‘She pinches our horses!’ No fear for tiny gate-jumping rider

  • A tiny rider whose pony had done enough for the day but who wanted to jump a five-bar gate thought nothing of “pinching” her mother’s horse to have a go.

    Ella James Winn, who has been riding since she was 18 months old, and first went hunting a year later, had already cleared the gate on her 12.2hh Sidney while out with the Pembrokeshire on 27 January, but wanted to do it again.

    “We came to this line, with a gate at the end and she said ‘Mummy, please can I do it!’” Ella’s mum Emma told H&H. “I said ‘Follow me’ and we popped it, then she wanted to go again. I said Sidney had done enough for the day, and she said ‘Can I do it on Ollie?’ So she pinched my horse!”

    Emma said Ella has been keen to ride ever since she could speak.

    “I remember my mother-in-law saying ‘Is she a bit young for a pony?’ and I gave her the look!” Emma said. “It started from there and she does everything; Pony Club, showjumping, she did pony racing last year, and hunting; as soon as the season starts, we’re out almost every weekend.”

    Emma first did it all with her 11.1hh Bertie Bassett, whom she is now too big for, and who has gone to “a lovely family, with a little girl to do exactly what we’ve done with him”.

    She now, aged 10, has 12.2hh Sidney, and also ambitions for bigger mounts. As well as Emma’s Connemara Ollie, she covets Emma’s friend Lilian’s 17.3hh Parker, and has had a couple of rides.

    “She looks about two on him, her legs don’t pass the saddle,” Emma said. “Lilian and I bought our horses off the same person and they’ve both worked out perfectly; she idolises him and they do everything, like me and Ollie – and Ella likes to pinch him too!”

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