  However, like so many of the other ex riding school horses, when put on loan her manners have improved a lot with the love and dedication of her new owner.
Nibbles and Raz retired together to a retirement home near Witham in Essex.  Both had to be retired as they had arthritus.  They are very much enjoying their retirement and seem to have more than enough energy to get up to some good tricks! They live in a lovely field which slopes down to a fishing lake.  On the other side of this lake is another field which is a beautiful succulent green as it is not used for grazing!  One day in early spring Nibbles and Raz decided that lush green grass really looked just too good!  Still wearing their New Zealand rugs they swam together across the lake - much to the surprise of the fishermen!   Onlookers reported that Nibbles seemed to be the ringleader!
16 hh Nobby came to Limebrook with Alan who had him from a foal.  He was named by Alan's Aunt who thought he had knobbly knees.  Probably everyone who rode at Limebrook rode Nobby at least once - despite his size he was an excellent horse for beginners.  It was a sad day for Limebrook when Nobby passed away.
This picture shows Victoria on Patch on her first Beeleigh Ride when she was about six.  The Lowe family owned Patch for more than 25 years.  Patch, along with Nobby and a horse named Jerry came with the Lowes when they came to Limebrook.  Patch, so called for patches which long since disappeared, was a sweet pony who taught many youngsters to ride - including the Lowe children.  She was retired 3 years ago, but until her final illness had never had the vet to her in all her life! Patch was approximately 35 years old when she died.  She was a feisty little mare who enjoyed her retirement - tanking out to the fields with Clare trying to put on her turnout rug as they crossed the yard.
Many people will be saddened to hear that Peter succumbed to colic and died in July 2011.  Known to a generation as "Peter Peter the Mummy Eater"  Peter was bought at the Cambridge Horse Sales as a 4 year old - unfortunately he was only 2 at the time!  He was obviously not put straight into the riding school, but was turned away and only brought back into work at the right age.  At 12.2hh  he had a much bigger attitude than his size!  Peter taught many children to ride over the years, and will be very much missed. 

As a riding school horse Raz was always very active, mentally as well as physically. He was particularly safe rides for novices, being able to be relied on to keep their riders out of trouble and could always see the stride into a jump.  Unfortunately he wasn't able to hack out, as that always seemed to make him go lame, but he seemed content with schooling.  What made Raz swim across the lake that day with Nibbles is a mystery - but it does suggest that communication between horses is more refined than you'd think!

Sunny, the perfect riding school pony!  Well behaved, a lovely safe ride.  An all time favourite with the children.  With her lovely palomino looks and comfortable ride Sunny used to be booked up for weeks in advance as many children preferred her to any other pony.  Sunny came to the Limebrook Farm Riding School around 1993.  She came from a livery yard, and was to be Alex's pony, but within a day she showed her worth in the riding school, and to the benefit of many children in the Maldon area there she stayed.  Sunny is now getting old and is retired.
Tansy (real name Fantasy Fox) had been at Limebrook since 1983.  Bought at market for a very small sum Tansy has repaid the riding school many times over.  Originally Victoria's pony, Tansy stood at 14.2 hh, and was a Welsh Section D.  She was registered with the Welsh Pony and Cob Society.  It is probably true to say that all the nearly instructors at Limebrook learned to ride on Tansy - and all seem to have fond memories of falling off her in their, and her, younger days.    Ask about Tansy in the tack room and it seems any member of staff will tell you a story about when they used to ride her!  Tansy holds her head slightly to one side which is said to be the result of a very much younger Clare (now the Manageress!), constantly feeding her carrots and polos whilst taking her hacking!  She has also been taken hunting.  Having gone through one generation of the family, Tansy is pictured above with the owner's grandson in 2006!  Unfortunately we lost Tansy in the January 2011.  It was a very sad moment for Limebrook. 
Following a freak accident where Tiffany trod on a piece of rusty metal in December 2006 Tiffany was put to sleep.  When taken for an xray it became obvious that there was nothing that could be done for her.  Rather than keep an old friend suffering, Limebrook took the brave decision to bring her pain to an end.

Well loved by all, and a particular favourite of the yard's owner,  Tiffany originally came with Raz from the Rawreth Equestrian centre. She stood 16hh and was 18 years old.  She has previously hunted in Ireland.  She is not known for her patience however, which has got her into trouble at times - Alan used to hunt her, and had a couple of incidents.  One involved him cantering across a lawn at the beginning of the hunt which resulted in a telling off from the Hunt master, and the other was in Hazeleigh Woods where she commited the cardinal hunting sin of kicking a hound!  (Whoops!)
Vic, Alex and Alan on the Beeleigh Ride
Who do you recognise here then on the Beeleigh Ride in 1995?  At the front is Victoria on Sunny, and behind is Alan on Nobby, and Alex on Patch.