Otherwise known as “Cally”
Hello my name is Cally I am a ‘French Riding Pony’ in the UK this means ‘English Show Pony’. I am 13.2 hands high, this is how ponies and horses are measured, not like children where you are measured in feet and inches we are measured in hands.
When you look at me you would say my colour is brown but again our colour is referred to differently in horse language so for my colour I am called a bay pony, which to you looks brown.
I would like to tell you my story and how I have been lucky enough to retire at Shamba with my friend Panda who has his own story.
In 2005 Jane who owns Shamba had seen an advert in a paper saying I had been left in a field with my friend Bobby. Bobby was also like me a ‘French Riding Pony’. Our owners before had brought us all the way from France to the UK on a big boat called a ‘Ferry’. I remember that journey still today as I felt very unwell, quite sick from the rocking of the waves as we crossed the sea but Bobby comforted me and reassured me that we were going to be alright, which I took comfort from and this made me feel better. Bobby always did have a way of making me feel better when I was unwell or feeling sad. Bobby was my best friend.
Our owners moved to the UK and at first me and Bobby were really happy, apart from it being a bit wetter than it had been in France things felt quite the same as me and Bobby were still together and our owners took care of us well as they had done in France. Every day we were ‘groomed’ this is the word used in horse language for brushed. I loved this, every day we would be groomed and this would leave me feeling beautiful. We often had our mains and tails platted when we were taken to horse shows. ‘Oh’ our ‘main’ is the long hair you see going down from our heads to the bottom of our necks, which we use a lot to keep the flies from going near to our eyes by swishing our heads left to right this makes our main sweep any flies from our heads.
Both me and Bobby continued to be given rosettes and trophies at horse shows, rosettes are small circles covered in pretty ribbon with 1st, 2nd or 3rd prize printed on them. We continued to make our owners proud, ‘sadly though this didn’t last’.
One day when I was 17 years old our owners took us to a new field, they then walked away and we never saw them again, me and Bobby felt sad by this as although they had made sure that someone else fed us and gave us water they never made time for us, we were no longer ridden or shown off in front of crowds of people to then feel proud as we walked away with rosettes and trophies, which had always made us feel warm inside and loved. We were no longer groomed as we had been and we were not given a warm and clean shelter to feel safe and warm in at night or when it rained. Me and Bobby spent days that turned into weeks wondering what we may have done to have made our kind owners not want us anymore or love us as they had, but we could never think of anything as we had got them many rosettes and trophies and we had loved them as they had loved us.
Then one day a family came along to our field and they gently stroked our necks whilst telling us how lovely we were. There was a man a women and two children this felt really nice, I looked at Bobby and knew he was hoping what I was, that this kind family had come to take care of us ‘but this was not to be’. The family then left us that day and returned a couple of days later with their car which had a horse trailer on the back, a horse trailer is a big box on wheels where horses go into when they have to travel on the roads, this is what a car pulls. Both Bobby and I looked at each other with a warm feeling that we were going to be going home with this kind family but sadly again ‘this was not to be’. The man came into our field and talked gently to both me and Bobby whilst putting a halti around Bobby’s head with an attached leading rope on this. A halti with a lead rope in horse language is like a collar on a dog with a lead to enable someone to walk the pony. The man led Bobby away to the trailer and I waited for him to return for me but he didn’t instead I saw the car drive away with the trailer until I could not see it no more. I spent days alone missing my friend and looking out to the road where the trailer had been hoping that it would come back for me but it didn’t. I felt very sad no one wanted me and I didn’t have my best friend to make me feel better as he had always done before.
Some weeks went by where I was alone with my own thoughts, thinking of the days I was so happy with Bobby. There is one day in my life I will never forget and this is one day in 2005 when I was aged 18. A lady called Jane walked into my field she had a man with her and the man whose field I had been staying in. I felt nervous inside and still sad, I tried to hold my head high and look beautiful as I had done before in hope that she would want to take me home but I could not manage to as I felt so sad I was unable to bring myself to look happy and my coat which in horse language is all the fur on the outside of my body as well as my main and tail had not been groomed for some time, with the rain and bad whether I felt I was looking very unlovable and Jane would just walk away.
