When I was about 14/15, a good friend of mine mentioned a horse at her yard which wasn’t getting ridden. She was on a full livery agreement with the yard owner as her owner was currently training to be a jockey. I had the opportunity to have a lesson on her to see how I would get on with her, the yard owner (Niky) had seen me ride Ginny when she had briefly been at her yard but she wanted to make sure I could cope with this quirky thoroughbred mare. Luckily for me, I handled Angel very well and found myself with another horse to ride several times a week.
Angel was my first experience of a true quirky thoroughbred and she was a very interesting horse. In the stable and on the yard, she was a lovely gentle horse. However, in, to and from the field, she often displayed almost stallion like behaviour. It later turned out she had a tumour on one of her ovaries and after treatment, her behaviour mellowed out a little. To ride, she was great fun.
Lots of people at the yard had ridden her and not really enjoyed it. She was very strong in your hands when you rode. It wasn’t like she was pulling to get faster, more that she just held the bit. She also had some funny gaits. In canter, we had almost bunny-hopping on the spot or a flat gallop. We also had a special gait between trot and canter, where we would trot with the front legs and canter with the back. I remember one year I terrified my mum doing a clear round on Angel, where we bunny-hopped around corners before galloping at the jump!
She was a fantastic small horse and I had a lot of fun with her. And it’s nice that I still get updates about what she is doing now.