Today has been a very special day for me. I have been given a job to do and it has brought back many, many beautiful memories!

Jacob Quigley, who is a very polite young boy, came to the Meadow today and asked me if I could teach him to ride. Of course I said, “Yes!” I love having a job to do and teaching young children to ride is what I do best!!

Sally, Jacob’s mother, led us around the lawns near the house while Meg, their mini-fox terrier, had fun jumping off the verandah. Jacob listened very carefully to what Sally taught him. “Heels down! Sit tall!”  I think he will make a very fine rider. Jacob says he wants to come back and ride me next week. I do hope he comes again.

Teaching Jacob to ride has reminded me of the many little children I have taught to ride over the years.

First, there was little Mary dressed in blue with her great big hugs and pockets full of sugar cubes! How she loved me!

Then there was her big sister Joey who was very gentle and kind and used to love brushing my mane and tail. She liked to get dressed up and take me to shows.

Then came young Patrick with his kind, dreamy face and his big sister Niamh with her stripy socks and amazing gumboots.

Then came curly haired Jacob from London, who loved to trot and never wanted to get off, his little sister, Zara, who was as pretty as a fairy princess and their little brother, Jasper, who laughed like a dolphin.

Then there was Ellie-Rose who always knew exactly what she wanted and her little sister, Hannah, who was a little bit scared and wanted Ellie-Rose to be with her when she rode.

I hope that in the years ahead I will teach many more children to ride. Children grow up and gallop off, you see, and sometimes I feel I have been left behind. I will just have to make sure I do plenty of exercise so I stay fit and healthy!  Who knows? Maybe I can teach you to ride one day!

Ryan O’Brien