I was at first looking down with tears in my eyes and a pain in my heart, I then slowly lifted my head slightly where I was able to catch a glimpse of this big warm smile. This made me feel warm inside again so I looked up further where I saw this petite blonde haired lady gently reaching out to me with a loving look in her eyes. I immediately felt all of the good days come back when I had been loved and cared for. Jane spoke to me in her soft voice and said how she felt sad to see me all alone and looking so sad. The man with Jane was her husband Andy who also walked slowly towards me and stroked my neck. I stood enjoying this for a little while until they stopped, I heard them then talking to the man whose field I was in about the advert they had seen in a paper about me and then I heard Jane say three words that gave me hope ‘she is beautiful’ and from these words I found myself being led into Jane and Andy’s trailer to take me to their home to live with them, I felt so happy but also slightly sad thinking about my friend Bobby. Although I knew Bobby had gone to a nice family who would take care of him I would have liked to have been able to tell him that I am no longer feeling sad and have people who want to love me again to.
When I got to Jane and Andy’s home called ‘Shamba Farm’ I first noticed lots of beautiful green fields and other ponies standing in them. I felt a little nervous as I did not know the other ponies but also excited that I would again have friends. Before long I had made good friends with Emily, Emily Pankhurst was her name and she was a staggering 48 years old. Emily was almost the oldest pony in the world. I thought I had been through many experiences in my 18 years but listening to Emily’s stories were so interesting I felt like we had known each other forever. Where Emily went I followed and again I felt loved and wanted. Jane would make sure I was groomed and would always talk to me and Emily when she came to see us and give us our breakfast in the morning, Jane would always tell us how beautiful we were and ask if we were ok. I was made to feel safe and deeply loved. Andy would also talk to us as he went by asking “how are you today”. Although there were other ponies there who I was able to talk to Emily had become like a mum to me who I adored.
I spent my early days at Shamba being ridden by Jane, Jane rides elegantly and I felt like a true princess when we went riding with a queen on my back. Some time passed like this and I was very happy and then one day Emily became unwell and sadly she did not get any better, she had a great long life and the day she died we were all sad. Jane and Andy buried Emily and gave her a beautiful goodbye whilst thanking her for being such an amazing pony. I had never seen Jane cry until this day and this made me feel sad. It wasn’t like the day when Bobby left me though as I was not left alone I had Jane and Andy to pick me up and make me feel better, I was also reassured that Emily had been given a long and eventful life with her final days being cared and loved for at Shamba.
The day also came when I was no longer able to be ridden, I had developed foot problems from a horse disease called cushions disease which can affect a ponies coat, their immune system, teeth and many other areas which can sometimes confuse their owners in thinking it is just old age. Through having this I also developed something called laminitis, which is a very serious and potentially agonising condition where part of my foot called the pedal bone has sunk or rotated in my hoof, which is the hard part protecting my foot. This has led to me having permanent damage. For this I have to have my hooves clipped often by the farrier who is the man who cuts and shaves ponies’ hooves, a bit like cutting your toe nails. Jane has brought me special shoes to wear to protect my feet and has my feet x-rayed sometimes to check they are not getting any worse.
One day Jane came to me and talked in her gentle voice telling me that it was time for me to retire and that she would no longer be riding me as she did not want my feet to get worse. At first I had felt worried as I had known from before in France that when horses retire they get sent away and I did not want to leave my home and the family I had become one of. I was therefore relieved when Jane told me that I was going to spend all of my retirement years with her and Andy at Shamba and they would care for me as they had always done before but even more as I needed extra special care for my feet.
I am still here today and now like Emily was I am the eldest pony at Shamba, I am now aged 28 years. I would love for you to come and see me at Shamba and even more love for you to pet and groom me.