C O U N T R Y
L A N E S
Worn old saddle leather with a faithful squeak, the numbness of toes trying to curl inside holy socks buried deep in tatty old riding boots. Soggy lumps of hair dripping down necks, damp jackets clinging to icy cold skin that longed for cosy pyjamas and warmth of any kind.
The other grooms often joked that shy young Maizie Winters was tougher than the trainers and competition riders put together. A groom to Irish show-jumper Scotty Ward, she spent her days carting around haynets and wheelbarrows, fastening boots and collecting knocked poles. Never one to complain when she didn't get to join the weekly group hack out or give into tiredness when the 4am alarm went off on show days, she just got on with it.
Spare time was rare and was usually spent floating in the bubbliest bath she could conjure, allowing the lovely kind people at the local takeaway to not only cook her dinner, but deliver it too. But when Scotty was visiting family back home in his Irish land, she was responsible for exercising his two horses and always volunteered to ride Fergus, a beautiful bay tobiano was seemed to be in training to be the next Jabari. Given they shared the same dam, it wasn't a complete surprise the young gelding was developing quite a reputation for wicked bucks and stubborn refusals.
Nutmeg was built for laziness; her fastest gait so far was trot, and she was usually found snoring in her stable. The stocky little New Forest pony had arrived on a misty morning and settled straight into a life of afternoons in her little field overlooking the main house, and a slow ambling walk back to the stables where she had the thickest bedding of straw for her to sleep upon. Occasionally she was expected to potter around the muddy trails around the farm, escorting an equally lazy rider but on her last ride she'd simply refused to go further than the edge of the driveway and made her rider walk back to the stables.
She had life sussed.
Elsie hadn't been at Honeybrook for long, scoring the job thanks to her big sister Josephine. She had been given the ride on Barney, a lanky bay gelding with a wide blaze and the most kissable pink muzzle, and was hoping she would be allowed to start competing him once they were both settled in. Their daily venture around the arena and over some fences had become boring enough for her to head off around the farm trails in the tipping rain, accompanied by young Alyssa.
With a mop of black hair usually kept in a somewhat tatty braid, she had a heart of gold and was firmly obeying Alma's orders of not pushing her new horse too soon. He was a kind old gentleman with a steady nature and kind manners. She was never going to be a Grand Prix rider herself, her bundling confidence and nerves saw to that, but she was contently pottering around the farm and ready to step up a gear...whenever Alma agreed.
Featuring DPS Ferrero Roche (bay tobiano KWPN)
Northfield Goldilocks (palomino New Forest mare from @wynlet )
Honeybrook Barney Boy (Bay Oldenburg gelding) and PX Norwood (bay Hanoverian gelding from @paige)